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  • Writer's pictureUbuntu Women Shelter


“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them, and give them back to me in all the right order.” Toni Morrison Beloved

We are an organisation who befriend the minds stricken by the No Recourse to Public Funds condition.

Women – mothers, children, sisters, aunts, grandmothers - who are continuously afraid of that knock on the door, that letter dropped at the doorstep or that call from an unknown caller ID.

We befriend minds that live under dark clouds of numbing, disabling fear.

In our shelter, our office, Buchanan bus station terminals, coffee shops on Sauchiehall street and on granite seating at St. Enoch Square, we create transient, pop up locations where over hot cups of tea and sometimes cake we gather and connect, we witness and give back pieces of lives shattered by fear.

We give back these pieces in “all the right order”.

In the white-saviour-charitable-sector in which we operate, handouts are commonplace – food, used clothing, hotel toiletries - the body is resourced.

But in the absence of structured wellbeing interventions, minds wander adrift in landscapes strewn with bodies wasted by fear.

Women who live in the present continuous fear of the shame, the stigma and the pain of immigration violence - indefinite detention, deportation and destitution – do not speak.

But in spaces of safety they bloom, they shine in the articulation of their fear on a page, they come into their power.

Those grey clouds that increase their blood pressure and over time break their spirits become more manageable when on an A4 page.

That journey from a troubled mind to a drawing of the Home Office as a multi-limbed canine toothed but impotent hybrid creature is a catharsis, a release, letting in the sunlight of possible recovery.

Our safe spaces where we perform our work of recovery as reparations take time to build, many conversations, many cups of tea and cake.

This work is slow and needs our complete attention which we struggle to maintain when we are constantly angry and firefighting to manage an emergency response service.

Recent funding has allowed us to pause, to strategize, to breathe. With more hands on board, more energy in our reserves, we are able to reach our full wingspan.

Our recovery work enables a woman to speak truth to power. And so she picks up her pen, rips a side of lined A4 paper and writes, “Dear Home Office, here’s what I wish you knew”.

This depiction of the Home Office as a ‘blood sucking dracula’ was constructed by Wena, Emerencia and Agnes as part of our letter-writing workshop at the Glasgow Women’s Library on Wednesday 10th November 2021. Each colour of the monsters leg symbolizes the resources that the British Empire has extracted over the centuries. The sharp claws and rough textured tail are the weapons which the Home Office uses to harm those who are subject to it's violent immigration policies.

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