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“I'm really grateful to be here - I love everybody here - thank you!”

With the help of funding from Allen Lane, we've been reducing social isolation and empowering women seeking asylum through creative language skill-building and cross-cultural engagement. Estee, one of our project producers, shares why this project is so important.


“During the Table Talk sessions, we were able to make more women feel included

and improve their mental health and well-being. One lady even cried during the

session as she was so grateful and moved by what she had learned whilst making

new friends.


“In the first session, the ladies were all so happy to be back. They all arrived with big smiles and pep in their step, excited to hear what we had in store for the rest of the year. They all mentioned how much they enjoyed the previous table talks and being able to take home the arts and crafts they created. They were also grateful for the safe space that had been created for them to talk and share openly, as well as make new friends.


"Each session provides the women with an opportunity to meet with life coaches,

physiotherapists, vaginal health specialists, and nutritionists to discuss the

importance of health and well-being and to educate them on at-home solutions.


"For many of the sessions, the women will begin by introducing themselves and are presented with a topic to encourage them to open up to each other. During one

particular session they were asked about their country of origin and to give an interesting fact or experience they have from their home country. This led to some deep and meaningful conversations around political corruption and the differences between religion and tradition for their children.


"Another interesting conversation that began during one of the sessions, was about life as a documented, versus undocumented asylum seeker. The women spoke about the stress and uncertainty of being undocumented, however, some ladies argued that the anxiety is worse once documented. This is due to the pressure of finding a job, fending for themselves and paying bills without government financial support. All whilst having a family expectation to send money home. One lady also highlighted that discrimination is felt more during the job application process so they feel more alone once documented.


"Although these conversations can be difficult to have, the women find solace

knowing they can open up to people who have gone through similar experiences. These conversations allow the women to feel more comfortable with each other,

creating a safer environment for them all. During these sessions, it is also important to get the women involved in group activities such as arts and crafts and dancing. Activities like these allow the women to forget their troubles and have fun with the people around them.


Below are several quotes from the women on how they feel after each Table Talk

session;

  • “You make me feel like I'm still alive.”

  • “I'm really grateful to be here - I love everybody here - thank you!”

  • “People sharing their past - talking about what they love and where they like

  • to be - I was with them.”

  • “Before I came today I was angry at a member of my family but I'm going to

  • call that person immediately when I leave here.”

  • “I liked being able to receive and not have to give back.”

  • “Empowers us - I am grateful.”

  • “Very happy, very special.”

Our goal was to be able to create a peaceful and safe space in which the ladies felt comfortable to talk about their problems and express their emotions. We were

looking to make a lasting difference in people’s lives rather than simply alleviating

symptoms. With the confidence the women have built through these sessions, as

well as the tranquillity they feel when they leave, we feel we have done just that.


We rely on donations and grant funding to dismantle the health and wellbeing inequalities the people we support face. If you can donate you'll be helping us to create an equal society. Make a donation here today.

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