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Activist Worlds

                                   My

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Below, are some of the organisations which both I, and my stories, are committed to assisting wherever possible.

Please feel free to explore their works, whisper about them to your loved ones and, where possible, support in your own beautiful way.

Remembering always that there is no such thing as an action too small.

 

Or a hope too great.

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In July 2011, I receieved a phone call from the Metropolitan Police, informing me of the fact that my beloved aunt, Mumtahina 'Ruma' Jannat had been murdered by the man she had been trying to divorce for over five years. A violent man judges and social services had believed to be 'reformed', and who they had allowed access to herself and her children, despite her pleas. 

In her memory, Making Herstory (MH) was born: primarily as a book club through which to raise funds for women's refuges.

Today, MH signposts women to frontline single sex services, aids women's refuges wherever possible, supports anti-misogyny movements and lobbies the UK government on behalf of women and children who have fled violent homes.

In 2019, The Star Outside My Window was written in honour of all children forced to live their lives without their mothers as a result of male violence, with the aim of raising awareness around the devastating impacts of domestic violence upon children across the world.

A percentage of royalties from The Star Outside My Window goes towards supporting all projects and works aided by Making Herstory.

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In the summer of 2015, the story of Aylan Kurdi - a three-year old boy who drowned trying to escape the war in Syria - hit the news. The fact and manner of his death outraged a global population and mobilised thousands to begin works to help end the inhumane treatment of refugees. Such was the beginnings of O's Refugee Aid Team (ORAT).

What began as a temporary programme of works under Making Herstory to assist women and children trapped in the abusive systems and camps of northern France, ORAT's works grew rapidly enough to warrant it becoming an independent organisation.

 

Today, ORAT funds a shared warehouse operation with partners Mobile Refugee Support (MRS), delivers goods, foods and shelter aid convoys, assists independent frontliners, funds food supplies for Salam Kitchens in Dunkirk, assists families arriving in the UK where called upon, and lobbies against anti-refugee laws being established by the UK government. 

A percentage of royalties from The Boy at the Back of the Class and Hope on the Horizon goes towards O's Refugee Aid Team and the frontline teams it supports.

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Being of Geordie origin (ie born in Newcastle!), Greggs has always had a special place in my heart.

Today, among its many other charitable works, the bakery's very own Foundation delivers over 70,000 free breakfast meals every single day to children battling food poverty for a variety of reasons across the country. And has been doing so since 1999.

Funded through donations, match sponsors, local businesses and the sales of its delicious jammy dodgers, I have seen first hand just how much joy Greggs school breakfasts bring to children and teachers alike. It's enough to make every heart and tummy full to overflowing.

A percentage of royalties from The Great Food Bank Heist goes towards supporting a Greggs Foundation School Breakfast Club in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

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Ever wondered what one garage, one woman, and an army of volunteers can achieve in one of the poorest boroughs in the UK?

Well, if you're looking for an answer from shero Lorraine Tabone, it's simple: it's the ability to help every single homeless person in an entire borough and beyond.

Because that is exactly what Lorraine and every heart at Lola's Homeless Ladder do. Week in, week out, day or night, for the homeless of Newham. There's a reason why Lorraine is cited as my personal She-Ra in Hope on the Horizon: her incredible capacity to lead where MPs and others have seemingly forgotten how to, means every meal, every story, and every hug gifted by her team to all those in need in our community, is deeply, personally, priceless.

A percentage of royalties from The Night Bus Hero and Hope on the Horizon goes towards supporting Lola's Homeless Ladder (previously Lola's Homeless).

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Of the 300,000 homeless people estimated to be homeless on the streets of the United Kingdom, a large percentage are young people aged under 25.

Depaul's Nightstop mobilises local volunteer communities across the country with spare rooms to hand, to ensure thousands of young people can stop for a night or two in a warm and welcoming environment during the course of their journeys.

 

It was thanks to just such a spare room of a good friend that I came to learn of Depaul in 2020, and ever since, have watched this incredible charity go from strength to strength. From prevention works in schools to helping young people access training, immediate aid and long-term housing, the Depaul teams are deeply phenomenal.

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Night buses have always been at the heart of gifting safety and warmth to homeless communities, especially in the dead of winter. But in 2019, I opened my emails to find a link sent to her by a good friend: it was about an extraordinary engineer who had begun to literally magic disused buses into homeless shelters, kitchens and training centres right in the heart of London. All with a view to ensuring homeless men could reintegrate into a local community with the full support of an entire team.

Upon learning more about this fantastic charity, I went to meet Dan Atkins, the founder, and on seeing the insightful works undertaken by his teams, knew exactly what the title of my next book was going to be...Cue: The Night Bus Hero.

A percentage of royalties from The Night Bus Hero goes towards supporting Buses4Homeless SIC.

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A percentage of royalties from The Night Bus Hero goes towards supporting Depaul Nightstop.

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There are few organisations as brave and as committed to saving the lives of innocent civilians than the Syria Defence League, lovingly known as The White Helmets.

 

Despite numerous ongoing attempts to shut down the organisation and threaten its members by both Syria's 'President' Al-Assad, as well as Russian forces, it continues in its life-saving operations. Comprised of deeply courageous, non-partisan volunteers, The White Helmets specialises in medical evacuation, search and rescue from bombed out areas and life-saving essential service delivery across opposition-occupied regions of Syria as well as in Turkey. At least two hundred members are thought to have lost their lives whilst on duty since 2018 alone, whilst it is estimated they have saved over 110,000 lives since their works began in 2014..  

I first heard of The White Helmets from a Syrian refugee family encountered in the camps of Calais in 2016, who had been rescued by members of the team and aided out of the country. S/heroes who then turned right back around to go and help others.

 

From needing eye goggles and defibrillators, to asking for support on social media to ensure more people hear of their immense works, every pound and penny really, truly matters to this heroic charity.

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As with all countries around the world (including the UK), the negligence and abusive treatment of women and children surviving below poverty lines continues to constrict and demolish potential whilst perpetuating cycles of economic destitution.

Having visited orphanages and women's organisations in many countries, I have met many phenomenal souls working against the constant grain of poverty and abuse. But few have revolutionised the ways in which orphanages, free schools in slum areas and women's training programmes are run the way ZamZam have.

 

In 2022, I had the great honour of spending a morning with the children of ZamZam orphanage in Sylhet, Bangladesh, visiting a free ZamZam school established to safeguard and educate children whilst their parents work, and speaking with the women and young people benefitting from their expertly run entrepreneurial training programmes.

To say it was one of the happiest experiences of my life is an understatement...

A percentage of my speaking fees at both international and British establishments will be going towards the creation of a library for a ZamZam orphanage in Sylhet.

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