Home Girls Unite, a support group for eldest daughters from immigrant families, is working hard to create safe spaces for women from immigrant backgrounds to open up emotionally. The support group was co-founded by Hanna, who is British-Somali, and Yasin, who is British-Gambian.
Both founders come from immigrant households and noticed that there was a need to support those who were in the same situation. “We aim to empower these women who were forced to become adults before their time, to put themselves first and start taking the necessary steps to take back control of their own lives”, Hanna and Yasin tell us.
Since 2018, the support group has facilitated monthly sessions for women and created online resources, including a weekly podcast. The podcast tackles a range of topics including, anxiety and how to set boundaries.
Although Home Girls Unite caters to immigrant women from across the world, a large number of participants are Somali. Hanna and Yasin share that: “a number of these Somali women have played the role of the second mother in their homes so they attend the events to feel connected with other women who understand their experiences and to just simply vent in a safe environment”.
According to a report published by the Council of Somali Organizations (CSO) in the United Kingdom in 2017, the concepts of mental health and emotional well-being are still not well understood in the Somali community. One of the main findings of the report was that “people are either categorized as either “sane” or “insane” and nothing in between”. This makes female-friendly spaces, such as those provided by Home Girls Unite, where sensitive topics can be discussed without any stigma even more significant in the Somali context.
Home Girls Unite is currently crowd-funding in order to provide therapy and well-being sessions to 500 immigrant daughters by December 2021.