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Meet the Team

Tchiyiwe Thandiwe Chihana – Campaigns and Policy Officer

I was born in Bradford, England in May, 1978. My formative years were lived in Zambia. My four siblings and I are very close and among us, we share three mothers.

I am the Campaigns and Policy Officer for DEWA Project (Development and Empowerment for Women’s Advancement) and also serve as Women’s Group Co-ordinator in Rotherham. I blog on twitter as AfriWoman and own www.AfriWomen.blogspot.com.

Having witnessed domestic violence as a child, I decided at an early age that my life path would be to stand up with and for my fellow women. This passion drove me to take an interest in various aspects of women’s well being and I became aware of issues relating to sex trafficking, girl child education and the various systems that uphold the subjugation of women. In 1995, I got caught up in the excitement of the Beijing Conference on Women. A school going child myself, I identified with matters around the promotion of Girl Child Education and spent the rest of that year being actively involved in debates that argued for its prioritisation. The year culminated in to a paper that I read out to high profile personalities which further fuelled my passion for working with women.

I continued with my university studies in Cape Town, South Africa – specialising in Women’s and Gender Studies. I am also an alumni of the International Human Rights Exchange (IHRE) through Bard College, New York. My research areas continue to be on projects related to policy, women and HIV/AIDS. I came upon the plight of refugee and asylum seeking women through one such study. Some of the women I came in to contact with were living with HIV/AIDS as a result of rape or sex trafficking. Rape is commonly used as a weapon of war in war torn countries. These women, who were now forced to live in exile had become victims of yet another injustice that is rarely highlighted globally. When I moved back to England, I got more involved with women from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds because women-specific issues are not highlighted enough in refugee policies. My involvement with Why Refugee Women? is one of the few ways I can get the world to re-position and look hard in to the plight of women seeking sanctuary in other countries.

My mantra for all women is: Our Strength is in our Differences

Violet Dickenson – Project Officer

Violet's Profile Pic

I was born in Zimbabwe. As a single parent I pushed myself to learn  different  kinds of jobs so I could give my son the sort of life I never had. In the job I did I met wonderful people who motivated me and inspired me, in particular an organization of cross-border traders. These women had grassroots backgrounds but they succeeded in building homes for themselves, educated their children and did well. They were enterprising and phenomenal. I’m very passionate about women uplifting themselves and putting themselves forward. It saddened me to leave Zimbabwe against my will, and it pains me to live separated from my family. I’m not the only one – the Zimbabwean Diaspora is world-wide.

Ibtisam Al-Farah – Training and Development Officer

I was born in Yemen and I’ve been in Sheffield since December 2004. I am an activist woman, believing in women’s rights – every woman, everywhere. Most of my studying and professional work experience has been about women’s issues, starting from my first degree in Political Science to my current PhD in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. In Yemen, I’ve worked as a coordinator of United Nations Association of Yemen and as an Administrator and Financial Manager at the United Nations Development Project and The World Bank. I also worked as a professional trainer for CARE international project. In Sheffield, I am a voluntary worker. My current focus is on women’s empowerment in relation to community development.

Julia Wilde – Trustee

I was born in England in 1986 and have lived in Sheffield for over 10 years. I studied French and German at Oxford University and lived in both Lyon and Berlin. Campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights has always been a very important part of my life. Whilst at university, I had the chance to develop my knowledge of these issues, specialising in Women’s Writing and acting as a JCR Women’s Officer for my college and the Female Welfare Officer of Oxford University’s LGBT Society. One of my most rewarding experiences has been volunteering for Northern Refugee Centre’s Refugee Women Development Project and sharing in the incredible enthusiasm and inspiration of other women. This passion lead us to form DEWA, giving us all the chance to help work towards a fairer world for all women. There is nothing else I would rather be doing!

Christine Chirambo – Marketing and Publicity Officer

I was born in Lusaka, Zambia. Mother of four beautiful children. Diploma in Hotel and Tourism Management. Worked as front office assistant at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, later promoted to Sale and Marketing Executive. Currently studying Internationl Relations and Politics at University of Sheffield, volunteering at the NRC and campaigning against human trafficking. I am a trustee of DEWA Project. I enjoy cooking, reading, gardening, going to church and taking part in human rights campaigns. I also love travelling. I have travelled around the word visiting and living in different countries both in Africa and Europe.


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