Follow the Comments and Reflections on our groups' activities:
As part of Refugee Week 2012 our topic for discussion at our June meeting in Barrow was migration. Donika suggested that I led the group, and I was happy to do so.
The stimulus for this was a book, “The Happiness of Blond People”, by the Turkish author Elif Shafak, who has lived and worked in many countries. She now divides her time between London and Istanbul.
The book is a meditation on what it means to uproot oneself from friends and family, and from a familiar culture with its own customs and language, and emigrate to a new, alien culture.
After I had read excerpts from Elif Shafak’s book, most of the seventeen women in the group shared their own individual experiences about what it was like to leave their home country and move to the UK. Many of the women’s experiences were similar, but each story was unique in its own way.
It was fascinating and moving to hear that, although loneliness and isolation were experienced at first, as time went by everyone felt that she had developed as a person by living in and adapting to this new culture.
As the Cumbria Women’s Multicultural Network becomes more well-known, I’m sure that the feelings of loneliness and isolation will be lessened for other women coming to Cumbria.
Pat Williams 21st June 2012
Members from Kendal, Furness, Windermere and Carlisle groups met in Bowness on the evening of Thursday 12th July to discuss Samina’s news about the situation for women and children in the continuing uprising in Syria - and to consider practical ways in which help can be offered to those suffering so badly. The following day we heard the horrific news of the further massacre taking place in Tremseh as we were speaking.
The discussion concluded with agreement that we would consider ways of raising funds for women and children who are now refugees in Turkey, with the knowledge that we can only offer some small relief to a few refugees but we will also be sending the message that we are aware and that we care enough to try to offer some comfort.
We will also write letters to our MP’s and other relevant politicians to outline our demand for more positive urgent action to relieve the suffering of the people of Syria. A template will be drawn up and circulated to help to form a coherent plea. Click here if you would like to join CMWN members in this action and receive a template for letter writing.
Re the CMWN website: The separate groups will be able to receive training to develop their own group pages on the website. Nadia and Andrea from Kendal group will receive training initially.
A live chat Forum will be added to the site shortly. This will offer a platform for comment and discussion about serious issues such as the plight of women and children in Syria, as well as being a live link for social chat and planning.
A page has been added to the website which will carry advertisements for members own businesses. Check it out and send in details of your own business. A small flyer or business card format would be suitable.
Please continue to give your feedback about the site to Wendy via email:
Thanks to Kerry for hosting the meeting at her café, the Elephant and Camel in Bowness. And congratulations to Grace and a big hallo to Maya, who at two months old was the youngest member present at the meeting.