‘Without this foodbank, we would really struggle’

Charity set up to help Glasgow's black and African population sees demand soar.

Demand for help from a charity working with Glasgow’s black and African population has more than doubled in recent months.

Hwupenyu was set up in 2014 to support the specific health needs of black and African refugees and asylum seekers.

It has now branched out into supporting mental health, and cultural and social inclusion.

Binta Ditchburn, Hwupenyu women’s development worker, said: “We support anybody who is struggling; vulnerable women, elderly people, those with health issues, asylum seekers – anybody struggling because of the pandemic.”

Hwupenyu – which gets funding and support from the Janek Latosinski Trust and the Food for Good project – also runs a foodbank catering for the community’s special dietary needs which can’t be met elsewhere.

Binta said: “We have our own diets. We eat more African foods. Not everyone has the money to go to the African supermarket to buy the food. Having this will really help them.”

Masciline Mzondiaai is an aslyum seeker who makes use of the charity.

She said: “The money we are getting is not enough to buy things, especially fruit and vegetables, but we are managing because of the foodbank. Without it, we would really struggle a lot.”

Now, the organisation is hoping to take its services to those isolated in their own homes.

Following the death of asylum seeker Mercy Baguma, who was found in her flat in August, Hwupenyu is fundraising for a van to visit black and African communities to make sure those in need can access the charity’s support.

Yaa Nipah, Hwupenyu CEO, said: “What happened to Mercy is one of the issues that really got to me because I realised there are people out there who really need help and we should be able to go out there and help.

“We’d like to work with other organisations so we can make referrals for things that we can’t help them with and also help them integrate into the community knowing their rights.”

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