Who are they?
The Ashiana Network is a charity based in Leytonstone (East London). It was started in 1989 and specialises in helping women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups who are escaping circumstances of domestic and sexual violence.
What do they do?
The Ashiana Network runs 3 confidential refuges with a total of 20 bed spaces. Some of the refuges are run specifically for women fleeing forced marriage, but they also dedicate some beds to women with no access to public funding.
They offer three main services to their users:
- Advice and support – this service offers support which allows women to make more informed decisions about violent relationships (i.e. how to escape them, the options available for pursuing criminal/civil cases and taking out injunctions). They also offer specialist advice on issues such as forced marriage, FGM and honour crimes.
- Housing – the residents are offered support specific to their culture and background, including legal advice. The residents can stay for a maximum of 2 years, during which time they are assisted with seeking permanent accommodation.
- Counselling – they provide numerous one-to-one counselling sessions which are run by qualified and experienced counsellors to victims of sexual abuse, FGM, forced marriage, domestic/sexual violence and honour crimes.
How else do they help the local community?
They provide education programmes for young people in schools across East London and raise awareness for women in the local community. They also offer training on domestic and sexual violence to professionals.
What are we doing to help?
When I got in touch with the Housing Services Manager, Pam Saleem, she told me that “We often have a need for sanitary products, from my observation, our service users mainly use sanitary pads as opposed to tampons as many women flee with nothing, especially women that do not have access to public funds.”
So that’s what we are doing. We are collecting sanitary towels to provide women who have nothing, with the basic dignity they deserve. We are very excited to be working with this organisation, not only because of the admirable, specialised and practical work they do in their local community, but because of their ethos. They work to empower women, improve the self-esteem of their users and arm them with the confidence and courage to turn their lives around for the better.
How can you help?
- DONATE and encourage people you know to do the same!
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We have interviewed some of the great staff at the Ashiana Network – stay tuned for that blog post which will be coming soon!
Thanks for reading,