We are a group of community organisers from across the borough of Hackney, all with English as an additional or other languages. We are all migrants, refugees or asylum seekers to the UK and come from a range of countries including Brazil, Peru, Poland, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Romania, Russia and Afghanistan. ‘Community Organisers Hackney ESOL’
came about in 2018 through our English language classes, where there was a growing appetite to take action to improve the issues of housing and language provision, often faced by vulnerable migrants in London.
Our group is a partnership between migrant organisers, English for Action who lead our English classes, and Latin American Women’s Aid where we hold our sessions. We have received training from our community organiser, Adela, in order to skill ourselves up to take action. This included training on active listening, strategy planning, power analysis and action planning.
We want to empower ourselves and build the power of other migrants, to create positive change in their lives, and in their communities. We know that people are more powerful as part of a group, and we are learning community organising skills in order to make the changes we want to see.
We have been focusing on the issues of housing, the NHS, street crime and ESOL provision and aim to:
- Organise a tenant’s rights’ workshop
- do a listening campaign on the accommodation provided by the home office
- take action outside City Hall for better ESOL provision
- run a banner making event
- organise an NHS event with local MPs
- organise a workshop on street safety to explore parent experiences and community cohesion
The neighbourhoods in Hackney that we live and/or work in, have pockets of deprivation and many people who have low levels of English. We are based in Dalston, where we have links with Latin American Women’s Aid, and in the following wards which are among the most deprived in the borough: Kings Park, Hackney Wick, Manor House and Woodberry Down and the border between Victoria and Homerton.