The Open University (OU) is marking International Women’s Day with a social media campaign to ‘cut through the global chatter’ and focus attention on the perspectives of women asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in the UK and beyond.
Many of these perspectives come from women based in Swansea.
The OU’s digital ethnography project COVID-19 Chronicles has created a ‘living archive’ of stories, artwork, videos, and testimonies from marginalised groups navigating the pandemic.
Without partnerships with grassroots organisations like SASS, this work would not be possible. SASS has been a key partner in facilitating the research, and Swansea-based refugees and asylum seekers are a core part of the research team.
The SASS ‘telephone tree’ – a supportive network of people and phones – has not only mitigated disconnection, isolation, destitution, and material need in Swansea. Through the COVID-19 Chronicles project, the telephone tree has also provided a safe way for people to voice their experiences in this extraordinary historical moment.
Today is International Women’s Day, one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements in social, political, economic and cultural spheres. As an organisation which always supports women in society, SASS wants to share women’s perspectives, especially those coming from asylum-seeking backgrounds. It’s important to raise awareness about women’s equality issues, as well as women’s talents, skills, and successes. In this post, we are sharing the story of Busra who has recently set up her own Etsy shop for embroidery designs.
“I am a refugee here in the UK. I arrived with my family of 4 in July 2020 and we stayed at a hotel in London for 5 months. I was feeling very bored during our stay in the hotel room because I am a kindergarten teacher and a very active person. During this time I decided to do something about cross stitch and embroidery, which was my hobby a long time ago. l started to cross stitch when I was 15. I really like it since it takes my stress away and makes me relax. Firstly, I decided to improve my hobby and learned new things. Then I had courage and decided to sell what I made. I set up an online Etsy shop for myself. I believe I can easily handle it even if I do not speak English well. Because we can do anything if we really want. Just a little will, hardwork and courage will make it.”
There’s lots going on in Swansea for International Women’s Day with asylum seekers and refugees. Find out more at Project Share Tawe’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/ProjectShareTawe #choosetochallenge
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