What. A. Night.
And not one we thought we would ever be writing about. After all, this wasn’t part of our plan. We simply wanted to Inform, Educate and Empower women to make informed choices on their reproductive and mental health.
Who would have thought a grassroots organisation, who have never received funding to pursue our work, would ever be noticed by the Pride of Britain – Birmingham team. It is truly mind blowing.
Whilst the night focused on the trolling our Founder has received due to this work, we wanted to share some of our personal highlights, and focus on the AWESOME work we have done!
We produced a report on Cervical Screening following consultations, focus groups and interviews with over 80% BAME women. This led to creating our Cysters Smears Awareness events across the Midlands. These are culturally sensitive programs, within the grassroots community to speak about the importance of having a smear test.
We continued with our Chai and Chats, our peer lead support groups, and now have plans to replicate these across Manchester and London. The importance of meetings like this to ease to social isolation of having such debilitating conditions. These sessions also promote self care and listening skills for all our members. Peer networks like this are invaluable for those going through this journey.
We kicked off our, Our Cysters – Period Poverty Programme, working with Schools in the Handsworth Area to provide them access to menstrual products with dignity. It also opens up the conversation around menstrual health and wellbeing in these schools. We have continued to work alongside the Handsworth Association of Schools to work on a programme to highlight any issues on concerns within the schools. As the government are going to supplying High Schools from September onwards, we will continue to support primary schools and also extend our services to other marginalized communities. The programme also distributes these menstrual products to local homeless charities. We believe collaboration is key to tackling these social issues.
Our Cysters Youth Board – This one we are particularly proud of! We know that there are not enough women in Leadership Positions. So we created a Youth Board, to be involved in the strategic growth of Cysters, create and co-ordinate their own projects, and basically OWN their health and become the next generation of health advocates. Watch this space, they will be doing some exciting things soon!
Our online group has also grown and we hope this will continue to be a platform for women to get the support they need digitally, as we understand, due to distance, chronic illnesses etc not everyone can attend the Chai and Chat meets.
So if you want to get involved, get support, or become a Cysters Champion then get in touch.
Because, the journey is easier with Cysters!
Pictured: Cysters Founder – Neelam Heera and Trustee: Fayee Van Heeren