Empowering Single Asian Mums
Maa Shanti supports single Asian mums and their children by providing advocacy, guidance, emotional support, workshops, social activities, referrals and signposting.
Established from a grass root self help group of lone Asian mothers in 1998, we became a Charity (charity no: 1105305) and a Company Limited by guarantee (no 5166706) in 2004. Formerly Asian Women Lone Parents Association, we changed our name to Maa Shanti in December 2018. We made the change in response to an idea from the mums who visit our services because they found the old name too long and difficult to say. Our members came up with the name Maa Shanti; “maa” meaning “mother” and “shanti” meaning “peace”. Women felt that this was a good name for how they feel when they come and see us.
We were founded to support women from the South Asian Community who are fleeing domestic violence. Women often come to us at a point when they have found themselves alone and afraid. They are worried about their own safety and the safety of their children but they are also trying to deal with the practical issues of the ongoing impact of domestic violence.
Women need support on multiple issues including; understanding their rights, accessing relevant benefits, child maintenance, employment, budgeting and safety planning. Women have often already experienced extreme isolation and, at the point of separation; stigmatisation and find themselves excluded by their communities. Many often go into hiding; this leaves them even more isolated, vulnerable and unable to access the services that would benefit them and their children.
We offer a range of services, including an initial assessment, ongoing one-to-one support and action planning around safety concerns, housing and finance. We provide advocacy to empower women to better understand how they can access support from key agencies such as Housing, Job Centres, Child Maintenance Agency and Local Councils. In addition, we run a programme of workshops and events which increase knowledge on how to stay safe, improve access to relevant support, focus on mental well-being and increase participation in the local community to reduce isolation.
We provide weekly activities and drop-in sessions including coffee mornings, arts and crafts; ESOL, workshops, group and family trips to local services and within the local area and visits from local community partners. This year our workshop programme includes; legal remedies and your rights on domestic violence, stalking and harassment, good mental health, parenting and domestic violence and financial empowerment.
Domestic Violence can be:
Women may experience:
Mental Health problems
Feelings of guilt or shame
Loss of support from family and friends