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“Freedom is a sun that should shine everywhere”

Posted June 4th 2019 by Moments of Freedom

The below article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Clydesider community magazine

Here’s what editor, Amanda Eleftheriades-Sherry had to say about the group:
I had the pleasure of attending one of the first community events organised by the Moments of Freedom group and heard from some of the women talk about their experiences making a new life for themselves and their families in Clydebank. I told them about Clydesider and how we are trying to tell inspirational stories and asked if we could feature them in a future issue. The group was keen to tell their own story so I met again with some of the women, this gave us time for a more in-depth discussion about news in general and Clydesider in particular – we talked about the need for more good news to encourage people to get involved in the many positive things happening in their communities and to help people understand each other better. This article by the Moments of Freedom group definitely does just that – thank you!

“Freedom is a sun that should shine everywhere.”

Freedom is to be where we can be responsible for ourselves. It is not limited to what we want but it is also about having choice and not being forced to do what we do not want to do. To be free is not just to get rid of the restrictions but to live in a way that respects and promotes the freedom of others.- this is freedom. Here you will read our article about freedom.

We are a group of Syrian women, driven out of their home by war. We came to Scotland in search of safety and a better future for our children.

We have all resettled in Clydebank. We are all neighbours-many of us came to Scotland on the same day- 24th November 2015. It is a very friendly community and we have very warm feelings for the people here. But we still felt that there was something missing and all wanted to connect more with the world around us.

“The difference between here and Syria is like the difference between the earth and the sky, especially the Syria of recent years.”

We met with Outside the Box to talk about ways we can look forward, not back. To do this we started our project, ‘Moments of Freedom’.

“We thought wherever is goes from here, it could be the start of something big.”

The Moments of Freedom story

“When we first came, everything was new, we were quite socially isolated. Moments of Freedom was a channel to meet new people.”

Moments of freedom is a way for us to share ourselves with the community and for the community to share themselves with us. Being new in a community means that people often don’t know about you or your culture.

“It feels sometimes that neighbours are hesitant to engage with us.”

Through Moments of Freedom we want our voice to reach everybody so that we can tell people who we are. Since the first meeting, we felt less like strangers. The activities we did together were beautiful and interesting- it helped us to be more confident and less stressed to be in the local community.

Since this time we held a Story-telling event at Centre 81 open to all the community in Clydebank.

The event made us feel very proud- we felt that we had really achieved something. We were so happy to meet so many new faces. People were happy, laughing-  enjoying the food, music and story -telling- it was a very joyful day. People gave us such positive feedback. Women told us that they felt that this was what is missing from Clydebank, a chance to meet in a friendly place- to come together to have fun and time for themselves. This highlighted to us that the gaps we felt were the same for other women of our age in Clydebank.

The event was success but we knew that we had to keep the momentum going and so decided we’d like to hold similar mini events once a month that we call our Community Gatherings.  We review the Gatherings as we go so that each one is a little different. We want to focus the Gatherings on wellbeing, using activities like dance, yoga and massage so that people can come to relax.

“We still struggle to meet others and communicate with people.”

“It’s hard to carry on relationships with people after an event or Gathering.”

We are looking to connect with lots of other women across Clydebank- we believe that wellbeing is very important in life, we are working together to develop spaces where women can come to relax and focus on themselves through different wellbeing activities. What matters to us is being welcomed and accepted with open arms- we want to share these Moments of Freedom with you.

On June 26, Moments of Freedom are hosting a women-only wellbeing event as part of the Scottish Refugee Council‘s Refugee Festival Scotland

This is a women-only wellbeing event- a welcoming space for all women of any age to unwind and take part in relaxation activities. The free event will offer women the chance for cultural exchange through music, food, arts and belly dancing.The event is on a drop-in basis from 11am – 1.30pm but people are welcome to come along for the whole event too.

Find us online!

Facebook: momentsoffreedom
Twitter: @FreedomMoments
Instagram: moments_of_feedom_otb

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