By Jael Lutandila
A Bradford charity that specialises in helping women of South Asian origin has appealed for donations in the run-up to the Christmas period.
Womenzone Community Centre was set up in 2003 to help prevent the isolation of South Asian women in the Bradford 3 area, and to help them to integrate more.
Sadia Sajid, the finance and development manager of Womenzone, said: “We are requesting donations to provide food parcels and hot meals including a Christmas Day lunch.
“We would also like to provide Christmas gifts to those children coming from the most disadvantaged families and are requesting Bradford businesses to support these efforts.”
Rubina Khalid, the development manager of the charity, said: “The team of Womenzone deserve a special thanks for being part of the helping programme while they have their own families to look after too.
“We are positive and optimistic to do more for people to help them to get through the difficult times”.
Despite being the city with the largest proportion of Pakistan ethnic origin (20.3%) in England, Bradford has been a city where Muslim women have tended to be less integrated.
The Muslim Women’s Council conducted a feasibility study in 2009 which identified a need to establish a Muslim women-led regional structure.
In an article for The Guardian in 2016, Aina Khan – a British-Pakistani journalist, writer and playwright – highlighted the issue of discrimination against Muslim women in the city.
In the article, Aina Khan said: “Despite the fact that more British Muslim women than men are getting degrees, we are the most disenfranchised group in the country.
“Not only are we subject to high levels of unemployment and poverty, but discrimination on the basis of our faith, gender and ethnic background hinders our entry into the labour market.”
Womenzone is trying to bring new projects to help the Bradford community. During the October 26 half term week, the charity introduced on Tweeter the hashtag #NoChildShouldGoHungry.
Womenzone project worker, Abaida Hussain said: “We have been providing hot meals throughout the school holidays; over the summer holidays we ran a very limited summer scheme, providing hot lunches and activity for children.
“The demand for food packs and hot lunches has increased and we hope to keep providing food packs to the most vulnerable.
“We have seen people from across the district come to the centre including refugees and asylum seekers.
“It is been a challenge, but we are committed to supporting those in need and we will continue to do so.”