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29 October 2014
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Title - Multi-ethnic Norfolk

Fighting back against racism

Working as a Community Race Development Officer in Norfolk is more than just a job for Abraham Eshetu - it's a vocation.

He moved to the county as a student seven years ago, and life was difficult at first. "When I came to Norfolk I found it very white. I found myself isolated and very depressed because there weren't any places where I could go and meet other people like me," he says.

 Abraham Eshetu

Racial abuse was not uncommon. "It was mainly name-calling and not getting equal service, but the hardest part was the isolation and loneliness. I used to run back to London every weekend." Abraham believes a lack of awareness of different cultures lies behind the problem. "Some friends I came with actually left Norfolk, but I stayed. I thought I should fight back."

Working with the Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council (NNREC) gives him the chance to do just that. His job involves helping the wide range of ethnic minorities living locally to have more say in the services available to them.

Reaching those communities is a challenge. "Norfolk is very big and wide and most people live in rural areas," he says. "It’s very hard to have a network because you don't have a cluster area."

NNREC
Boardman House,
Redwell Street,
Norwich NR2 4SL
Tel:01603 442211

Abraham runs surgeries across the county, visits schools and liaises with businesses and other organisations, helping to implement equal opportunity policies. "We are not just working for ethnic minority people, but also for ethnic majority people," he says. "Lack of knowledge and information is an evil and part of my job is to raise that awareness."

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See also:
Norfolk's Racial
Equality Council

Eradicating racism
World Voices
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Internet links:
Commission for Racial Equality
Black Britain
BBC Asian Network
BBC Asian Life
NEAD
Oxfam
BBC World Service
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