By Lynn Easton/Special to The News
As a second COVID -19 winter looms so does the possibility of increased isolation.
This kind of extreme loneliness is especially troublesome for immigrant and refugee women already isolated by language and a lack of connection in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
“COVID has been really difficult for these women who are just beginning to search for a sense of community,” said Lynn Easton, facilitator for Writing Home creative writing sessions for immigrant and refugee women.
The 8-week workshop was created to help foster community, friendship and creativity.
Participants have arrived from around the globe with stories as unique as they are. Some have been here for years, others have just arrived. The workshops include a few English grammar tips and tricks, but the goal is to share stories in a supportive environment.
“It doesn’t matter when you arrived in Canada, your status, or your level of English. We want to share with each other and create connections for people,” she said.
This year, participants will also have the chance to contribute to a public poetry project facilitated by the Port Haney Artists-in Residence Taryn Hubbard and Aaron Moran.
“Taryn and Aaron are doing such great work with their public art,” Easton said. “We have so many fantastic unheard voices in our community. It’s an exciting time.”
The women’s writing group is also working on a booklet of stories entitled Belonging. They will share their stories at a public reading when COVID protocols allow. Easton hopes even more women join in – especially with the increased sense of isolation this time of year can bring.
“Belonging means different things to different people,” Easton said. “We’ve explored what it’s like to leave home and create a new life. But we’ve also talked about things like gardening or hiking.”
Evening Writing Home workshops will resume mid-January on Zoom. Daytime sessions are possible and drop-ins are welcome.
For more information or to register call 778-554-8500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Other resources for those looking for English practice and connection with others including an Immigrant Settlement Services basic conversation group and a drop-in Women’s ELL conversation group through the MRPMK Literacy Committee.
• Lynn Easton is the facilitator for the Writing Home creative writing sessions for immigrant and refugee women and former columnist for The News
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