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Featured member: Iraqi Welfare Association

This week we had the pleasure of speaking to Fatemah Al-Ansare, the Events and Publicity Manager for the Iraqi Welfare Association, a community hub in Wembley. The IWA has a large focus on welfare – running our own Creative English programme plus fitness groups and community parties and events throughout the year – as well as free legal advice sessions, where members of the community can meet face-to-face with local experts. A range of minority groups in the area benefit from all aspects of the IWA’s work, not just the Iraqi community.

Fatemah told us that the IWA’s aim is to “provide help for anyone who needs it [and] to help the local community be in cohesion with one another”. Fatemah herself places a large emphasis on encouragement. She says that being nice, kind and having good manners makes a big difference. Ultimately, she wants everyone who comes into the centre to feel accepted and equal.  She says her greatest achievement is changing lives of women with Creative English – some arrived unwilling to say a single thing, but left with the confidence to speak full sentences.

Fatemah considers Creative English the most important work that the centre does. With so many women taking part, the IWA team never considered stopping working with them. Even with their time on the course done, they still come to the centre, taking part in reading and writing classes. And the team are eager to get started again with a whole new group of women

Fatemah also shared some stories from the class. One woman was excited to tell the group that she had been on a journey across town using the bus and the train, and was also able to ask for directions. The daughter of another lady told the trainers that she no longer needed to accompany her mother to the GP anymore, as she was now able to speak for herself. And a third woman told the trainers that she had felt like she was all alone before joining the class, but now she had friends and family.

For further information, visit www.iraqiwelfare.com