I was very happy, last Sunday, to go along and celebrate in the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of the Hangleton and Knoll-Multi Cultural Women’s Group. SIS have collaborated with the Hangleton and Knoll Project (HKP) over many years.
The day showed how successful HKP’s strategy towards engagement with BME women has been. The approach taken, has clearly built on a community development and empowerment model. This has been directed to supporting and encouraging women to get involved in ways they want, undertake activities they want, and to make decisions independently.
Celebrations on the day displayed what the women are uniquely good at, and showcased strengths from Bollywood dancing, flower arrangement cookery, catering, baking (pickle /chutney making!) as well as great organizational skills ! Women are great at Multi –tasking!!
The event was attended by the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Violet Hancock and the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Alexandra Phillips MEP. Both spoke to common’ shared experiences’ and ‘won experiences’ of all women and particularly so in new and foreign countries, and how important it is for women to work together in support of our realizing our inherent potential.
It was particularly motivating and inspiring for myself as a BME woman to see the strong and nurturing relationship that have been cemented between women across various language groups and communities.
The closeness, inclusivity and sharing of experiences and areas of common interest, have no doubt been central to building the confidence, reducing isolation and helping the women in this group integrate, and overcome barriers they may have faced.
Credit is clearly to be given to HKP development workers who have undoubtedly been central to nurturing, supporting and developing leadership within this group of women.
They should be proud of how effectively they have managed to harness the power and potential of this group of women; this has been done so in a manner to ensure delegated autonomy and control to the women themselves, and which has undoubtedly been empowering and critical to the success of the group.
The confidence and skills gained by the women, together with personal satisfaction derived was visible in the smiles, energy, and connections that were clearly being made on the day, both between the women themselves, and with the wider community and supporters who attended.
There is a model of ‘best practice’ here that we all VCS organisations can aspire to.
SIS extends our warmest Congratulations to the Hangleton and Knoll Multi Cultural Women’s Groups on their reaching this 10 year Milestone.
Thank you for inviting us to share and celebrate with you.
Our good wishes for even more success going forward into the next 10 years and we look forward to many more years of collaboration and support between HKP and SIS.
(Shahreen Shebli – SIS Director)