Mapping London’s Somali Community (2016): Discourses, Dilemmas & Demographics

Over 125,000 Somalis reside in the UK with strong London bases in BromleyEalingWoolwichBow and Stepney GreenEdgware RoadCamden and Lambeth. Current sources suggest that Cardiff has the highest number of people of Somali heritage anywhere in the UK outside of London. Bristol too. Check out the Bristol Somali Forum (BSF) for more information. They are a brilliant umbrella organisation that promote the unified voice and interest of Somali-led organisations and their community in Bristol. Catch them on Twitter via: @SomaliForum. Okay so back to the narrative; whilst the few stories about British-Somali migrants that make the news are rather negative; little is still known about the large community of Somali generations that call the UK home.

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TOPSHOTS Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud waits outside the door of 10 Downing Street in London, on February 4, 2013, as he arrives for a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS

“Since the late 1990s, the Somali population of the UK has grown rapidly. There are now estimated to be between 95,000 and 250,000 Somalis living in the UK, with around 70,000 in London (International Organisation for Migration 2006), making it one of the largest Somali communities in Europe. The earliest Somali settlers, mostly men working for the British Merchant Navy, arrived in the ports of London, Cardiff and Liverpool in the late 19th century; the majority from the British controlled north, Somaliland. However, most Somalis living in the UK have arrived as a result of ongoing Civil War in Somalia since the late 1980s and early 1990s (Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees 2007), arriving either directly from Somalia and surrounding countries, or, more recently, from other European countries such as Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands where they had initially settled.” (Understanding East London’s Somali Communities; a study conducted for the the East London Alliance, 2010)

 

Table A (below) shows  that at Key Stage 1 and 2, Somali pupils perform relatively well compared to other Lambeth ethnic groups. However, they fall behind at GCSE, although they are comparable to the Lambeth average of 56%. Nevertheless, in comparison with the past five years; Somali pupils at primary and secondary school overall are steadily improving.

 

ASMA-1
Asma Mohamed Ali was the 2015 Winner of the Prestigious ‘Women on the Move” Awards. Find out more about her below.

Table A: Achievement of Somali Pupils and Major Ethnic Groups in Lambeth 2015 (Source: Lambeth Research Brief 2016)

 

Key Stages

Somali

Portuguese

Black African

Black Other

Caribbean

White British

White Other

KS1 – Level2B+

Reading

81%

63%

83%

81%

79%

87%

81%

Writing

73%

56%

78%

73%

71%

82%

74%

Maths

81%

68%

82%

74%

79%

90%

83%

Average

78%

62%

81%

76%

76%

86%

80%

KS2 – Level 4+

Reading

91%

85%

93%

94%

89%

97%

91%

Maths

93%

86%

92%

94%

85%

96%

93%

Writing TA

88%

83%

90%

88%

83%

94%

87%

Avge R/M

92%

86%

92%

94%

87%

96%

92%

GCSE

5+ A*-C EM

55%

50%

59%

48%

45%

64%

62%

* Somali children included in the African results


 

Though the number of Somali-born immigrants is steadily increasing; It is fair to say that Somalis live all over the capital with the London boroughs of Tower HamletsCamdenEalingNewham and Lambeth known to have large groups. You will also find Somali people in Cardiff, Liverpool, Sheffield (as seen by the chart below), Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and other places across the UK.

 

Where does the Somali Community Live in Sheffield

Where does the Somali Community live in Sheffield? Source: Sheffield Community Knowledge Profiles

Many African migrant populations in East and South East London boroughs have been joined by migrants from Western European countries like Spain and France, Eastern European countries like Poland, which have joined the European Union in the past decade, people from North, and South America, Australasia and African countries like Nigeria and Somalia.

“The ‘Other White’ population increased by 60% between 2001 and 2011, and is now the second largest ethnic group. Hackney is the 6th most diverse borough in London, down from 3rd in 2005, but it has a higher ethnic diversity score1 than in 2005, which suggests that London as a whole is becoming more ethnically diverse.” (LB Hackney Policy Team, 2016)

 

Furthermore, generations of immigrants such as Migrant workers, EU citizens and refugees are among the numerous groups who have continued to arrive after the decline of many industries in the north of England in the late twentieth century. Manchester, for example is now home to well over 150 languages, of which the largest are Urdu, Arabic, Somali, Panjabi, Chinese, Bengali, and Polish.

