“I look forward each week to attending the sewing session. I have participated in many sewing sessions. I must admit, since I have been coming here, I have improved my sewing skills. The bilingual tutor and the volunteers supported me to understand the measuring techniques. Now I can make my own traditional clothes and do not have to pay to get my clothes sewn. I feel better because of the other activities attended and the people I have met here. My confidence and knowledge has been improved. I have improved my social skills and made new friends and encouraged other women who live by themselves to join the activities at F.W.A. I get personal satisfaction when I support other women in the group. It makes me feel good that I am giving something back to the community.”
“The activities and attending the club gave me the confidence I needed and made me feel like a person again and not just a house keeper. Before attending the group I had stopped going out and avoided conversations with people. Now I feel I am more able to mix with and enjoyed every aspect of it. There is no other women organisation in our area which provides this kind of service. We are great full to F.W.A who provide this opportunity to us to improve our health and well being.”
Student Z came to this country 35 years ago. She has no children. When she came to this country she kept herself busy by working from home because 35 years ago it would have brought shame to the family if a woman went out of the home to work. Years ago her husband passed away and she was left on her own. She was feeling suffocated living on her own and was going into depression. She moved in to live with her brother. Her brother had a wife and young children whom she helped to raise. She was told there was a short term class running at Fatima Women’s Association which she thought would help her get out of the house. After attending the first two classes she wanted to learn more about the history and culture of this country. Her English language wasn’t good but she had plenty of support from the other students in the class who helped interpret if she didn’t understand the tutor. She had little knowledge of the history of the U.K and shared some of her experiences with the other students. By attending the classes she has gained more understanding and found exploring the history very interesting. She now wants to go on to a Spoken English Course to help her communicate confidently in the wider community.
“My name is Tabassum and I am a full time home maker (sounds like a posh profession). I have 5 children, all girls, aged between 6 to 20 years old. When my youngest went on to full time education, 18 months ago, she told me to do some courses for myself. It was then that I came to F.W.A. I started on the History of Britain course led by 2 community volunteers. It was from there that my learning journey began. From that course I ended up doing more courses at F.W.A and eventually became a volunteer. I have completed various courses e.g. Citizenship, Mental Health Awareness Level 1, English Functional Skills, Advanced Community Interpreting and Peer Parent Mentoring. I have helped to develop, finalise and implement the Business Plan. This has enabled me to understand finances and gain better understanding of administration of the organisation. This has helped me gain better insight and understanding of how F.W.A runs and funds itself. We have discussed fundraising and marketing strategies with Voluntary Action Oldham and I went away with a great deal of new information. As volunteers we are now going to manage a project which helps vulnerable women living with depression and isolation to come out of their comfort zone and gain some confidence. I have enjoyed attending all my courses and having my thoughts and views highly appreciated. F.W.A is a blessing in disguise for our community and our women. It is a stepping stone for our women to be pointed out in the right direction, especially women who do not speak fluent English.”
“On arriving in the U.K, I felt everything was different. There were many new things I had to adapt to. One thing that really took me a long time to adapt to was speaking the language. I remember clearly my first day in class. I had to struggle to learn English because I couldn’t even introduce myself the first day of my English class. I was struggling to fill in my own personal details on a membership form. I spent many hours per day, even though it was stressful, because I wanted to take advantage of this special chance to study English and be able to communicate with my G.P and Nurses when I went for my antenatal check-ups. I felt depressed because I couldn’t understand what people were saying even though I studied hard. Nonetheless, I will still keep trying and never give up. I want to thank F.W.A and the funders who have arranged for these classes. This was my second year attending and I can tell you that I have improved a lot. Although even now it is still easy for me to get lost if I don’t know what topic people are talking about. To adapt to this new language, I had to tell myself I could do it. I really believe I can go onto the next level. I thank my teacher and everyone who have encouraged me with learning the language and carry on with further education.”
“I have enjoyed the course immensely. I have poured my mind and heart into it and I am almost sad that the class has come to an end because I will miss my teacher and the group. My English is getting better and I am confident to speak to my G.P and nurses. To enhance my English skills I communicate in the English language with my children at home. I am confident to ask questions and give answers openly. I never used to attend school meetings, assemblies and plays because I never understood what was being said. Now I go to most weekly assemblies and enjoy watching my children perform in plays each term because I understand what is being said. Thanks to these classes I have built confidence and can go out of my home independently. I look forward to more classes in the future.”
X is 13 years old is the eldest of 5 children. She takes on a lot of responsibilities for her siblings. After school and weekends she does house work and occasionally visited her grandparents. She registered with F.W.A for east meets west sewing sessions in January 2012.Intially she was reluctant in expressing her emotions and stayed very quiet. Gradually as she built her confidence she expressed her frustration of not getting any quality time and independence at home. The Trendy Teens Club at F.W.A gave her a break from responsibilities and a chance to meet up with her friends from the area. Within the year she is clearly expressing her opinion and her views. Her body language reflects her confidence and development. She looks and sounds much happier.
Y and Z are sisters aged 11 and 9. Father is working on weekends and the mother is from Pakistan. Mums English is not too good therefore she does not feel confident in taking her girls out and about. Both girls joined the Fun Club on Saturdays. Mother is happy that her children are participating in activities other than school and progressing in their interest of art and craft. The girls loved the partnership work we did with Oldham Play Action Group. They took part in a production and performed in front of an audience. Y has taken on leadership role and helps out in the classroom with the younger children. They both love sports activities and registered with The Madhlo Centre with the support of our staff.