As our 8×8 Festival continues this week in NUI Maynooth, Women for Refugee Women write for us about the work that they do to help refugee women rebuild their lives. 

Women for Refugee Women works in the belief that every woman who crosses borders in search of safety deserves a fair hearing and a chance to rebuild her life. Each week, over 100 refugee and asylum-seeking women come to us for English lessons, therapeutic activities such as drama and yoga, advice and nutritious lunches.

The women involved say:

“Women for Refugee Women helps me to understand my potential; who I am, what I can accomplish. They allow me to be in my element with people around me who are likeminded.”

Coming here makes me feel empowered. Before I was in darkness. Now I have learnt so much. Women for Refugee Women is like family to me. Here we can get ideas from each other about how to improve our situations.”

The asylum system in the UK is set up in a way that means many vulnerable women are detained in immigration detention centres like Yarl’s Wood or end up living destitute. Women seeking safety are dehumanised: disbelieved, locked up, plunged into poverty and isolated. Our #SetHerFree campaign calls for an end to the routine use of indefinite detention, which is deeply traumatic and distressing.

We enable asylum-seeking women, who are so often unseen and unheard, to build their confidence and communication skills in order to tell their own stories. They have used their voices to inform a range of audiences, including urging policy makers to build a fairer asylum system.

We’ve had some major breakthroughs, for example there is now a 72-hour time limit on the detention of pregnant women. But detention is still a routine administrative process in this country and we need your support to change this!

You can help by:

  • Giving or fundraising – we rely on the generous donations of our supporters to run these activities for refugee women. Please donate here or contact if you’d like to take part in a sponsored challenge for us!
  • Spreading the word:  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to share refugee and asylum-seeking women’s stories, or why not host an event? We can provide flyers, films and even speakers.
  • Volunteer: We are often looking for people to help out with our English lessons, social media or on creative projects.
  • Stay in touch: Sign up to our mailing list here.

The 8×8 Festival continues this week in NUI Maynooth. Check out their Facebook event page here for more information about what’s on this week.


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