Siobhan and Paveen

Blackburn group lead pioneering project to confront violence against women

November 12, 2014 | Nick Taylor

A group of women from Blackburn are the first in the country to undertake intensive training to confront violent conflict and develop skills to help them and other people lead more peaceful lives.  Pictured – Siobhan Riordan and Paveen Yaqub Women Building Peace Project Leads.

The project called ‘Women Building Peace,’ developed by the Warrington-based charity the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, encourages women from other countries who now live in Britain, and who may have experienced violence in their own lives, to develop the abilities to resolve conflict.

The Foundation for Peace joined with Blackburn women’s refuge Humraaz, to deliver an intensive training course and to encourage women to improve their lives by becoming active in their local community. Participation on the course has had a dramatic impact on life of the women at Humraaz Refuge who have noticed differences in the way they are living together, becoming more tolerant of each other.

Firoza Mohmed, manager at Humraaz commented: “Many of the women went on the course as victims of violence, now they have started to find their voice and are now more equipped to deal with conflict in their own lives.”

Humraaz women have started other actions in their local community. Many of the women are Muslims and wanted to challenge the traditional exclusion of women from Mosques. They gained the support from Ghausia Mosque in Chester Street, Blackburn, who opened its doors to the women and their children, providing classroom and crèche facilities, to support their learning.

Blackburn Cathedral and the YMCA are helping the women host lunchtime conversations and eating together so they can share ideas about how they can live peaceful lives.

The women launched a new Facebook campaign to get people thinking about what ‘Peace Is…’

Siobhan Riordan from the Foundation for Peace says the course is having such an impact that it is being delivered across the region in other areas of East Lancashire and north Manchester.

Siobhan said: “violence affects many women and we also know that women play a crucial role in resolving conflict and in building the conditions for peace.

“The course we have designed and piloted in Blackburn is accredited, but most importantly it develops skills for the women to resolve conflict in their own and others’ lives.”

The Foundation is creating an international women’s peace academy and is hoping the women from Blackburn will become the first members when they complete their course.


Interviews available with Siobhan Riordan (see contacts below) and Firoza Mohmed. Please note, many of the women do not wish to be individually identified but ‘sensitive’ interviews may be arranged.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace was established in memory of the two boys who lost their lives in a terrorist bombing in Warrington, Cheshire twenty-one years ago. A long-term vision of the organisation has been to harness the potential that so many women hold in communities to resolve conflict and promote peace. This is now being realised through the creation of accredited courses and qualifications in conflict resolution and ‘peace building’.

Humraaz supports black and minority ethnic women, and their children, at risk of, or currently experiencing, domestic abuse, forced marriage and/or violence in the name of honour.

Contact – Siobhan Riordan, Project Leader, Women Building Peace Project Tel: 07507 559131



© 2014 The Women Building Peace Project is a project of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace and is co-funded by the European Union Integration Fund. The content and comments on this news release reflect the views of the authors’ only.