The "Refuge of Help to Women from Latin America", the only one of its kind in Europe, opens its doors to women and children to resist racism and domestic violence
More than 30 years ago, refugees from Colombia and Chile created a collective in the UK with the aim of resisting racism and domestic violence. Since then, the shelter has helped thousands of African-American women and children, and other ethnic minorities, escape their situation at home and start a new life.
Leer en español: Conoce el nuevo refugio para mujeres latinoamericanas en Europa
According to the newspaper Together, its comprehensive advisory and defense services include:
- Personal security planning
- Temporary accommodation
- Legal advice
- Specialized support services for children
- Support with the development of skills, workshops, family outings, and social activities
Now, a new shleter has opened its doors to those who need it. "The opening of a new housing is the greatest achievement in the history of LAWA. Our shelters mean more than putting a roof over the heads of our beneficiaries, it is a safe refuge of brotherhood where women are heard. It is a space where women learn to rebuild broken pieces, rebuild and take control of their lives", said Rosa Heimer, Knowledge and Policy Coordinator for the group to the newspaper i News.
These two are the only shelters in Europe for Latin American women and children who also offer comprehensive and intersex services, are trans-inclusive and welcome women of all abilities, from any cultural context, ethnicity, social class, religion, and sexuality.
According to the official page of the refuge, the team is made up of 14 women from different Latin American origins and different professional fields. These women have experience in areas such as gender violence, counseling, monitoring and evaluation, shelter management or community participation, and working together at LAWA, they provide support to more than 800 women per year.
"The women of our community are more vulnerable to violence and discrimination due to their language barrier, lack of access to information and how to access their rights, racism, unsafe immigration status and, as a consequence, fear of accessing to the general services. Therefore, it is vital to have a specialized service dedicated to providing comprehensive support to Latin American women who suffer violence, since often, other generic services do not meet their cross-purposes", Heimer added.
Finally, all of the group's ethics and practices are based on Latin American community feminism, which originated with indigenous women in Bolivia and Guatemala. From that feminist, communitarian and decolonial position, women there recognize themselves in their history and fight against the forms of violence and colonialist-patriarchal oppression underway.
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez
Translated from “Conoce el nuevo refugio para mujeres latinoamericanas en Europa”