⟵ Back to Latest News

Case study: My experience in the Food for All Group

Since 2020 the Food For All group, in collaboration with Nourish Scotland , has worked on the Dignity in Practice Project with funding from the Scottish Government’s Fair Food Fund. One participant – Aaliyah* – has been an integral part of the group for several years and has facilitated workshops, co-designed resource materials and supported other group members throughout the duration of the project. 

Reflecting on the positive difference that the group has made on her life in Glasgow, Aaliyah recalled: “My confidence was at zero when I first came to the Food For All (FFA) group. However, since joining the group, there is a huge difference in how I see myself now. Every time I engage in this group I feel very proud.”

The asylum journey is incredibly gruelling and undignified. Thinking back to her life a few years ago, Aaliyah said: “The asylum journey feels like it destroys you. You feel that you are helpless and that you have nothing. You feel like you are nothing because you are not able to contribute to anything.”

Despite feeling in despair about her journey through the asylum process, Aaliyah decided to join the FFA group. She told us about the many conflicting emotions she felt at the time. “I was very nervous because there were a lot of things I couldn’t do. How could I speak in front of a group of people when my English was not good? I was not well connected in the community. I was not feeling very confident.” 

Aaliyah was attending a number of different community groups at the time she joined FFA, sharing stories of the asylum process. The FFA group is the one group that Aaliyah connected with the most and sees herself continuing with.   

“All the other groups felt temporary. You can go and spend an afternoon there having tea, but once their funding is gone then there is no impact. I am [now] out of the asylum process, but I am still stuck there because this was my journey. My friends are still in the asylum process and they are still struggling. Because they are struggling, I am struggling, because I can feel their pain. I haven’t heard from those groups in a long time, however the FFA group is still going strong and it makes me feel like we are bringing about change.”

Aaliyah said the FFA group has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on her confidence. “Since joining the group I now feel such a change and when I am presenting in front of  a big group I realise how far I have come. I had the feeling before that ‘no one listens to asylum seekers’ and that ‘the response has been very bad’. However, with the Food For All Group, the last workshop that we did face to face, I really felt that people do want to learn more about the asylum journey and how people are struggling.”

The importance of sharing space with other people who have been through the asylum process is very important to Aaliyah. The success of the FFA group is evident through the strong support that the group members provide to each other. Aaliyah told us she feels 100% supported by the group both in sessions and also when delivering workshops. 

She added: “The FFA group is a strong, and unique team because the group is comprised of members with different, individual personalities; this makes us a great team. When I joined this group, I remember I was a bit shy and I wanted to say something. Sara was in the same journey as me and I was stuck with my words and she came in and she knew what I was trying to say, she helped me to find the right words to say it. I felt very grateful that she knew what I was thinking. It makes you feel that you are not alone. You are in a group of people that understand you. They see you.”

Aaliyah is hoping to see positive change for herself, the group members and the whole asylum system. 

*Name changed to protect anonymity


Subscribe to our seasonal newsletter.