MEWSo aims to defend and protect women from violence both at home and in the wider community
New health, relationship and sex education law Interview with Halaleh Taheri
New health education as well as newly reformed relationship and sex education in primary and secondary schools will become compulsory by 2020. Schools will be supported and prepared to teach the new subject when the material is ready and available by 2019. I interviewed Halaleh Taheri, the Executive Director and Founder of MEWSo and asked her about her opinion on this new legislation.
Halaleh Taheri: Activists have been struggling for the last 20 years to create change in the way sex education is taught in schools. Although in many other parts of the world they have already started to educate children and young people about relationship and sex education in countries such as Sweden, New Zealand and parts of Europe. In these countries schools are responsible for educating children on health, relationships and sex and the government is encouraging parents to actively support their children to understand how to approach adulthood in a safe and healthy way.
Secondary schools in the UK have already started teaching children and young people about honour related violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child marriage, grooming, and domestic violence as well as starting to teach about the different types of relationships. Children and young people can experience confusion around their sexuality at this developmental time in their lives and therefore it is important that they receive education around this in order to help them understand these feelings. Research shows that when parents and schools together support children to understand and learn about these, which are new to them, it makes children more assertive, aware and gives children more confidence to make healthier personal choices.
This new health, relationship and sex education will also add teaching around LGBTQ+ and raise awareness of different types of relationships, which I believe is important. Like adults, children and young people should know their rights, understand their feelings and learn to respect others differences.
We live in a modern world which is far different of our grandparents. Individuals can have freedom to be the person they were born to be. Different societies reach new norms through battles for their rights. Human rights are an important element of our lives. I think LGBTQ+ rights, sexual freedom and healthy relationships should be a universal right that everyone is entitled to have and for others to respect their differences.
News at MEWSo
Halaleh Taheri talks to Rosa UK Fund for Women and Girls about how MEWSo has benefited from recieving grants from Rosa. MEWSo has recently recieved another grant from Rosa which funded the #PolygamyMatters campaign.
Rosa gave us a grant from the Voices From The Frontline programme for our campaign #PolygamyMatters, to raise awareness of the problem of polygamy, encourage women’s voices to be heard and ultimately to help them take control of their lives. I spoke at Greenwich University about the emergency situation for these women; I wanted people to understand these women were unhappy and wanted to change their situation. Getting their stories heard was the first step, so I used the grant to run workshops for the women, where we used art therapy and other tools to encourage them to share their stories, so they realised they weren’t alone in dealing with these issues. I was breaking the taboo around polygamy and talking to politicians; 25,000 women in this country are living as a ‘second wife’ and are being ignored because it’s considered a ‘cultural issue’ but they are UK citizens.
One-to-one sessions by appointment
Available Monday - Friday 10am-4pm Location: Durham Road Resource Centre, Finsbury Park Languages: Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and English
One-to-one sessions by appointment
Available Monday and Wednesday 10am-4pm Location: Church Street Neighbourhood Centre, Cherwell House, Penfold Street NW8 8PT Languages: Farsi and English
Every Monday Time: 10:00am-1:00pm Location: Wood Green Library, Haringey Languages: English, Farsi and Kurdish Activities: Social club with a variety of activities specified by service users
Every Saturday Time: 10:00am-1:00pm Location: Durham Road Resource Centre, Finsbury Park Languages: English, Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic Activities: Social club with a variety of activities specified by service users
Time: 10:00am-1:00pm Location: Edmonton Green Shopping Centre, Enfield Languages: English, Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic Activities: Social club with a variety of activities specified by service users
Every Friday Time: 11am - 1pm Locations: Finsbury Park Community Rooms, Islington Activities: Mat and chair based Pilates for beginner and ability to speak to an advisor on health related issues Languages: Farsi, Arabic and English
Art and Exercise Therapy
Every Wednesday Time: 11am - 1pm Locations: Derry Hall. Church St Estate, Westminister Activities: Improving mental and physical health thourgh expressing feelings and emotions creatively while learnig new skills. Languages: ?