 

Somali Community Mapping 1

Okay, but re-focussing on the Somali community back in London; according to the Enfield Borough 2016 Community Profile; the top five (non-English) languages spoken by Enfield school pupils, in 2015, were Turkish, Somali, Bengali, Polish and Albanian. The same can be said with the Somali language in boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Edgware, Newham, Camden and Haringey amongst others. However, despite the long history of British-Somalis residing in the United Kingdom and being one the largest black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, British-Somalis are relatively “silent” and very little is known about them. Media representations of British-Somalis are overwhelmingly negative, stereotyping young men as gang members, violent extremists and they also focus on piracy and FGM.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Furthermore, British-Somalis are a “group” which experiences significant inequalities in service provision and poorer outcomes in relation to education, employment, housing and health. Although there are large numbers of locally produced reports on British-Somali communities, these are not widely circulated, joined up or accessible (Somalis in London: Open Society Foundations 2014)

FIVE BRITISH-SOMALI PROFESSIONALS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

 


1) ASMA MOHAMED ALI

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Asma came to England as a refugee child with no grasp of English, but has devoted her time to running homework and women’s literacy clubs for her community. Asma was born on the Brava Coast in Somalia and came to the UK in 1992 having spent much of her childhood in Kenyan refugee camps. Now working in Barnet at the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association, Asma has built a thriving centre and education programme that supports 200 students and their families.  In 2013, her Bravanese community hall was burnt down in a racist arson attack. But within a week, while six months pregnant, Asma forged ties between the local Jewish and Muslim communities to keep the students’ programme going, and led community action to raise £1.1 million to rebuild the hall. Asma was awarded by Women on the Move (Women on the Move Awards and Fellowship were set up in 2012 to recognise and celebrate inspirational leadership and contribution from migrant and refugee women to UK society) in 2015. Good on her!

 


2) MO ALI

MoAli_2161002c

Instagram: /MoAliDirector | Twitter: @MoAliDirector | Facebook: /Mo.Ali

The only guy of the pack. Humble yet high achieving and dedicated Film pro Mo Ali is a Somali-born award-winning filmmaker and director. He has worked with some of the most respected talents in the UK and internationally and has directed music videos and the movies ‘Shank’ and ‘Montana’. He is a 2016 #BuffaAwards2016 nominee and his creative genius and dedication to his craft has inspired many young visual artists. Find out more about him here

Mo Ali Film Director

 


 3) SADIA ALI HUSSEIN

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Instagram: /SadiyaAli | Facebook: /Sadia.Ali.Hussein | Magazine: /ElimiMag | Email: startswithanidiya@gmail.com | Twitter: @SadyiaAli

Video-Blogging Pro, Islam Channel Presenter and Community orientated Sadia Ali Hussein is a seasoned ‘British-Somali Muslim and Proud’ #GoodLady gifted at empowering women through advice and creative content on her various social media platforms. She is also Chief Editor at Elimimag (an online platform to unite, recognize and inspire Somali youth)Visit Sadia Ali Hussein’s youtube channel here.


4) LADAN TAKOW

maxresdefault-11

Instagram: /LadanTakow and /TakowNetwork | Blogspot: /ladantakow | Twitter: @LadanTakow and @ESomaliWomen | Email: ladan_takow@hotmail.com

Surprise Surprise. Above is Ladon Takow (right) pictured with Sadiya Ali Hussein (left). Following her volunteering stint in India, Ladan set up the Somali Women’s Network to engage young women in a discussion about education, career choices, politics, justice and other important issues. Empowering Somali Women and standing for various local and international human rights issues are some of roles Ms. Ladan feels she has been called to address.


5) LEYLA HUSSEIN

Red Women Of The Year Awards - Arrivals
Leyla Hussein and Nimco Ali attend the Red magazine Women of the Year awards at Ham Yard Hotel on September 3, 2014 in London, England | Credits: Stuart C. Wilson

Instagram: /LeylaQalbi | Facebook: /Leyla-Hussein | Company: Daughters of Eve | Twitter: @LeylaHussein and @DahilaProject

Whilst many may not be aware that at least 200 million people in 30 countries have experienced female genital mutilation; there is handful of dedicated anti-FGM practitioners in London rigorously raising awareness and working to support girls and young women who have had or at risk of having FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). Ms. Leyla Hussein is one of them. Leila is a Somali psychotherapist and social activist. She is a co-founder of the Daughters of Eve alongside #GoodLady Nimko Ali non-profit organization and a Chief Executive of Hawa’s Haven. By the way; Leyla is also a Mum, Psychotherapist, Writer, Human Rights Campaigner and has served on various platforms including Huffington post, Guardian & Cosmopolitan Magazine. Apart from being invited to Downing Street Twice; she is also a prolific Blogger and a Lover of Fashion.


