Inside story: Angolan Youth Project

By Sue Learner

| 18 April 2006

What it is: A project to help young Angolan refugees settle and integrate into British society

Goal: To give young Angolan refugees employment and educationalopportunities

Funding: The project was given two years of funding from the BridgeHouse Trust but this runs out in July 2006

Contact: Pedro Lunguela, co-ordinator, Angolan Advice and InformationCentre, Tottenham, London, 020 8808 1255

The project was set up two years ago after the Angolan Advice andInformation Centre found that a large number of Angolan unaccompaniedminors living in the UK needed additional support to help them accessservices.

So the centre based in Tottenham in north London offers one-to-oneadvice on issues such as immigration, how to apply for welfare benefitsand jobs, help on housing and finding a place at school and college.

The project mainly helps young Angolans in London but it also runs atelephone helpline for those outside the capital.

"We also organise forums and workshops on topics such as British lifeand culture, teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases suchas HIV," explains Pedro Lunguela, co-ordinator of the project.

"On average we help around 160 young people a year. The young people canalso use our computer facilities for college or school work and we referthem onto specialist advisers who can help them with immigration,housing and welfare."

Another vital part of the project is helping unaccompanied minors get intouch with their relatives in Angola.

"We liaise with the British Red Cross international tracing peoplesection. This is so important for these youngsters who often come overhere with no one. It can be very traumatic and knowing their family isstill alive and safe in Angola can make all the difference," saysLunguela.

What next: If it is to continue after July the project needs to findmore funding. "Young Angolans need this project, especiallyunaccompanied minors who do not have anyone to turn to when they haveproblems or need information," says Lunguela. If the project does getfurther funding, the Angolan Advice and Information Centre hopes toextend it to other parts of the UK.

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