Farisai Dzemwa opinion piece column journalist at I Am Birmingham

The weekly Cup’a’Tea virtual meet-up hosted by Migrant Voice for the migrant community has proved quite popular as it gives many something to look forward to each week.

Many who attended the first meet-up on the have been attending each week since, a sign that this is of benefit to them.

For this, a vote of thanks is in order to Migrant Voice’s director for the insightful initiative, a  social engagement and contribution platform highly necessary at this time of social challenges that COVID-19 pandemic poses to the public especially the migrant communities.

All that attended agreed that it was both a pleasure and reassuring to be able to meet up, share more than just a cup of tea and biscuit but also words of wisdom, ideas on how to stay sane while under lockdown and even proposed further educative virtual events in the future.

Led by Ms Nazek Ramadan, the Executive Director and Founder of Migrant Voice, the meet up was well organised with everyone being allowed opportunities to share, comment and contribute to each others wellbeing.

Everyone shared what difficulties they are facing and what actions they have been taking to cope and manage these challenges.

This means that a pool of ideas on coping with stress, loneliness, isolation as well as loss of jobs were laid down for all to try out and to share wherever they are.

Nazek Ramadan is the Director of Migrant Voice Supplied
Nazek Ramadan is the Director of Migrant Voice

On this second meet up, Ms Ramadan reflected on the improvement she was seeing in the meet up itself and in people’s overall mood in comparison to the first that took place the week before.

“The first meet up highlighted just how grave the situation we find ourselves in was and still is. People were still in shock and panic and so the mood had been understandably quite different from the mood felt this second time round”, she said in-between encouraging everyone to stay positive and make use of the meet-up events positively.

Some would probably have dropped the idea off the weekly Cup ‘a’ Tea meet-up, but the care that birthed the initiative in the first place kept Migrant Voice’s vision for the welfare of migrant communities initiative intact.

Needless to say, their passion is well worth it as was witnessed in the second meet up. The encouragement and motivation derived from this virtual meet up will surely be put into use by those that attended and hopefully the event idea will be shared to more migrant community  organisations and charities across the United Kingdom.

Migrant Voice hosts Cup 'A' Tea social on ZoomMigrant Voice
Migrant Voice hosts Cup ‘A’ Tea social on Zoom

Gratitude not expressed is gratitude wasted so may we all give a round of virtual applause to Migrant Voice for doing their part in keeping safe and saving lives.

I leave you with this food for thought:

Social engagement is a basic human need and right and contributes a lot to our mental and physical health: Is it any wonder that we are learning to think outside the box to maintain social interaction and engagement. Is this not another proof that social prescribing is worth way more than many realise and so should really be publicised more?

Cup 'A' Tea with Migrant VoiceMigrant Voice
Cup ‘A’ Tea in a lockdown initiative from Migrant Voice


This article was written by Farisai Dzemwa from Wolverhampton, who is training as a community journalist with Migrant Voice and MiFriendly Cities’ ‘Media Lab’ initiative – a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. To find out more about how I Am Birmingham is supporting the project, read here.

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