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 WE ARE The Sudanese   Community & Information 

 Centre (SCIC)

An Overview

The Sudanese Community & Information Centre (SCIC) is a grass-root community organisation established in 1990. It was initially established as an informal community organisation by some volunteers mainly to meet the basic needs of the new arrivals through providing them with information and interpreting services. The SCIC continued to provide support at this level and organise social and recreational activities for almost 10 years before it was finally registered as a charity in 1999 whose overall aim is to help Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers in, integrate with the wider community and improve the quality of their lives. Since then, the SCIC has been managed by a board of trustees of nine committed members elected by the community members in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) as stated in the constitution.

The SCIC operates London-wide nonetheless over 80% of its members and target users live in Central London especially in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham. The composition of the Sudanese community in London prior to the year 1990 was characterised by the prevalence of professionals, academics and some business men whose total number did exceed a few hundreds. However, as of the year 1990 onward thousands of Sudanese nationals arrived in the UK seeking asylum as a result of the repressive 30th of June 1989 military coup. Hence, the need for a wide range of services has risen targeting the diverse sectors of the community such as parents/children, young people, women, unemployed professionals and students.

The SCIC Service Provisions

SCIC provides a holistic package of services that are highly relevant and culturally appropriate to the needs of the diverse Sudanese community across age, gender and cultural backgrounds. The following are the major service provisions on offer and SCIC is planning to expand and create new provisions.

Advice Service

The Advice and Advocacy provision is a bilingual generalist advice and advocacy (English/Arabic), at a basic of information and General Help level. The provision includes as well information, interpreting, signposting and referral to specialist service providers. It covers areas such as welfare benefits, housing, immigration, health, education/training, employment and debt settlement.

Family Support Services

This provision aims to provide Sudanese refugee asylum seeking families with a wide range of support services which include: Child Protection Act, Domestic Violence awareness sessions, Basic Domestic Hygiene, Referral to Counselling/Mediation Centres and many others services that would ease the difficulties of the process of refugee and migrant families’ social/economic adjustment. As part of the family support services, the SCIC provides newly arrived families with Parenting Skills training to enhance parents’ understanding of the new environment and how it affects the way of bringing up children in exile. The training essentially aims to minimise the negative effects of the intergenerational conflict between the parents and their children.

Sudanese Youth Club

The SCIC is mindful of the Sudanese youths’ issues in London especially those related to juvenile crime and delinquency. Such issue is compounded by being youths brought up by parents who are aliens to the UK culture and social/legal system. Hence, both youth’s needs and family support, especially parenting skills training have been at the heart of the SCIC priorities. To address the youths’ needs, the Sudanese Youths’ Club has been developed and funding was sought to run a variety of in-door and out-door activities which include sports, social/recreational activities as well as workshops and debate on crucial issues such as health, relationships, extremism and radicalisation.    

Health Awareness Project

SCIC organises regular health awareness sessions covering various issues of relevance to refugee and asylum seeking families. These are carried out in partnership with the Sudanese Doctors’ Union and health Professionals. The sessions provided include general health, stigma and mental health, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice and the health hazards and the legal liabilities in the UK. The provision also provides users with regular workshops on very practical health issues such as training women and girls to carry out Breast Cancer Self-Exam, organise health days where the service users can have some basic medical check-up such as blood pressure, diabetes and pregnancy tests.

Social Activities

Initially the SCIC understanding of what a community organisation was centred on gathering the Sudanese in London to socialise and entertain them. Although the community organisation is only about that but at that stage it helped considerably in the cohesion of the community and in combating social isolation. Hence, the SCIC has continued to organise a number community-based activities at least 2 very popular summer  trips for families and a number of social, cultural and recreational activities throughout the year including the celebration of Fitr Eid, Odhaha Eid (Gorban Eid), the Refugee Week in June, the Black History Month in partnership with other black and minority ethnic groups.  Additionally, the SCIC organises summer trips for children and families, Sudanese musical concerts and a monthly social gathering.

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