In this post, refugee women imagine a better world and think about how they could build it. 

Maha

I would build a world where women come together across different cultures and communities to support each other - these pictures represent that. Here, I am showing Liverpool’s community some of our Sudanese traditions. You can see a special jug called Jabana, small cups with coffee, different oils and perfumes, and Bukhor which is a special kind of wood mixed with perfume. When it is ready we put it over charcoal to create a nice smell in the place where people are all sitting together. We serve our coffee with dates and sweets.

food

For the food I decided to cook a vegetable known as okra which we call Mafrook Bamyah, and a minced meat and yoghurt mix called Naaemia. I have served this with a kind of bread named Kisra, green salad and chilli sauce.

food

We are women from different backgrounds but I believe that sharing our cultures allows us to join together on International Women’s Day to celebrate unity, increase awareness about each other’s circumstances, and show that we can be one voice when campaigning.

Bosede

refugee women

bosede

I would like to rebuild a friendly home as a day centre for people who are over 60 years old. I would do this because I realise that plenty of over 60’s are living on their own and feeling lonely. I think is good for people to make friends, have tea, coffee and biscuits, cold drinks, and play bingo in a friendly environment. In the winter time we would do some exercise together, then in summer time we could all go for a picnic together as friends.

Anonymous

Having nowhere to turn to after my asylum application was refused numerous times, I lost hope. I often wondered ‘how does one make others believe the trauma they have gone through, with no evidence when looks so unbelievable?’, ‘how does one prove their credibility?’, ‘who do I look to for support?’, ‘who do I trust?’.

These are the questions that come to my mind over and over again, and then I realized that it is trust I would build in a new asylum system. I want to build trust in oneself, our relationships, our communities, the organisations work with, the policies that shape our lives, the laws that impact us.

refugee women

This extends to the asylum system. The Home Office often believes that we, as people who are asking for sanctuary, are lying. We are accused of not being truthful, or not having 'credibility'. When you have been through a trauma and are told that you are not believed, it damages your self-esteem and impacts your mental health.

A lack of trust has a dramatic effect on one’s self esteem over time which makes us loose our motivation. This can harm our mental health; we feel depressed, anxious, withdraw from social situations, and makes us extra sensitive to criticism.

In conclusion, I believe that to build trust is to build a thriving community. I would build an asylum system where we have support from organisations and individuals who act with commitment to benefit the wider community through common beliefs and shared values. I would build an asylum system where people who are claiming asylum are not automatically disbelieved, or assumed to be liars. We are tired of explaining ourselves and trying to prove our own experiences; we're drained. People should have the opportunity to show that they are telling the truth, and are given a chance to prove their story. I think this would help people be clear about their circumstances, and help their recovery from the traumas they have experienced. After all, it takes a lot to leave home.

Amie

refugee women

I would build an asylum system where women and children are safe, educated, and can get the support that they need. This is important because in the current system women and children often feel powerless. I have seen so many sad and painful things happen to women and children, it’s so hard. We need to fight for brighter futures where we are safe and happy.

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How to cite this blog post (Harvard style) 

What I would build. Available at: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2021/03/book-review [date]