For the past several years, the Junior League of London has supported Migrants Organise, an organisation that helps refugees and migrants participate in public life. Before COVID-19, we held regular sessions to help migrant and refugee women practice their English skills. During lockdown, we pivoted to weekly sessions via Zoom. The Zoom sessions quickly became a platform for open conversation, in which JLL volunteers and migrant and refugee women shared lockdown experiences. Lockdown has been extremely isolating for so many people in the U.K., especially migrants and refugees. Many of the women we speak to live in one room with their children.
As volunteers, we approach our Zoom sessions with compassion and empathy, while also trying to bring some levity (including discussions about our favourite people on Gogglebox). Based on the success of our sessions, we have added a second weekly zoom session focusing on culture and cuisine, because we can all share experiences of food, what it means to us and learn something new from the women we engage with. Migrants Organise offers a number of other Zoom sessions, covering a range of topics. Of course, we are all waiting for in-person volunteer shifts to be safe again, but in the meantime we’ll continue to create meaningful communities and connections online.