“There when needed most” kicked off in December, 2017.
It is a year long action learning project that creatively reaches at high risk, severely isolated women and girls who follow spouses and families to Yorkshire.
Funded by ROSA Woman to Woman, “There when needed most” will run until the end of November 2018. Tapepuka will work closely with relevant statutory and third sector agencies to model holistic and safe interventions; and with academic institutions and campaign organisations to increase understanding of whether and how stringent immigration laws interact with patriarchal traditions, attitudes and behaviours to practically put some women and girl children under house arrest in a developed democratic country.
At a preliminary introductory launch to friends and referees of potential beneficiaries on Saturday 16th December, 2017 women welcomed the idea of the project confirming individually that they are aware of one or more women who are confined to the houses they live in and are not allowed to speak to other people.
Case file notes will be analysed to establish whether and how for instance, the reduction of the marriage visa age for purposes of family reunification from 21 to 18 years, as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (CERD/C/GBR/CO/18-20, para 20) is improving the condition and status or exacerbating the plight of visa dependent spouses in the UK.
Tapepuka Manager, Chawapiwa Muverengwi said
“It is important to raise awareness of authorities to the pitfalls of prematurely celebrating legislative and policy measures that purport to combat racial discrimination.
In the case of marriage visa age reduction for purposes of family reunification for instance, there are no guarantees that young girls are not compelled into polyandrous marriages finding themselves pregnant, severely isolated with little or no language skills to communicate as anecdotal evidence has shown.
Health visitors, staff from other agencies that have direct access to these women might have little understanding or tools to navigate complex African family arrangements. They might also be constrained by legally deterministic policies and procedures that trap a following spouse from the outset.
We need to ascertain how different routes in marriage migration are currently affecting following/joining spouses, what challenges exist for following spouses and their children and whether there are adequate in built safeguards in legally deterministic policies and procedures.
We have complex case scenarios including polyandrous marriages where second wives could easily be the daughter of the spouse and co-wife among many other scenarios. The idea of the project is to reach women and girls early enough, prevent long term issues and devise and entrench sustainable responsive solutions beyond the life of the project”.
Women and girls will in the process gain skills to rise out of their undesirable situations and speak out.