'The work chose us': community development with Vietnamese people settled in the UK

Reynolds, Jill (1995). 'The work chose us': community development with Vietnamese people settled in the UK. Practice: Social Work in Action, 7(3) pp. 19–26.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09503159508411625

Abstract

Vietnamese people have been working to help their compatriots in their settlement in the UK in a number of ways ever since the early arrivals of refugees in the mid 1970s. A national organisation, Refugee Action, has played a part in promoting the employment of bilingual, bicultural workers. Initially this was through training and employing Vietnamese and Chinese fieldworkers in a social welfare programme. Since 1984 a community development team has worked with local communities to enable refugees from Vietnam to become self-sufficient and able to participate fully in UK society, and to promote better service provision for refugees.

This article examines the work of the community development team. It draws on interviews I held in 1993 and 1994 with eight Vietnamese workers, and the two white British team coordinators. At the time of my interviews the team numbered fifteen in all. I also spoke to some local Vietnamese community workers, activists and community group members.

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