More services coming soon.
All our services are free however you must book to secure a place.
Booking and further information contact:
We also offer weekly befriending and one-to-one English Language sessions with a volunteer. If you would like support learning English or just want a friendly person to chat to please contact us.
On may 15th 2019 a law was implemented by the republican government which makes nearly all abortions illegal in the state of Alabama. Preforming an abortion after six weeks of being pregnant will make you a criminal and is punishable with 99 years in prison.
This law has been strongly criticised by the public for having 25 men of the senate pass the abortion bill in Alabama. Men are once again speaking on behalf of women. Pregnancy and child birth is an experience that women face and not men. Therefor a law which only affects a woman such as abortion should be a law which is discussed and implemented by women and not men. Unfortunately we still live in a male dominated society where most legislative roles are dominated by men.
The abortion law in Alabama states that abortion after six weeks of being pregnant is a crime unless it was necessary for the health of the mother. Women are therefor not left with much choice in most situations than to keep the baby. This is very problematic in situations where women have been raped, or in situations where a young girls finds herself pregnant but does not feel emotionally, mentally or financially stable to keep the baby.
Being raped is not a choice, being young and not understanding the importance of contraception should not be a crime. Contraception is also not a 100% guarantee and some women get pregnant anyways, therefor women should recieve support from the welfare system and the medical services. Women should not be criminlized in a sistuatuion where abotion could be the only potential option.
There is therefor an issue concerning poverty. People who have money can always find private ways to deal with an abortion even if it is against the law. This law therefor directly affects the working class. If a country like the USA had a good welfare system which supported the woman and her journey to become a mother then less women would feel financial unstable to keep the baby.
Jasmin Eragi, Communication Administrator of MEWSo and Editor of Newsletter
Thank you to Westminister City Council for our new Art and Exercise Therapy Project, it has been very successful. Here are some pictures of these lovely women taking part in our soap making workshop.
Some of our MEWSo members taking part in our activities
Moroccan film tackles taboo of unmarried mothers
CANNES - Maryam Touzani never forgot the day a young woman knocked on the door of her home in Tangier asking for work.
“She was from a village and she was heavily pregnant. My mother had no work for her but was afraid to let her go… She wasn’t in a good way and had clearly nowhere to go,” the Moroccan actress and director said.
Sex outside marriage is illegal in Muslim-majority Morocco and, at the time, a single mother who tried to give birth in a hospital would be thrown in jail.
“The girl had been going door-to-door, so my mother took her in for a few days until we worked something out but there was no solution. She had been going from town to town after running away from her family, working as a cleaner and hairdresser until people noticed her predicament and then she would have to move on.
The European stage première of Khaled Hosseini’s spiritual sequel to The Kite Runner.
In 1992 in an Afghanistan ravaged by war, an orphaned Laila is left alone in an increasingly threatening world. Her older neighbour Rasheed is quick to open his home and takes Laila as his second wife.
Rasheed’s first wife Mariam has no choice but to accept her younger, and now pregnant, rival. As the Taliban take over, life for all of them becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear and the two women find themselves unlikely allies.
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, love grows and sustains the human spirit even during the hardest of times.
“I raise up my voice - not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
Malala Yousafzai: 1997 – present
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the eduction of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.
19th June - International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
On 19 June 2015, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 19 June of each year the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, in order to raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence, to honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world and to pay tribute to all those who have courageously devoted their lives to and lost their lives in standing up for the eradication of these crimes.
20th June - World Refugee Day
On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.
23rd June - International Widows' Day
International Widows Day is an opportunity for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows – too long invisible, uncounted and ignored. A dearth of reliable hard data remains one of the major obstacles to developing the policies and programmes to address the poverty, violence and discrimination suffered by widows. There is a need for more research and statistics disaggregated by marital status, sex and age, in order to help reveal the incidence of widow abuse and illustrate the situation of widows.
30 July - World Day against Trafficking in Persons
Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.