The Ayeeyo Lunch Club and traditional dance classes
The Woman’s Support group (WSG) – a project based in Moss Side that supports Somali women – were approached by a local resident with concerns about the issue of social isolation amongst older Somali women and what could be done to tackle it. A key issue was the cultural and language barriers.
Thanks to a generous and very visionary local woman called Haweya Warsama – part of the WSG and very proactive in the community – working as an intermediary and translator, these barriers were overcome, enabling the board, local agencies and MAFN to collaborate closely with the WSG.
A lunch club was established called Ayeeyo, (which is Somali for grandmother). How it was run and the activities associated with it were very much determined by the older people themselves, who were pivotal in the development of the project. One such example is that older residents very much wanted to teach the younger Somali women songs and dances that they themselves had been taught when young girls.
Funding was approved and between ten and fifteen women now attend these lively interactive weekly sessions.
WHAT'S GOT BETTER
Much more intergenerational activity now takes place and there is significantly reduced social isolation, overcoming both language and cultural barriers.
The success of this initiative has spread more widely around the community, for example, building with local organisations such as Fairshare and Z Arts to broaden opportunities for the members of the lunch club to socialise further.
Fairshare are currently supporting the group to help reduce catering costs, plus Z Arts are offering opportunities for the group to engage in wider cultural activities by providing free theatre tickets.
By allowing older people a voice in designing their own social activities, they stay fully committed to making their vision a reality and add significant momentum to the process of establishing a new, regular group.
MAFN Project Coordinator, General Enquiries