In advance of the event, we sent the women a printed copy of a short story written by a woman from a refugee background in the post, so that they could read and reflect on it before the event began. The story explored the writer’s experience of being a refugee, focussing on an object that she left in her home country that was particularly dear to her.
The session started with a book club session, where Abigail read the story aloud and the women each spoke about what stood out to them in the story and what, if anything, resonated with them. Following this, we had a break for lunch and hot drinks, and the participants, staff, and volunteers had time to socialise. Abigail gave the women some writing advice before starting the writing portion of the event, where she encouraged the women to write about an object that is precious to them. The women all read their writing aloud or asked Abigail to read it out for them, as the other women listened respectfully.
The atmosphere was warm, supportive, and honest, and the women valued the opportunity to have a safe space in which to share their experiences and learn about the experiences of others. One woman said: “I learned that the experience I am having is also same as what others feel. I learn that I am not alone”. Another said: “It meant a lot to be able to open up to the group”. It was a beautiful afternoon of creating and sharing together, and we had the bonus of being joined by gorgeous 7 week old twins!
27th June 2022