[Brussels, 8 March 2016] Last week, EWL Secretary General Joanna Maycock met with Mina Jaf, winner of the Women’s Refugee Commission Voices of Courage Award 2016. Mina was born in Kurdistan. When she was 11 years old, she and her family were forced to flee to Denmark as refugees. Since coming to Europe, she has worked tirelessly on refugee issues and on women’s rights issues, bringing her personal experience and perspective to her vocal advocacy.
Most recently, she has been responsible for the management of around 250 volunteers in a reception place for refugees and asylum seekers, advocacy, lobbying, project management and legal assistance. She is also an active leader of Young Feminist Europe, a new social movement in Europe focused on women’s rights and gender equality, and is deeply involved in an number of other projects focusing on racism, discrimination and social environment.
Her activism has led her to be awarded the prestigious Voices of Courage Award by the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York City, which honors a refugee woman who has shown extraordinary commitment to helping other female refugees and asylum seekers. She recently spoke to the European Parliament about the situation of female refugees in Europe as part of a high level event, where her audience was deeply moved by her testimony.
During the meeting Joanna Maycock emphasised EWL’s support for amplyfying the voices for women refugees and congratulated Mina for her advocacy work in the area. Joanna also connected Mina with various organisations associated with the EWL which will hopefully help her to reach wider audiences.
Recently, the EWL started a joint project with the Women Refugee Commission (WRC), working together to raise awareness on the situation of women and girls in Europe fleeing conflict. European and national policies are gender blind to the reality faced by women and girls on the road, especially when it comes to the different forms of violence they face at all stages of their journey towards peace. With this project, the EWL and WRC will join efforts along with their member, the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW), to influence decision-makers through giving visibility to the reality and the needs of women and girl refugees.