At this festive time of family and togetherness we're really excited to tell you about the success of our new project which brings together women from several different support groups to dance together.
Based in one of the most deprived boroughs of London - a borough that also has the one of the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the UK - we have created our first project which is open to clients of all relevant support groups in the area. This means that any woman who can benefit from our classes can attend, rather than in the past when we only held classes in client venues and refuges.
Our primary partner agency is Migrant Help UK which has a refuge locally for people seeking asylum, many of whom are women escaping war, slavery and trafficking. But there is also a Women's Aid refuge nearby and women come from there to join the class. We are publicising the project to other agencies supporting victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and we are really pleased to see more women attending on a weekly basis.
Most of these women are isolated and very far from home. All are seriously traumatised. But there is a wonderful sense of joy when we put the music on and they start to move and dance together. Zahida who teaches the class is eternally positive and smiling, and her warmth and positivity rubs off on everyone. The women soon begin to smile and laugh as they dance to the music and learn new moves, and it's marvellous to see them chatting together after class.
At the end of the class Zahida always asks if anyone has any favourite music from home on their phone. Then she plugs it into the speaker and everyone dances together to the latest track from Eritrea or Albania!
Music and dance bringing people together and helping heal terrible trauma - that's what our work is all about and we feel very blessed and grateful to you all for helping make it happen. We will be launching a fundraiser next year specifically to raise funding for this project, and we really hope you will be able to support us.
Love and friendship to you all during the festive season