JAN Trust is a multi-award winning charity empowering and providing leadership for women in order to create positive and active citizens of society

forced marriages,

Founder awarded OBE

altWe are delighted to announce that our Founder, Rafaat Mughal, was awarded with an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List. Rafaat has campaigned and worked tirelessly for over 40 years to support and empower Black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee women. She is an inspiration to all at JAN Trust including users, staff and volunteers. 

Well done Rafaat. A much deserved award!

 

 

 

 

 

The story was covered by a range of press and below are some of the press links:

New Year’s Honours: Haringey women’s rights activist ‘flattered’ with OBE -CLICK HERE

 

 

New Year Honours 2014: List in full - CLICK HERE

 

Rafaat Mughal, of Wood Green, who founded the JAN Trust among people in 2014 New Year's Honours List - CLICK HERE

15 Indian-origin men, women in Queen's New Year's Honours List - CLICK HERE

Rafaat Mughal, of Wood Green, who founded the Jan Trust among people in 2014 New Year's Honours List - CLICK HERE

Sisters are doing it for themselves - and each other - CLICK HERE

Strong showing for charities in New Year Honours - CLICK HERE

New Year honours 2014: the full list - CLICK HERE

Asian community recognised in New Year’s Honour’s List - CLICK HERE

Asian community recognised in Honours List - CLICK HERE

Many Asians in Queen’s New Year Honours List - CLICK HERE

Asian community recognised in Honours List - CLICK HERE

Fifteen Indian origin people in Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2014 - CLICK HERE

Sisters are doing it for themselves – and each other -CLICK HERE

Bumper year for Asian NY Honours - CLICK HERE

FT .com -CLICK HERE

Honour-based crimes and why they are incompatible with Islam

Honour-based crimes have come to be associated with Islam. The term ‘honour’ refers to the belief that a daughter or wife has brought shame upon the family and surrounding community by committing an “immoral” behaviour. The  horrific nature of this crime still garners much attention from the media -the latest being the murder of a 16-year old girl in Pakistan by her family members after marrying someone her family did not approve of. Another horrific incident in Pakistan occurred in which a man electrocuted his sister to death for marrying someone of her choice. As a result of increasing awareness of the prevalence of these crimes in Pakistan, law was passed against ‘honour killings’ in October but legislative changes are only half the battle, much more has to be done, especially to change attitudes.

In the UK honour killings are particularly shocking, with up to 12 occurring every year. One such case was that of Banaz Mahmod in 2006, who was murdered by her father and uncle for leaving her arranged marriage and beginning a relationship with another man.

As Honour killings largely occur in Muslim countries or within Muslim communtiies this has been misinterpreted to mean that Islam condones such actions. However, n the Quran it states:

“Whoever kills a believer intentionally, their reward will be Hell, to abide therein forever, and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon them, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for them.” (4:93).

Clearly it is a misconception that Islam condones honour killings. In Islam the murder of women is not condoned under any circumstance.

In the UK many women are scared to report such instances and when they are reported there is an extremely low rate of prosecution. From 2011 to 2016 there were 7,048 reports made to police of honour-based crimes and just 3% of these actually resulted in charges. This is due to a lack of appropriate support for women in these situations. In fact, in the UK there is no specific legislation against honour-based crime, it can fall under murder, rape and other charges, which arguably fails to recognise the specific nuances of this crime and difficulties that women may face in coming forward or bringing charges.

These crimes are abhorrent and should be recognised in society as a clear abuse of human rights. In order to do this attitudes need to change. The JAN Trust provides training on Honour Based Violence (HBV). If you are interesting in attending or arranging training please contact the trust on info@jantrust.org. Honour-based crimes can also be linked to forced marriages, our website Against Forced Marriages offers support for vulnerable women.

Nazir Afzal becomes a Patron of JT

JAN Trust is delighted to announce that Nazir Afzal OBE has become our Patron.

Nazir Afzal has had an extensive and distinguished career in the Crown Prosecution Service. He was Britain’s most senior lawyer within the Crown Prosecution Service and made history as the first Muslim to be appointed to such a position.