MINI-DIRECTORY OF LONDON BASED SOMALI ORGANISATIONS:

 


1) BARNET SOMALI COMMUNITY GROUP

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Address: Algernon Road, NW4 3TA London | Phone: 020 8202 9311

Barnet Somali Community Group (BSCG) is a non-profit and non-political organisation striving to assist Somali people living in Barnet and neighbouring boroughs. Originally, BSCG remit was to assist newly arrived Somali refugees by providing advice, information, guidance and education for young people, however we have diversified in response to issues identified to accommodate the needs of all sections of the Somali community as a dedicated and specialist group. Now, they support more than 600 Somalis every year and we have become renowned locally as the key agency supporting this community.


2) DALMAR HERITAGE AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT

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A small non-profit company set up to improve the conditions of life for immigrant families from Somalia and Eastern Africa in the UK. The aims of association are for children to have a better understanding of their language and background; to build bridges between the generations, to introduce Somali families to British Families to Somali history and to support individuals to integrate into society by means of employment, training and advice. Find out more information about them here.


3) ALHIJIRA SOMALI COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

Somalia_national_team_talks_with_coach_Livingstone_Mbabazi

 Address: 85 St Ann’s Road, London, N15 6NJ | Contact: Duran Farah | Phone:4420 8802 8488 | Email: infoalhijra@gmail.com

Advice, Children and Young People, Employment Training and Volunteering, Housing, Interpreting and TranslationNationality/ Languages spoken:AfricanDrop in?No


4) HARINGEY SOMALI COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL ASSOCIATION20140912_175224

Address: Selby Centre, Selby Road, London, N17 8JL | Phone: 020 8885 1307 | Email: hscca1@hotmail.com

They provide support services for the Somali community in the North London region of London to access opportunities, strengthen relationship with mainstream service providers to create social changes. Other things they do is: Advice, Education For Adults and Children, Employment Training and Volunteering, Health Services and Mental Health, Housing.


5) BARKING AND DAGENHAM SOMALI WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION

SWA-LOGO-1

Facebook/BDSomaliWomen | Twitter@BDSomaliWomen

Set up in the mid-1990s in response to a rapidly growing ethnic minority population, Barking & Dagenham Somali Women’s Association (B&D SWA) is a locally-based health, wellbeing, training and employability organisation (UK Registered charity no: 1144357) committed to providing support to ethnic minority women and their families from its resource centre in Barking. Historically, they have developed our organisation from a small self-help group to a registered charity that now has a key strategic role in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and surrounding boroughs contributing to developing the needs of ethnic minority groups.


6) KARIN HOUSING ASSOCIATION

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Karin Housing Association Limited was initially established in 1988 as the Karin Housing Co op. Its founder members were a group of women who wanted to address the housing and social needs of the primarily Somali community and others in London. The Co op became a housing association in 1994 and Karin is now a fully registered provider with aims to develop homes for the people of London. Our 26 years experience within this field gives us unrivalled understanding of the challenges faced by inner city tenants.

Information and advice for the Somali community. Advice on a wide range of subjects including welfare benefits, housing, immigration, health and education. Opening hours: Mon-Thurs: 10am-4pm drop-in


 7) LONDON SOMALI YOUTH FORUM

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The British Somali Youth Forum exists to empower and inspire young Somali people in London through working in partnership, providing leadership and acting as a strategic voice for promoting equality, representation, good leadership and effective decision-making.

8) SOMALI COMMUNITY ORGANISATION CONTACTS IN CAMDEN

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Below is a list of community organisations and groups that provide services, activities and advice for the Somali community including women’s projects, workshops and one-to-one support on awareness,Children and young peoples’ projects: Sports, Supplementary School and a Parents’ Support Services and Volunteering opportunities.

British Somali Community

Camden Somali Cultural Centre

Camden Somali Cultural Centre Mother and Toddler Group

Chadswell Healthy Living Centre

Chadswell Healthy Living Centre BAME Supporting Community Project

Green Light Wellbeing Centre

Kentish Town Somali Welfare Association

Kings Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association

Nafsiyat (Intercultural Therapy Centre)

Oasis Care and Training Agency Approved Care Provider (Camden Council)

Regents Park Somalian Welfare Association

Sahil Housing Association for the Somali Community

Somali Community Centre

Somali Community Development Trust

Somali Community in Kilburn

Somali Education and Development Agency

Somali Education and Development Agency (SEDAC) Saturday Supplementary School

Somali Elderly and Disabled Centre

Somali Speakers Association

Somali Supplementary Schools Project

Somali Youth Counselling and Rehab Action Group

Somali Youth Development and Resource Centre

Soohan Somali Arts

St Pancras Community Centre Drop-in

Tawfiq Somali Community Association Bedford House

West Hampstead Womens Centre

Whittington Health Advocacy Team


 9) OCEAN SOMALI COMMUNITY CENTRE

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Twitter@Osca_Org | : Phone: 020 7987 5833 | Email: info@oceansomali.org.uk

Delivers advice services to Somali residents in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the areas of:

  • welfare benefits
  • health
  • education
  • housing and homelessness
  • council tax
  • debt
  • immigration (referrals).

