The Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation was established in 2010 by the Director and Founder, Halaleh Taheri. Halaleh was born in Iran and was part of the 1979 revolution in Iran against the Islamic Republic and fought for the independence of Kurdistan. She was forced to leave Iran after her home-town of Baneh, on the Iran-Iraq border, was bombed and occupied by the Islamic troops. As part of an armed party, she spent 3 years hiding in the nearby mountains hoping to be able to liberate the occupied towns and villages. As time went on, the impossibility of the task became apparent, and so she moved to Iraq where she stayed for 11 years, witnessing the fall of Sadam Hossain in Kurdistan. In 1992, the Gulf War broke out between America and Iraq. Halaleh was forced again to flee to neighbouring Turkey to seek asylum from the United Nations. After 1 year in Turkey, Halaleh was given asylum in Sweden and lived there for 14 years where she studied, made a career, and became politically active again, fighting for women’s rights. Halaleh eventually decided to move to London in 2005, where she later founded MEWSo and built another life for herself.
Halaleh made the decision early in her life to dedicate her time to helping displaced women, first in Sweden and now here in London. As a woman born in the Middle East, she has witnessed honour related violence, has suffered gender based injustices on a daily basis, and has lost many loved ones in the civil wars.
Halaleh knows the difficulties displaced women face and that is why she set up MEWSo. An organisation that helps women in their journey of adjustment towards a new life. Every year MEWSo helps hundreds of women across London to adjust to life in the UK by supplying them with advice on issues such as housing, benefits and domestic violence. MEWSo also provides much needed support to help those in need to cope and recover from trauma experienced in their country of origin (such as sexual, domestic, and honour related violence) as well as issues related to mental and physical health.
MEWSo may be a small organisation, but everyone involved, staff and volunteers, has the passion, commitment, and determination to break barriers.