Throughout his extensive career, Afzal has worked on numerous high profile cases, such as that of the Rochdale child abuse ring and has been CPS lead on tackling Violence Against Women, having been moved by traumatic accounts of women's suffering within his own Pakistani community. His
ethos very much aligns with that of JAN Trust, he has described that through his work he wanted to give "a voice to the voiceless" and champion the vulnerable. He pioneered work to tackle honour-based violence and forced marriage, both key concerns of JAN Trust, initially bringing these issues to the top of the public agenda through a CPS conference in 2004.

Afzal was made OBE for his services in 2005 and has been the recipient of many awards including lifetime achievement award British Pakistani Foundation in 2012 and CPS public servant of the year 2007.

Speaking about his appointment as Patron, Afzal said, “I have always been impressed by the work that Sajda and the JAN Trust carry out protecting the most vulnerable in London. They are rightly regarded as one of the finest NGOs working in the fields of violence against women and preventing extremism. It is a distinct honour to be asked to be a Patron and I am delighted to play my part in its continuing success.”

Mr Afzal is currently Pro Chancellor Brunel University, and works as an independent advisor on criminal justice and earlier this year was given the title of honourary doctorate of law from the University of Manchester.

JAN Trust is proud to have someone that we have long admired as an Ambassador and we are looking forward in working together to continue our vital work t

 

On The Importance of Women

Women comprise about half of the world’s population. This half of the world is hugely important in community development, and in the local and global economy. Yet, society is not doing what needs to be done to empower women and unlock their full potential. At JAN Trust we do our best to empower, educate and encourage women, but we need your help to do more!

Globally, women play a huge role in community development. Throughout history, women’s central role as mothers, homemakers, labourers, and thinkers has ensured the development of nations around the world. Education is crucial to the progress of any community, and mothers are the ones who most oftenurge their children to attend and stay in school. In addition, educating women often leads to their children being more likely to achieve a higher level of education as well. Women who are educated areless likely to marry and have children early, and tend to bear fewer children.Global Volunteerspoint out that when there is a change in society “women take the lead in helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges.” This can be crucial in terms of avoiding stagnation or regression in a community when it is faced with a new political organisation of society.

Of course economy is also one of the most important factors in terms of community development. There is much research to show that empowering women will help lift both them and their communities out of poverty. As of 2010, women and girls comprised more than 70 percent of the world’s 1.4 billion poor peopleaccording to CARE International. When women and girls are trapped in poverty, so are their families and communities. Nearly 80% of the agricultural labour force in Africa is female– they are a huge economic resource. If these women were empowered and given the agricultural resources they lack, global hunger could be drastically reduced. In addition to this, a woman’s earning power increases by 10-30 percent for each year of education she receives. This shows once again that providing education for women results in a larger economic input into families and communities, strengthening community development.

Striving for gender equality and female empowerment is hugely important to be able to profit from the economic force that is women. Researchhas shown that companies with more women in senior management positions perform better and receive higher profits. It has also been proven that women make better investors than men. Yet many women around the world are still excluded from paid work and are not able to make full use of their skills. To boost economic growth, women must be empowered to partake in the global workforce and society must be structured in a way that will allow them to participate.

At JAN Trust, our work is premised on the vital role that women play in their communities. This is why we work with women every day, to educate, empower and encourage them. One of our recent projects to try and boost the economic independence of the vulnerable women we work with, is the “We Design Haringey”campaign. We are currently trying to raise money to provide Fashion & Design workshops to women in Haringey, as well as establishing a pop-up shop where they will be able to sell their products. Not only would this project help the women develop crucial skills, it would also help empower them economically. This in turn would contribute to the economic development of our local community of Haringey – the sixth most deprived borough in London.

In addition to this campaign, we run regular services and programmes at our centre and around London to empower marginalised women. One example is our highly praised Web Guardians™ programme, which aims to educate mothers on online extremism. After completing the programme they are armed with tools that will help them protect their children from being radicalised online. At our centre, we also offer a variety of classes including English language skills, and general life skills that empower women and give them a safe space to learn and develop.

