Senior Advisor on Welfare and LGBTQ+ issues and Facilitator of the Arts and Crafts Workshops
Sodabeh qualified as a welfare advisor after completing courses in Advice & Guidance, and Health and Social Care for Adults. She became an advisor with MEWSo in 2014.
Clearing the Mist
She helps women navigate their way through the complicated benefits system as many MEWSo clients do not understand what they are entitled to, have problems using English and need help with schools, GP services and council tax.
Once a professional artist, for 15 years Sodabeh exhibited her paintings in local galleries. Her sculptures of Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and William Morris could be found in gift shops at the Natural History Museum, Oxford University Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Eventually gravitating towards teaching, she took a Diploma in Art and Design to become a qualified teacher of art and crafts.
Discovering through her welfare work how many of MEWSo's clients find it difficult to express themselves, she began to run Art and Crafts workshops, as a way to help them open up about their troubles, unlock their love of art, and learn new skills.
Her welfare work has also come to include looking after people who identify as LGBTQ+ within Middle Eastern communities. They can be particularly vulnerable experiencing abuse, discrimination, exclusion and violence. As a result MEWSo now campaigns on behalf of LGBTQ+ people and has workshops where they can share their stories, express themselves, gain self-confidence and make friends.
Some examples of clients' craftwork and their children's artwork.