A lobby group which aims to give Birmingham's increasing refugee population more of a voice was launched last night.
Birmingham New Communities Network (BNCN) will help bring together new and existing refugee groups which have made the city their home.
It was formed after scores of new communities from across the world came to Birmingham over the last ten years.
It will campaign on a number of important refugee issues, including raising educational levels, boosting employment opportunities and ensuring communities do not suffer from harassment.
The organisation is backed by the Birmingham Community Empowerment Network ( b: cen) which allocates funds to deprived communities across the city.
BNCN was launched at the Banqueting Suite at Birmingham's Council House last night at an event attended by community leaders and representatives from refugee groups.
Abdirahman Ali, chairman of BNCN, said the organisation would help refugees integrate into society better.
"Many of our refugees were scientists, but are now working as interpreters, and many of our engineers are working in voluntary positions," said Mr Ali.
"This is wrong. If we are to fulfil our roles as refugees in Birmingham, we want to contribute properly to society."
The event also heard speeches from Dr Jenny Phillimore, from the University of Birmingham, Birmingham's deputy mayor Coun Mahmood Hussain (Lab Lozells and East Handsworth) and Tony Howell, the council's director of education.
Dr Phillimore said the main issues the group needed to tackle were employment, education, healthcare, housing and fear of crime.