Hope Blooms Through Flowers

This award-winning organization helps women retrain and flourish.

Young woman enjoying learning about flower arranging

(Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock.com)

Bread and Roses, a floristry training program in the UK, helps women from refugee backgrounds rebuild their lives. Founded in 2016,  this all-female charity has helped and supported so many women as they find their footing in their adopted country. From learning English to adapting to the new culture, Bread and Roses is doing so much more than just teaching a new craft that will allow their participants to support themselves.

How Bread and Roses began
Launched by Olivia Head, Sneh Jani-Patel and Liv Wilson, the trio decided to found Bread and Roses after being inspired by refugees through their own volunteer work. With a motto of “Floristry as a tool for social good”, they came up with a nine week floristry training program that includes English language training. They’ve found that refugees have difficulty finding time to learn the language, especially if they have childcare responsibilities. That is why this program gives its participants the perfect balance of learning a new trade while integrating into the new society they are slowly but surely becoming a part of.

Women come to Bread and Roses from all corners of the world including Africa and the Middle East, reports the Guardian. Although some have professional backgrounds, the language barriers, CV gaps and lack of UK work experience are things that employers have difficulty overlooking. This organization combats all of those challenges by providing their women with practical and emotional skills to blossom in their new environment.

Their “Why”
Their goal is to support women to overcome social, emotional and financial barriers, regardless of their difficult circumstances or backgrounds. The therapeutic benefits of working with flowers, says Positive News, is highly enjoyable and a huge benefit to them as well. “It’s all about building their workplace confidence, and connecting them with other women from around the world,” Head explains to  the Guardian. This is also a setting where friendships are formed.

And why flowers? Flower arranging is a wonderful way to calm our bodies, thoughts and emotions, says clinical psychologist, Aimee Daramus, to Well and Good. She believes that creative activities like flower arranging help ground us. This full sensory experience is a beautiful way for the Bread and Roses attendees to let go of their past and focus on the beautiful future that lays ahead. 

What has been achieved so far?
The stats say it all — so far, over 100 women have gone through the program. They’ve reported improved wellbeing and more confidence accessing services.  The organization has partnered with seven businesses, teaches participants about local support services through information sessions, and has many plans of growth for the near future. It has been a huge success and the future is promising for both the organization and the wonderful refugee women who now have a trade and positive opportunities ahead.

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