Middle Eastern Women and Society organisation (MEWSo) is a charity organisation aiming to support and empower Middle Eastern and North African women refugees or asylum seekers who have experienced or are experiencing gender discrimination, domestic violence, honour-related violence, war, forced and Child marriage, FGM, and trauma. We aim to help them rebuild their lives and integrate displaced women into society. We aim to defend women from violence and discrimination both at home and in the wider community.
MEWSo is a grass roots organisation started in 2010. The brainchild of a group of Middle Eastern women who experienced prejudice, domestic violence, trauma, Honour-related violence in families while witnessing forced marriages and Female Genital Mutilations within their communities, founding members analysed the nature of support and assistance available to victims and reached the conclusion that once the victim has received basic support provided by mainstream services and campaign groups, she is left on her own to rebuild her life amid underlying mental scars. Longer-term issues faced by culturally-isolated women in a new set-up leave her with little support to help cope with new situations.
The idea to establish an organisation to specifically address the needs of women from the Middle East and North Africa based in London is rooted in the awareness, that in order to successfully tackle the problems these women suffer from and to support them in the overcoming of their isolation, it is necessary to invest every possible resource and energy.
MEWSo, then, is conceived to help such individuals rebuild strength, as a buttress to gain stamina and health in the journey towards a new way of living. To this end, MEWSo believes in bringing women who have experienced similar situations together, to engage in collective activities such as therapeutic workshops, counselling & befriending sessions and networking events. It is only by first standing together that we have strength to stand by ourselves.
In addition, MEWSo works with families and communities to raise awareness about women and children’s rights, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health illnesses and to educate cultures that disempower the already-vulnerable, or regard victims as at fault. At MEWSo, we are aware that changing attitudes is a long and difficult road, but believe there is no better time than the present to embark on such a path.