Sandwell African Women Association [SAWA] provide community support services to disadvantaged African women and African refugee women and children. The group delivers a range of services to improve safety, help those who are homeless and support young people who face barriers to work.
Walingamina Shomari, voluntary Project Coordinator at SAWA, explained their important work:
“Many women that we support struggle with English as it’s not their first language and struggle to communicate with the rest of the community to express their needs. That’s why they come to us for help.
“We offer four programmes to support them which are Advice & Support, Community Development, Health & Wellbeing and the Refugee & Migrant Forum.
“On a weekly basis we provide the following activities; a drop-in centre to provide advice and guidance to women who need support, a sewing and tailoring club where the women can learn how to sew clothes for themselves and their children, a cookery club, a job club to help prepare for interviews and create a CV. We also offer a befriending coffee club to deliver classes on the use of the internet, money management as well as community social events to reduce isolation.
“The women and children can access various elements of support for their health and wellbeing, we can help with claiming benefits and signpost them to health and social care services.”
The Foundation has awarded SAWA £21,710 through five grants, and most recently supported their emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic, with thanks to funding from the National Emergencies Trust.
Since the pandemic, women from SAWA have mobilised themselves to proactively provide emergency support to socially isolated and vulnerable elderly women from the African community. The group have been delivering essential food, toiletries and basic necessities to women all over the Black Country and Birmingham. Mr Shomari added:
“The funding we received from your Foundation made a huge difference, especially to our support for elderly women affected by the pandemic. We were also to provide advice on COVID-19 and translate the government guidelines for our service users who struggle with English language, reducing their anxiety, fear and confusion.
“Your support helped us to be resilient and put us in the position to provide community support that the African women so desperately needed. Your support helped us save African women’s lives.
“SAWA is needed because it’s imbedded into the African Black community in Sandwell where everyone comes from similar cultures and backgrounds and understands each other.”
If you’d like to apply for funding please view our Available Grants here.