To donate to “We Design Haringey” click here, and click hereto learn more about our award-winning Web Guardians™ programme. For more information about our work click here.

The Difficulty of Eradicating Forced Marriages

New figures released by the NSPCC reveal that there has been a12% increasein counselling sessions about forced marriage in the previous year. Summer is often a high-risk period for potential victims of forced marriage, as many are lured away on “holidays” only to be married off abroad against their will. However, a shocking 11% of forced marriages in 2016 took place wholly in Britain, with no overseas element.

Forced marriage is a serious issue and one that is difficult to tackle. Many victims are too scared to report the forced marriage because it would mean isolation and estrangement from their family. In the same way, it is difficult for young victims to stand up to their parents in situations like these especially after forced marriage was made a criminal offence in Britain in 2014, one can imagine that children are hesitant to report their parents or close family because of the punishment they might face.

It is important to note that forced marriage often happen to children – 26% of victims in 2016 were under 18. These victims are especially vulnerable when coerced into marriage by their parents or close relatives, as they might not have anyone to turn to for help or support. By reporting their family members, they might fear that they will not have anywhere to live or feel that they are betraying their family.  This makes forced marriages hidden crimes, as victims do not often speak up before, during or after they happen. This makes them even harder to prevent, and difficult to obtain proper statistics.

Forced marriages are difficult to deal with for individuals, as they deprive a person of their freedom. Sometimes, this can also include the victim being taken away from their home country, being raped and girls being forced to bear children. In rural areas of Syria, forced and underage marriages are flourishing, as parents see them as a way to protect their children in a time of crisis. However, some of the marriages end in more than just deprivation of freedom. It has been found that some girls who are married off in Syria have become so unhappy because of their marriages that they have committed suicide. This clearly shows the psychological problems can result from a forced marriage, especially if the victim is young.

As mentioned, forced marriage is a difficult issue to handle, as it is so sensitive. One woman, New York-based Pakistani designer Nashra Balagamwala, is trying to approach the issue in a creative way. She is herself a potential victim of forced marriage, as she has grown up with parents and family members attempting to marry her off. Her solutions to avoid the marriages have been many, most recently she convinced her parents to let her study and work in the US for a few years. However, now that her visa is expiring, they are expecting her to come back and get married. But Balagamwala has no wish to do so, she describes herself as a “hopeless romantic” and has yet to meet “Mr. Right”. Like most people, she wants to keep her freedom of choice. In order to fund another visa application and highlight the issue of forced and arranged marriage, she has now designed a board game called “Arranged!” Perhaps it is creative solutions like this one – “Darkness masked in lightness” as Balagamwala says – that will help bring the issue to the attention of people who can make a difference.

At JAN Trust, we hold workshops for participants from affected communities, voluntary and statutory sectors including schools, police and healthcare professionals. These sessions are aimed at preventing forced marriages by making people aware of the issue and the signs they can look out for. By raising awareness and educating, we hope to help combat forced marriage and help potential victims keep their freedom. You can support our work and learn more by visiting www.jantrust.organd www.againstforcedmarriages.org.

Worthy Cause for Prime Minister


The Evening Standard wrote about JAN Trust and the dire funding crisis it faces. The article can be found here and below:

A worthy cause for a concerned Prime Minister by Rosamund Urwin

This week, David Cameron proclaimed a need to help Muslim women. He says they must all speak English. He wants to end forced marriage. He argues a lack of integration helps foster extremism. 

Well, there’s a charity in north London, JAN Trust, that should seem like a panacea then. It holds language classes. It helps those who’ve been compelled into marriage. It combats extremism by teaching mothers to identify signs of radicalisation, as well as computer skills so they understand what their children are up to online. It’s also set to close on March 31. 

Thanks in part to Government cuts, charities like JAN Trust face growing competition for the scraps philanthropic organisations can spare. But as Cameron was surely acknowledging, the cost of not helping these women is far higher. Rather than grandstanding, shouldn’t he make himself the saviour of JAN Trust?

Published 21st January 2016

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