Refugee Women Connect exists because women asylum seekers and refugees face inequality and are denied social justice. Refugee and asylum-seeking women can be vulnerable and isolated, not knowing what their rights are or how to exercise those rights.
Refugee women have to overcome many barriers to accessing services and support and even when asylum seeking women have been able to get support they face being moved on at short notice to another area where they have no support networks. The women engage with us at an important turning point in their lives where they have left an abusive or conflict situation and are trying to deal with the huge change to their lives that this brings about at the same time they are trying to navigate the complex asylum process.
Our current activities include an extensive outreach programme which incorporates weekly visits to Initial Accommodation Centres and weekly drop-ins where women can access a range of emotional and practical support and activities. We are also part of various multi-agency drop-ins that take place across the region. With the support of our volunteers, we have been able to accompany women to appointments to offer much-needed support and encouragement and are hoping to develop this work further in the future. In response to the increased need for mental health support, we offer self-esteem support groups and one to one emotional support. With the rise in homelessness and lack of legal support we are developing our casework, including becoming OISC accredited, to respond to the increased need for casework.