By Lynn Easton / News Special
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 tough for these women who are just starting to search for a sense of community,” said Lynn Easton, host of the Writing Home Creative Writing Sessions for Immigrant and Refugee Women.
The 8 week workshop was created to help foster community, friendship and creativity.
Participants arrived from all over the world with stories as unique as they are. Some have been there for years, others have just arrived. The workshops include some English grammar tips and tricks, but the aim 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 bond for people, ”she said.
This year, attendees will also have the chance to contribute to a public poetry project hosted by Port Haney Artist-in-Residence Taryn Hubbard and Aaron Moran.
“Taryn and Aaron do a great job with their public art,” Easton said. “We have so many fantastic and unknown voices in our community. It is an exciting time.
The women’s writing group is also working on a storybook titled Belonging. They will share their stories in a public reading when COVID protocols allow. Easton is hopeful that more women will join us, especially with the heightened sense of isolation this time of year can bring.
“Belonging means different things to different people,” Easton said. “We explored what it is like to leave home and create a new life. But we also talked about things like gardening or hiking.
The evening home writing workshops will resume in 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 [email protected]
• Other resources for those looking to practice English and connect with others, including an Immigrant Settlement Services Basic Conversation Group and a Walk-In Conversation Group for ELL Women by through the MRPMK literacy committee.
• Lynn Easton is the host of the Writing Home creative writing sessions for immigrant and refugee women and a former columnist for The news
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