Join Xenia as a child care volunteer

Join Xenia’s organising team and help collectively run the day-to-day of this grassroots organisation!

We are looking for someone to join our organising team, with a specific responsibility for childcare.

Part of our aim at Xenia is to make English language learning as accessible as possible for women – and as part of this we offer childcare during the three hour workshops on Saturday mornings. The role is up to you to shape, but will likely include:

  • Looking after children during some Saturday sessions
  • Appointing and supporting other childcare volunteers to help on the weeks you can’t attend.
  • To have an overview of the childcare rota
  • To think of some games/ toy/activity suggestions and put them into action.

If you are interested please take look at the Child care volunteer role description for more details.

If you would like to apply please email to express your interest.

Could you be one of Xenia’s first trustees?

Xenia has a big year ahead, sharing our learning of women-led social integration and language learning across the country. With that comes a big step for the organisation!
To enable Xenia to get stronger and more sustainable the next step is to register with the Charities Commission, to formalise with legal status and access more funding. The really exciting part of that is recruiting a Trustee Board to help to develop and deliver Xenia’s vision of more inclusive and connected communities across the UK.

If you become a Trustee, you will have an impact on women at a local level in Hackney while also helping drive the strategic direction needed to achieve Xenia’s growth plans and make a difference reaching far further. That makes it a really exciting time to join the team!

What’s more, you’ll get to join a dedicated group of people who are committed to creating a community of welcome for all women …. and score off any new year’s resolutions you might have made to make the world a better place!

You can read the full role description below and please do share this on any of your social media channels or with individuals you think may be interested.

Here’s to our biggest year yet!

At Xenia, we’ve always had big ambitions for what we want to achieve. In 2018, we’ve taken some huge steps that will help us to build on and develop what we currently do, while exploring ways we can share this with women outside of Hackney.

Here are just some of the things we’re proud to have achieved this year and some of the amazing people that have helped us.

  • Workshops  This year we have gone from providing bi-weekly to weekly sessions, welcoming even more women from around the world and discussing topics such as suffrage and changes we would like to see in the future, through to employment and finding work. We’ve also enjoyed activities including yoga, theatre workshops and singing lessons as part of our sessions.
  • Grant funding – We’ve secured funding from Hackney Council, the Rosa Fund, the Alec Dickson Trust, the Leach Family Trust and the Women’s Centenary Fund. This funding has been critical in helping us to fund Xenia workshops throughout the year and start to pay some of the Organising Team for the hours of work they put in, which will be crucial to help with our future sustainability and growth plans.
  • In-kind support – We are extremely lucky to continue to receive the invaluable support of the Hackney Museum, who have supported Xenia since its inception. This year we’ve also received in-kind support from creative agency M&C Saatchi through the Building a Stronger Britain Together programme, and pro-bono support from the amazing teams at Ratio and law firm Goodman Derrick LLP. All of this feeds into some very exciting projects for the new year!
  • Fundraising – In September, we created a Logalgiving page to enable us to collect individual donations which will help us to cover some of our running costs. So far we have raised £968.75 from donators, £660 of which was raised by our Organising Team member Emma who raised funds by running the Budapest Marathon. Go Emma!
  • Recognition – Xenia was invited to speak at the North-South Centre’s conference on Migrant, Refugee and Asylum-seeking Women and Girls as an example of best practice in integration. Also, to come in 2019: Xenia will feature in UN Women’s Guide to Gender-Responsive Implementation of the Global Compact on Migration.

We’d like to thank all our regular participants, funders and supporters who have helped to make 2018 an incredibly successful year. Without your support, we wouldn’t be where we are today creating a community of welcome for all women.

We have some exciting developments in store for 2019, so keep your eyes peeled for updates in early January to find out more! Until then, we are all wishing you a peaceful and loving 2019!

Make your own Xenia flower crown


At our annual Summer Celebration, Esther from ecoActive taught us how to make our own flower crowns.

It was so much fun that we thought we’d share the instructions with you so you can make your own beautiful crowns too.

It’s fairly simple but best done with a friend so you can help each other with the fiddly bits, and isn’t everything just better with a friend by your side!

Good luck and please do share pictures of you wearing your Xenia flower crown on our Facebook or Twitter page!

What you’ll need

  • Flowers! Grab some of your favourite 🙂
  • Thick craft wire to make the headband.
  • Thin craft sticky tape or floral tape to add your flowers to the headband.
  • Scissors.

