MEWSo is a local organisation that supports women from Middle Eastern, North African and Asian communities in Islington. Last year, they started a campaign called LBTQ+ Matters to fight LBTQ+ discrimination, protect rights of LBTQ+ women in their communities and to ensure they have the same chance to lead fulfilling, meaningful lives as everybody else. We talked to Halaleh Taheri, Executive Director at MEWSo.
How do you support and empower LBTQ+ women from Middle Eastern, North African and Asian communities?
MEWSo continues to make space for LBTQ+ women to feel safe, empowered and able to speak out. We connect them with neighbourhood and LBTQ+ organisations that can help and give them the strength to live the lives they want. We want to help break the taboo and the silence that surrounds LBTQ+ women in parts of our community.
In the short term we want to provide urgent services for the most vulnerable women and girls who might be in serious danger in our communities. While in the long term we will develop workshops, seminars, speak out at conferences and to influential community leaders to push for a change in Middle Eastern and North African communities.
How do they come to MEWSo?
The trust and the word of mouth are really important, women telling women, people from our team are Lesbians.
MEWSo issued a call for befriending volunteers to support LBTQ+ women during Covid-19, was it successful?
Befriending calls are really important because LBTQ+ women from the community are usually stuck at home, and more so during Covid-19. The call we issued through social media was really successful, we had many responses and we got to connect many people.
Have you planned anything special during Pride Month?
We had an art exhibition last month via Zoom and many of the artists were Lesbians from different parts of the world and we invited all our women to see their amazing art . On the 10th of July is our 10th anniversary and we’re inviting Lesbian artists to show their art, talk about their skills and experience. It will be on youtube.
If LBTQ+ women in Islington think they could need some support from MEWSo, what’s the easiest way to get in touch?
You can go to our campaign page, there’s information about the project and information on how to contact us. You can also get in touch with me or I can give you the contact details of our facilitator, who is from the LBTQ+ community.