Following discussions on migration, the plight of refugees and the challenges that people face as a result of xenophobia, Sharon Ekambaram, founding director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) South Africa, highlighted the urgent need for recognition, support and funding.
With deep sensitivity and consideration for those most in need, MSF are helping refugees gain access to quality healthcare and support in the process of their displacement.
“Anthropologists in the field make sure that the work MSF is doing is culturally appropriate and beneficial to the people they are working with,” says Emilie Venables, an anthropologist conducting qualitative research for MSF.
In addition to providing medical help, MSF workers also assist with information on legal rights, geographical locations, and how to contact people and access resources. What the refugees need the most is psycho-social support and counselling, according to Venables.
Particularly heartbreaking is the fact that despite assistance being available, refugees are still hesitant to accept. People are fearful that beginning a treatment action will prevent them from moving on, and they are hesitant to provide fingerprints that could be traced to them. In addition, “People didn’t recognise their right to have needs,” says Venables. The refugees felt they had everything they needed now because they had absolutely nothing before.
James Oatway, the photographer behind Enemies and Friends, also contributed to the talk as he has had extensive experience in documenting the South African xenophobic attacks against migrants in 2008.
Link to the full talk, as well as information on how you can assist, can be found below.
James Oatway will be discussing his photos at an art walkabout, Thursday, 7 July at 10am in the upper foyer of Eden Grove.