Epsilon Announcement: Online platform launch for the first ever Pan-European project led by LGBT refugees and asylum seekers

An exclusive online platform www.epsilonproject.eu that hosts the first ever pan-European LGBT-led project EPSILON “Equipping Professionals for Supporting LGBT refugees” is launched today.

Epsilon seeks to fill in the information gap about the situation of lesbian, gay and transgender refugees and asylum seekers in refugee camps, detention centers and the community. It is the first ever user led project in Europe guided by an independent Users Advisory Board consisted of 20 LGBT migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, campaigners, psychologists and other professionals and researchers from 7 countries across Europe.
LGBT migrants are among the most persecuted groups and are frequently subjected to violence, harassment and discrimination by members of their own communities, and by state and non-state agents in the receiving countries.
Dr. Theo Gavrielides, IARS’ Founder and Director, said: “Brexit or not, discrimination is a fact. At IARS we focus on the most current needs that Europe faces and thus in partnership with the European Commission and NGOs from abroad we developed EPSILON as a response to the increasing need for support of LGBT migrants and refugees. The launch of this online space is only the first step towards our efforts to help tackle persistent inequality and prosecution of one of the most vulnerable groups at home and abroad”.
As the project unfolds, the website will feature regular updates, reports, news and events and training opportunities for a range of audience including refugee professionals, community workers, researchers, policy makers, and LGBT people of concern. Furthermore, the partnership will produce newsletters quarterly with key project findings, relevant news and opportunities for involvement. (Subscribe here).
Maria Cantiello, Epsilon Users Advisory Board member, said: “In the aftermath of the refugee crisis that Europe is facing, I believe it is essential to have a close look to one of the most vulnerable groups namely the LGBT refugees. I decided to be part of the Epsilon project in order to better understand the instances and the needs of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, learn and adopt best practices and of course make my personal contribution to improve their situation”.
The platform will also host an evidence based, accredited online training course for professionals addressing issues of dignity, respect and inclusion which will be co-designed with LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. Professionals and target groups will be encouraged to exchange knowledge and best practice contributing to the broader dialogue in the field of protection and human rights.
Angelos Bollas, Epsilon Users Advisory Board member, said: “The Epsilon project aims to help the most vulnerable group of people in Europe at this moment: LGBTQ+ refuges. Knowing that I could contribute even at the slightest, I could not but sign up to get onboard and help”.
Epsilon is developed and delivered in partnership with 4 European partners with long standing experience in engaging with marginalized and disadvantaged groups namely; Anziani e Non Solo (Italy), the Family and Childcare Centre (Greece) Movisie, Netherlands Centre for social development and Center for Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology (CARDET) (Cyprus). IARS International Institute is acting as the coordinator.

Notes to editors
• The Programme is funded by the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 In the field of Youth under the 2016-1-UK01-KA204-024317 agreement. Erasmus+ is the European Union’s (EU) programme for education, training, youth and sport, with the EU committing £12 billion to the programme between 2014 and 2020. In the UK, the programme is managed by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.
• If you wish to get involved or join the independent Users Advisory Board contact contact@iars.org.uk .
• Twitter #epsilon
• View the project’s flyer here.

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