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.
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."
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.
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."
Norwich NR2 4SL
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."