Helping Ecuador’s Generators Of Change – Q&A With Marisol Urbano
Inspired by her work on International Women’s Day, Unruly sat down with Marisol Urbano, from our facilities staff, to discuss the vital work she does with her organisation the Family Emotional Wellbeing Project (FEWP). At Unruly we believe it’s key to highlight the work being done across our organisation throughout the year – not just on March 8.
The organisation – run by Urbano, Lucienne Aguirre and Alba Piedra – was set up to tackle issues around domestic violence and mental health within the UK’s Ecuadorian community.
We chatted with Marisol about why they set up FEWP, how it helps vulnerable people, and what’s next on the horizon.
1. Hi Marisol, could you start by telling us a little about FEWP and the overall aims of the organisation?
FEWP is a non-profit organisation, created by professional women, which works to improve the welfare of families in the UK’s Ecuadorian community.
The objective of our work is to improve the relationships and emotional well-being of migrants. A big part of what we do is about removing stigmas and showing people that anyone can have emotional problems and that there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help.
Within our work assessing and understanding situations around domestic violence and prevention, we found a preconception that most victims were women. However, with the help of the Consulate of Ecuador, we were able to carry out a specific study in the Ecuadorian community in 2016 which revealed that 50% of victims between the ages of 14 and 75 were men.
The study also revealed that out of the 210 people sampled, 88 suffered domestic violence. The study also showed that the abuse is normalised within families – and this is at the core of what we’re trying to tackle.
2. How does FEWP help people affected by domestic violence and in need of emotional support?
Women are often the key generators of change when families move to new countries, but challenges like language barriers and job insecurity can make it hard to adjust to a new way of life. To help, the FEWP runs domestic violence prevention and emotional well-being awareness campaigns in partnership with a number of other groups.
Many Latin American women are skilled and career-driven, but ignorance or lack of support leaves them with limited options. The therapy and support we offer are very important, as many social organisations in the UK are ill equipped to deal with these problems, while psychological care in the NHS is equally scarce. Another major issue facing English institutions is a lack of translators, which means professional, personalised attention is not possible – which leaves these women feeling unheard.
3. Finally, what are the next steps for you and the organisation?
The Family Emotional Well-being Project CIC primarily works in a community-focused way, and we’re really excited to be training the personnel of the Consulate of Ecuador to handle cases involving vulnerable people within the community more effectively.
Because we don’t have an economic sponsor, 100% of our funding comes from fundraising events we organise – often in partnership with other organisations.
For example, one of our most successful recent events was held in the Unruly offices, where we held a food fair centred around the Andean cuisine of Latin America. We’ve got two more events at Unruly HQ scheduled for later this year. We’re also collaborating with Central St Martin’s to put on a fundraising fashion show.
This kind of collaboration is key to promoting our message of emotional well-being, and in establishing the kind of abuse prevention tactics we are practising with the Ecuadorian Consulate. Women’s organisations across the UK are hard at work changing policies relating to the treatment of victims of domestic violence and FEWP wholeheartedly supports them.
If you’re interested in supporting Marisol and the FEWP get in touch by emailing, [email protected]