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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 and positive environment.

Zanan Project 

zanan = زنان = women

The Zanan Project has been designed by women, for women, to share experiences and develop skills in a friendly and supportive environment. Through a series of online workshops supplemented by a new mentoring initiative, this project supports refugee and immigrant women by helping them foster greater self-confidence, conversational and employable skills.

Workshops

Our weekly Zoom workshops focus on a variety of topics, each designed to empower the participants to share their experiences and develop their  skills. The workshops are online only for now, but we are looking to organise in-person meetings in the near future. 

Topics include:

Feminism and women’s rights

Physical and mental health

Poetry writing

The women who attend the group have taken ownership of the project. Each week they share their experiences, and discuss what they have learned from the sessions and ideas 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.

The Zanan Project women’s workshops are held over Zoom at various times during the week, please email women@afghanistan-central-asian.org.uk for more information.

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 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.

Soraya Sisters

Inspired by Soraya’s story, we decided to start a one-to-one peer mentoring program and named it Soraya Sisters. Women who sign up to the program are paired with an English-speaking female volunteer with whom they speak over the phone for 30 minutes to an hour each week. These conversations can cover any topic, and are designed to help build the confidence of both volunteers and participants in speaking with people from different backgrounds. 

If you think you might benefit from an ACAA mentorship or want to refer someone to us, please call us on 07585824702 or email women@afghanistan-central-asian.org.uk.