What is the problem? Women asylum seekers have much lower outcomes than men in gaining refugee status. This is for a whole host of reasons but one of the main factors is that disclosing sexual violence can be extremely difficult and also difficult to prove.
Women asylum seekers are an incredibly vulnerable group of women. Over 60% will have experienced sexual violence (rape, trafficking etc) and many will have experienced domestic violence and abuse. For women with children, accessing services (such as English classes) can be incredibly difficult meaning that the woman is further isolated and segregated from society. Because of the fact many women have experienced abuse and because they are a minority in the asylum community they are a group often hidden, overlooked and with incredibly low self confidence.
Many do not have any support networks as they have fled and left behind family and friends and may not have formed friendships with other women due to feeling unsafe in the local area, lack of trust, language barriers and being moved on (to another city).
Some will arrive to the UK pregnant without anything for the baby or any support in place (including no birth partner).
Depression, PTSD and stress are the norm.
How does Oasis, Cardiff help? At Oasis , Cardiff we aim to support these women in a number of ways. We have a volunteer led creche 3 days a week allowing women to access classes in our centre. We have a women's friendship and support group on a Monday where women have the opportunity to take part in zumba fitness, meet other women and practice their English in a supportive environment. We have regular visits from local community groups such as domestic violence charities, the police, FGM support etc as well as fun activities like beauty! We also have a stay and play group to help them meet other parents in a supportive environment.
We support pregnant women in getting the right equipment ready for baby,English for pregnancy, going through a birth plan together and even collecting from hospital and arranging birth partners.
We can also support women 1:2:1 such as attending court with them or hospital appointments as well as advocating on their behalf with issues such as housing or school and signposting them to other areas of support.
We are currently developing a befriending project for vulnerable women that mind find accessing Oasis difficult.
Why we need your help:
We currently have under £30 left in our womens budget and are desperately in need of funds. Your support will allow this valuable work to continue.
Please note: Wherever possible we try to keep costs as low as possible and source clothes and baby equipment through second hand unwanted donations.