IWD24: WONDER’s work with Migrant and Refugee Women and Girls

With the global crisis of displacement being increasingly prominent, the need for inclusive migrant integration policies become paramount.

It is important to acknowledge that the lived experience of refugees and migrants is shaped by factors such as gender, race, nationality, and economic status. As a charity dedicated to uplifting and empowering women and girls from all backgrounds and communities, WONDER’s work emphasises the importance of understanding and respecting this diversity of experiences.

WONDER’s Commitment to Migrant and Refugee Women and Girls

WONDER’s work revolves around making migrants and refugees feel like they belong. By working on projects that support their integration, WONDER strives to foster a more inclusive environment.

The FATIMA Project: A Whole-Person Approach to Migrant Integration

Our involvement in the FATIMA project, implemented from 2017-2019, focused on empowering women in Poland (Panorama), Spain (Senara), Slovenia (Sursum), and the UK (Baytree). The project supported over 200 migrant women across the four European countries by collaborating with five NGOs.

This project adopted a whole-person approach in its integration efforts, targeting language learning, mentorship, work placement, and civic engagement. Adopting a holistic approach proved crucial for the successful integration of migrant women. For example, during the initiative, many women were unable to attend the language classes due to employment or familial commitments. As a remedy for this, WONDER introduced weekend classes to accommodate these mothers.

The Baytree Centre in London: Supporting Migrant and Refugee Integration Through The Into School Program

To support the integration of migrant and refugee women and girls, WONDER has partnered with the Baytree Centre, a social inclusion charity based in Brixton. Their Into School Program supports migrants and refugees entering the education system, providing English lessons and assistance with school applications. Even during the challenges of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Baytree Centre continued to provide essential support, including referrals to food banks, universal credit applications, and educational aid.

WONDER’s partnership with the Baytree Centre has been crucial in ensuring the adjustment of migrant and refugee women and girls to life in the UK. The profound impact of their programmes is reflected in the high percentage of women and girls pursuing further education or entering employment after receiving support.

The MIRIAM Project: The Empowerment and Integration of Women and Girls Across Europe

As many women are still reeling from effects of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in terms of poor living conditions and increased poverty, these challenges are exacerbated for migrant and refugee women. With the MIRIAM Project, WONDER aims to address these challenges: The aim is to reach and empower 420 migrant women. WONDER is currently working alongside the Baytree Centre to providing mentoring, as well as language and digital skills to improve their employability and wellbeing.

PONTES: Supporting Ukrainian Refugees in Poland

Since 2018, WONDER has collaborated with our partner in Poland, Pontes, to support Ukrainian migrant women and their families. Pontes not only addresses the immediate needs of these women, but also provides long-term support, including Polish language classes, counselling, and career guidance.

Pontes continues to provide them with shelter, employment information and trauma support. To help migrant women and girls settle into their new lives in Poland, Pontes also provided spaces for them to discuss and recover from the trauma of their experiences. 

ELIS: Addressing Irregular Migration and Human Trafficking in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire

In collaboration with ELIS, WONDER has focused on encouraging the safe migration for women in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire seeking work and education opportunities abroad. The framework developed by WONDER aims to educate women on recognising legitimate job offers and finding pathways for safe migration, ultimately reducing the risk of exploitation and trafficking.

WONDER’s Successful Work with Migrant and Refugee Women and Girls

Our commitment to empowering migrant and refugee women is evident through our global programs and initiatives. By addressing the complex challenges faced by these migrant and refugee women and children, we have contributed to building more inclusive and supportive communities for those seeking refuge and a new life.

This International Women’s Day, under the theme “Inspire Inclusion”, we aim to champion all of the work and successes of WONDER and our partners. Every day we support migrant and refugee women and girls to feel welcome in their new communities and settle into their new lives.

Empower them to thrive in their new communities by donating here. Your support can provide vital resources and opportunities for them to build fulfilling lives.

Author: Emily Gander

Corporate volunteering in London Team building

Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.