Meeting the Manchester Chagossian Community
Just before Christmas our Committee Chair Stefan took up the kind offer of the Manchester Chagos Archipelago Community Group (MCACG) to attend one of their group's fundraising events.
In discussions about the UK Chagossian community, the Manchester community is too often neglected. Although considerably smaller than the Crawley community, our visit confirmed that there is a strong sense of solidarity amongst the almost three hundred Chagossians, who largely live in the areas surrounding Manchester Airport on the outskirts of the city.
Watch the leader of Manchester Chagos Archipelago Community Group Louis Elyese speak about some of the issues the community face in the below brief interview.
Many of the issues the Manchester community experience are similar to those faced by Chagossian communities elsewhere. The difficulty and expense of obtaining visas for Chagossians still keeps Chagossian families apart. Those Chagossians who have arrived in the UK, meanwhile, often struggle with employment as their skills and qualifications aren't offically recognised in the UK.
Louis also explained there remained plenty of enthusiasm for return amongst the community. Personally he stated he would be keen to return as soon as possible if the Government chose to begin a return programme.
We are working with Louis and his colleagues to find solutions to some of these problems. If you live in or around the Manchester area and think you could help the community with some of these issues, we would love to hear from you and can put you in touch with the group.