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YANA 

Name: Sherry Fatemi, you can contact Sherry by clicking here to go to our contact form or visit the YANA website here

What is the name of the project/ activity?  You Are Not Alone (YANA)

Introduction

Where did the idea come from?

I came to Nottingham 10 years ago and found it difficult to find and connect into the Iranian community and to find other Iranian single parents/ Farsi speakers who understood my situation. There was no Iranian women’s group and I found there were language barriers  As a single mother with a young child who didn’t know anyone in the city, I felt very lonely and wished I could find a supportive community. I went to college to learn English and then I got a job as an interpreter. I kept seeing people who had been like me and wanted to set up something for people; the Farsi speaking population is quite transient so it is hard to access continuous support. Slowly I found some other people who shared my ideas and in 2018 it felt the right time to set up YANA which is open to Farsi speaking women.

We started by organising events and some classes in different parts of the city. Our aim was to provide support and reduce isolation of Iranian/ Persian mothers. Before Covid YANA had developed lots of different activities, classes and cultural events as well as opportunities for volunteering, where we could meet up. When we could not meet together because of the lock down we started to use social media to keep in touch and offer support. We have a constitution and there are 3 trustees and 7 key volunteers who run YANA.

Was it developed as a new initiative/ project/ group? Or was it an existing organisation/ group changing what it did?

YANA had existed for over a year and it was more about changing the way we were keeping the links with our members and continue to provide support to them and to others who needed help.

What did you hope to achieve? What was your initial aim?

YANAs general aims are

And we added another one

The Activity

 

Outcomes and Reflections

Did you get the take up you expected?

We reached many people who we knew about  and some new people who came through our social media appeals and word of mouth. As we were not able to do face to face  interpreting work we lost  the opportunity to contact new people. We could have reached more people if other organisations would have referred people to us. We went to meetings before Covid and explained our work and asked for any Farsi speaking people to be referred through to us but this doesn’t really happen. NNRF and NCVS have provided publicity for YANA and its activities through network e mailings, NCVS ebulletin  but other organisations will not refer people to us

We have provided support and advice to many people; kept people in touch with each other, and supplied practical help to many others. By being here we have helped some very vulnerable people who were depressed by their isolation and were considering suicide.

Our online sessions have attracted Iranian/ Persian women from other parts of the UK as well as internationally but the focus is still very much concentrated on Nottingham Iranian / Persian women.

For our future we are now in a position to apply to become a charity and we are thinking about this.

Did you make any changes as time went on and the virus became less acute for some people?

As other agencies stepped in so we could reduce our support for the men’s hostel and as people could  get out more we reduced our food deliveries to once a week.

Based on your experience, what do you think that communities can do best on their own?

Based on your experience, was there any help that would have made your work easier?

 

Based on your experience, were there actions you wanted external agencies to take?

It would have helped to have different organisations sharing information about YANA and making referrals.

What are your overall reflections on the project?