Established in 1989 as part of the Waltham Forest Young People’s Housing Project, which housed young homeless people, Ashiana was born to answer the need for safe housing for young South Asian women who were experiencing familial domestic violence.
We started as a seven-bed house with resettlement support.
Facing criticism, backlash and hostility from some community members who blamed us for breaking up families, Ashiana was challenged.
Our focus remained with our clients, ensuring that they were safe and their support needs were being met.
Ashiana became an independent charity in 1994 becoming a ‘led by and for’ a Black and Minority Ethnic [BME] women’s service, developing and delivering specialist services for BME women and girls who have experienced or are at risk of Violence Against Women and Girls [VAWG].
These include forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation [FGM].
We have well-established links with services and networks that BME women are more likely to require, including immigration specialists, faith and cultural communities, educators, language services and healthcare.
Over the years Ashiana has grown steadily, supporting an increasing number of women and developing expertise over 30 years around specific forms of violence that disproportionately impact BME women.