Social stigmatisation, illiteracy, poverty and the challenges of managing their households, often alone, can all prevent women from feeling empowered to make positive changes in their own lives and in the lives of their children. The women’s group was established to provide a welcoming, non-judgemental space where the mothers of children in our projects could come together to share some of the real challenges they face in their daily lives and to collaboratively find solutions.
Regular meetings of the women’s group have been taking place since 2011. The group, though supported by a social worker, is participatory, with the women choosing topics and activities and taking responsibility for organising each session. Currently, the group is led by a rotating steering committee of four internally-elected members. Topics covered have included: parenting practice and child protection, personal health, legal rights and how to exercise them, access to literacy programmes and securing stable work.
A large number of women have been able to bring more stability to their homes and now feel more confident to parent. The group has also meant that many have been able to realise their potential as active members of the community.
We are continuing to host and support our existing women’s group while investigating opportunities to increase the number of local women who can benefit either directly or through other, similar, groups.