Aawaz – The Voice of Asian Women Across the Nation
AAWAZ is a voluntary sector organisation and registered charity which was formed by Asian women in 1997.
The name AAWAZ mean “Voice” in Urdu and is the “voice” of Asian women across Lancashire and nationally.
The charity’s work revolves around the principle of self-help, equipping women and families to learn to help themselves, so that the culture of dependency can be broken down. Through its work, a better understanding between communities has been achieved which is aiding integration and harmony.
The organisation’s head office is in Hyndburn Lancashire, in the heart of the deprived Central Ward, where 95% of residents are from South Asian heritage families. AAWAZ on average engages with over 300 women a week who all have different needs, but the main thrust of its work is still with women who wish to learn English, to enable them to help themselves and their families. The charity has sub-groups in Preston, Lancaster and Pendle and many volunteers across the country.
AAWAZ firmly believes that “Home is the whole world and the very first academy for a child is the mother’s lap”. If the mother is well informed, supported and educated, then the lives of families can be improved. Women play an important role and it is vital that their education, employment, health, housing and children’s education is improved in order that they can enhance their lives and the lives of their families.
A strategic focus is important so that the organisation can assist and enable women to help with their own development and so to help themselves.
The organisation’s vision is: “To remove the culture of dependency; improve the lives of South Asian women and their families; and help create equal and cohesive communities where women can feel a sense of belonging and play their part in the wider society”.
Aims and Objectives
The aim of AAWAZ is to support and work with women to help improve their chances of integrating into the wider society and improving lives of future generations.
Learning through its experience of working with women in the deprived communities in the area and following comprehensive research, the charity has concluded that to achieve its Vision it should seek to:
• Assist women improve their language skills in English
• Prepare job seekers for their job search and build their confidence to enable them to seek work in the job market
• Provide support for women with mental health issues
• Improve women’s capacity to improve and develop the lives of future generations
• Enable women to understand their rights and responsibilities as UK citizens and positively and constructively help their own and the wider community
• Motivate women to help themselves and others
The organisation believes that its goal should be to make self-help the norm and equip women so that they can feel equal and valued and eliminate a culture of dependency and helplessness.