Coventry Migrant Women’s Houses is a small project that has started up in the last few months. Thanks to Sarah Taal (Trustee) for the following update, and to Kate for the insight into her journey:
‘Coventry Migrant Women’s Houses is a small project to alleviate destitution of asylum seeking and migrant women. We know that forced migrant women have experienced and lived through difficult and often traumatic experiences. We are not anticipating housing people in the middle of a crisis situation, such as leaving an abusive partner, or just arriving in the UK. The conversations that informed our decisions about the project mostly took place with women who had been in the UK for a while; who had spent some time in the revolving door of home office and charitable support; and who had some knowledge of the system in the UK despite their continued immigration difficulty.
The migrant women we have met through the destitution projects we all have been involved in (inc. NACCOM members Hope Housing, Fatima House, Austin Smith House and BIRCH hosting projects), are some of the most resourceful and strong people we know. We want to give women who are already interested the opportunity to address and challenge some of the social injustices that occur, and a chance to do that in a non-violent collective way. They will support each other and use their own agency to define what is best for them, learning about the system, building knowledge and working with others.’
Kate had recently claimed asylum, but was staying at the Peace House after the Home Office evicted her for not showing enough evidence of destitution. She was working with a casework agency on proving her destitution, as well as considering different legal rep’s with a speciality in her need for protection.
She felt that living together involved thinking about different cultures and backgrounds, drinking tea, walking, listening to music and talking.
Her social action was around LGBT rights and gender identity. She regularly spoke at events, raising awareness with spoken word poetry performances and workshops.
She was keen to ‘keep bold, know her rights, see down but look up’.