Sara Caggiati

Written by

December 10, 2018


Here at Islamic Relief, we’re passionate about empowering families all over the world – and that includes right here at home.

We’ve been increasingly supporting a number of projects across the UK which work to help individuals and families across the country facing a range of financial, social and legal barriers. Here’s three ways that your generous donations have been empowering women.

1. Fighting fuel poverty

For women who’ve fled their homes following emotional, physiological, financial and/or sexual abuse, starting again can be difficult both emotionally and financially. What’s more once the winter cold sets in, without adequate resources to pay electricity bills and buy winter woollies, vulnerable women risk severe ill-health.

That’s why we work with local organisations to ensure that vulnerable women are protected during the harsh winter months. Last year for example, we teamed up with Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWAID) to support their Fuel Poverty Project and lower the risk of women returning to an abusive home. For women like Shanaz*, your donations have provided a critical lifeline.

After being subjected to both emotional and physical abuse throughout her life and subsequently forced into an engagement, Shanaz* found the courage to leave the family home. After spending five months in a BSWAID refuge – where her confidence grew significantly – she then moved into her own tenancy.

However, as this was the first time Shanaz had ever lived independently, she had to start from scratch kitting out her home. With a very limited income of £57.90 per week, she was unable to save for winter essentials such as warm pyjamas, extra bedding, layered clothes and a blanket.

Thanks to your support, she was able to buy the items she needed and keep warm during the winter. Thank you!

2. Providing parenting support

One of our Birmingham based partners is Approachable Parenting – an award-winning organisation which aims to empower and support families by providing Islamically-inspired programmes for parents of children aged four to eleven in low-income or single-parent families.

Just one of the many mother’s who’s benefited from the service is Amina.* Originally from Uganda, Amina is a single mother of two daughters aged seven and one. After giving birth to her youngest daughter, communication between Amina and her older daughter became difficult. Amina was often annoyed and her daughter felt pushed out as Amina wasn’t spending enough quality time with her. This then caused a lot of unwanted behaviour.

Keen to turn things around, Amina started attending the 4 – 11 years’ programme. Alhamdulillah, this offered her critical emotional, educational and psychological support. In fact, after just the first session, Amina was able to identify the areas where she was struggling.

Amina’s now feeling much happier as the strategies she’s learnt have enabled her to make a positive impact in her parenting. Both her confidence and relationship with her daughter have improved and Amina has now even become a peer mentor!

3. Building futures in Britain

Keeping families together is critical, that’s why we’re supporting The Children’s Society’s Helping Further programme which offers key immigration support to families in need including Fatima* and her children.

Back in 2015 when she was living in Jordan, Fatima was caught up in a gas explosion which killed her husband and two of their five children. Fatima’s eldest daughter Amara* survived but suffered second and third degree burns to her hands and face.

Despite Amara holding British citizenship, as a permanent resident in Jordan, she was unable to access free NHS health care. Colleagues of Fatima’s husband supported Fatima and Amara by offering Amara with reconstructive treatment in the UK but at the time, Fatima had only been granted one year’s UK residency. With no recourse to public funds, she was desperate to bring her other children to stay with them in the UK.

After speaking to The Children’s Society, two weeks later the whole family were reunited. Fatima was given advice to access support for her new other children and find more appropriate accommodation and was also offered free personal immigration advice free from costly solicitors or application fees. Alhamdulillah, she has now been granted 2.5 years residency with recourse to public funds and the whole family can now begin settling into a stable life here in the UK.

Thank you for helping us to make such a crucial difference to the lives of women such as Shanaz, Amina and Fatima.

To find out more about our work across the UK, visit our project pages.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

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