To make change, women’s voices need to be heard. Through a programme of empowerment activities, we support a network of around 250 refugee and asylum-seeking women to develop their confidence and skills. A woman who joins our network will find a welcoming and supportive space in which she can meet other women and begin to rebuild her life, whether that be through speaking her first words of English or leading campaigns for a more just asylum process.

English Lessons

“When I arrived in this country I could not understand English, and now after joining the English class I am able to speak English in front of people, even in public”

Every Monday during term-time, we provide free English lessons for over 100 women.

We have classes suitable for every woman, from Beginner to Advanced, with a dedicated group for mums to learn English alongside their young children. The classes are designed to equip women with the skills and knowledge they need to rebuild their lives in the UK and we often go on cultural trips around London.

Women who have progressed through the different classes or arrived with good English language skills can join our Intersectional Feminist discussion group led by the inspirational Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. In addition, we run a writing group led by writer Lucasta Miller for women who are ready to take their written storytelling to the next level.

Drama

“Drama helps me to understand my potential and what I can accomplish. I feel empowered mentally, socially and physically”

Our drama group, Refugee Women’s Voice, is hosted by the Southbank Centre on Fridays and supports women to develop performance poetry to tell their stories safely and creatively to wide audiences.

The group, led by community theatre director Rebecca Laughton, welcomes all abilities and has a strong focus on building confidence and community.

The drama group performed their #SetHerFree poem against immigration detention to an audience of 80,000 at the Women’s March on London in 2017. We’ve also worked on creative exchange projects with other local and global refugee groups, such as The Wall of Dreams and Hear Her Singing.

Rainbow Sisters

The Rainbow Sisters song:

“Hurray, we are the Rainbow Sisters, from Women for Refugee Women.

We do unite all lesbian and bisexual women, com’ from countries all over the world.

We accept ourselves and each other, and celebrate who we are.

Our motto is to care and to share, to fight the cause of righteousness,

And justice for a better living.

Arise and shine, Rainbow Sisters!”

Rainbow Sisters is a supportive, welcoming and confidential group open to all lesbian and bisexual asylum-seeking women.

The group meets weekly on Mondays and regularly welcomes inspiring speakers and activists, such as Lady Phyll, founder of UK Black Pride. Rainbow Sisters attended Pride 2018 and spoke at UK Black Pride. The group meets a real need for a safe space for lesbian women and has enabled some women to understand and celebrate their sexuality for the first time.

Please call or text Sarah, the group facilitator, if you would like to talk about joining: 07950 118 998

Women for Refugee Women Empower Activities Rainbow Sisters

Advice

“Heike, the advice worker, put me at ease and really helped to resolve my situation. I did not know what to do before I came here, but now I know my options and have a roof over my head again.”

Thanks to a partnership with Notre Dame Refugee Centre, we are able to offer advice on immigration, housing, welfare benefits, destitution support and access to education.

Advice is given by a fully qualified caseworker who is with us on Wednesdays, and sees on average six women per week, on an appointments basis.

Transitions

 

We have recently started a new Transitions group to support women who have their refugee status and the right to work to take the next steps in rebuilding their lives in the UK.

We are currently supporting women to find part-time employment, volunteering opportunities and to access education. In partnership with Birkbeck’s outreach team, we have been able to offer courses in basic computer skills for the women in this group. These courses are essential for women to begin developing the computer skills required to rebuild their lives in the UK, whether that be for future employment, study or simply for going about life in a digitalised society.

Yoga

Yoga has helped me mentally because it is about being calm, listening to your body and this makes you feel so relaxed.

Our gentle Monday morning yoga classes support women’s mental and physical wellbeing by focusing on laughter, improving self-esteem and releasing stress.

Empowerment Courses

The empowerment course really gave me the confidence to speak up.  It motivates you and lifts a weight off your shoulders.

We offer a range of empowerment courses to enable women to understand their rights and develop their skills.

This year we have run the ‘Storytelling with a purpose’ course with Ginger Public Speaking, computer skills courses and creative textiles workshops at The Breakfast Club.

Women for Refugee Women Empower Activities Empowerment Courses

Regional Networks

We work closely with refugee groups across the country to develop nationwide campaigns and networks that are grassroots-led.