My First Day

Helping at The ‘We Are One’ Centre for refugee women and babies

‘We Are One’ have a team of about (about because obviously it changes as volunteers come and go) 8 Western volunteers and 8 refugees.  They all work together to prepare the centre to receive about 200 women and their children.

When I arrived I was shown around the centre.  They have an open garden area set on different levels with tables and chairs and a play area for toddlers.  Inside is a reception area with the food bar, a work station, a sewing area and the head lice station.  (More about this later).   There is also a yoga studio, a very small kitchen and bathroom area.

A few of the volunteers immediately begin preparing food for the visitors.  The food bar is set up with as many plates that can fit on it and then filled with a mixture of fruits and a couple of biscuits.

At the entrance to the centre a bar is set up to welcome visitors and give them each a food card.  Although the centre only set up in March 2019, it already has 1900 women signed up, we don’t count their children.

The centre has room to take women and their babies up to and including the age of three.  Older children can go to the creche (another charity) up the road.

You can imagine this is quite a difficult cut off  … who can come in and who cannot!  It is quite difficult to turn the older children away, but the charities work hard to provide something for each age group.  The ‘We Are One’ Centre does not have the facilities for a large enough play area to accommodate many children, so they try very hard to keep it to those not old enough to go to the creche!

As the guests begin to arrive I am put to work at the main gate.  Registering new applicants and marking in the ones who have been before.  They each have a card and are given one food card each per person per day.

On my first day we had over 250 women sign in with their children and I wondered what the plans for expansion will be as this centre alone is growing each week!  It already seems impossible to provide so much for so many in just a few hours!



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