01 / 07 / 20
Women all of faiths, beliefs and backgrounds, make vital and extraordinary contributions to their local communities and the wider society. Despite this necessary and unmissable work, women are not always recognised, particularly compared to their male counterparts.
Women in faith and belief are carers, friends, organisers, teachers, creators and leaders –they provide services to their communities that strive to make real change and progress, and they deserve to be recognised and celebrated. There exists many groups, organisations and projects that attempt to do this and more, giving a platform for women to make change, and providing care and support to women in need.
For the past four years, we have had the pleasure of hosting the London Faith & Belief Community Awards. This allows us to shine a spotlight on these amazing groups, raising their profile and voice, and ensuring they can continue to work hard for their communities.
One such group is Nisa-Nashim, a London Faith & Belief Community Awards winner from 2019. Nisa-Nashim, based in Camden, is a Jewish and Muslim women’s network established in 2015. The group’s aim is to establish a community and bond between the two groups, promote women’s role in society and tackle Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The organisation hopes to start a dialogue on how women are perceived within society, particularly those of a Muslim or Jewish background. The two faiths hope to work and learn from each other and pull together to make real changes. Nisa-Nashim is divided into 24 groups of women across the country, with each running their own grassroots social action projects. These include hosting events such as Iftars, group visits to places of social worship and even working with policymakers to improve the lives and opportunities of Muslim and Jewish women across the UK. The group has continued to work hard throughout the coronavirus pandemic, hosting many online events, workshops and classes. To find out more, visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
Another example of this is Hillingdon Asian Women’s Group, a London Faith & Belief Community Awards winner from 2019. Unfortunately, many women, particularly those
from Hindu, Sikh and Muslim backgrounds, feel isolated and separated from much of their local community. The Hillingdon Asian Women’s Group was established to help combat this issue and to empower women from minority backgrounds, and has been running for over 40 years. The group offers one-on-one advice for women who are struggling with isolation or are newly settling into the area, amongst English language classes, employment skills training and domestic violence support.
They also run a wide range of inspiring, exciting and unique workshops and activities such as knitting, crochet and physical activities. These allow the women involved to learn a new, interesting skill, whilst letting them connect with those around them and establish social connections and friendships. To find out more about Hillingdon Asian Women’s Group, visit….
Both Nisa-Nashim and Hillingdon Asian Women’s Group are prime examples of ‘Inspiring Women’, a nomination category within the London Faith & Belief Community Awards. This category aims to shine a spotlight on the various programmes and groups that work to inspire, promote and engage with women across society, allowing all women to reach their potential and giving them the acknowledgement they deserve.
When discussing their award win, Hillingdon Asian Women’s group stated that it made a “huge difference” to their work, and that the prize money allowed them to organise more health and well-being workshops and a successful multicultural event. This helps to illustrate the positive effect the London Faith & Belief Community Awards has on these hardworking groups, giving them a platform and support to reach their inspiring goals.
If you know of any grassroots projects or groups of unsung community heroes that deserve to be celebrated, please nominate them now!
Each winner will be given awards of £500 and will be invited to attend an awards ceremony (we are reviewing this in light of COVID-19).
By Nick McDonald
22 / 07 / 20
15 / 07 / 20