Unlocking change

Hibiscus Initiatives

Hibiscus Initiatives enables marginalised migrant women trapped in the immigration and criminal justice systems to rebuild their lives.

Honestly, thank you so much. I’ve changed the perception that I had about myself. For the first time in a long time, I am feeling weightless. Having people like you has helped me to survive through all of this. I would not have done it without you.

Hibiscus client

Hibiscus Initiatives has been supporting women for over 35 years and is the leading organisation working with Black, minoritised and migrant women and families at the intersection of the immigration and criminal justice systems. They work with women in prison, in the community, at court, and in Immigration Removal Centres, taking an approach that is both culturally and gender responsive, as well as trauma informed. Hibiscus also has a programme to support women with lived experience of the criminal justice and immigration systems to become leaders and use their voice to shape those systems.

Their approach enables them to spot trends and barriers as well as gather research to inform policy and practice, and improve the public’s understanding of the issues. Working collaboratively with grassroots and national organisations to share data, learning and skills, Hibiscus aim to create a stronger, more coordinated sector.

We developed our Empowerment and Agency programme to support our clients to become lived experience leaders. In the past year, these women have taken part in 26 empowerment and agency activities, including workshops and focus groups, they have established an Intersectional Feminism group, have participated at a Nationality and Borders Bill rally and have met MPs. Over the next year, they will become cultural mediators to support other women and will be developing the skills to speak to policy makers and journalists about the issues they face so they can influence systemic change.

Marchu Girma, Chief Executive, Hibiscus Initiatives

Connection to Esmée's strategy

  • Gender justice
  • Migrant justice
  • Racial justice
Long-term outcomes
  • The negative impacts of the criminal justice system on women and their families are reduced.
  • Policy, practice, and the law better meets the needs of women experiencing multiple challenges and discrimination.
  • Legislation and support ensure that migrants' rights are protected, and reflects their needs.
  • Disproportionate harm caused by racial injustice in systems, policy and practice is reduced.

Hibiscus’ work cuts across racial, gender, and migrant justice supporting women impacted by a range of legislation and encountering multiple barriers. Its services and policy work has significant impact and raises awareness of often hidden issues.

Laura Lines, Funding Manager and Social Change Lead, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

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