Women, Faith and Humanitarian Interventions

Published: Posted on

by Alice Tucker

When I applied for the undergraduate research scholarship, I had no idea what to expect from my 5 weeks working on the “Women, Faith and Humanitarian Interventions” project. I was optimistic as I love researching women’s issues and was keen to learn about the work being done to help women across the globe. However, I had no idea how inspired I would become from my research and the people I was meeting through the project.

The project had 2 main goals. It sought to highlight the important relationship between religion and refugees and to identify and find solutions for the specific problems that women and girls face as refugees. My job was to compile as much information as I could about these areas and to transfer it into an online toolkit which I was to create.

At first the research felt so intimidating- how was I meant to become an expert on the lives of refugees in just a few weeks? But the more information I read, the more I fell into a rabbit hole of NGO reports and media articles. I was hooked. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an easy subject to be researching so intensely. Every so often I would step away from my laptop and get a break from the difficult stories I was reading. My favourite respite came from my regular meetings with one of the academic leads on the project. Over cups of tea and cake in the library café we would discuss how I was finding the project and our aims for the week. It was a great chance to check in and get updates on the project.

At one of these meetings, I was told that we would be delivering a workshop in a fortnight to a small group of representatives working on refugee issues. This workshop was an incredibly enjoyable experience. We went to a local craft group which has a group for refugee women to learn crafting skills together. But we weren’t presenting to the group or interviewing them, we were learning from them. Throughout the day, our small group of academics, NGO leaders and well, me, were taught how to use ceramics and to create jewellery. One of the women from the group told me about her experience moving from her home country to the UK whilst effortlessly moulding a clay rose which she later made into a necklace and gave me (most definitely out of sympathy as my own attempt at a rose looked more like a  crumpled tissue).

The 5 weeks I spent on the project flew by and before I knew it I was finalising the blog webpage and finishing up summarising my research for the toolkit. Whilst I wish the project hadn’t ended so soon, I feel truly proud of the work I did promoting the needs of refugees and all I can hope is that this work makes a difference for someone in need, as it certainly had a positive impact on me. I’m even looking into volunteering at a refugee camp before summer ends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *