Impact of Covid-19 on BAME Women

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By Sarata Jabbi

It’s been ten months since corona virus surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in a poultry and seafood market. According to WHO, over 30.6 million Covid-19 cases and 950,000 deaths have been reported. ‘From the 14 through 20 September, there were almost 2 million new cases of Covid-19, which represents a 6% increase compared to the previous week, and the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic. During the same period, there was a 10% decrease in the number of deaths, with 36,764 deaths reported in the past seven days,’ WHO.

Since the pandemic started there has been so many changes in people’s lives in UK and the world at large. However the lockdown and closure of some facilities has had a huge impact on the lives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Birmingham. According to some African migrants in Birmingham Covid-19 has ruined most of their activities such as work and classes in English, IT and Sewing.

Fatou Bintou Jarjue: The pandemic restricted our access to so many opportunities. I arrived in this country few years ago without any formal education and I tried contacting a community group called Care for Women and Girls (CAWAG) about my situation and I expressed willingness to learn English and other skills to improve myself. I was later given an opportunity to take part in their women empowerment project (IT, English and Sewing classes). However after the emergence of this pandemic everything stopped and the little knowledge I gained so far is not useful as I cannot utilise it. I also work as a cleaner and my employer has asked me to stay home. As a matter of fact my financial situation has changed for the worse.

Tabsir Assouma: Coronavirus has affected me and my family a lot, financially and emotionally. I was attending English and Sewing classes to improve myself which I find really interesting but due to Covid-19 I had to stop. I live with my kids alone and since the lockdown started we haven’t visited family and friends, no party, or kids’ football. Everything has stopped, it’s really frustrating.

Salma Mahmud: Covid-19 has had a great impact on my family and I. we booked flight tickets to go to Somalia for a six weeks holiday. The flight was cancelled and we still haven’t had our money back. No enough hours at work, kids stopped going to Madarasa (Quranic classes) which piled up my role as a single mother and I struggled a lot to ensure that my kids learn their Quran daily because with TV, tablets and social media, it is really challenging to stop them using and concentrate on studies.

Mata Demba: the most challenging part Covid-19 impact is the home schooling. Neither my husband nor I have had a formal education and having to help our kids with school work was a nightmare. My husband’s number of hours at work was reduced and we have a big family, and I am not entitled to public fund. My husband supports me financially with the little he earns from work. Our current situation is very frustrating.

Sireh Jallow: Covid-19 has had an impact on my life especially my business. Before the pandemic my business was growing well. I would normally have 6-10 orders a day, but it’s a different story now. I hardly have a customer because all the social activities have stopped and you know women love wearing new outfits to every party. Home schooling was also a challenge but thank God we are surviving and hope life will come back to normal.

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