social justice

International Women’s Day Special: Get to know us!

International Women’s Day Special: Get to know us!

On International Women’s Day, we sat down with the Kineara team to look at the progress on gender equality, some of the challenges facing young women today, and what this year’s #EachforEqual theme means to us. As a team of diverse women with different backgrounds, specialities and passions, we’re proud to turn our attention to #IWD2020, celebrate the achievements of women in our communities and around the world, while raising awareness of what still needs to be done!

What does the International Women’sDay slogan, #EachforEqual mean for you?  

Mel: To me, it’s about everyone doing their bit to achieve equality. It also reminds me that equality for women is about inclusivity, diversity, and an understanding that women do not have a singular identity. In addition to being gendered in society, we are also classed, racialised, divided by sexuality or immigration status – so #EachforEqual for me is also about social equity for all. 

Gail: For me it means being strong as an individual and supporting individuals to see their full potential, empowering inspiring and celebrating the differences we have, and the strength with have because of our differences. 

Sandra: I think for equality to be truly meaningful, everyone must be taking part and working towards the same goals. To me the issue it is not about women being victims in a society that is not inclusive in the same way that minorities struggle to have equality; instead it is about changing our mindset to fully take advantage of the opportunities that are there, as well as challenging social norms and the language that we are using. Women and men are not the same, but their traits and qualities should be valued equally.  

Liz: EachForEqual: to me this is a great reminder for each one of us doing what we can to enable equality and break the chain of inequality and oppression. As a woman, this could start with enabling equality by standing up for myself and speaking up in situations where equality is threatened. ALL inequality is interlinked, so if we each take steps to address inequality for ALL we will build a better world for ALL.  

Tam: For me, #EachForEqual is about collective action, diverse and reflective representation in all fields and spheres of life, and of course, social, economic and political equality and equity for all around the world. 

Tell us about your interests/passions and
 how this complements your work at Kineara?
 

Mel: I am Kineara’s communication lead, so I get the pleasure of sharing the work of our brilliant practitioners to the world. My role means I get to touch base with all the women in our organisation, who I am always inspired by. With a background in social justice initiatives, one thing that drives me is seeing leaders who don’t traditionally take up these roles, including women and black minority ethnic people, building capacity, power and their voice in the non-profit sector, and I am proud Kineara is an organisation that provides space for that.  

Sandra: I work as a support worker in housing on our project in Bexley. I am passionate about housing as a human right and not a commodity. Although the housing market is a global problem, working with individuals locally on a daily basis to improve their housing situation helps to improve their wellbeing and contribute to collective change.  

Liz: I support the system, monitoring and evaluation within Kineara. Most of my work currently centres around within our housing project. I am passionate about social equality and I’m therefore driven to advocating and supporting people in their time of need. This passion extends to the activities I partake in both in and outside of work. 

Tam: As Kineara’s communications officer I work closely with Mel, our comms lead, to scope and deliver internal and external communications for Kineara. This includes supporting strategic planning and research, copywriting, producing innovative content, writing blogs/articles and managing social media. My passions include working within and strengthening communities, exploring creative arts, social justice and women’s empowerment, so I feel there is a clear synergy with Kineara’s mission and core values!  

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing young girls and women today? 

Mel: Women face many different pressures and challenges today, but one thing that has been on my mind recently is the disproportionate (and discriminatory) impact that cuts to public services and benefits has had on women, and in particular minority women. Given women are more dependent on public services and benefits and are more likely to be employed in the public sector, the reductions in funding, jobs losses and welfare have increased financial insecurity for women in the UK.  

Liz: Women living in an intentionally built patriarchal society that systematically sees women as not equal to men, has led to many women feeling unsafe, lacking self-esteem and being oppressed. Ultimately this societal norm can affect the way families view women, as well as how women are treated and viewed within the school and work system. It is important to undo this societal learning through empowering and supporting one another to speaking openly about the issue’s people may face, even when this may involve hard and painful experiences for some, we are paving the way for a better more equal world for all.

Tam: Young girls and women face a variety of challenges from pressures of social media, mental health and wellbeing challenges, as well as socioeconomic challenges including a rise in poverty/homelessness, cuts to public services and unemployment levels. One challenge I’ve witnessed first-hand in my community of Ladbroke Grove is the socioeconomic divide – the entirely preventable Grenfell Tower tragedy is one example of this. That said, together we’re a strong and resilient community.

What advice would you give to young girls and women based on your own experience?

Mel: My advice to young women is to always stay true to who you are. Young women – all women, in fact – can feel pressure to be what society expects them to be, but don’t fall into that trap! You’ll just find that society will just move the goal posts if you try to fit in so make your own rules, find your voice and be proud of who you are.  

Liz: Be yourself, spread love and joy only, continue to speak up for equality for ALL, in your own unique way. Repeat this daily… it’s a butterfly effect and will spread. 

Tam: Make sure to surround yourself with those who benefit, value and uplift you in some way. Your life journey, experiences and strengths are unique to you, so don’t compare yourself to others. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out, there are people out there who can, and are willing to support! 

Last but not least, how can we contribute to improving situations for young girls and women in our communities?  

Mel: I think we each need to think about the judgements and biases that we’ve all learnt over time and challenge them from within. We each need to make the effort to educate ourselves on, and really listen to, the experiences, feelings, histories/herstories of women of all different background so we can support each other’s journey toward a more just society, for all women.  