10) HODAN SOMALI COMMUNITY 

consultation-with-service-users-June-2012

Phone: 020 8960 5813 | Fax: 020 8960 5813 | Email: admin@hodan.org.uk | Address: Hodan Somali Community, Canalside House, 383 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5AA

The Hodan Somali Community is a community organisation that came together as an organisation following a period of sustained demand from the local Somali community in West London. Following the closure of the Somali Welfare Association in 2004 many Somalis who were receiving support from this organisation were in difficulties in accessing the services available locally and with the help of the local authority and other local organisations, the community leaders actively worked to form Hodan. Hodan began to set up in mid 2005 and with a small grant from the local Authority launched in February 2006 and started to provide a basic support service with volunteers.


11) LBBD SOMALI COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

23c18b-20100122-safiya

Address: 97 Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex, IG11 8TB | Phone: 020 8591 5917

This is primarily a Muslim Mens Somali association. Also known as, or co-located with: L B B D Somali Community Association, At-Taqwa Islamic & Family Centre. More info can all be found at allinLondon here


12) HARROW ASSOCIATION OF SOMALI VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS

hodhan

Address: 1 ST. John’s Court, St Johns Road, Harrow HA1 2EQ | Phone: 0208-861-2176

These guys are the no 1 association putting you touch and helping out local somali residents who are abundant in the area. The provide: Advice, Education For Adults and Children, Employment Training and Volunteering and Housing application queries. Services include advice on housing, social welfare, health, education, training and employment, debt and substance misuse.


13) WORLDWIDE SOMALI STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS

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Facebook/WSSPofficial | Twitter@WSSP_Official | YouTube/WorldWideSomStudents | Linkedin: /Worldwide-Somali-Professionals

Worldwide Somali Students and Professionals (WSSP) is a global movement that exists to mobilize young Somalis to use their talents, work together and address the unmet needs of a proud nation. The organisation was founded by University College London Somali Society (UCL Som-Soc) and is a non-for-profit, apolitical movement.

“We are young, modern and believe in doing well for the sake of our country rather than out of regional, clan or familial affiliations. Our members are the Agronomist, Architects Civil engineers, Doctors, Nurses, Earth Scientists, Teachers, many more and future leaders of Somalia. They are from all corners of Somalia and are scattered across all the major continents of the world.” WSSP


14) CAMDEN SOMALI CULTURAL CENTRE

2107_large

Facebook/Camden-Somali-Cultural-Centre | Twitter@CSCCupdates

These guys are creative, engaging and full of various events, initiative and projects that promote Somali Culture in London. They are a Somali run community charity based in Kilburn, North West London. Their mission is to create opportunity, education and support to the Somali diaspora in London U.K.


15) SOMALI BRAVANESE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

Address: Bravanese Centre, 116 Coppetts Road, N10 1JS | Phone 1: 020 8444 2975 | Email:somalibravanese@hotmail.com | Email 2: info@somalibravanese.com

Their main aim is to support a large number of Somali Bravanese refugees and asylum seekers (and other refugees from ethnic minority groups) by providing practical support, essential information and guidance. They can offer advice such as IT training, help with CV writing and counselling. There is also a self help group for girls. Advice, information and support for the Somali Bravanese community, including refugees and asylum seekers, living in and around the borough of Barnet. Befriending and outreach service for older, socially isolated community members. Accompany community members to appointments where there may be language difficulties. English classes. IT training centre. After schools programme for local children aged 11+. Social, recreational and cultural events and activities.


16) ISLINGTON SOMALI BANADIR ASSOCIATION

image

Facebook/BBBanadir
Above is a picture of Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn addresses the packed Old Fire Station in Holloway for the 19th anniversary of the Islington Somali Banadir Association. Credits: Ken Mears | This group provides advice and information for the somali community; Cultural activities, holiday events and mother-tongue classes. This group works to promote the interests of Islington’s sizable Somali community, organising community events and support services for residents.

