Our Story

At Heart & Parcel, we bring women from migrant communities together by making dumplings and developing ESOL skills.

Heart & Parcel was founded in 2015 by Clare Courtney and Karolina Koścień, two friends based in Levenshulme, Manchester who share an interest in dumplings and social work. 

Why Dumplings? Dumplings are interesting as they appear in almost every culture but differ in shape and filling. The process of making dumplings requires teamwork, a long period of time and many conversations in between.

At Heart & Parcel, we view dumplings as a powerful metaphor.

P1100782

The filling inside dumplings represent the hidden resources and skills women from migrant communities living in Britain today possess that are not recognised and covered under the mainstream narrative placed upon them by other more dominant sources of power.

16807619_608783395991948_6843291171010855979_n

Bibi, Monira and Sweety, Bangladeshi women learners, cooks and supper club hosts

Why migrant communities? Why women? There is a wealth of research from many organisations concerned with the rights and equality of BAMER communities suggesting that communities living in the UK face discrimination of all kinds and through all layers of society. Individuals, particularly women whose first language is not English face additional issues relating to employability, integration and mental health; most importantly through austerity. These issues have recently reached government concern, shown through the government’s audit call to tackle racial disparities in Britain.

Yet at the same time they have been continually withdrawing support by cutting funding to ESOL (English classes set up by the government) across the country. These classes are a lifeline for some to develop their English language and employability skills. Cutting funding makes it harder for these classes to run effectively and offer high quality provision.

It is not the government who bears the brunt of this, but rather the migrant women themselves, being frequently demonized in our national media and belittled by victim-blaming policies. Our project is a direct reaction to this, opposing this view of migrant women as ‘a problem that needs to be fixed’.

We believe there needs to be greater support and respect for women from these communities living across Manchester who we have spent so many years working with. There are alternative stories to the mainstream narrative about women from migrant communities. We feel they should be valued on their wealth of previous experiences and wisdom, rather than be assessed and judged by the language skills that they have not yet acquired.

How does our project work? Making dumplings involves many hands, communication and teamwork. We use this process as a method to engage with women using English as the medium.

P1100124

Our first session making Pierogis. Welcome centre, Cheetham Hill, Nov 2015

We facilitate fixed-term projects with drop-in weekly sessions where women can practice making dumplings from different cultures and teach others how to make similar parcels from their own cultural experiences.

P1250254
Informal Cooking & ESOL sessions, Northmoor Community Centre, Jan 2018 

This unique approach to ESOL allows women to develop their skills and realise their potential, giving space to explore these hidden resources whilst making friends across communities along the way.

img_5482

Laila & Karolina presenting a workshop. Welcome centre, Cheetham Hill, June 2016

How do we keep sustainable? We have been funded by many supportive providers but we have also generated funds through selling the dumplings at market and at monthly supper clubs, showcasing different dumplings from around the world made by the women from our session.

photo66386588396007165
Karolina & Clare selling Chinese dumplings. Levy Market, Levenshulme 2017
photo5927011627205502982
Bangladeshi Supperclub at Levenshulme Inspire 2017

We now offer catering and dumpling workshops to individuals, organisations, schools and companies who can hire us for an afternoon of dumpling folding, making, chatting and/or eating.

P1240270
Yr 8 students from Stockport Grammar School attending an open workshop in partnership with the Boaz Trust Project September 2017

Our dumpling funds go back into the project, maintaining these sessions and creating further provision.

             

 

Advertisements

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