We believe in the power of the community to change attitudes on violence towards women and girls from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.
We run projects and partnerships that aim to turn negative attitudes against women into positive ones. For example, we:
- Communicate with women in the community to discuss issues of violence
- Work with men who come forward to seek support on a woman’s behalf
- Create relationships within the community to discourage violence and abuse
- Encourage debate and education.
If you are interested in partnering with us to deliver community awareness raising sessions or would like us to provide educational sessions specific for your community, please contact us.
Below are some examples of our engagement in the Rotherham community.
NO MORE Home-Work painting exhibition
Our painting exhibition at the Art Gallery at Riverside House was a space to reflect on the experiences of South Asian families in Britain, and the struggles facing women and young girls. Sarbjit Johal’s oil paintings drew on photos and experiences of individual and collective struggle. The collection is made up of 18 artworks, drawing on events such as the Apna Haq protest in London to save BME women’s services in Rotherham. We followed up the exhibition with a workshop in which 30 service users engaged in a discussion to reflect on the issues presented by the paintings.
Samia Malik — Poetry & Couplets
Samia Malik, a singer, songwriter, artist and teacher, who has collaborated and toured internationally with acclaimed world-class musicians and artists, uses music as a way of healing from ordeals/traumas around abuse, and empowers women to challenge the oppression. A group of service users from the community worked closely with Samia in a workshop to write their own poetry and pen-down their own challenges in a lyrical way.
Rotherham 12 Defence Campaign
The Rotherham 12 Defence Campaign came to light when 12 Pakistani men from Rotherham were accused of violent disorder against a group of extreme right men. On hearing the reason for their arrests and the charges put against them, i.e. riot and disorder, our CEO Zlakha Ahmed, became involved with the Rotherham 12 campaign group to help harness the voices of the wives and families of the Rotherham 12. At trial, the case was won by the Rotherham 12, proving that the charges should never have been given out in the first place.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness-raising sessions
As a sector-leading expert in issues around CSE, we’ve held many awareness-raising sessions over the years to educate people in the local Rotherham community. We have great connections with many minority ethnic organisations in the local area, some examples of which include:
- International Christian Centre
- Wah Hong
- The Unity Centre
- Mama Africa.
Shariah councils inquiry: evidence giving to MPs
The Home Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into Sharia councils operating in the UK in late 2016. Our Chief Executive, Zlakha Ahmed, was invited to the evidence session to discuss our experience working with Sharia councils. The majority of our evidence was related to our work supporting women through Islamic divorce. Read the final government report.
Spiritual healing/spiritual abuse work
Since our inception, we have supported numerous service users who have shared either the benefits of spiritual healing or how it has led to abuse, either financial, emotional, physical or sexual. As an issue it is hidden from the outside world apart from a few in the mental health and spiritual healing fields. We have been engaging with this issue and trying to bring it to the attention of policy makers and service delivery agents.
Clifton Learning Partnership: drop-in sessions
The Clifton Learning Partnership exists in Rotherham to "Give every child and family the best chance to succeed". Our advocacy worker supports the partnership weekly, by attending drop-in sessions to assist and provide advice to women from the EU and the Roma community in particular.
Partnership with Rotherham United
We partner with Rotherham United (The Millers) on their Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST). In 2016, the RUCST was awarded funding to increase black and minority ethnic (BME) women’s participation in sport.
Apna Haq’s advocacy worker encourages service users and ex-service users to take part in the scheme, acknowledging the benefits women enjoy such as meeting other people and better health and wellbeing. So far, women from Apna Haq have enjoyed badminton, netball, cycling and football.