17) WEST LONDON SOMALILAND COMMUNITY

IMG_70591
This association is based in Hounslow. WELSA exist to relieve the poverty of somali refugees resident in the London borough of hounslow; to advance the education of the public, particularly in somali language and culture and by the provision of english language classes; to work towards the elimination of discrimination against somalis and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between somalis and other ethnic group; to provide facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation, in the interest of social welfare, for persons Who have need of such facilities by reason of their youth.

18) WESTMINSTER SOMALI ASSOCIATION

WP-Sewing-2
The association is established particularly for the benefit of people of somali origin in need and residing in the royal borough of westminster and its neighbouring boroughs. (1) to relieve poverty by providing advice and information on housing, health, social security benefits, immigration issues and employment opportunities. (11) to advance education particularly by the provision of language and literacy classes of people of somali origin.

19) KULAN SOMALI ORGANISATION

14-lithgow IMG_2355

Email: info@kulankso.org | Phone: 07903 951 401 | Linkedin/Kulan-Somali-Organisation-KSO

The Kulan Somali Organisation is a constituted voluntary organisation the main aim of which is to give advice and support to Somali refugees and asylum seekers living in the Westminster on welfare benefits, immigration, housing, employment, health, education and employment training.


20) BROMLEY SOMALI COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

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Address: 196 High Street, London SE20 7QP | Email: bsomalica@hotmail.co.uk | Phone:020 8778 5539 | Contact Person: Saeed Nwor

Advice, Children and Young People, Employment Training and Volunteering, Interpreting and Translation, Community development, Education for children, Sport/recreation, Children/Young people, Elderly/Old People, People with disabilities, People of a particular ethnic or racial origin, Provides services, Provides advocacy/advice/information.


21) KINGSTON SOMALI COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

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“To promote general charitable purposes for the benefit of the Somali community of Kingston Upon Thames and the surrounding area, and to provide relief from financial hardship and social and/or economic disadvantage and to advance the education of its residents of all ages; and in particular to provide opportunities for the aforementioned residents to participate fully in the life of their community in ways which address and alleviate social and economic disadvantage”.

Address: Room 24 Richard Mayo Centre, United Reformed Church, Edent Street, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1HZ | Phone: 07932063614 | Email: Kingstonsom@yahoo.co.uk

Okay. KSCA is a voluntary organisation formed in Dec. 2006 by group of immigrants from Somalia who live in the Royal Borough of Kingston and it’s surrounding areas. The organisation provides voluntary service to over 200 members of the Somali community that live in the Royal Borough of Kingston.

22) LEWISHAM SOMALI COMMUNITY ORGANISATION

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Address: 144 Evelyn Street, London SE8 5DD | Phone: 020 86946065 | Location: (Monday – Friday 5:00pm – 7:30pm, Saturday 10:00am – 3:00pm (Deptford Green school) Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm (Etta Community Hall)


23) AL BASEERA SOMALI COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION ASSOCIATION AND MOSQUE

Address: 106 Church Road, Leyton, London, E10 5HG

942861_1678838169063396_873824524904751587_n

Facebook/Ummuqeyr-Somali-Association | Phone: 075 0776 7538 | Twitter@UmmuqeyrSomalia

The aim of this group is to provide education for girls in Somalia and to provide shelter/foods and employment. The charity will also provide support to Somali community in East London with Housing Support Service, Health Advise, Translation Service, teach English language and to improve community ties with other communities and support service to elderly Somali community.


25) EAST LONDON SOMALI YOUTH AND WELFARE CENTRE

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Address: Community Links, 105 Barking Road London E16 4HQ | Email: elsfwa523@gmail.com | Phone: 02085221565
They provide support services for the Somali community in the East End of London to access opportunities, strengthen relationship with mainstream service providers to create social changes. Range of services for young people from the Somali community living in Tower Hamlets. Informal educational programmes. Sports and leisure activities. Workshops on education and housing. Opportunities and training for volunteers. Drop-in advice and information on benefits, housing and health issues. Access to counselling and health support. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10-5.30pm

Do you know any other London based Somali Professionals, Entrepreneurs and/or organisations that deserve a shoutout? Feel free to comment below or contact me via:

Twitter: @AfricanCB | Facebook: /AfricanCultureBlog

 

2 thoughts on “Mapping London’s Somali Community (2016): Discourses, Dilemmas & Demographics

  1. I would suggest you to include Mohamed Haji Ingiriis, Somali academic at Oxford University, he is a high achiever in the community and could act as a role model.

    Liked by 1 person

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