In September and October we held our final English language and communication classes under WEMIN. We had a mixture of both new women attending and some returnees from previous classes. These classes were held once weekly for two hours in Furry Hill Community Centre and in the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. The women who attended enjoyed their classes and many asked for them to continue. The emphasis was on conversation and everyday topics that the women might encounter. The evaluation forms and oral feedback from participants were very positive and showed that women felt that their language had improved and they enjoyed the classes and the rapport within the group and with the tutor. Many of the participants of the language classes also participated in the arts and crafts activities of Work Package 5 and the empowerment and mentoring sessions.
Overall, a total of 80 Migrant women participated in the English classes, which ran in three different venues from October 2018 until November 2019. The attendance varied over the fourteen month period. As requested by the participants, classes were offered once a week in the different venues and many women attended just one term of classes. Classes were not held during holiday periods and some women stopped attending due to finding work, further education and childcare responsibilities. Very few women attended over the entire period and new attendees came at the beginning of each term.
This was also a busy time in terms of mentoring and empowerment sessions. We ran a series of mentoring sessions on job seeking skills (over three weeks), migrant rights and visa information, the Irish education system, resolving issues with schools, barriers for Muslim women to access further education and courses and opportunities with the Repower programme. These sessions were very successful and they also provided an opportunity for women to ask questions in a smaller group setting and provide feedback on issues they felt were important.
Below are some photos from the mentoring session on migrant rights and visa information.
The final empowerment session was also held during this period. This was on personal development and the role of creative expression. It was held with a bigger group and it also provided an opportunity to introduce some of the arts and crafts activities that were planned under Work Package 5.
The mentoring and empowerment sessions held under WEMIN allowed us the opportunity to respond to demands of the women in relation to different topics. The topics chosen were based on feedback given in surveys and through oral feedback at language classes etc. Many of the topics were geared towards specific groups of women. This applied to both mentoring and empowerment.
A total of 24 hours of empowerment sessions were offered, with 36 women participating in various sessions (some attended more than one). 31 women participated in the mentoring sessions, with a total of 22 hours of mentoring sessions offered.