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Sunday, March 26, 2023

London’s Somali community prepares for the cost of living crisis.

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Fadiya, who runs a community center in Somalia, prepares weekly lunches for 10 women. On a gloomy morning in the London suburb of Hackney, the smell of bubbly lamb stew warms the room. Baby carriages are in different corners, women speak in Somali, and kids catch up on their home country’s politics and the latest Somali soap operas while they play. When not at the center, Fadiya, 53, works as an office cleaner. Her center was intended to be the quintessential community center for Somali women, but in 2020 it has quickly transformed into an essential tool in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. . In between cooking, she reminisces about her journey to secure this exclusive space, which is open every Tuesday and Thursday.

“We had a Somali store in Hackney, but it was closed now, and we were meeting there. ‘, Fadiyah told Al Jazeera. She contacted her 38-year-old Abdilahim Her Hassan. Abdullahi Hassan, along with his sister, Coffee founded Afric in Hackney in 2018, a non-governmental organization run by people of color and focused on social injustice. In 2021, he found a suitable location for Fadiya’s network: Charterhouse Road Club. Now, as they settle in, inflation in the UK is skyrocketing and a new problem, the cost of living crisis, threatens to turn their lives upside down. As lunchtime approaches, more women join, and some sit with them and learn how to read the Quran. Some later practice sewing at clubs.

Sofia, her 52-year-old teacher at Sessions, first came to the center in May with her friends. She offers weekly classes and says the atmosphere is “amazing.” “I have made new friends. They are very nice. I honestly enjoy it,” she told Al Jazeera. After a class with up to 20 people, we are still drinking tea and chatting. “I can’t wait to start two days of classes. We are counting down the week. It’s nice to socialize, see each other and chat,” she added. Hackney he hub feels like a familiar place for members Somalis are not a new immigrant group in Britain, with some arriving in the port cities of Cardiff, Liverpool, and London in the early 19th century. In the 1990s, the population increased significantly as many fled the civil war. There are several refugees among the members of the center. The 2021 census has yet to be released, but the Somali community in the UK is estimated at her 500,000. About 1,500 Somalis live in Hackney. In June 2021, Healthwatch Hackney, an advocate for equal access to social services, found that among 32 Somalis surveyed, housing issues were the most frequently raised health and well-being issue at 25%. , found that language impairment and mental health followed in 18%. at 14 percent.

Visiting Hassan is telling that rising energy costs are on nearly everyone’s mind. “How do we keep our community from falling to the bottom of the ladder again?” he says “Some people in the community contracted COVID-19 but recovered Alhamdulillah [praise to God] but I know many people who died of COVID-19,” Madhya said. “My neighbor and one of my friends who were part of a community center and lived in Hackney died from the disease as COVID-19 was spreading everywhere.” Fadiya now runs her community center with Silat, a woman in her 60s who works for the same office cleaning company. Even with the looming cost of living crisis, hubs continue to bring joy. “Closed she misses being there for five days off,” Fadiya laughs.

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