We have known Tahani (name changed) since 2017, when we helped connect her with a Sudanese expert to evidence the risk that her children faced of undergoing female genital mutilation were they to be returned to Sudan.
Over the coming years we connected her to local support organisations, provided money for school uniforms or to cover childcare costs to allow her to take English exams, and introduced her to volunteer befrienders and school tutors in her city.
Our then Director Olivia Warham MBE attended her asylum appeal hearing in 2018, and she subsequently received her leave to remain. Later in the same year she was one of the attendees at women’s empowerment training we arranged in her city. As many of our female clients report, the COVID-19 lockdown led to an increase in emotional abuse and threats from her husband. He was particularly threatening to remove custody of the children as she wanted to divorce him, and was spreading false rumours about her in the Sudanese community.
We connected her to local domestic abuse organisations and helped her take the next steps that they recommended with a view to protecting her physical safety and mental wellbeing. We also helped her gather evidence for her divorce proceedings. She is still on this journey, but we have consistently offered her a hand up to empower her in her difficult circumstances. Education is extremely important to her so as a single mother she attends to her children’s home schooling.
In 2020 Tahani was terribly ill with COVID-19. Thankfully she is better now. She told us that over the years our emotional support and frequent check-ins have made a world of difference to her.
“Your advice always gives me a warm feeling, that someone is thinking about me”.
This is the kind of dedicated, holistic, one-to-one, and trauma-sensitive casework support in which we specialise.
(To protect her anonymity, this image is not Tahani. Photo courtesy of Patricia Houghton Clarke, award-winning international photographer and friend of Waging Peace)