In June 2010, more than 30 women walked 10km along the Thames, from WRC member Heba in the East End to Buckingham Palace, and raised over £4000 to help keep Heba’s classes open while they looked for funding to replace what was lost in the recession.
Everyone had a great day and year later Heba is still here! After the success of last year’s walk they have decided to make it an annual thing. This year their aim is to double the efforts and raise £8000 towards a volunteering project.
Heba Women’s Project is well known and loved in the community as a hub where immigrant women can come to learn, meet new people and increase their confidence. Heba offers accredited classes in English, sewing and computing and finds different ways to help depending on the needs of each woman.
One woman describes the 2010 walk:
“I remember Heba women's walk . We raised the Heba flag made by our own hands.
I remember the streets from East London to Buckingham Palace. Crossing Tower Bridge, we saw the Tower of London and I remembered all the stories I had learnt at Heba about the people who built it and were imprisoned there. I remembered Queen Elisabeth when I saw the Tower's gates and again when we passed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. I remembered the entire nation who worked very hard to get that civilisation and that freedom that we are blessed with.
I do believe that we can work like them and can make a change and leave our finger print. I found that at Heba. Heba is like jewellery on my hands that I don’t want to lose. Heba helps lots of women find their missing jewels.
Other women today are in need of someone to take their hand. They are suffering in silence. Their lives can change if we don't forget them.”
Another woman explains why she is going to walk 10km for Heba in 2011:
“I came to the UK because of my husband. I had been a teacher in my country and I wanted to restart my teaching career here. I just wanted to be useful in this country and not let my skills go to waste but first I needed to learn English. I looked for English classes everywhere but there are so many restrictions on who can have free classes and I didn’t have any money. Finally, I enrolled in a beginner class. It was much too easy, but I was desperate to do something with my time.
Luckily, a woman in the class told me about Heba, that there was a wider range of classes there, for everyone. I went along and was put in a class at my level and given help with my computer skills too. But it didn’t stop there. Through my teachers, I found out about so many other courses that I had access to and was able to start three volunteer placements in the local area. This gave me valuable experience, motivation, and the feeling that I was finally able to give something to the community. Best of all, one of the placements was as a teaching assistant in a primary school. Through this placement, I gained my Level 2 childcare NVQ and was taken on in an official capacity. I am now working as a full time teaching assistant and I love the job.
If it hadn’t been for Heba, there is no way I would be in this position today.”
If you want to join the Heba Women's Project's 10km River Walk on Sunday 19th June 2011 at 2pm contact Anne on 07960 124 262 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne or Afia on 0207 377 0400.
If you want to find out more about how Heba organised the walk and about other ways that you can fundraise to support your organisation and services see the sustainable fundraising pages on the WRC website.