Helping refugee women to flourish
Set up in 2016, Bread & Roses takes its name from a political slogan coined by Rose Schneiderman, a pioneering American socialist and feminist, back in 1912. In a famous speech, Schneiderman argued that women working in low-paid jobs need more than just the basics (the bread) to survive - they deserve dignity, respect and the opportunity to flourish (the roses) too. Since then, 'bread and roses' has become symbolic of the struggle of working women to achieve better pay and dignified conditions.
Here in the UK, over one hundred years later, the phrase is as relevant as ever. Though the work itself may have changed, the fact remains that women in low-paid jobs are still fighting for their rights. Typically ‘feminine’ roles such as caring and cleaning are hugely undervalued - and as a result women make up 60% of those earning less than the living wage in the UK. Refugee women, who come here with skills but lack English and recognised qualifications, often feel they have no other option but to take up this kind of work.
We believe that every woman deserves to thrive - but it can be hard without a bit of extra support. And though we've never been more aware of the scale of the global refugee crisis, quality support for refugees in the UK is in short supply. Since the Refugee Integration and Employment Service was disbanded in 2011, there is no longer an obvious place to go for help.
That's why we set up Bread & Roses, a social enterprise which trains refugee women in floristry and in the process provides them with the space to learn English, develop skills and build their confidence. All of this helps women on their pathway to employment. Our mission is simple: we strive to empower women and support them into jobs where they feel valued.
You can find out more about our vision, mission and values here 🍞🌹