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Anawim celebrates women's achievements

Anawim awards

On 15 December 2015, Anawim presented certificates to 71 women at an awards ceremony celebrating their achievements.

The inspirational ceremony, which was full of tears and laughter, highlighted the women’s stories and the ongoing journeys they are taking with Anawim’s support. It also gave funders and supporters the chance to see what a difference their contributions make.

Case workers, advisers, psychologists, trustees and members of staff talked about Anawim’s background, shared what they do and said how proud they are of the progress the women have made. Lucy Baldwin, an author and senior lecturer at De Montford University with expertise of women in the criminal justice system, described her admiration for what the women have accomplished.

Many of the women shared their stories about what brought them to Anawim and how their lives have changed. These were opened by a client who had suffered abuse and exploitation, who had been in prison and whose child had been taken from her. With the support of Anawim she found the strength to turn things around and told new clients to “hang in there, as you will get through it too.”

Students from the self-esteem course told stories that show there is light at the end of the tunnel. One member of this class had her child taken away after she committed a crime. She had suffered domestic violence and became severely depressed.  When she first came to Anawim she was suicidal and didn’t speak to anyone. However, with support from the classes she rebuilt her life. On her return to court, the judge told her it would be “a privilege” to reunite her with her daughter, with whom she now has regular contact. As well as changing her own life, she now helps others who have been abused through peer mentoring at Anawim. She also gives talks to police on vulnerable women. Of her experiences she said, “This fabulous butterfly will continue to blossom each and every day.”

/media/news/library/anawim-1.jpgA former client, Adella, when describing how Anawim helped her said, “I owe my life to this wonderful charity.” Abused and exploited when she was young, Adella wants to give back to Anawim after they helped her and now works to raise awareness with police, the media and more. She is passionate about supporting other vulnerable young people and often gives talks and workshops to offer support and advice to others.

A woman who completed the Trauma, Recovery and Empowerment (TREM) course said, “Anawim helped me through the worst pain I’d ever had.” After losing her daughter, she overdosed and began hallucinating. With the support of the TREM course, she has been clean for 16 months. And a student from the Stop and Think class who turned to alcohol after being abused as a child and adult said that, with Anawim’s support, she hasn’t drank in months.

Some women were presented with awards for achieving between three and six certificates in the last term – a great achievement in a short space of time.

An Independent Domestic Violence Adviser based at the centre presented awards to two women, one of whom had suffered abuse for over 20 years. The first woman told those gathered, “don’t let it break you but make you stronger.” The second spoke of how she had been assaulted by an ex-partner, an attack so violent it nearly left her and her unborn baby dead. Refusing to let this beat her she stated, “I am a victor, not a victim.”

These last powerful stories brought the ceremony to a close. Following the event there was a Christmas buffet, offering the opportunity for the women to celebrate and socialise with the friends they have made through the centre.

Musarat Bahadur of Anawim said, “the positive changes in so many women is a privilege to witness and all at Anawim hope to continue to highlight these achievements in the future.”

/media/news/library/anawim_logo-copy.jpgAnawim helps women throughout Birmingham who are involved in prostitution, offending behaviour, drug abuse and sexual exploitation to move their lives forward and reach their full potential. It provides rehabilitation, prison outreach, mental health support, family support, case management and other services, including money advice and accommodation support.

Partners include Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, who also said a few words at the ceremony, and Solihull and Bournville colleges. The colleges run accredited courses at Anawim’s centre, including Health and Social Care, Parenting, English and Maths. The relationship between Anawim and the colleges has benefited the clients dramatically, with some having continued to enhance their skills and education. 

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