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Voice of Migrant Women

The VSB Foundation

The Voice of Migrant Women

by The VSB Foundation

In 2017, The Voice of Migrant Women project began supporting six organisations working on the ground with refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant women in Northern Ireland.  Funded by the Pilgrim Trust and VSB Foundation, it aimed to explore the challenges faced by this community, and which interventions could transform those challenges, removing barriers to women claiming their rights, becoming active citizens and resolving their own problems.

Over 7 years, a total of 9 organisations were supported: Homeplus, Anaka Women’s Collective, NIACRO, NICRAS, South Belfast Roundtable (Women of the World Group), STEP, YMCA North Down, Corrymeela and NI Somali Association.

Funding was targeted at groups already carrying out work on the ground with this population.  It was flexible, allowing groups to address emerging needs, to listen to and be led by participants, to seize opportunities and experiment with how best to respond to challenges and needs.

While funding was small – just £5,000 per year for each organisation, this long term, sustained, flexible, collaborative approach opened doors, allowed new areas of work to emerge and the projects to shift and morph as need and circumstances dictated.  Over seven years, relationships of mutual trust developed between partners, funders and evaluator which allowed participants to share their struggles, ask bold questions and explore new possibilities for the work, often in collaboration.

  • 1911 group work sessions over 7 years
  • 1504 case work sessions
  • 869 women involved
  • From 40+ mother countries
  • £250,000 of funding from Pilgrim Trust and VSB Foundation

But numbers cannot reveal the real impact of this work.  It took place over a period of huge change in the number of refugee, migrant and asylum seekers in Northern Ireland and the nature of challenges facing this community here.  Groups evolved and changed their response as new issues emerged, through a global pandemic, cost of living crisis and new conflicts globally prompting increasing numbers of people seeking sanctuary in Northern Ireland, and as a result of the reflection and collaboration built into the Voice of Migrant Women project.

As the project draws to a close in 2024, below are collected a series of learnings, reflections and publications produced which document it.

Partner organisations can be contacted directly at the links below:

Anaka Women’s Collective
NI Somali Association
YMCA North Down

Earlier participating organisations:

South Belfast Roundtable – closed in 2023

Voice of Migrant Women project logos

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on The Voice of Migrant Women

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