After thirty years of hard work and service to the community, here at JAN Trust we really value commitment to education. The courses we provide locally give women the tools they need to integrate in society and keep themselves and their communities safe. Here are just some examples of how we use education to empower women at a grassroots level.
Talking about extremism can be difficult. Often, we are scared of broaching the issue, or feel too awkward ourselves to talk about such a serious and sensitive topic. However, it is crucial to do so; raising awareness and encouraging local people to become part of the solution is so important when tackling the threat of terrorism.
JAN Trust CEO Sajda Mughal OBE survived the 7/7 tube bombings and since then has dedicated herself to the fight against extremism and radicalisation. Here at JAN Trust we are also intent on combatting the Islamophobia that is often associated with backlash from terrorist incidents. One of our main tools to achieve these goals is education, which is why we work with mothers and young people in the community.
Having listened to the Muslim women who already used our services for many years, we were able to identify their needs in terms of understanding and preventing online extremism. Our Web Guardians™ programme, launched in 2010, empowers Muslim women and mothers to prevent and tackle online extremism, building community resilience. By opening up the conversation and including women within counter-terrorism efforts, education plays a key role in community action. This is just one example of how JAN Trust uses education to empower women.
“I now know the signs of what we should be looking out for. We can stop our children being radicalised.” – Web Guardians™ service user
IT For Beginners
As well as tackling extremism, our educational programmes surrounding technology and the internet are also very valuable for individuals, building confidence and vital digital literacy skills. Our IT For Beginners training is for those who have very little experience using computers, and want to develop and learn new skills. We cultivate a non-pressurised, informal environment to encourage IT learning.
At JAN Trust, we help women navigate modern technology so they are able to live independently and become active citizens.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
It can be very isolating living in an unfamiliar country, and often women do not have the same opportunities to access to education as their male counterparts. The high-profile case of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for trying to go to school, has raised awareness of the difficulties faced by women growing up in areas where seeking education is dangerous and considered to be inappropriate for girls. However, Malala certainly isn’t the only girl to have been denied the freedom to go to school; many women living in the UK today have not had a chance to learn, particularly to learn English, and this impacts their daily lives.
At JAN Trust we’re aware of the struggle many women in London face when they have not had the opportunity to learn the English language. That’s why we provide free English courses for speakers of other languages at all levels. We know how hard it is to learn a new language, and how isolating it can be when you can’t make yourself understood to others.
English language skills aren’t just a practical need. Women who have taken part in our courses have found that they’re not only able to speak English with more ease, but that their confidence has improved, and they have been able socialise and become part of the community:
“Before I came to JAN Trust I could not speak English and lacked confidence. I am now able to communicate in English and have gained so much confidence. I have also made many friends which has increased my social circle and well-being.” – Leila, Haringey
Fashion and Design Classes
Our fashion and design courses teach women the skills to make clothes and other accessories. Through these classes they can learn to use different kinds of sewing machinery as well as hand-sewn work. We offer both accredited and non-accredited courses, but it is not just the qualifications that count; the women who attend our courses get to meet new people in the community, socialise, and actually make new things to wear and use. The self-confidence earned when learning new skills is also invaluable, and we love to see women thriving in this educational environment.
Find out how you can help to support women’s education here!