Liz: My focus is to acknowledge women and improve their situations within communities. I will continue to listen to their stories, encourage and empowering others. I will remind myself daily to engage in simple yet impactful actions such as smiling more and taking time to share positivity. These elements I believe will be the foundation for me to aid in improving situations and creating safe communities/ world for ALL.  

Tam: I believe we all have a duty and responsibility to challenge negative stereotypes/perceptions and stand with those who are less privileged or deemed ‘vulnerable’ in some way. I suppose on an individual level, we can start with things like fostering relationships, having meaningful conversations and challenging the status-quo.

Join the conversation on Twitter using #EachForEqual and @Kineara

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Posted by kineara in Community
Podcast: Kineara director Maria Morgan speaks about her work and vision for the future

Podcast: Kineara director Maria Morgan speaks about her work and vision for the future

Our director Maria Morgan sat down with the team at It Means Something Podcast to speak about a wide range of topics from her work as Director of Kineara, the importance of investing in people, to her vision for the world. 

The podcast brought by Nathan Ardaiz and Joao Fernandes invites “those who are creating meaning in the world such as makers, entrepreneurs and artists” to delve deeper into their journey and the meaning they’re making in their lives. Here, we summarise some of the topics covered in the podcast.  

Creating meaningful change 

Founded in 2012, Kineara set out to create and deliver tailor-made support services that inspire meaningful and lasting change in the lives of the people and communities we serve. Starting with our Rent Support Programme (RSP), which addresses and prevented evictions of vulnerable families in social housing, our offer has expanded to include mid-length tenancy sustainment programmes and educational wellbeing and support services 

Fast forward to 2020, we now several new projects and services in the works including our most recently designed intervention, Resettling, which supports people who have been homeless or in temporary accommodation move back into sustainable housing, and more important and exciting plans for the future.  

Asked how Kineara creates meaningful change, Maria says: “In terms of Kineara, we realise that we’re not going to do it on our own. We can’t do everything, but the best thing we can do is go into a situation, if the individual or family allows, and work with them to understand their barriers, their frustrations, their story. 

“It’s a privilege for someone to let you in their life no matter where they are in life. So, I always say don’t take it for granted that someone’s been referred to us that it’s just a given.” 

As we’re coming out, we start to work on: What support do you need that when we’ve left, we know you can go there? So, it’s important that we have that kind of step-down service after that real intense work. What we’re finding is there are not as many step-down services as we would like because of cuts and other reasons, so when we do find those services our job is develop those relationships between the person we’re working and those organisations.” 

Further to this, Maria explains the meaning of holistic support and how it relates to our work. “We are all part of a system; the family is a system. We all have different roles and different things we bring to the table, so if somebody or something in that system isn’t working, it’s going to impact how we operate. We either shift to accommodate that area that isn’t working well, or we look at what it is that isn’t making it work well because we need you to make the system work well, so it’s that systemic kind of thinking.” 

Describing Kineara to a five-year-old, Maria adds “it’s about “being a friend to someone when they are going through difficult times.” This means “someone you can talk to” and who “will go with you thought that journey.” 

Breaking the cycle of homelessness 

Whilst developing our direct support work, we’ve also been involved in delivering community cohesion projects and innovative participatory research on issues of housing services and improving pathways through temporary accommodation. Back in October 2017 AzuKo, Kineara and Poplar HARCA co-hosted a two-part workshop exploring the latter.  

Working alongside Nathan, we brought together 40 people, from over 20 organisations to rethink how we can improve the journey into and through temporary accommodation and illuminate the experience of those going through this journey, and facing challenges, trials and insecurity.  

It’s important we respect that we’re coming into people’s intimate lives, so they don’t feel you are being patronising.” 

We also undertook research with 14 households, revealing that experiences are dynamic, so services are never working with the same person throughout the lifespan of support, particularly those who are ‘vulnerable’. What’s more, we found that financial insecurity can result from a sudden and unexpected breakdown in paperwork/bureaucracy, physical and mental health, landlord relations and family structure among many others, so services should be aware of the link between money and a range of other factors.  

Speaking about finance (especially regarding finance decisions) of individuals and families we work with, Nathan says, “Some of the research we’ve done with families shows there’s something stigmatising around how people spend their money and what they think is the wrong and right way to do so.” To this end, Maria adds that generally, “It’s important we respect that we’re coming into people’s intimate lives, so they don’t feel you are being patronising.”  

Building on strengths 

Maria goes onto highlight the impact of strength-based support, “The first thing you must do is work with a person’s strength. Some people don’t even have a foundation to build on because they’ve been so crushed, so you’ve got to lay yourself down. Step on me, we’re going to be here, we’re going to support you through that. We’re going to be that strength-base.” 

Not only is this type of support useful for the people we work with, but it can be applied to supporting the wellbeing of our team/ practitioners themselves. “The people at Kineara, they’ve got the passion, the care, they are phenomenalKineara would not exist without them, but I have to understand their capacity, what they can do and where their stop isIt’s been an interesting journey; what’s important is we continue to try and look after ourselves at work and outside of work. 

“Maria has incredible insight into the process of working with teams and creating something, which is really brutal and difficult work. She brings such a beauty and lightness to the whole thing which is infectious. I always learn so much from Maria and I really appreciate her as a friend and collaborator,” adds Nathan. 

You can listen to the podcast here 

Posted by kineara in Community, Education, Housing, Impact