Mehabat Salih was born in 1965 in the Kurdish part of Iraq (South Kurdistan) and came to London in 1997. She talks about the elders’ group at the Kurdish Association and how supporting their well-being makes them less likely to draw on services.
Listen to Mehabat (mp3, 569kb)
'I must say that elderly project is very significant and very important for Kurdish elderly people for so many reasons. Kurdish elderly people are disadvantaged in so many ways.
'First because they are asylum seekers and refugees; second because they are elders; and third because they are specifically coming from a community where they suffered persecution, they witnessed the killing of their daughters and sons, they suffered torture and they suffered suppression under the regimes of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. So they are very vulnerable people.
'Those elders, when they come to the office, I mean the first thing they have language difficulty, they are not aware of the system. So what we do, we provide services facilitating communication between them and the local authorities and the benefit agencies. So in a way we try to raise their voices into those agencies and we try to make those agencies aware of what they need…
'Our aim is to meet the needs of elders and at the same time make them go through that process of integration. We don’t want them to feel alienated. And we try to make them feel independent and try to maintain their well being so they would be in less need of NHS service, they would be in less need of benefit agencies, interpreting, translation services. That is our aim.'Copyright
Evelyn Oldfield Unit