Our History

The Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation was established in 2010 by the Director and Founder, Halaleh Taheri. Halaleh was born in Iran and was part of the 1979 revolution in Iran against the Islamic Republic and fought for the independence of Kurdistan. She was forced to leave Iran after her home town of Baneh, on the Iran-Iraq border, was bombed and occupied by the Islamic troops. As part of an armed party, she spent 3 years hiding in the nearby mountains hoping to be able to liberate the occupied towns and villages. However it became impossible to do so she moved to Iraq where she stayed for 11 years, witnessing the fall of Sadam Hossain in Kurdistan. In 1992 the Gulf War broke out between America and Iraq. Halaleh was forced again to flee to neighbouring Turkey to seek asylum from the United Nations. After 1 year in Turkey, Halaleh was given asylum in Sweden and lived there for 12 years where she educated herself, made a career and became politically active again, fighting for women’s rights. Halaleh eventually decided to move to London in 2006, where she founded MEWSo and built another life for herself. 

Halaleh took the decision 25 years ago to devote her life to helping refugee women from the Middle East and North Africa, first in Sweden and now here in London. As a woman born in the Middle East, she has first hand experience of honour related violence, she has suffered gender based injustices on a daily basis and lost many loved ones in the civil wars. Halaleh knows the difficulties displaced women face and that is why she set up MEWSo. An organisation that helps women in their journey of adjustment towards a new life.

Every year MEWSo helps hundreds of women across London to adjust to life in the UK by helping them with advice on housing, benefits, visa applications and legal assistance. MEWSo also provides much needed support to help those in need to cope and recover from trauma experienced in their country of origin, sexual, domestic and honour related violence and mental and physical health.

MEWSo maybe a small organisation but everyone involved, staff and volunteers, have passion, commitment and determination to break barriers.

MEWSo’s Annual Report 2017-18