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Living in Sheffield: Our journeys as migrant women

A crowd-funded book created by female migrants in Sheffield aims to show the diverse experiences of women who have moved to the city from around the world. 

Living in Sheffield: our journeys as migrant women
Livia Barreira

I have been calling Sheffield my home sweet home for the last 6 years. I am a journalist originally from Brazil. On my journey as a migrant in the UK I have met so many great people who genuinely inspired me. I truly believe that meeting the right people can dramatically improve the experience of living in another country. So a couple of years ago I decided to start a project: a book highlighting stories of great migrant women living in Sheffield that I have already had the luck to meet in my time here.

They are wonderful people who are making a difference in their communities, contributing to the economy and adding so much diversity.

Living in Sheffield: our journeys as migrant women is a beautiful book that features the stories of nine female migrants who have made Sheffield their home. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, covering different ages, races, and beliefs. They were born in places as distinct and varied as Angola, Brazil, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Slovakia, Somaliland and Ukraine.

Writing this book made me reflect on my own experiences as a female migrant and all the challenges I passed through in order to create a life I could feel comfortable with in the UK. I have been reinventing myself as a journalist/communicator in another country, in a different language and culture. It takes time, a lot of strength and resilience to adapt. It is hard, but not impossible!

The fact is when I first moved to the UK I found it difficult to get work in the field of communication, which requires a high level of English. This was very frustrating, but I never gave up on my professional field. I worked very hard on improving my English skills and it was the motivation behind creating the Instagram account called @livinginsheffield in 2018. Since then, I have been using that space to spread the word about interesting events across Sheffield, promote amazing independent businesses, and share about the tours and workshops that I organise. This has strengthened my personal connection with Sheffield and my feeling of belonging.

Working on the Instagram account gave me a reason to start interacting with the patchwork of diverse communities that make up Sheffield. It led to me meeting many interesting people, including several inspiring female migrants, and I was struck by how parts of our experiences were so similar despite us coming from very different parts of the world. This gave me the inspiration to share their stories with a wider audience.

Living in Sheffield: our journeys as migrant women is a book made by migrant women, about migrant women. However, the content inside should be read by anyone who appreciates diversity and wants to know more about how migration is such an important matter in this country.

Alongside the women who share their stories, this book is also being created in collaboration with other talented female migrants including the illustrator Khozana Omar, the graphic designer Thais Bircak and the photographer Daniella Sasaki.

I have never found any books about female migrants that were written by migrant women in Sheffield. This is the first one and it has the aim to inspire and empower other female migrants, and to help the wider community to understand the difficulties that come with building a life in a new country. By sharing these stories, I also aim to show the positive impact that migrants can have in our society.

I truly believe in the power of a unified community to make great things happen, so I am running a crowdfunding campaign to be able to self-publish the book. Donating can help to bring this beautiful project to life.

Learn more

Find out more about the project and support the campaign here. As it is an all-or-nothing campaign, Livia will only receive the funds if the project successfully reaches its target.

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