Empower Women’s Group was founded by Samina Mahmood, a British born Pakistani woman and mother. Born in 1972 in Huddersfield to a mother of 6 daughters, Samina grew up at a time when girls rarely ventured out, did not get an education and barely finished school before being flown back to Pakistan to get married.
However, Samina broke with this tradition, went to college and landed her first job at Oxfam at the age of 17. Her youth was spent with relatives before they moved to Accrington in 1980. After this Samina worked at two colleges with adult learners, as a special needs support worker, an ESOL tutor and a mentor.
Samina’s first experience of mental health issues was with her mother who suffered from mental health complications. Samina and her family supported her mother by looking at coping strategies, one of which was sewing. Her mother took this up, as did Samina. In addition to this, regular walks in the park and meet ups with other Pakistani women helped assuage the distress. Samina realised that it was her mother’s loneliness and her severance from Pakistan that contributed to her difficulties.
So, Samina set up Empower Women’s Group with two things in mind, one of which was to encourage entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment. The other motive being the battle against loneliness in women, especially those in the 30-40 age group. Samina wanted to help not just those who felt lonely, but those who had suffered some kind of trauma, such as a divorce, a health issue or the death of a family member.
It is these traumas that are most prevalent, in the causes of depression. Local studies and research have discovered that Ribble Valley and Hyndburn suffer from a lack of resources, and it is those in these BAME communities who are under the most distress.
In 2019, Samina was appointed Community Engagement Officer with Hyndburn Labour Party.
In today’s modern world, it is easy to fall back on technology and medication to find the solution to our problems. At Empower Women’s Group we hope to lessen this suffering with face to face social contact and interaction. It is through regular classes, meet-ups and events that we can help the community and improve the lives of those who are suffering in silence.
We have organised a number of events in the past including balls, festivals and fundraisers. Some of our most successful gatherings include:
This was a multi faith ball, where our ladies got the chance to dress up for a special occasion.
This was a Blackburn charity event and allowed us to work with other communities and look at how weddings were celebrated in different communities.
We have also thrown a big event in the town hall where the mayor attended. We had numerous stalls and various entertainment with all of our volunteers. Awards were also given out to those who had given back to the community.
Our next event will be in held on the 2nd of March. There will be belly dancers and Bollywood Dhamaka music to keep everyone entertained from 6.30 to 11.
For further details about our community empowerment training in Blackburn, please get in touch.