Now that the Afghan women are safely placed in their temporary accommodation and coming to terms with a new way of life, it’s time to look to their future and a more permanent integration plan that will support them in their independence.
We spoke to Marina LeGree, CEO of Ascend, on the next steps in the resettlement plans for the Ascend women in Ireland and what shape this would take. Here’s what she had to say:
Ascend has a five pillar approach to the women of Ascend:
1. Physical Fitness
We will support this through the Global Ascend’s classroom, an online programme where the girls can access activities at least a couple of days a week. The programme includes team workouts, yoga, psychology and wellbeing classes.
Where we teach leadership skills and identify team leaders.
Where the women partner with local organisations to give back and essentially volunteer to help others.
4. Mountain and Rock Climbing
First and foremost we are a mountain climbing organisation, it’s in our DNA and we are not going to leave that behind. The women of Ascend are passionate about climbing, and outdoor pursuits. “It’s good for the girls, it lifts their spirits and gives them a sense of achievement.” We would love to see regular climbing and hiking expeditions organized that would include the local partners and the community for these girls. It’s also a great opportunity for the women to reflect after an expedition and laugh and share stories of how seemingly insurmountable obstacles were challenged and conquered.
5. Mental Health and that is different for each one of them.
Although they have a very unique shared experience, their own journey and what they have faced as individuals will colour how they see their future. Counselling and psychotherapy is an important part of the support in helping these women as they navigate their new life experiences.
The resettlement of the individuals is being taken forward on the ground by volunteer communities. One is based in Galway with 10 girls and one in Dublin with another 10.
At the moment the priority is on developing a resettlement plan for each of the girls to ascertain what they want for themselves and how the local community can best support them on their journey to independence. This will give
a clear picture of the strengths and challenges they are currently facing and any fears they foresee in their futures.
The plan will cover housing,education and employmentand cover their own vision oftheir future. It will also identify skills and talents that help in gaining employment.
“Ultimately, we want to create a pathway to education for every single girl that comes out of Ascend, whatever that means. Not all will follow an academic path to university but with Ascend and our partners, there is the flexibility to figure out what is feasible, fill the gaps and bring in the resources where needed.”
We will spend a lot of energy in the coming years determining how to best set them up on a path to success. Although the resettlement stage of our programme is due to be completed in September 2022 our support for their education will continue indefinitely.
YOU CAN HELP!
You’ve read their stories and now you can help!
The women and their families have made it to Ireland but there’s still so much to do. From English lessons and support getting new jobs to the basics like food and clothing, restarting your life is incredibly challenging.
No matter how big or small, every donation is appreciated and will help to change the lives of these families.
Spread the word
Share these articles and help more people learn about the challenges these families face.
All funds raised will go directly to the Irish Resettlement Fund – a fund managed by Ascend which will be used to cover the resettlement costs of the Ascend 20 in Ireland.
To find out how you can donate or get involved, email Ian Jackson on Afghanistan@enshored.com.