Equal Voices was developed by learning provider ELATT following a call from East London Citizens UK chapters (TELCO) for more representation of people from migrant backgrounds in campaigning.
Limited English language skills and rights awareness as well as financial and social dependence on others means many migrant and refugee women are living in social isolation and economic deprivation. Equal Voices supports these women to become community leaders, empowering them to speak out for themselves and others in their communities.
Activities include participatory citizenship sessions, community organising training, capability workshops, and wraparound ESOL training. The women increase their knowledge of their responsibilities and rights and how they can bring about change, for example through campaigning.
Many participants have been inspired to become more active in their community by volunteering and those who felt unable to express their views to their partners and families have been empowered by newfound rights awareness and self-confidence to make their voices heard at home. Other outcomes include gaining ESOL and functional skills qualifications, progressing on to further study, and gaining employment.
Learner Saira said, “This project really made realise all the things I can do, and I know how to help other people too.”
Caitlin Burbridge, Hackney Citizens Organiser said, “Women who weren’t participating in civil society and making their voices heard are now part of the change for the better.”
Project Manager, Nafisah Graham-Brown, said, “This project has been meaningful and exciting for us, and life-changing for our participants. Seeing Izabel representing her community at the borough events is an amazing feeling!”
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