The Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation (MEWSo) was founded by Halaleh Taheri, its Executive Director, in 2010.
Halaleh was born in Iran and was part of the 1979 revolution against the Islamic Republic. She also 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 three years hiding in the nearby mountains hoping to be able to liberate the occupied towns and villages. However, as time went on, the impossibility of the task became apparent, so she moved to Iraq where she lived for 11 years. There, she witnessed the fall of Saddam Hussein.
In 1992, the first Gulf War broke out between America and Iraq and Halaleh was forced to flee again, this time to neighbouring Turkey. There she sought asylum through the United Nations and after a year was given asylum in Sweden. She lived there for 14 years studied, gaining a degree in Pedagogy, made a career for herself, and became politically active again, fighting for women’s rights. Eventually, Halaleh to move to London in 2005, where she later founded MEWSo and built another life for herself.
Halaleh made the decision early on 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, 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 cope and recover from trauma they've 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 down barriers.