International Women’s Day 2021 #IWD2021
Story by Wezenet Haile, Community Language Support Services (CLSS)
Community Language Support Services (CLSS) is a charity set up to assist speakers of community languages, especially refugees from east Africa and other Arabic speakers to access mainstream services such as health, education, welfare, housing or legal services. Wezenet is the Coordinator of the project.
Single mothers, people with disabilities and those who have caring responsibilities for disabled family members experienced loneliness and isolation. In response our volunteer and staff provided befriending and support through telephone contact and WhatsApp and delivered women’s group activities as well as visited clients in their homes when absolutely necessary.
Single mothers struggled a lot with homeschooling due to language barriers, digital skills and lack of resources. Many were panicking because they feared their children would be behind with their school work and development. For instance, we helped a single mother who was struggling with her child’s studies and became distressed. We contacted the school and explained her concerns. The school responded well: they provided one–to–one support for the child at the school for two weeks to cover the lesson that she had missed. Staff from CLSS visited the mother in her home and showed her how to use the laptop to help her child.
We continue assisting this woman o to redeem school vouchers on a weekly basis on email, as she was unable to do this independently. We linked her with our women’s exercise session on Zoom and to participate in our women’s self-help group session on WhatsApp. The activity brought many women together and tackled isolation and loneliness. The women all supported each other during this difficult time.