9 months after winning: What do the Women On the Move awards mean?

After a motivating WOW Think-In at the Southbank centre last week, excitement over the Women On the Move Awards is mounting!

With the nomination deadline for next year’s awards creeping closer we thought now would be the perfect time for a catch up with our Young Woman and Woman Of the Year 2015!

Woman Of the Year 2015, Syrian doctor Sonia Khoury,  won the award for her invaluable work with refugee women in Wales. Talking to Sonia, it was clear that the awards mean a lot more than just the day of the ceremony. In fact, Sonia described the experience as a ‘pathway to being invited to more events’ enabling her to reach more people and have her voice heard from a greater platform.

But the impact of the Women On the Move Awards goes beyond the individual; it sheds light on a sector in community work which often gets overlooked. In terms of the current discourse on migration and the hostile environment sustained by the debates over the immigration bill, the alternative view on the role of migrant and refugee women offered by the awards is both harder to find and more important. Nine months on from winning, the memory of the awards still serves as proof that the effort put into the work that Sonia does is recognised and her voice is being heard.

Similarly, Chrisann Jarrett was very happy to talk to me about the impact of the awards and spoke fondly of the memories. Chrisann was awarded Young Woman of the Year for her instrumental work with The Let Us Learn campaign. A movement that helps irregular and undocumented young people access higher education. What stuck me most was the fact that the awards appeared to be the first time Chrisann received any recognition for her work. She told me that her initial reaction to being nominated was shock because she had didn’t really think that she had done anything! To clarify, Chrisann’s campaign was started after she herself was denied access to student loans and since then has enabled many more young people who were brought to the UK as children to access university – Hardly nothing!

Since winning her award, Chrisann has noticed that she now receives a lot more recognition from outside the sector. Particularly from other students at The LSE who want to get involved with her scheme and who previously knew nothing about it. Pride was also an emotion brought up by Chrisann who talked about a transformation from shame to pride in terms of her identity. But when asked what the best thing about the process was, Chrisann replied that being around the other winners was inspiring and unforgettable!

This year, the nominations close on 23rd November and once again we want to give migrant and refugee women an opportunity for their work to be recognised and celebrated. Help us do that by nominating someone you know today or get involved and become part of the team behind the awards!


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