How to make your crown

  1. Take your thick craft wire and measure around your head, then cut to size leaving a little extra to twist together to make your headband.
  2. Cut your flowers, leaving 2-3 inches of the stem so it’s easy for you to organise and stick to your headband.
  3. Gather your flowers in to little bunches, then hold it against the headband and tape to your headband. It’s a little easier if you have someone to help you hold/tape flowers to the headband.
  4. Keep adding small bunches until you have covered the headband.
  5. Wear your crown with pride!

If you’d like a little extra guidance you can find a great video here.


Refugee Week poems

photo-2018-06-27-20-34-31.jpgAt our session on 24th June, we were celebrating Refugee Week. This year was the 20th anniversary and to mark the occasion people were invited to take part by doing one of their 20 Simple Acts.

We chose to write some poems to express our feelings which resulted in some heartfelt, beautiful poems from the group. Read them below!

We all come from the same mother, earth as womb.
Nobody is a stranger. Come in.
Welcome, this is home.

Don’t refuse a refugee.
They have their own feelings.
Refugees no choice, can be more choice.
With the pain you can gain a new future.

Who I am
I am a person who was forced to leave my county.
My family, my pretty house, my lovely friends, my memories behind.
I am a traveller, I came by plane, boat, sea.
I welcome!
I am hungry, tired, ill, frightened.
I know my way!
I can’t sleep, I am restless.
I long for my family, memories and my country.
I believe that my dreams come true.
Do you know who I am?
I am a refugee!

If we can look in to our souls deeply, we can live free and peaceful together feeling powerful.
If we look in to our souls deeply, we can see a universe where we live together peacefully.

Knowing happiness gave me freedom to have confidence.
Made me feel free from fear.
I feel at peace.
I can make friends, travel and speak my own language.
I can have my own home and create love in it.
I have no fear to practice my religion.
My children will grow up to have a good job and education.

Xenia Women- GDPR Update

With the new GDPR laws coming into effect on Friday 25th May, we have updated our Xenia Data Protection Policy so please feel free to read this.

Those of you who have signed up to our newsletter or have attended a Xenia session in the past should receive an e-mail soon asking whether you would like to continue to receive communications from us- please do respond to this e-mail if you would like to continue hearing about upcoming sessions and events or updates about Xenia.

All the best,

the Xenia Team


Cooking with Xenia: Mai’s traditional Vietnamese noodles

Participants always bring food to sessions and always talk about wanting to cook together, so we are extremely excited to be hosting four intercultural cooking sessions at Groundwork London, thanks to some funding from Near Neighbours!

We held our first session this Saturday when Xenia learner Mai led a team of cooks from Rwanda, Sri Lanka, North America, Turkey and the UK to cook traditional Vietnamese noodles for the group to enjoy, complete with a garlicky salad, and fruit for dessert.

Find out more about our head chef for the session and how to make her delicious Vietnamese noodles below.

About the chef

Name: Mai

Where are you from: Vietnam

How long have you been in the UK: 33 years

How long have you  been coming to Xenia: 1 year

What’s your favourite thing about Xenia: In the group, I get to practice my English and learn new things. It’s also a great place to meet friends!

Why did you choose to cook this dish: I often cook this dish for large groups of people and everyone likes it. It is easy to make and a very traditional Vietnamese dish.

How to make Mai’s Vietnamese noodles

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces

A handful of bean sprouts


A handful of coriander, finely chopped

2 spring onions, sliced

Oyster sauce

Soy sauce

Oil for cooking


  1. Bring water to the boil and cook the noodles for 3 minutes. Rinse the noodles with cold water once cooked, then stir in a little oil to stop the noodles sticking together and put to the side.
  2. Bring another pan of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for 5 minutes. Drain and set to the side.
  3. Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry until slightly brown then place in a large bowl.
  4. Fry the spring onions and bean sprouts in the wok for 2 minutes and then mix into the onion and garlic.
  5. Fry the cooked noodles in the wok for 2 minutes and then mix into the other cooked ingredients.
  6. Stir in equal measures of oyster sauce and soy sauce to taste, then add the chopped coriander.
  7. Enjoy with friends or family!

We’ll be hosting more sessions over the coming months too, so look out for more recipes from around the world!