Patrons of the Friendship Centre enjoy many different classes provided by a variety of partners using its facilities, located in the Church’s Wembley meeting house. One such organisation is East London Advanced Technology Training - ELATT, which particularly addresses the needs of women refugees and asylum seekers, by hosting workshops that encourage them to join forums, celebrate and share cultural identities, and more.
One ELATT initiative is the innovative ‘Community Makers’ project, which aims to establish a pool of skilled migrant volunteer women.
Another is the ‘Sweet Project’, designed to help women make changes in their lives and achieve their goals. An example of one of many positive outcomes is provided by Zahra, who started at ELATT in Hackney in September 2017; she had heard about the project through a friend. After her first ‘English as a Second Language’ session, Zahra did not want to continue as she felt that everyone else already had a basic command of English; she was struggling to understand simple questions.
Her friend, using herself as an example, convinced her to stay, assuring her that the class was fun and that Zahra would pick up the language quickly. Not long after, her confidence improved. The class tutor suggested that her lack of English language should not prevent her from gaining employment or even starting her own business. Over time her confidence and ability grew until she was speaking a lot more fluently. With her tutor’s support she managed to prepare a CV, find out about various job opportunities, learn interview techniques, and register with an employment agency. She has now secured a position preparing meals for Emirates Airlines at Heathrow Airport.
‘Capability’ is a project helping refugees develop skills that enable them to become active members of their local communities. ELATT were keen to encourage more participation by women. They approached Elder and Sister Hafen, the senior missionary couple who have responsibility for the Friendship Centre, to book time early in February to host a ‘Capability Workshop’. ELATT were delighted that the sessions sharing food and recipe skills, including shopping in the UK, and mother-child support classes, were well-attended. They especially wanted these women to showcase their skills as well as practice their English with native speakers from different backgrounds.
The Watford Stake Relief Society President, Linda Sheppard, conversed with many of these women, admiring their food, their command of the language and their beautiful clothing. ELATT hopes to repeat this Capability Workshop in the near future.