Awaaz - Voice of Women.
Using money raised by Health Lottery London East, People’s Health Trust has provided £28,540 of funding to the Awaaz – Voice of Women project being run by the Redbridge Education Social Welfare Education Support Group.
The two-year project provides opportunities for women from the diverse East London borough of Redbridge to come together weekly to socialise and take part in different activities including yoga, flower arrangement, knitting and lunch.
With an emphasis on breaking down barriers, women lead and shape the project which helps to support new friendships, understanding of different cultures and the growth of a stronger and happier community. The project works exclusively with women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Research from Public Health England shows that people from BAME backgrounds are likely to be disproportionally impacted by Covid-19. The research also highlights that those living in London and the surrounding areas are likely to be impacted further when compared to other areas of the country such as the South West*.
Covid-19 has meant that the Awaaz project is no longer able to conduct activities in person, but they have kept in constant contact with their members to ensure that they do not become socially isolated and remain supported with any mental health challenges.
One member spoke of the significance of the project to them stating, “I would like to thank Awaaz for the continued support in this lockdown period. We are supporting each other by staying in touch with zoom meetings every Wednesday. Because of these zoom meetings we feel connected in the difficult time of Covid-19.”
Awaaz also places an emphasis on ensuring that women suffering from domestic abuse in the local area know where to find them. Project co-ordinator Ghazala told us, “We know that the risk of domestic abuse is increasing at the moment. Women are trapped at home with nowhere to go and no one there to turn to. We make sure that they know we are here for them and we check in with them regularly, in a discreet manner.”
A recent report from the Home Affairs Select Committee highlighted the scale of the problem facing women at risk of domestic abuse hearing that calls to a national domestic abuse helpline rose by 49% and killings doubled weeks after lockdown.
One member, who is at risk of domestic violence emphasised its importance to her, “I have been coming to Awaaz group for a long time and have found support and love. I want to thank the staff for everything they do – they are like a family. I miss them.”