Press Release by Salome Mbugua. (outgoing) AkiDwA CEO
“Equality of treatment for Migrant in Ireland is far from been Achieved”
After fourteen years of relentless activism on migrant women’s right, Salome Mbugua, the founder and CEO of AkiDwA- the only migrant women led national organisation in Ireland, has decided to step down.
Speaking at their Annual General Meeting in Dublin on Saturday 15th November, Ms Mbugua gave a moving speech, outlining challenges and opportunities that she has faced as a leader of AkiDwA over the decade “Today I am stepping down from the day to day running of AkiDwA but I am most certainly not stepping down from the fight for women’s rights and in particular migrant women as equality of treatment for Migrant in Ireland is far from being achieved” said Ms Mbugua
AkiDwA has achieved much on behalf of, and with migrant women living in Ireland over the past decade. Gender Based Violence, in particular, has been core to the organisation’s work. It contributed for example to the improvement of access to maternity health for migrant women who have suffered female genital mutilation and after years of campaigning and lobbying, FGM has been explicitly banned by the Irish Law through the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation Act 2012). Following the 2013 statistics it appears clearly that the number of women living in Ireland who have undergone FGM has increased to 3780 and that there is a danger of children been taken out of the country to be submitted to the procedure. Such legal framework was necessary as a preventative measure. Other areas such as women seeking asylum have not changed even after the organisation voicing on serious issues of concern on sexual harassment and gender based violence directed to women living in accommodation centres. “Over the years I have heard many cries from women living in these accommodation centres, many of them living in fear and others struggling with their health needs; women seeking asylum and living in Mosney for example have no access to a female doctor, a request that they have made over the years, it’s disheartening”. Said, Ms Mbugua
Migrants in Ireland continue to make very positive contribution, however the future of migrant sector in Ireland that provide supports to many looks very uncertain: discrimination, racism, lack of representation and participation of migrants in Ireland remain a huge challenge. “Failure to address these issues has poorly impacted on migrants, thus affecting their psychological and health wellbeing; lack of diversity inclusion at all levels of society is a huge miss for Ireland”. Said Ms Mbugua
Based on a recent feasibility study conducted by Brian Harvey on behalf of AkiDwA, the organisation is unique and very relevant. AkiDwA provides migrant women voice, platform and perspective. However since end of 2012 the organisation has suffered with reduced funding, leading to a reduction of 75% and therefore the reduction of support offered to women as well as representation and participation of the organisation in other important activities.
AkiDwA calls on the Irish government to take strong measures on diversity inclusion and emphasizes that the diversity of people in Ireland should be reflected at all levels, failure to this will continue to create gaps and further isolation of migrants. “I call upon the Irish government to give financial support to migrant led organisations since they are playing a huge role in the Irish society but their role is still undermined”. Ms Mbugua Concluded.
For further Information Contact Spaqz Nkaku, Communication officer, Phone: 01 8349851(O) 0857033434 (M)
For further information on AkiDwA see: www.akidwa.ie