This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

Help traumatised mother find her children

OCTOBER 2007 As a result of this financial appeal, Ms M raised enough money so that a reliable person could start looking for her children. He eventually found them in Uganda in July 2008.

ACTION ALERT: DONATIONS NEEDED TO HELP TRAUMATISED MOTHER FIND HER CHILDREN

Ms Maureen Mahoro has not seen or heard from her four children for over four  years. She doesn’t know whether they are alive or dead but like any mother is desperate to find out. Her oldest son disappeared and she was forced to leave the other three behind when she fled from Burundi to the UK in fear of  her life in 2003. She needs money to search for them and all the money she  managed to scrap together for this purpose has run out. We are urgently  asking for your help.

Background

Ms Mahoro was forced to leave Burundi in 2003 after she and her family, who  are Hutu, were targeted by Tutsi authorities. Ms Mahoro’s husband was  kidnapped, and both he and her eldest son disappeared. She sent her three
other children (two boys now aged 15 and 10, and a girl aged 13) to stay  with a family friend because she feared for their safety. Shortly  afterwards, the family home was attacked and her brother was decapitated in  front of her. Ms Mahoro was imprisoned for six months and repeatedly raped  as well as being tortured in other ways. She managed to escape with the help of a friend who paid an agent and fled to the UK. Tragically and  against all her instincts she was forced to leave the children behind  because she thought they would be safer if they weren’t associated with her.

Ms Mahoroi’s asylum claim is being considered by the Home Office’s Legacy  Group after negligent legal representation (acknowledged by the Law Society)  led to it being refused without a substantive hearing. Ms Mahoro arrived in  the UK pregnant as a result of the rape she suffered in prison and is now  raising a daughter.

As soon as she was able, Ms Mahoro appealed to the Red Cross to try and  locate her children but she has received no news so far. In 2005, Ms Mahoro  was granted a small sum in compensation for poor legal representation in her  asylum claim. She used this money to make renewed efforts to try and find  her children by paying people to look for them. She learnt that the person  who was looking after the three children had also fled the country. She was  both relieved to hear some news but distraught not to know if or how her children are now surviving. The compensation money has now run out. Ms Mahoro is now appealing for well-wishers to help her raise some money to  continue the search. She has calculated that she needs £1000 to start the  search again. The money would cover expenses for transport, food and  accommodation for the person now in Burundi who is ready to renew his search  but cannot do so without some basic financial help.

Request for financial help (As a result of this financial appeal, Ms M raised enough money so that a reliable person could start looking for her children. He eventually found them in Uganda in July 2008.)

Many of us are mothers, fathers and other carers. None of us can really imagine the horror of being forcibly separated from our children.  Tragically and largely invisibly many women seeking asylum in the UK  (including women in the All African Women’s Group[1][1]) live with this kind  of heartbreak every day. Like Ms Mahoro, they were forced to leave their
children behind or saw them kidnapped and don’t know where they are or how they are suffering trying to survive without the love and protection of  their mother.

Whilst Ms Mahoro had no choice but to leave Burundi, she is haunted by grief  and feelings of guilt that she failed as a mother to protect her children.  This constant distress means she cannot begin to recover from her ordeal and  her mental and physical health suffers constantly as a result. She is being treated for depression and sleeping problems.

When asked Ms Mahoro said:

“My children never leave my mind. I cannot speak of them without breaking  down. Every night I cry myself to sleep and all my days are clouded with  guilt and self blaming.”

Ms Mahoro is a key member of the All African Women’s Group, volunteers  weekly to support other women and has courageously spoken to the press, at  conferences and at other events to publicise the plight of women asylum  seekers. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated

Fantastic News: Maureen M found her children

Maureen on hearing that she won her case

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