The Together Workshops
In London there are several workshops specifically for refugees and asylum seekers, but very few that would support their integration within the local community.
So 3 years ago we created the 'Together Workshops'. A place for people from different backgrounds, ages and cultures to meet, have fun and learn from each other.
WITH COVID 19 WE HAVE TO REINVENT OURSELVES TO REBUILD OUR WORKSHOPS ONLINE AND OFFER NEW ARTISTIC PROJECTS TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF ISOLATION ON PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM PTSD.
The good news is that an online platform will allow us to reach communities who are are more remote and isolated.
It will also help us offer a stable online community to newly arrived asylum seekers who live in temporary accomodations.
But we need help to:
Double the number of Workshops online due to high demand.
Train 2 workshop facilitators with experience of forced migration to facilitate some of these extra workshops. We are very keen to have a more diverse team of facilitators and strongly believe that they will bring a precious value to our workshops.
Support families and women refugees: We want to hire a clown facilitator to welcome younger children in fun breakout rooms. We believe that this would give some support and respite to families and would allow the parents some time to take part to the workshop themselves.
Create several artistic community projects to mitigate the impact of isolation and give a platform for expression. We want to start with a video response to Covid 19 that will be created collectively with all the talents and skills that we have in our Together Workshops. These projects will help keep our community alive and connected in between our workshops.
What we did so far:
We toured our workshops in the UK (Dover, Hastings, Sheffield and Borndmouth) and recently went to Mardin - Turkey, close to the Syrian border, to bring together Kurdish, Turkish and Syrian communities.
We opened our workshops to younger participants (Different generations have so much to bring to each others!). This made it also easier for refugee mums to attend as childcare is often an issue. We trained and recruited a team of volunteers to help with the kids during the workshops.
We welcome asylum seekers as they arrive in the UK. Our 'Welcome Package'? A community to belong to and an opportunity to improve their English until they get their refugee status and are allowed to go to college.
We celebrate London's diversity in each workshop by exploring each other's world. We often have up to 10 nationalities in the room!
We strongly believe that it's our duty to welcome people who had to flee their homes and make sure they know that they are not a burden but a new asset to our community.
If our ethos resonates with you, please come and join one of our workshops online (the more we are, the merrier!) and/or support us with a donation or by sharing this page.
To contact us: www.psychedelight.org
(Pictures José Farinha)