Beatrice Guessie has been nominated by Nickala Torkington of Flourish CIC. Nickala says “After fleeing her home country, Beatrice sought asylum here in the UK and hoped to start a new life in peace and safety. Sadly that was not to be the case and she then endured a whole different set of trauma and abuse.
With support from a solicitor and the Centre for Women’s Justice Beatrice has been given a fresh start to piece her life together once more.
A resilient single parent with huge kindness, empathy, tenacity and experience she has set up Light in the Darkness to create system and policy change across health, social care, immigration and the criminal justice system.
At the same time, she supports vulnerable women in overcoming trauma, poverty and building positive futures for themselves, their families and communities in the UK and overseas.”
Who has she helped/ who will she help?
“Light in the Darkness has supported many women in the UK who are battling with statutory systems, seeking to get their children back in their care, managing trauma and mental health problems and facing daily discrimination.
Beatrice provides hope, mentoring and workforce development training opportunities. She is also shining a light on how to improve support so that statutory systems treat people fairly, humanely and support diverse women to have a voice in systems change.”
“Several families have been supported and many children have been able to have positive experiences with their mothers, as Beatrice has organised family excursions and trips to the park for mothers and children living through trauma and foster care.
Also, over 80 people attended the first Light in the Darkness conference in Manchester earlier this year, which enabled several women to have their stories heard by decision makers in statutory and charitable organisations to create change for the future. The event highlighted what can happen with improved practice, training and support.”
What have you learnt? Any challenges?
Beatrice says “It is a long and winding road – whilst many barriers and challenges that are thrown at you physically and emotionally, there is always hope if you keep faith. And there are good people who listen and are willing to support you to find justice – we just need to create more of them and support them to effect change.”
Beatrice is currently busy fundraising through Gofundme and organising Christmas parties for families living with trauma, abuse and managing fear and isolation through the care system. She is also aims to launch a workforce development programme through creating retail opportunities for the women she is working with and is planning another Light in the Darkness conference in the not too distant future.
What advice, contacts or resources would help you?
“Use your networks and ask for support – my language barrier has created setbacks but agencies like the Centre for Women’s Justice, UnLtd and Flourish have helped me find my voice, pathway and route to creating change for others.”
Why we’re sharing these stories
An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!