Celebrating Migrant and Refugee Women

Five extraordinary women were honoured tonight on International Women’s Day, at The 2013 Migrant and Refugee Woman of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the Women of the World Festival.

[h5]The 2013 Joint Winners are:[/h5]

Remzije Sherifi, Kosovan Glaswegian, former journalist, who began volunteering within 10 days of arriving in Scotland in 1999 from a refugee camp, despite not speaking English and being seriously ill. Remzije now runs Maryhill Integration Network (MIN) where she supports migrants and Scottish people. [Full Profile]

Constance Nzeneu, a Cameroonian from Cardiff, a lawyer who fought for her right to stay for three years and now leads Women Seeking Sanctuary Advocacy Group Wales (WSSAG)  which supports other women seeking protection in the UK. [Full Profile]

[h5]Young Woman of the Year[/h5]

Cynthia Masiyiwa a young Zimbabwean Londoner who arrived at the age of 15 and grew up to become an organiser, leader, and change maker with Citizens UK and Active Horizons where, among other things, she helped employ 60 young people during the Olympics. [Full Profile]

[h5]Honorary Winners[/h5]

Tina Gharavi, a Filmmaker and Geordie from Iran, author of the amazing BAFTA nominated feature film, I am Nasrine, a coming-of-age story about a young Iranian teenager seeking sanctuary in the UK. [Full Profile]

Emina Hadziosmanovic, honorary winner of the Young Woman of the Year Award, a Bosnian from Birmingham, currently back in Sarajevo  working on her PhD in clinical psychology to find new ways to help those suffering from PTSD. [Full Profile]

photography by Jason Wen, Spot of Bother 

The Ceremony was hosted by broadcaster Samira Ahmed who said: “The political tension around migration is so high now and even sympathetic coverage of migrant women, especially, from refugee backgrounds tends to be about them only really as victims. So I was intrigued by awards that would celebrate the positive contributions such women have made to British society, as individuals, and challenge some of our sweeping assumptions about them.

This year’s Awards also saw the launch of the Speaking Together media award for outstanding media coverage of women and migration. Gillian Slovo, novelist and playwright, Chair of the Speaking Together media award panel said: “In a world where so many people are in the move it is important not only for them but also for us that the voices of those who are forced to make their journeys be heard. That’s why I am delighted to be part of this award to elaborate excellent reporting of women and migration. And what a pleasure it has been to discover that despite all the prejudice and stereotypes that exist, there is so much well written, well researched media coverage to celebrate.”

[h5] The Speaking Together Media Award Winners are:[/h5]

Print – Zoe Williams,The Guardian, ‘Evicting asylum seekers? We just follow orders’

Broadcasting – Jackie Long at Channel 4 News  ‘Is the UK Border Agency fit for purpose? A damning report by the chief inspector of borders and immigration has raised serious questions over the UK Border Agency’s competence

Online – Len Grant, Life Without Papers: stories of undocumented migrant families and young people

Zrinka Bralo, Director of The Forum and founder of the Awards in 2012 said: “Our Women of the Year were nominated by their peers and the people they support.  Their communities recognise them as powerful agents for change, as outspoken advocates for the vulnerable, as women who are willing to take risks not only in speaking out, but also in standing up to those who have control over their  lives.  They live in the limbo of exile, with unimaginable losses and traumas and yet they find the strength not only to help themselves but to support and inspire others and to be the drivers of integration for their families and communities. And they don’t stop there – they work to change policies, and the hearts and minds of our politicians and the public. These women are essential for how modern Britain is and should be – just, fair, hard working and respectful of difference and diversity. They are the quiet forces in our communities and these awards shine a light on their extraordinary achievements.”

The Migrant and Refugee Woman of the Year Awards are delivered in partnership a between:



[h5]Migrant and Refugee Woman of the Year Awards funded and supported by[/h5]

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