The Muslim Hands ‘Muslim Women's Prisoner Rehabilitation’ programme was set up as part of our UK Projects in 2012. As well as offering tailored support to Muslim women in prison both while they are serving sentences and when they are released, the project aims to tackle the stigma that surrounds the issue of women in prison within the Muslim community and beyond.
Today, the project’s coordinator, Sofia Buncy has been awarded a Butler Trust Award at St James’s Palace, London in the presence of HRH Princess Anne. Sir Michael Harrison, Chair of the Awarding Panel at the Trust, said:
‘Sofia was granted an award for her ground-breaking work at HMP/YOI New Hall, researching and helping develop responses to the needs and challenges facing Muslim women during and after custody. The sheer impact – and the lifeline it offers – was captured well in some simple but beautiful words from a Muslim woman prisoner, describing what Sofia meant to her, “You are my breath”’.
Maqsood Ahmed OBE, Director of UK Projects at Muslim Hands added:
‘I am very proud of our prison work, and especially of Sofia and the “Muslim Women in Prison” project. Sofia’s work in women’s prisons has provided an invaluable insight into the needs of these women and we are looking forward to the continuation and development of the programme’.
Sofia told us how humbled she felt to receive the award, expressing her hope that, ‘it will serve to put gender equality for Muslim women on the radar and hopefully will give recognition to the plight of Muslim women in custody’.
A big congratulations from all of us at Muslim Hands!
The Muslim Women in Prison project is just one of the ways that Muslim Hands is working to tackle poverty, inequality and marginalisation in the UK.