Zrinka Bralo's Story
Zrinka Bralo travelled to the US to explore community organising models for migrants and minorities.
Zrinka is the Executive Director of Migrants Organise (previously The Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum). The aim of her Fellowship was to learn about leadership development and organising techniques that have led to positive changes in US immigration policy, along with other improvements in the overall treatment of immigrants in the US.
She met with dozens of organisations and campaigners, all of whom were part of the national Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM): a national coalition of grassroots organisations advocating for comprehensive immigration reform and the civil rights of immigrants in America.
On returning from her Fellowship, Zrinka began an internal transformation of the Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum and its membership, leading a shift from a community development model to a community organising model working on social change and injustice. This process of change led to the re-branding of the Forum into Migrants Organise. She shared her learning with staff and Trustees as well as member community organisations, and gave presentations to community and voluntary organisations, charitable funders, public sector and academic institutions across the UK.
Zrinka was able to secure funding for a new programme on community organising and voter registration of migrants and refugees - the first of its kind in the UK. So far 25 migrant and refugee community leaders have been trained, going on to register more than 6,000 new voters for General Election 2015. This work was included in the Electoral Commission’s report on successful public awareness campaigns.
Migrants Organise has also been awarded funding for community organising work with European Roma immigrants: the most marginalised, excluded and unrepresented minority in the UK.
Zrinka hopes to develop a UK-wide network of migrant and refugee organisations adopting community organising principles and techniques, enabling them to integrate into the democratic life of their local communities as well as on national level, and act together for common good.