2017 was a busy year for Xenia and as we enter 2018 we thought we’d take some time to reflect on our highlights and achievements of the year, and there have been some BIG ones.

Here just some of the things that have made 2017 a special year for Xenia!

We were featured in a British Academy Study 

Several months ago, nine of our participants attended a focus group as part of a British Academy study which examined groups across the UK that are helping to improve social integration.
The published report found that “Xenia has a tangible impact on reducing isolation amongst migrant women and increases these women’s independence.”
You can read the report here and also read about our trip to parliament for the launch in this blog post.

BearMotherHouse exhibition with Fourthland

Throughout the summer our participants took part in art-making, performative workshops with the creative collective, Fourthland. The outcome of these workshops is an interactive installation exploring motherhood, materiality and womanhood. The exhibition is running until Saturday 6th January at SPACE on Mare Street, make sure you check it out before then!

Diane Abbott came to visit Xenia

It started with a tweet… the next thing we know, Shadow Home Secretary and MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott visited us to take part in one of our workshops.
The session’s theme was political dissent and making our voices heard, the perfect discussion to have with your local MP present!  Read about Diane’s visit in this blog post.

Working with the Loneliness Commission and Refugee Action.

Throughout October, the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission and Refugee Action put a spotlight on the loneliness and isolation felt by refugees and asylum seekers.
With the support of Refugee Action, Xenia held a focus group to discuss loneliness with our English learners. At the session, participants shared their experiences of isolation and loneliness and the impact that Xenia had in their lives. For some, our sessions gave them a reason to get out of the house every week, for others, it was their only support network. Find out more about the study in this blog post.

Xenia’s first birthday at Antiuniversity Now

Xenia started as an experiment at Antiuniversity Now 2016. Our idea was to bring migrant, refugee, asylum-seeking and British women together for workshops that encourage English language practice & fun, meaningful two-way social integration.
This year we were back at Antiuniversity Now to celebrate our first birthday with many of the women who are now regular Xenia attendees. Take a look at some videos from our birthday celebration here.

Some kind words from our supporters

“Congratulations on all your amazing work this year. I keep hearing such good feedback from the women who come.” –  Hackney Community College 

“Xenia women is a young, ambitious initiative driven by the feminist vision of a peaceful productive multi-ethnic community, where women play a leading role in shaping its future. As a young network of migrant women organisations, we are delighted to have Xenia women on board with us.” –  Anna Zobnina, European Network of Migrant Women 

“On behalf of HOPE not hate I have the real honour to work with Xenia. You don’t get much more HOPEful than the community engagement that takes place as part of the outcome of Xenia’s work with women who are helped with their English skills and the women that help them.” – Dawn Livingston, London Community Organiser for HOPE Not Hate

“What Xenia aims to do is extremely important. Their ability to bring women together in a safe, informal and creative space to develop their English skills and to meet other members of their community, including access to childcare, is hugely welcome.” – Mariam Kemple Hardy, Head of Campaigns at Refugee Action 

“Xenia is a valuable voluntary group in Hackney, run by dedicated young women volunteers, committed in offering marginalised migrant women a real opportunity to learn English in a safe and friendly environment. Their success has been down to a strong belief in making language learning accessible for all women, many whom are often excluded from mainstream ESOL classes, so they can build their confidence and take part in their local community.” –  Sofia Roupakia, London Projects Manager at Migrants’ Rights Network

Thank you to all our supporters, volunteers, and especially to all the women who come to our sessions and create such an amazing and unique space every Saturday. We can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

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