The international language of coffee and cake.

Sharing some snippets from the conversations that we have had with the new refugee families, particularly amplifying the voices of the women.

Shoes came first in our conversations; We are grateful for the shoes, but without the right fit how can I go out? Many of the women showed us that the ones they had were not a good fit. Others were still wearing the ones worn during the rush to leave their homes.

These women were after solutions to help themselves. We took sizes, drew around feet and appealed through our fantastic network of volunteers.

Imagine being without make-up? Many women don't go out in their day without a little smudge of one thing or another. So, it was of no surprise to us when everyone requested that we help them find some make-up; it’s a personal thing that will make me feel a bit normal.  Lots of the women were embarrased by this request but we understand, it will help them face the world or perhaps just face the mirror.

Not one single woman that we have met does not want some way of helping herself. Teach us English... Show us how to use the roads... Explain the system of queuing in the shops! 

They have shared pictures of their child’s birthday party that happened mere months ago, an unrecognisable person, a world away.

And we have met a load of babies, ambivalent to it all, gurgling and smiling; oblivious to their surroundings. They need well-fitting baby grows and chairs to bounce around in.

One elder lady asked if it would be too much to ask for a handbag, her daughters laughed at the gall of her, but she didn’t need to justify her request. There has been good-humoured laughter in amongst quite harrowing stories of those last few days before they had to leave their homes.

A sobering account from one young woman; what is meant for us will come to us, I was meant to meet her (pointing to her new friend) and we would not have met if we had stayed as she lived in the countryside and I in the city.

Our mothers will miss us the most, they were too old to leave, they should be fine, and we have some ways of staying in touch as we now have a phone.

My son wants to be an electrical engineer but first he must learn English and my husband will work and become successful again.

Our work is small, as it always is, our staff and volunteers gently working alongside families, befriending, listening, and giving space for the new refugee women, girls, mothers, and grandmothers that have joined our groupwork sessions.

Giving them space to convene and create bonds.

There are no promises about the future, they know, and we know that a walk in the park, a coffee and some cakes, the simple transition of shared time, the international language of empathy is often a nice stopgap in each week whilst the bigger stuff can wait.

If you can support us, please do so through our Just Giving page

If you can offer donations – here is our wish list that is very specific to the needs of the people we are working with.

  • Female winter coats
  • Long tops
  • Shawls
  • Underwear (all sizes)
  • Make up!
  • Face creams
  • Handbags
  • Bouncy chairs for babies
  • Winter clothes for babies
  • Children’s board games
  • Sewing machine!

Drop us a line if you have donations or if you would like to help in other ways info@familyfriends.uk.com