A charity founded in Birmingham by Religious Sisters took an active part on the streets of the city on ‘#Giving Tuesday’ – a movement to create an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.
Anawim is a women's centre that provides a holistic service to women across Birmingham. Volunteers from Anawim delivered toiletries, sleeping bags, hot drinks and warm clothes to women in need on November 27th. "We see Giving Tuesday as the perfect opportunity to raise funds and community awareness for us to help support even more women and their children in distress," said fundraising officer, Emily Johnson.
Anawim is also hoping to attract urgent donations to keep its drop-in centre going - as funding is currently running out. The drop-in centre supports over 700 women every year struggling with issues such as homelessness, domestic violence and sexual exploitation.
Sisters of Our Lady of Charity started Anawim back in 1986 with two Religious beginning the work, reaching out to the sex workers on the streets of the Balsall Heath area. The Congregation still provides a full time worker, Sister Enda, who heads up the counselling service and street outreach work and has devoted more than a quarter of a century to the project: “It has been a privilege to work with Anawim over the last 26 years, watching the organisation blossom and grow into a brilliant centre for so many women who have benefited greatly from the service. I am pleased to see more outreach work taking place in the local community, there are still so many women out there in need and Anawim has always known the best way to engage with these women by offering the right support and friendship.”
Another Our Lady of Charity Sister, who spent four years with the project in the early 1990s, Sr Jenny, recalls taking part in the outreach work on the streets at night to help women, as well as making contact with women in prison and the establishment of a safe house, thanks to the first ever slice of lottery funding. Sr Jenny, who is now nearly ninety, has watched with joy over the years as Anawim has gone from strength to strength: “I always call it a little bit of a miracle!” she said.
Several sisters from other Congregations also volunteer regularly at the project.
Anawim became an independent charity three years ago, but the Congregation retains three Sisters on the Board of Trustees and still offers central support with budgets and accounts. The project has grown hugely over the three decades since it started and now has a team of around 30 staff including specialists in prison work and mental health as well as many volunteers.
Anawim comes from the Aramaic word meaning the poorest, the outcast, the persecuted - those with no voice.
The charity adds: “We are asking supporters to sponsor us on our mission, through online donations made on #Givingtuesday. All funds raised on Giving Tuesday will help us to save our drop-in service, which is free for any woman in crisis to come in and receive free, non-judgemental advice and support. Your donations will make it possible to continue our vital work supporting Birmingham’s women and their children in crisis, through the drop-in centre. Thank you for taking the time to visit our webpage and donate - www.anawim.co.uk. For updates regarding our Giving Tuesday campaign, follow us on Facebook @anawim.wwt or Twitter @Anawim_WWT. “