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Empowering Women Refugee and Asylum Seekers Conference

November 10, 2010

Tomorrow, DEWA will be attending the first ever Empowering Women Refugee and Asylum Seekers Conference organised by Bradford Refugee Forum. The conference is being held from 9am – 2pm at the Carlisle Business Centre in Bradford.

According to the Bradford Refugee Forum website, this is what we can look forward to:

‘The aim of the conference is to bring women refugees and asylum seekers together under the umbrella of Bradford Refugee Forum in order to enhance the Forum’s inclusive agenda and to enable the women themselves to take ownership of their problems and solutions. Specifically, the conference will provide an outlet for women asylum seekers and refugees to discuss and define their needs and expectations; and explore innovative ways and programmes for meeting those needs taking into account the need to strive for community cohesion and gender balance and engage partners in the private, statutory and voluntary community sectors including funders and service providers for purposes of working together to improve the quality of life for women asylum seekers and refugees and to create a sustainable organisation.

The Theme of the conference is “Empowering Women Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Bradford”.

During the day there shall be several organisations present and community members from Bradford and across Yorkshire and Humber and some from London to support the women refugees and asylum seekers such as Immigration Advice Service, OXFAM, Northern Refugee Centre,  Horton Housing, Our Project, HALE Project, Legal Aid, City of Sanctuary Bradford, Bradford Immigration and Asylum Seekers Network (BIASAN), Bradford Action for Refugees, ABL, etc), offering advice, and assistance.

Included in the day’s events are two keynote speakers namely, the CEO of Northern Refugee Centre Mr. Jim Steinke and (Aynalim/Elizabeth Benson, woman refugee). Other activities shall include various workshops providing an outlet for expression and recognition. These include five workshops in the following areas:

  • Destitution and Poverty
  • Housing
  • Health and Well Being
  • Immigration (process and legal aid)
  • Children and Women (including maternity)

It is hoped that in the long run, the conference’s work will help lay a firm foundation for creating a voice for women asylum seekers and refugees in Bradford and in defining pathways for greater access to essential services.’

We  are grateful for the opportunity to promote DEWA and are very excited about meeting the amazing women of Bradford!


Why Refugee Women? Charter Launch Event (23rd November 11-1pm)

October 28, 2010

Members of DEWA have been working with other organisations in South Yorkshire and Humberside to launch the Why Refugee Women? Charter:
The Charter aims to get organisations and key stakeholders working with refugee women within Yorkshire and Humber to agree to meet minimum standards.

Therefore, organisations signing up to the charter are committing to:

– Create an open and safe environment and treat all refugee women with dignity and respect

– Ensure all workers are aware of the need for gender sensitivity and implement appropriate practices for achieving this.

– Understand gender based issues and act appropriately to take account of these

– Offer the choice of female workers/interpreters to refugee women wherever possible

– Ensure refugee women are routinely supported with childcare during asylum interviews so that they feel able to speak about confidential and sensitive issues

– Ensure refugee women are aware of their rights and independence from their partners

– Support others in understanding Why Refugee Women?

You are all warmly invited to the launch of the Why Refugee Women? Charter. Please look at our Future Events page for the details and feel free to circulate the invite within your networks. This event is free but booking is essential – email to book your place.

If you are unable to make the launch, the charter and sign up form are also available from the Why Refugee Women? website.

We hope to see you there!

Thank You!

October 13, 2010

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The women at DEWA would like to thank you for the support rendered during the launch of our book. We would not have done it without you. It was a privilege to meet everyone. We are delighted that we have made new friends and colleagues through the process and we look forward to working with you on future endeavours. For those who were not able to make it, or if you just want to relive the experience, please have a look at our YouTube video.

There are many people who we would like to thank individually, especially all the contributing authors – the women whose stories, poems, recipes and words of strength made the book a must-have. Please take a moment to read their profiles at the end of the book.

We are also forever indebted to several people who worked hard behind the scenes. Their diligence, patience and inspiring personalities have not gone unnoticed. The publicity through ‘off the shelf’ festival was an added advantage. Special thanks to Northern Refugee Centre, CAM Yorkshire, DFID, Northern College, Sheffield City Council, The Helen Tetlow Memorial Fund and City of Sanctuary for making this possible.

Different Cultures. One World. Women’s Voices from South Yorkshire is still available to purchase. We would appreciate it if you continued to support us by spreading the word. There is also an interactive section here on our website, where you too can send us some of your stories as well as give us your word of advice. We would love to hear from you, just head to Contact Us to get in touch.

The book launch was only the beginning of the work that lies ahead for us. We will continue to forge relations with you so that we can work together in pursuing equality, dignity and respect for all women worldwide. DEWA is committed to raising awareness of diversity and integration, and of the issues facing the thousands of displaced women who are living in South Yorkshire and beyond.

One World, Different Cultures

September 17, 2010
Cover for Book about Womens Voices

Different Cultures One World

Book Launch

History will be made. Various people from around the world and organisations from Yorkshire will gather for the launch of a new book. This celebrates the achievements and experiences of a diverse group of women living in South Yorkshire.

“One World. Different Cultures. Women’s Voices from South Yorkshire” will be published as part of the “Off the Shelf” annual writing and reading festival.

The launch of our new book and webpage of poems, stories and other pieces (such as recipes for a better world) will take place at the Quaker Meeting House in Sheffield, 11th October 2010 at 1.00pm to 2.30pm.

This work was collected together through writing workshops with the poet RiverWolton. The project is part funded by DfID, The Helen Tetlow Memorial Fund, Northern Refugee Centre, Northern College and Sheffield City of Sanctuary. Copies of ‘Women’s Voices’ will be on sale at a special festival price. The proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the support of the DEWA Project.

This event is free but booking is advisable.

Please email: to book.

Now we’ve started writing, we can’t stop!

September 17, 2010

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Women have many hidden skills and experiences that should be shared with the world, and this project is our way of providing women in South Yorkshire with that chance. (For the background/history of this project please see our Women’s Voices page).

We asked River Wolton, the poet laureate of Derbyshire, to run three creative writing workshops for us to add to the material we already had. Some participants thought that they didn’t have any creativity in them, that they didn’t have the skills to express their voices. During the workshops, River proved to us that we already had those skills and helped us to develop them even further. This gave us voice. Once we started writing, we didn’t know if we could stop! The words just came rolling in and, before we knew it, our book was taking shape and we had more stories and poems than we thought possible!

We had no idea how emotional the workshops would be – in the space of one minute we felt scared, sad, angry, excited and happy. As a group, the process was very healing for us. Although we had to confront some difficult emotions, we felt that through our writing we had overcome and released these feelings. We had found freedom!

Why do we need webskills?

September 17, 2010


Group webskills courseThe term web skills bombarded  my mind with questions. The first question that came to my mind was ‘what skills do we need to interact on the web?’ It’s as easy as learning your ABC, I thought to my self , even my six year old has become a professional.

When I first walked into the web skills course classroom I thought that it would be a very long boring day. When the introduction was laid out I was baffled at how little I knew about the web I browse through everyday. This course took me to a deeper understanding of the web, you don’t  only learn about browsing but actually creating  and updating your own website – imagine how amazing that is, every time we browse  through the web the thought of how those web sites were created never cross our minds!

The couse has given me and my colleagues the power to create our own website. According to the group, we found it beneficial because of the easy access it has given us to the web, we have been equipped with skills we can make use of everyday. It has made the women’s group more powerful and independent.

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