As well as the services and support we provide to all those in the Afghan community, we have events, projects and mentorships set up especially for women. These offer a place for Afghan women to share their experiences in a warm, positive environment.
ACAA’s Muslim Women’s Tea Corner offers a place for Afghan women and other isolated groups to share their experience and develop their skills in a friendly environment. Weekly workshops teach basic skills, English language classes improve speaking and writing capabilities, and discussion of current affairs reinforces the importance of Muslim women in the wider community.
The Tea Corner covers a huge range of issues and interests, including child protection, art therapy, mental health, childhood illnesses, fighting radicalisation, music, breast cancer, resilience to harmful practices, internet safety.
The women who attend the group have taken ownership of Tea Corner. Every week one attendee provides the refreshments, and we all share ideas on ways to improve the group. Women are referred by word of mouth as well as by refugee and women’s groups, statutory organisations and educational establishments.
Mentoring – Soraya’s story
Soraya moved to London in 2013 to live with her husband, a cousin she’d married in Afghanistan in 2011. She suffered verbal and physical abuse from her husband and his family, and eventually built up enough courage to escape. She was given a place in a women’s refuge where she was able to start a new life.
Soraya was referred to the ACAA by her local NHS, and we paired her with a mentor. The two women met twice a week and started to explore Soraya’s options and draw up a plan for the future.
The first thing they wanted to do was improve Soraya’s English language skills and confidence, so they would use their meetings to practise conversational English. Soraya has now enrolled on pre-GCSE maths and English courses at a local college and is working towards a career in healthcare.
She has also joined various ACAA social events and made friends with volunteers and other Afghan women living in the area. The ACAA has provided a safety net for Soraya and helped her to combat isolation. The mentoring programme in particular has helped to boost Soraya’s self-confidence and make her feel like an engaged and important member of UK society.