The Henna Foundation (formally known as All Wales Saheli Assoc) is a third sector National registered charity, supported by the Welsh Assembly Government, and recognised as a ‘Welsh export’. The project works across devolved geographical boundaries to advance the needs, concerns and aspirations of Muslim women, children and families that they live with, by applying a unique approach of engaging all members of the family. Special attention and support is given to the needs of women and children ensuring that the Foundation acts as brokers between marginalized sections of the Muslim community and government departments, statutory and voluntary sector agencies and wider civil society.
The Foundation navigates through gender biases, cultural boundaries, nationalities to ensure a holistic community approach to support individuals and their families; by working within the community and challenging and correcting misguided negative rhetoric and elements in the name of Islam, with a truer understanding of Islam; while building the social capacity and confidence of the Muslim communities’ cultural and religious identity within the British context.
Henna Foundation is committed to strengthening families and building safer, strong communities within civil society. The Foundation recognises the benefits of healthy families; by improving the quality of life for children, youth, and women, reduces the risk of radicalisation and extremist tendencies. In meeting this objective, Henna Foundation has been leading the way in 4 key areas;
1. Safeguarding lives: amongst the Muslim community, advocating social change by promoting the benefits of civic and political participation, increasing awareness of terror laws and collective social responsibility for safer communities and families at a grass-roots level;
2. Supporting victims of forced marriage & ‘honour’ related violence. In our work to mitigate this practice we work within the social realms of the Muslim community and a broad spectrum of mainstream services
3. Brokerage role; networking and communications link between client group and mainstream services
4. Through the functions of the project’s ‘One stop Shop’ the project observes social trends, nuances, behaviours and circumstances of the Muslim community and act as an information source to Government bodies and relevant services & policy makers
OUR BELIEF, CONVICTION AND PASSION is to improve participation, and communication to reduce isolation and marginalisation; with our partners collectively address the challenges faced by the human family and build a safer stronger civil society that is faith sensitised, underpinned by the values of social justice, human rights and security.
HENNA FOUNDATION’S VISION
We believe that regardless of disadvantage people of all backgrounds should receive the support they need to reach their fullest potential and enjoy life to the full.
Henna provides appropriate services primarily to disadvantaged Muslim children and their families so that they can overcome internal and external barriers and achieve their personal goals and life aspirations. Wherever possible, Henna supports service users from the wider community
- Services that are based upon listening and responding to service users and their families and carers
- Excellence in every aspect
- Services that are culturally appropriate for Muslim service users and respect service users of other cultures and faiths
Reducing fear factors and developing mutual trust and respect
Promote community cohesion and mainstreaming agenda
Strengthening democracy, empowering all citizens
Building safer familial & civic environments for families & communities
Henna is committed to reducing barriers, disadvantage, inequality and marginalisation to improve skills and educational attainment, health and well-being, community safety, communities and neighbourhoods and political engagement
In achieving our commitments, Henna works in partnership with numerous agencies, services and cross-govt depts to develop services in response to the needs of Muslim children, young people and their families.
HENNA’S BARRIERS, PITFALLS AND SUCCESS FACTORS
Over the past three years Henna has identified the following key contributing characteristics that have been obstacles in addressing the multifaceted and complex problems within the community;
- Gender inequality / issues and challenges relating;
- Community in a state of denial
- Lack of progressive community leadership;
- Low levels of confidence and self esteem;
- Uniquely resilient cultural climate;
- Limited concept of community development and ability to merge and meet their faith duty and requirements to participate in society/community and demonstrate social activism and community cohesion
The above have fundamentally hampered Henna’s development and sustainability
A significant amount of time has been spent developing a culturally sensitive mechanism of engagement. The following factors have been contributory to winning community trust;
- Advice and guidance from a cross sphere professional agents outside of Wales
- Continuous consultation with community via community grapevine or directly
- Observance and refection of the community’s cultural climate and activity
- Managing patriarchal influence and culture of gender inequality
- Insuring that service delivery falls within the Muslim persuasion and sensitivity
- On-going consultation with qualified faith leaders and advocates
The bespoke methodologies and strategies have influenced Henna’s successful work delivery and community engagement.