DOST Trinity Centre

Dost means "friend" in several languages and is a Newham based project, supporting young refugees and migrants in the UK. In 2000, Dost was set up to meet the practical and emotional needs of young refugees as this presented as an emerging necessity.

With funding to provide education, advocacy and support for young refugees we hoped to try and understand, and make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children in our community. We understood that their realities were complicated, but believed that in many respects what was needed was simple: care, compassion and kindness. That was fifteen years ago and Dost has been a family and a home to hundreds of young refugees from all over the world since.

Based in Trinity Centre, an open access community centre, Dost aims to support children and young people build their lives and become actively engaged with the community. There are often a number of professionals involved in the lives of young migrants and refugees (teachers, social workers, key workers, solicitors etc).

Dost’s services are independent from public bodies and are centred on the young person. We advocate in the child or young person’s best interests and work closely with other professionals to develop a network of support around them.

Christelle, who arrived from Democratic Republic of Congo aged 14 says: 

“They helped me psychologically because I was depressed. They are there to actually listen to you. What I wanted was someone I could just talk to, to listen to me, I didn’t want someone to tell me it was OK and stuff, I just wanted to say everything that was on my mind.”

At the heart of our work are the relationships we build with the children and young people we work with. The impact of good relationships on self-esteem, resilience and personal growth is well documented, with significant research indicating that engagement in positive relationships is the single most important factor in children/young people becoming healthy adults.

Our approach recognises the need for consistent, long-term practical and emotional support provided by a trusted adult as a means of bringing about positive change in young people. Dost’s support is tailored to the needs of each child, offering a level of consistency that gives staff in-depth knowledge of the young person’s situation. We provide a diverse youth activity programme offering specialist emotional and therapeutic support by staff trained in therapeutic interventions and practical advice and advocacy. This enables young people to access rights and entitlements, have improved self-esteem and confidence, enriched physical/emotional wellbeing and enhanced resilience.

Dost’s 360 relationship-based approach ensures a holistic support system around the young people that we work closely with.

“Thank you very much; I am so grateful that you guys helped someone like me who didn't have any help. I don't know where I would be or what I would do if Dost wasn't there for me. I will never forget this for the rest of my life” – Kabir, 19, Afghanistan

Image: Photo by Marian Spiers

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