Henna Asian Women’s Group: cost of living support

Henna Asian Women’s Group: cost of living support

Henna Asian Women’s Group: cost of living support 2560 1707 Charlotte Matthews

Supporting women through the cost of living crisis

Momota, Bushra and Sajida work at the charity, Henna Asian Women’s Group (Henna). They run activities in Camden that help women to grow in confidence, learn new skills and build friendships.

Their support has been making a huge difference to women’s lives through the cost of living crisis – in some circumstances, it’s even been life-saving. 

We sat down with the Henna team to find out more.

Momota, Bushra and Sajida stand together smiling
Momota, Bushra and Sajida create supportive spaces where women feel at home

How did Henna Asian Women’s Group start?

Momota: “A group of four South Asian women started the group over 40 years ago from home. They saw that there was a lack of services for South Asian women. They wanted to create a space for migrant women facing domestic abuse, forced marriage and language barriers, where it was safe to talk together.”

“They did a great job, and the group became a charity about 20 years ago. We’re still very small compared to other charities, but we offer a huge range of services and activities that make a real impact.”

“One of the founders of the group is still with us and we are now helping her with her needs. We are so blessed to have her as part of the group and it’s our pleasure to provide her with support.”

Three members of the Henna group play Carrom - a traditional Indian board game
Members come together to enjoy coffee, crochet and games mornings

How is Henna supporting women with the rising costs of living?

Bushra: “We’ve had group members tell us that they can’t afford to put their kettle on or heat food – it breaks my heart. You can see how stressed some of the women are. Our activities help ease that pressure, improving wellbeing and reducing loneliness. When they come to our services they have hot drinks, meals and snacks. They can sleep peacefully at night knowing that they’ll have a meal tomorrow.”

Momota: “Our members see Henna as a constant – we’re always here for them. We have professional tutors and counsellors, group therapy, games, knitting and coffee mornings, exercise classes, a befriending service and lots more. All of our activities are free and in warm spaces to help give members a break from using energy at home.”

Sajida: “You can see the stress on the faces of those who are struggling. But when they come here, they’re so happy to have someone to chat to, to know that we are here for them. They leave with a smile on their face because it’s somewhere safe to destress.”

11 Henna members smile in a group photo with Momota, Bushra and Sajida.
The group helps women to build support networks

“Women achieve great things here.”

Bushra, Project Support Officer at Henna

What are your highlights from working at Henna?

Sajida: “I really enjoy being a telephone befriender because the members are so happy when they receive the call. It relieves their loneliness, especially if they can’t leave the house. I was talking to a client this morning who hasn’t been able to come out to use our services recently, so our calls have helped her wellbeing and she’s really thankful for the contact.”

Momota: “Our activities give members confidence – we empower them and remind them that they are not alone. They come along and forget about everything else and leave with a smile on their face, I love it – that is our greatest achievement.”

Bushra: “Seeing them flourishing in this safe space is my highlight. Our activities and support bring about a change in someone’s daily life. Women achieve great things here.”

Henna members cheer and clap as they sing Happy Birthday to another member.
Henna's activities bring joy to women's lives

Who can use Henna’s services?

Sajida: “Any woman that comes through the door – everybody is welcome. We celebrate all religions and cultural events too.”

Momota: “The majority of our members are South Asian but women from all backgrounds are welcome. We have older members and young and single mothers who come along. We’re also starting a ‘Young Henna’ group for younger women.”

Henna received support from the Council’s Cost of Living Crisis Community Response Fund | Learn more about the fund

Find out more

Find out what services and activities are available at henna.org.uk

Back to top