Women for Refugee Women is proud to work alongside inspiring grassroots groups that support refugee and asylum-seeking women across England and Wales. This week we are sharing an update from some of these groups on how they are responding and how you can support them.

Women with Hope, Birmingham
  • Refugee women are staying in touch and supporting one another by text and phone calls.
  • Women with Hope have been able to provide phone top-up vouchers to 30 women to enable them to stay in touch with their friends and support networks.
Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG)
  • Loraine Masiya Mponela, the chairperson of CARAG, wrote about the unique challenges that people seeking asylum in the UK are facing during the pandemic. You can read her piece here.
  • CARAG are already thinking of how to support women who are at risk of being made homeless again once lockdown is over.

To find out more about CARAG’s work you can visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) Manchester
  • WAST Manchester are finding ways to continue running their sessions remotely over Zoom so that women can stay connected and support one another.
  • WAST’s volunteers are driving and cycling to women across the city and beyond to provide food parcels and emergency cash support to women in desperate need.

To find out more about WAST Manchester’s work you can visit their website or follow them on Twitter. WAST Manchester are currently looking for donations of tablets to help mothers educate and entertain their children while they are not at school, and you can donate to support their work here.

Oasis Cardiff
  • Oasis have started a Zoom meeting on storytelling with the women in their network for them to chat together and share experiences whilst they remain in isolation.
  • Oasis have also set up a wellbeing group on WhatsApp, to share mindfulness and meditation-related resources for the women, as well as activities they can do with their children at home. Women have been responding really well to it and Oasis are now sharing these resources with CARAG so that women in Coventry can benefit too!
  • The group is also distributing food parcels to women who are struggling to meet their basic needs.
  • Oasis has partnered with lots of well-known brands to host an online silent auction from 10 am on Monday 4th May until midnight on Sunday 10th May 2020. For more information, visit the auction website here.

Oasis Cardiff has sent us updates directly from the refugee women whom they are supporting.

Maryam from Iran shared:

“I was granted asylum in the in the middle of the pandemic. When I was granted asylum, I am going through so much anxiety as I am separated from my parents who live in Iran where the pandemic is worse. The thought of losing my loved ones is painful as hell, especially when you realise if you lose them you won’t be able to bid farewell to them. I feel very lonely because I cannot go out and meet the few friends that I have made here.”

UB who is staying in Newport shared:

“I am a single mother of a child age of 11 who is wheelchair-bound. I have isolated myself due to the coronavirus crisis, because my son has very low immune system. I’m afraid to go out to buy my daily essential items. I am protecting my son and saving lives.

Being at home without any interaction of outside world is difficult since we are already facing hard times being asylum seekers. We have no family and friends around us and the only happiness we had was just going out, taking a fresh air and restarting our lives. I am much more worried about our future now.

I’m thankful for my friends and the council for dropping me food when I need it.”

Nesrin from Sudan shared how she is coping at the moment:

As our life flipped upside down and the world evolves in unimaginable ways because of coronavirus outbreak, daily routines have been uprooted or disregarded altogether. I like to share with you some useful tips helping me to overcome this hard time so far…

I put my mental health on the top by keeping myself away from negative people and bad news. I do exercise in the morning and share favourite healthy meals with my family in the afternoon.

I make time to do some activities and watch TV with my kids in the evening.

I do online course and zoom meeting twice a week.

I found talking to friends and give emotional support really helpful to reduce stress during this difficult time.”

And two young women from Sudan share this message about having fun and staying safe during the pandemic:

A message from members of the Oasis Cardiff network!

To find out more about Oasis’s work you can visit their website or follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!