Research details

Exploring the cultural transformation of Ethiopian and Ethiopian-Eritrean communities in Leeds, UK

Author[s] Bekalo, Samuel

Date 2008



To provide cultural and political context to Ethiopian and Eritrean backgrounds and to explore the oral history of Ethiopians and Eritreans settling in the UK.


Data was gathered through face-to-face interviews with 40 Ethiopians and Eritreans; focus groups that included 150 people; and notes from the researcher's diary notes that span 10 years of working with Ethiopians and Eritreans.

Key issues

The report, in two parts, provides first a summary of Ethiopian and Eritrean culture and political backgrounds and second, highlights the experience of Ethiopians and Eritreans settling in the UK. Findings on settling in the UK cover reasons for coming and settling in the UK and Leeds; challenges; coping mechanisms and overcoming the challenges of migration; the impact of migration on the retention and practice of cultural traditions; and the community's contribution and impact on Leeds. Ethiopians and Eritreans came to Leeds for various reason, mostly as refugees. The asylum process is one of the most challenging aspects of the struggle to settle in the UK, along with language and cultural barriers, mental health; barriers to employment; shifting gender roles; cultural shock; and acclimatisation. Faith and community group support can assist with overcoming the challenges of settling; cultural traditions and education and training are also important. The report also presents future implications for Ethiopians and Eritreans.


The Ethiopian and Eritrean community in Leeds is arguably one of the most vibrant refugee community groups outside London, and is keen to continue to contribute to the ever-evolving multicultural landscape.

Further details

Resource type
Published by
Leeds Ethiopian Community, Leeds

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