Aug 15, 2012

August 2012 Update

During the Entrepreneurship Programme
During the Entrepreneurship Programme

July saw us back at Imperial College Business School, London, for our annual teaching programme in Entrepreneurship.  The programme is taught by some of the best professors in this field, and they inspire our women to believe in themselves, understand their core strengths and attributes, and give them the confidence to move on with their lives. 

This year we had our biggest ever group of women – 36 in total, most of whom were aged under 25.  Truly global in composition, many were from West Africa, and from a whole range of Eastern European countries.  The women have experienced many types of trafficking, from sexual to domestic labour slavery including some from vulnerable situations here in the UK.  They are all referred to us by the primary care charities who have looked after them.  Some of the women are still in danger from their traffickers, whilst others may have been out of their situation for several years before they feel ready to come to our programme. 

Our only requirement is that they are ready to listen, to learn and to think about moving forward with their lives, with the help of HERA and our team of mentors. 

The programme takes them through a progressive schedule of teaching from self-awareness and team work, through negotiation skills, and financial planning for small ventures.  It builds on the individual’s own priorities for their lives, and gives them the self-belief and encouragement to take this forward.  Each woman is given a mentor, who is a professional person who understands the workplace, educational pathways or small businesses, who supports her in working on her plans. 

This is what some of the women said about the programme this year:

“Thank you so much for this opportunity.  I have learned a lot and have enjoyed every day.  It is an experience I will never forget, and I am honoured to have taken part.  “

“I really appreciate all the effort the HEA team put into me as an individual and other aspiring business women”

“I promise to make use of all the resources and assistance that HERA has granted me and make it into a success”

And already we have women starting up their ventures in a small way – let us know if you want a temporary tattoo, a delicious cake in the South East London area, or a brilliant cleaner in North London.  Others are embarking on their life-time dreams of becoming nurses, or bookkeepers. 

And of course this is not to forget our existing community of HERA women from previous years, who are studying Criminology, Psychology or applying for Access to Medicine.  They are doing work experience, or volunteering to make themselves more employable.  Some are still working with their mentors after three years, still on track, and finally able to see a useful, independent life ahead of them. 


Thank you so much for helping us to make this happen!

Making new friends
Making new friends


May 18, 2012

May Update

Working together
Working together

Thank you to all our supporters!

 The last few months have been really productive for us here at HERA.

At the moment we are  in the process of planning the 2012/13 entrepreneurship training and mentoring programme. This year we are aiming to take on 36 women and have been working closely with our service providers to make sure we reach our goal. We’ve had a healthy number of new mentor recruits who are eager to share their vast experience and knowledge to their mentees. We are also very grateful to the current mentors from this year’s programme, who have committed to taking on another women this summer.

HERA has always been very fortunate to have volunteers come forward to offer their time to run workshops for the women on the course. For example, one of our past mentors has been running English Communication workshops focusing on giving women a stronger voice, a clearer English accent, more positive body language.  We also ran a life coaching session that focused on the women’s strengths, values and overcoming weaknesses. The women who have taken part in these workshops were very positive about their experience and were happy to recommend these workshops to other women on the course. 

HERA has been able to organize work experience for one of our women who will be starting her access to medicine course this September at a Plastic Surgery Clinic.   Opportunities like this are invaluable to HERA students. 

Your donations have provided us the opportunity to pay for the women’s travel to these workshops and attend work experience to ease their financial burdens. The more money we raise gives us the opportunity to offer more services to the women, to help them on their paths to economic independence. 

Thank you again for all your all help to make it possible for these women to achieve their dreams.

Feb 21, 2012

HERA Update February 2012


Thank you to all our donors!

Our women continue to make progress towards their goals. The charity lending clothes to women who only own jeans for court appearances has now started and there has been very positive feedback from barristers and social service providers.  Another woman is in Zimbabwe organising the licences and permits to start up a children’s nursery in her home town, whilst a third has decided to ‘go for it’ and has enrolled on an Access course for medicine in September – her life’s dream, which she thought had passed her by (she is 22 years old!) until HERA instilled in her the belief that she could still do it. 

Thanks to your donations, we have been able to put on additional events for women this year: in CV writing and interview skills, and making the most of your inner potential.  They have asked us to do more of these.  We have also put together a short video – do have a look if you have 5 minutes! It is nice to hear about HERA’s impact from the students themselves.

A couple of weeks ago we held a focus group for women who attended the course more than a year ago, to find out whether HERA has a lasting benefit.  Here are some of the things they said:

“Whatever background you come from, you can still be somebody.”

“I used to be shy, and couldn’t speak out, but now I’ve passed my Progression Pathway to Nursing due to my mentor’s motivation.”

“HERA doesn’t stop after a year; it stays with you for life.”

Thank you for helping us make a real difference to these women.


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