By VIEWdigital co-founder Una Murphy
Telling the stories of women who have immigrated from their homelands, some facing not only poverty but also uncertainty over their right to be called citizens – whether due to Brexit or claims for asylum – has been a challenge.
We started gathering stories of migrant women for this edition of VIEW magazine before the Covid-19 pandemic and during this crisis have conducted interviews virtually rather than face-to-face.
Some women who emigrated to these shores have secure jobs and their families are well settled within the community. But others have faced destitution during this pandemic, struggling to find necessities such as food, never mind the broadband needed for home schooling.
Hate crime, housing, and the difficulties of dealing with bureaucracy, are some of the challenges migrant women have experienced but I have also been inspired by their poetry, determination and even their love for the Northern Irish weather.
Many women don’t want to put themselves in the limelight but it is their experiences which can inform social policy and sharing their stories can shine a light on important social justice issues.
When I first talked to Kate Campbell and Chris McCartney from the ‘Voice of Migrant Women’ group we discussed how journalists like to have photographs to illustrate a story and how some women might not want to have their identity shown. I hope we have found the right mix of words and images in this edition of VIEW magazine.
We were pleased that Monika Ciok-Giertuga, Project Coordinator, Ethnic Minorities Support with the YMCA, agreed to be the guest editor of this edition of VIEW. She collaborated with our journalists, led by editor Brian Pelan, sharing her insight to help us tell the stories of migrant women in Northern Ireland.
Sponsorship from the VSB Foundation, Community Foundation NI as well as an advert from Advice NI has funded our journalism for this edition of VIEW magazine.