Innovative new youth-led organization seeks fair treatment for young migrants
We Belong is a vibrant organization filling an important gap to ensure that young migrants in the UK are treated equally and fairly, in the society they call home. The organization began as a campaign called Let Us Learn in 2014, which was hosted by the charity Just for Kids Law.
We Belong engages a client base of over 1,300 young people between 16 and 24, coming from over 70 countries, offering information, support and training to develop them as changemakers who will be inquisitive about their rights. We Belong also engages in education and awareness raising at schools and universities on the barriers faced by young migrants. Additionally, it seeks systemic reform, and it seeks to inspire and grow a generation of young migrant leaders in positions of power.
We Belong was founded by two dynamic young leaders, Chrisann Jarrett and Dami Makinde, who have lived experiences of the challenges We Belong seeks to overcome. Chrisann Jarrett is currently the organization’s Chief Executive. One of the organization’s many strengths is that young people have always led the work. We Belong has also drawn inspiration and learning from the practice of the DREAMers in the US, including several in-person exchanges.
We Belong has continued to grow in membership and profile. In May 2021, We Belong was featured on the widely watched BBC’s Panorama television series. The episode, titled “Am I British?” explained the harms caused by the current 10-year route to settlement for young migrants in the UK. This shed light on the need for change and contributed to a major change in the policy, cutting the pathway for eligible young people from 10 years to 5 years, benefiting an estimated 300,000 UK migrants aged 24 or younger. At the end of 2021 We Belong expanded to Manchester in order to engage with more young changemakers across the UK.
Unbound Philanthropy has supported We Belong since its founding in 2019 and supported associated work for the previous five years. Its work advances our Public strategy area.
It is so important that we constantly have new people coming through, shaping new ideas and finding solutions for all.
Chrisann Jarrett on panel hosted by Megan Markle for International Women’s Day
We Belong is mobilizing young migrants to ensure fair treatment in the society they call home.
Young migrants received one-to-one support from We Belong in 2021 alone.
Photo 1: We Belong’s youth summit
Photo 2: We Belong attends United We Dream Congress in Texas