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Closed 20/10/2023
The Lotus Flower - Prism the Gift Fund

The Lotus Flower

Since Covid-19 began, small charities have been hit hard, but the population we serve needs us now more than ever. We hope you will help support the future of our organisation. Restricted fund under Prism - Charity Number 1099682.
by 295 supporters
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Closed on 20/10/2023
RCN 1099682

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This is a personal appeal for your support, which is very difficult for me to write. When Covid-19 first took hold, it hit the Lotus Flower hard. Many donors pulled out of funding us, leaving us in a position I never imagined we'd find ourselves in. All these months on, we still desperately need to raise money to survive the months ahead, and extend the lifeline for the vulnerable women and girls we support.

First off, I thought it would be useful to explain why I, and so many others, have grown to love the Lotus Flower so passionately. My journey began in Kurdistan in northern Iraq in 2014, when I gave up my City job to become an aid worker following the brutal ISIS attacks in my homeland. As a child genocide survivor of Saddam Hussein's era, I recognised only too well the pain and suffering unfolding before my eyes. Aged just four, I was taken as a political prisoner, and escaped being buried alive with my family. My father also survived a poisoning attempt before we eventually arrived in the UK as refugees in 1988.

Back in Kurdistan in 2014, nothing prepared me for reliving my childhood trauma, or witnessing another genocide in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people were displaced, and women and girls raped, tortured and forced into sex slavery. For 15 months I worked on the frontline, aware of the hotels packed with the worlds media, clamouring to report on the humanitarian crisis. Seven years on, the displacement and suffering remain, but the hotels are empty; this forgotten generation no longer make headlines.

Back in the UK, I realised how lucky I'd been to have so many opportunities to rebuild my life. I knew I couldn't individually rescue all the women and girls I'd seen, but I recognised I could build the structures they needed to resume their lives. Stuck in primitive camps, they needed safe spaces. They needed healing. They needed the tools and training to rebuild. And they needed each other. So that's how the Lotus Flower came to be.

Founded in my living room, with no money and no network of support, the Lotus Flower has meant everything to me ever since. Despite being a single mum trying to hold down another job, I knew it was my destined path. Before long, I hired a Regional Project Manager, and our first priority was to establish a safe social space for women and girls. Finally, they had somewhere to seek refuge, to talk, to bond, and to begin their recovery. Over time, our activities and our staffing grew, and with an International Project Manager on board, we grew the Lotus Flower into a credible, well-run charity which has now supported more than 40,000 women and girls.

We have worked tirelessly to lay the foundations, implement proper procedures and create a clear model for funding. We work under three core pillars which align with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: Education & Livelihoods, Health & Safety and Peacebuilding & Human Rights. Each pillar has gender equality at its root. Working directly with the community, we've built up deep trust and strong relationships, and our holistic approach provides tailored support to each woman and girl.

We now have four Lotus Flower centres and more than 20 local staff members, many of whom are employed from within the camps. We have implemented over 30 projects to date, and crucially, have achieved all of this on a minimal budget. But to keep going, we badly need to raise more funds.

What started out as a personal determination to give back has grown into a fully thriving, actively-used, and desperately needed community service. Women, girls, men, boys and grandparents all benefit from our work, and we want to keep providing the skills, training and support that enable them to earn a living for themselves. We also want to keep offering the mental health support which is so badly needed, and the empowering safe spaces that mean so much.

Our plan for 2021 was to shore up our organisational development and grow our financial reserves. But with the ongoing effects of Covid-19, we continue to suffer the aftermath of donors scrapping agreed funding. Small charities like ours have been decimated. In spite of this, we've still been giving our all to those we support, because we know that the pandemic has hit them far harder than us. We adapted quickly and have kept our projects going, but there's no escaping the worrying spikes in gender-based violence, early marriage and even suicide which have resulted from Covid. This is on top of an emerging mental health crisis, plus the loss of jobs and income.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a Catch-22 situation, because while our help and support is needed more acutely than ever before, we still face a major funding shortfall. Your donation will therefore make a massive difference, enabling us to survive the next few months, until bigger resources arrive.

Please join us and support this generation of forgotten women and girls and encourage others to do the same. Thank you so much for reading.

Taban Shoresh,

Founder, the Lotus Flower

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The Lotus Flower is a restricted fund operating under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, Registered Charity Number: 1099682

About the charity

The Lotus Flower - Prism the Gift Fund

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1099682
The Lotus Flower runs centres for women & girls displaced by conflict, working at grassroots level in the heart of communities employing local women to implement our programmes. The Lotus Flower is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, registered charity number 1099682.

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+ £1,923.86 Gift Aid
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