LAWA is currently starting a very exciting stage as we are expanding our portfolio of services. Part of this is our new counselling service. After years advocating for LA and other BME women we became aware of the existing gap in the provision of a counselling service specially tailored for the needs of the women we attend. LAWA’s counselling service will be one of the few in London offering a Spanish/Portuguese speaking, gender responsive and including an intersectional approach.
We are looking for volunteer counsellors to join LAWA to start in February, with interviews to be held at the end of January.
Please find below the full role description and application form below.
On November 14th we kick started our very first crowdfunding campaign, a brand new adventure for us! It has been a busy month, and we are happy to announce that we reached the minimum target of £2,500 from 50 different donors and we are now partners of GlobalGiving, the crowdfunding platform.
But the campaign is not over yet. We have a few more days (until Monday, December 19th, at precisely 2pm) to try to be between the first three charities on the leaderboard (because this campaign is part of a challenge) and win bonus prizes from GlobalGiving. Right now, we are in the 7th place.
All money raised with this campaign will go towards our shelter. We want to improve our infrastructure for the children living there. From hygiene kits to school packs to counselling, our idea is to build a positive environment for kids to overcome the traumatic experience of domestic violence.
As part of the Changemakers programme, on December 8th we welcomed a group of women at our HQ for the workshop “I am a woman and this is my power”. It was an insightful 2 hour workshop, in which we discussed what does it mean to be a woman nowadays.
To kick start the conversation, we asked the participants to share their views about “nice women” and “bad women”. Also, we encouraged them to think about how these opinions were formed. Are they really our own perceptions or are we led to perceive “nice” and “bad” women in a particular way?
The first conclusion is that society sees “nice women” as martyrs: perfect mothers, entirely dedicated to their families, compassionate, carers, organised, on top of things. On the other hand, men are not expected to be or act the same. They are “allowed” to be single, or to have several relationships. They are not even expected to be good fathers. And if they do, they are perceived as heroes.
So, the following task consisted in discussing what influences us to think like that, and the answers were organised in four main topics: tradition, biology, religion and culture.
Culture: the way women are portrayed in the media (stereotypes), impossible “role models”
Religion: women need to be submissive or “saved” by a man, women are rarely leaders
Biology: women are paid less because of their gender; they are discriminated in the workplace if they become mothers and discriminated by society if they don’t have kids
Traditions: “family values” that teach women to be carers, do all the housework and, again, impose motherhood.
So, can we really label women as “nice” or “bad”? We are much more complex than that!
The final exercise encourage the participants to think about actions that can be taken in order to change our environment (therefore contributing to change distorted perceptions). These are some of the most used words, taken from the answers:
Thanks to all the women that came to the workshop, we are looking forward to our next meeting!
We are looking for volunteer counsellors that want to commit to work with us for at least one year once a week. To apply to this role you must be a Latin American (or from other minority ethnicity) woman and speak Spanish or/and Portuguese. You should be a fully trained counsellor/psychologist or working towards accreditation. You must have a minimum of 150 supervised hours of clinical experience.
“Lawa, as the group is widely known, opened in 1986 and they run the only domestic violence refuge for Latin Americans in the UK. Like other refuges and organisations set up in 70s and 80s Britain, they arose from radical women’s rights and anti-racist movements. Domestic violence shelters specifically for black, south-Asian, Chinese, Latin American and other ethnic minority women, now bundled under the term BAME, were founded because these women weren’t getting support from statutory or mainstream places.”
We have a little over a month to raise £5,000, and we need your help!
1. DONATE! : ) Definitely the most important thing. Donations start from £10, and all donations mean a lot. We need to raise at least £2500 but we also need this money to come from at least 50 DIFFERENT PEOPLE
2. Tell your friends: let your friends, colleagues and family know about this. We can take donations from people from all over the world, as the system accepts Paypal. Send emails, post on social media, and ask them to do right away! IF WE RAISE £1500 DURING THE FIRST WEEK, WE ARE MORE LIKELY TO REACH OUR TARGET
3. Go to our Facebook page every single day starting Monday and like/comment/share our crowdfunding-related publications. Our beloved Facebook doesn’t really show our posts to everyone that follow us, but the more interaction we have, the more likely the post will be seen by more people. So, like like like!!!