North West Migrants Forum

From humble beginnings to a relentless force for change – North West Migrants Forum turns 12

TODAY, February 28, marks 12 years since the establishment of the North West Migrants Forum.

The Migrants Forum started from humble beginnings, rooted in the grassroots of our community and has blossomed into a beacon of hope, a cornerstone of advocacy and a relentless force for change in the North of Ireland.

Here Forum founder and Director of Programmes Lilian Seenoi Barr (main photo) reflects on the charity’s origins, achievements and the work still to be done.

“Twelve years ago the Forum embarked on a mission driven by a vision for a society where racial equity is not just a distant dream but a lived reality for all. From a small grassroots organisation we have grown in leaps and bounds, becoming a pivotal part of our community’s fabric. Our journey is a testament to the power of community, the strength of collective action and the enduring spirit of hope.

A family enjoying a trip to the zoo in 2012 – one of the first events organised by the newly established North West Migrants Forum.

“Our ground-breaking programmes have not only touched lives but transformed them, fostering a community where everyone, regardless of their background, can seek sanctuary and find a sense of belonging. We have stood, unapologetically, at the forefront of the fight for the rights of those seeking sanctuary, tirelessly working towards dismantling the barriers that perpetuate racial inequalities.

“As we reflect on the past 12 years, our hearts are filled with pride for what we have achieved. Yet, we remain acutely aware that our work is far from over. The path towards racial equity is long and fraught with challenges. However, the progress we have made fuels our resolve to press forward, to not only confront but overcome these challenges.

Unwavering support

“Our achievements would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our partners, members, service users and indeed every single individual who has stood by us – those who have championed our cause and even those who have challenged us. Each one of you has played a crucial role in our journey, motivating us to continue our fight to end racial inequalities in our communities.

Taken in 2015: Stormont Assembly Health Committee member Maeve McLaughlin MLA visited the Migrants Forum at William Street. Ms McLaughlin heard views on health service issues for members of minority communities. 

“As we celebrate this significant milestone, let us also renew our commitment to the cause that binds us together. Let us continue to stand in solidarity, to fight for justice and to work tirelessly towards creating a community where everyone, irrespective of where they come from, can live with dignity, respect, and equality.

“The North West Migrants Forum’s 12th anniversary is not just a celebration of what we have achieved but a clarion call to action. It is a reminder that our collective efforts can and will make a difference. Together, let us continue to break down barriers, challenge injustices and build a future where racial equity is the cornerstone of our community.

Young people enjoying one of our residentials back in 2019. Recognise anyone?


Thank you

“Thank you to all our supporters, partners, members, and service users. Your belief in our mission is the wind beneath our wings. Here is to more years of making a difference, of fighting the good fight and of being a pillar of hope for all who seek sanctuary or a better life in Northern Ireland

“Together, we are stronger. Together, we can achieve more. Together, we will continue to make history.”

Our 2023 celebration and thank you those who keep the wheels turning – our volunteers. Here’s to many more years of the North West Migrants Forum.
Staff, volunteers, speakers and friends of the Forum at our Black History Summit in October.
Staff and members of the North West Migrants Forum during a recent visit to The Equality Commission in Belfast.