Y’all are amazing. You want to know why? Well, let us tell you what happened.
On Sunday 3rd May, we put a call out telling you all that we are going to be supporting a local women’s refuge that supports South Asian women and children who have suffered from domestic violence, forced marriage and honour based crimes. As many of you may know, domestic violence has soared during lockdown and many women have faced further and greater challenges as a result of this global lockdown. So when they reached out and told us that they have increased their efforts to support these women but they are lacking supplies and resources, they cannot make public appeals as their location is private and even if they did, the fact that people are not able to leave their homes as risk of the virus means public support would naturally slow down as demand increased, we thought we could and should do something about it.
We knew although physical movement is restricted, we could utilise our social media and online presence (we’ve got a pretty decent one if we do say so ourselves) to rally up the people that could safely participate and do something in our own small way. We put out this blog post in the evening and within hours, the support and questions started flooding in.
We told everyone we would like to use our office (as it is public knowledge and a safe, private building) as a drop-off point for the refuge and we would keep it open between 11am – 4pm. We would then collect everything and drop it off to the refuge later that evening. We also knew that many people could not leave their homes but would want to support, so we got our mask and gloves on and drove around the city picking up donations from people’s doorsteps. After a successful day of collections and drop-offs, we were also met with people who wanted to directly donate to the refuge, those who were connected to housing groups or funders offering further support for the refuge and lots of messages of support from young millennial women of colour wanting to get more involved with work like this. It’s safe to say it was an incredibly successful day and moment for us to realise how wonderful and proactive our community really is and even during a time where everyone is facing challenges, you all still came through to help others. The refuge were so overwhelmed and said they hadn’t had such a large donation in a long time and this will help them go for months which eases a lot of pressure on the small team who are already doing so much.
From this experience, we also learnt a few things that:
- Community is everything. Community is what bonds people, drives changes and keeps society going in the best way. It also makes “business” a lot more human and as an organisation, it really allows you to see how you are not a gatekeeper but in fact you are a part of something that when driven collectively and with your community (not for) – it is a lot more powerful and impactful.
- We can easily overlook challenges that exist in the world if we do not directly feel them/are impacted by them. Because of this, we miss the opportunity to utilise our strengths and desire to help when it could really make a big difference. To combat this, organisations that sit between local communities and wider society are vital to bridge the gap and make support systems more accessible.
- Anyone can make a difference. You do not need to be an established organisation to make the world a better place. After the drop-off day, many of you asked how, as an individual, you can do things to support others and we’ve enjoyed doing 1-2-1 calls with you and group discussions around how you can do so. We’ll release some top tips soon for those who are curious!
- What some of us deem as safe is unsafe for others. “Home” is not a word that is near and dear to all. For some, it is the worst place to be during a global pandemic as it heightens all the worst parts of what your home life is and so we must, as society, get into the habit of checking in, thinking beyond our own circles and see if there are gaps in society that we can either address or at least bring awareness to so that those people who have no platform or way to voice themselves, are not forgotten.
Moving forward, we’re going to continue to support the refuge in whatever way we can i.e we are sourcing school work/text books from a local school for the children at the refuge, setting up a letter writing exchange with some of our GDs and women at the refuge, further food collections and much more!
This “new normal” that is currently centred around digital definitely has its advantages for young organisations with a strong online presence and social media following and if this is you, we encourage you to ask around your local community and see who may need help. Your wonderful online platform may just be the thing that can make society better in real life.
Once again, we are so grateful for all you helped us achieve in such short notice and your passion for community and supporting others. We are so proud of our GirlDreamer’s and hope you all know how amazing you really are!