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Blog by AK who shared her EWA experience at an International Women’s Day event.


Almost 13 years ago, I jumped on a plane and came to UK.

I was a newlywed. In one hand I had my financial economics master’s graduation certificate, in the other one I was holding a tone of dreams that wouldn’t fit into the world. Then life happened and I had to give up on my dreams one by one every day. At the time if felt like I had no dreams left, I was holding a small baby. I had to find my way in life as a solo carer of my baby, 24/7.

Days and months flew by – I think my first meeting with EWA coincides with those days exactly 5 years ago.

At that time, I remember that I couldn’t make sense of what was happening to me, I became totally financially dependent, totally alone and helpless. I was constantly searching online for support, which is when I found EWA. I called their number and they had me in the Cheyne St building the very next day, where I explained my situation.

I needed someone who would listen to me wholeheartedly without giving advice or blaming me. That day the lady I contacted at EWA listened to me without asking any questions, she let me cry in a safe place, I cried, cried, and cried until my tears were gone.

Having the comfort of finding someone to listen to me was inexpressible. The lady in front of me could see things that I couldn’t see, and in that first crisis moment, she explained my options to me in a short and clear way. That support was enough for me at that moment.

While I was creating the solutions to my problems, I had the comfort of knowing that there was a place to call whenever I needed it.

Then, life happened again. The pandemic had come and after 2 years of lockdowns and isolation, the problems had become bigger than I could handle. As an immigrant in this country, with no financial power, isolated from the public, with no family around me and without any friends, I knocked on EWA’s door again.

They supported me again, without asking questions. They were so welcoming at all times. There was no judgment and no expectations. I considered my options and decided to start to change my life from the beginning. I felt my situation was really pathetic – I had more than 10 years of career break and there was so much to catch up on.

My progress was slow but they never ever mentioned how slow I was progressing. And I learned that “no matter how slow you go, it’s fine as long as you do not stop!”

Today it’s been one year since I started taking classes at Edinburgh College, where I began working voluntarily on the digitalisation of the University of Edinburgh’s Music Museum, which is a unique library to Wikipedia.

EWA supported me every time I reached out to them and always helped me when I needed it.

They provided funding for me to do short training courses I wanted to attend and also gave me a laptop for my studies.

This week is my third week of meetings with State Street who are working on a project with EWA, as part of the Works 4 Women Employability Project.

I want to express my gratitude to Fiona in the team for her endless support since we met. Her positive attitude and professionalism always motivates me.

It hasn’t been long since I met with Anne who is also on the team – I really appreciate her unique perspective on things and feel very privileged to have benefited from her experience too.

On this International Women’s Day, (today, 8 March 2023), I’d like to underline the reality of the unpaid, undervalued, and often invisible work done by women in public or in domestic life.

There’s so many unpaid women who are primary carers and homemaker who are experiencing social isolation, loneliness, inequalities and poverty.

This also has a significantly negative impact on the economy and undermines women’s career progression and lifetime earnings.

Following the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis has had a compounding impact on the increasing amount of work falling on women’s shoulders. As women are busier, they have less access to resources and this results in untold harm for women – there is an urgent need for action.

“Thank you for allowing me to share my EWA story with everyone, which is a real honour.” AK.