a reflection on how we are stronger together
The theme of this year’s international Refugee Day on 20th June, is “we cannot walk alone”. If Covid-19, and its fall-out has shown us anything, it is that this is very true.
The restrictions that we Glaswegians have lived under for the past 9 months have been challenging, exacerbating social isolation, mental health issues, but ultimately helping us to take stock of what really matters, and makes us happy. When restrictions kicked in and we were unable to work in the ways that we had been as an organisation, the challenge was there to adapt and to ensure that we could continue to challenge and combat barriers to employment faced by refugee women. I could never have done that alone.
I have been blown away by the amount of support that we have had over the past year, with folk offering their time, expertise and experience and their financial support, to ensure that we can continue to offer training and hands-on experience to our trainees. We have also loved collaborating with local social enterprises, and like-minded organisations in the city who have challenged us to be better, inspired us to go bigger, and ultimately helped us reflect and refine why we exist.
Specific mentions have to go to Need Thinking strategic design practice, for rebranding us, reworking our website, and generally giving us a brand that represents who we are as an organisation - vibrant, assertive and purposeful. Laura, Ed and the team have been so passionate about who we are and what we do, have listened so well to what we need, and been patient with us as we work towards our goals. Also to Stuart Duncan at Rannoch Photography, who took such beautiful portraits of our trainees, helping them to feel at ease and confident. These vibrant, lively photos show off perfectly the individual personalities of the women we work with. Ali McRobert has been an absolute gem, helping to fit out our wee trailer with absolute dedication and it looks AMAZING! Thank you for devoting your time, research and energy in sometimes freezing temperatures to see her finished and pass compliance tests!
We could not have adapted to these strange times without the support of organisations such as Queens Park Baptist Church, who have been hosting us for training. Or to James Faddes at Glesga Roasters for teaching our trainees about coffee roasting and helping us choose our signature roast. To the Wild Olive Tree Cafe, for choosing us to supply their sandwiches in the cafe. We have also been working with Max Johnson at The Wash House Garden, growing za’atar and using them as one of our local suppliers. To Sofie at Where the Monkey Sleeps for providing us with catering equipment for the trailer, and for general advice and support.
We were blown away by the response of individuals giving to our Digital Fundraiser, which saw our trainees equipped with laptops and data to enable them to access online training during lockdown, and communicate with us and each other. To PayByPhone, who supplemented any shortfall with additional laptops. Thank you!
I could go on, and on, but I hope you are getting the idea that none of what we are doing is in isolation. We could not do this alone. Together we are stronger. Stick with us this week as we showcase the work of some of our collaborators, hear from our team and our trainees, and celebrate what working together can achieve.