Today’s Solutions: January 25, 2022

Rebuilding a life in a foreign country as a refugee is not an easy task. This is especially true for women, who often face more barriers than men as they are less likely to have had formal work experience and are not able to consistently attend language classes because of child-rearing obligations at home. On top of that, many are probably dealing with emotional and physical trauma.

Hackney-based social enterprise Bread and Roses uses floristry as a tool to support women refugees looking to start again in the UK through a nine-week floristry training program along with English language classes.

Olivia Head, Sneh Jani-Patel, and Liv Wilson co-founded Bread and Roses in 2016, with the goal of “restor[ing] a sense of dignity and wellbeing for people from refugee backgrounds after all they have endured.”

Participation in the program allows women to boost their confidence, practice their English skills, and build networks, all while reaping the therapeutic benefits of working with nature.

At the end of this year’s first program, all the women involved said that they felt more confident accessing services and reported improvements in their sense of wellbeing, while all but one said that their confidence in speaking English had improved.

“Building my knowledge and being prepared to make mistakes and learn from them has made me realize that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and have the right support network around you,” said one of the participants.

So far, 17 asylum-seeking and refugee women from across the globe have participated. The Bread and Roses team hopes that many more will be able to take advantage of their program, and plan to begin funding organizations outside of London so that they are equipped to host Bread and Roses floristry programs in the coming year.

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