EASE Women Group, based in Bolton, helps women who are affected by FGM (female genital mutilation) and was established to help unleash their creativity and help with their everyday issues using creative ways and art.

The group offers a variety of activities for women to come together, socialise and get involved with what is happening in their communities. EASE runs seminars about FGM and child protection. It also offers practical support in terms of helping women to settle in and find great opportunities that are close to them such as volunteering, jobs, courses and training opportunities.

The group goes on a few trips to the local library and museum with their families, as well as trips to local zoos and days trip to Blackpool. Days like this provide the families that EASE helps with great opportunities to bond and have fun, without worrying about other issues that they may have.

The group has found that these trips helped with mental health and general wellbeing. There was a lot of fun and laughter had by all, and the trips also provided a great source of education for all involved. Some of the attendees have spent a large part of their lives in refugee camps, so being able to get out and visit new places and see the seaside allowed them to explore and see new places.

After the trips, the group received great feedback, with all participants wanting to repeat them again!

Nagat is a 50-year-old lady who came to the UK in 2016 as a refugee with her two daughters, son and grandson. Before this, she was in Egypt living in a refugee camp for more than 10 years. She doesn’t speak English and her daughters and son speak very little too. She has uses EASE’s drop-in sessions to gain valuable information and her grandson often attends the homework club. Nagat often feels isolated and stressed, as she struggles with the language barrier and has a lack of confidence. She took part into EASE’s camping trip to Swallow Falls, where she was responsible for catering and cooking for the group and taking care of everyone. Although Nagat suffers with a problem in her knees, she was determined to complete the three-hour walk and get involved in all activities. Nagat said she had “never felt happier and healthier” than she’s felt since she met the group.

Nagat now feels confident enough to cook and cater for more than 100 people at a community event held by BRASS, an organisation concerned with refugee and asylum seekers. She even hopes to start her own food business.

Groups like EASE are a great lifeline for people like Nagat. They provide them with friends that have been through similar situations to them which helps with their general wellbeing and gives them someone to talk to. EASE tackles international issues being faced by women every day at a local level.