written by Hannah (ARSP intern)
On Tuesdays the Woodlawn Centre next to the SLRA office becomes a social space for migrants and asylum seeker. Last year, we started the Social Tuesday. On this day of the week, we offer drop-ins for ESOL (Englisch for Speaker of Other Languages ) and community lunch.
In the morning, our wonderful ESOL-teachers lead our ESOL classes. We offer a beginners and an advance class where the students can learn in a friendly environment by having a cup of tea or coffee. Our teachers always put a lot of effort to make the lessons as interesting as possible and to adapt their lessons to the individual levels of the students.
After the classes, we offer a free and healthy lunch made by our amazing cooking volunteers. Some of our clients really enjoy this lunch as they do not have the opportunity to cook a healthy meal in their accommodation because they do not have kitchen facilities. While eating the lunch in our nicely prepared dining room, our clients have a chance to chat with each other and share their experiences.
Our volunteers are an essential part of our social Tuesdays. They set up the classrooms and the dining room, help with the cooking, cleaning the kitchen and washing up the huge amount of dirty plates and cutlery. Without them it would be almost impossible to serve lunch for so many people.
Furthermore, the WATAN men’s group meets every Tuesday at 1pm. The group is an empowering group for male migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. It is a place to share experiences, discuss and make new friends. In the last weeks, we did a storytelling workshop leaded by Jelena from Serbian fairytales. In this workshop, we shared fairytales and stories from different cultures. The members of the men’s group really enjoyed sharing these stories. It was very interesting for me to listen to their exceptional tales.
This week the Youth Club had their first session after a longer break. In the afternoon, young people aged 14-19 who are asylum seekers or refugees met to chat, eat together and play games. (We now decided to move the Youth Club to Wednesday afternoon.)
It is amazing to see how everyone enjoys this day. It has become a safe space for a lot of our clients where they feel comfortable to learn and to interact with others. Some people come almost every week and a few stay for the whole day. After many lockdowns, Social Tuesday is really needed and decreases social isolation that often is a big issue for migrant communities.
For me personally, it has become one of my favorite days of the week as well as I have the opportunity to chat and meet with our clients.