International Women’s Day 2023: Faustina Yang
On International Women’s Day 2023, we are delighted to spotlight Chinese Women in Peterborough and their founder, Faustina Yang, who recently won the award for ‘Chinese Woman of the Year’ by UK Chinese Women Connect.
Smallwood caught up with Faustina after this news had been shared to celebrate her achievement and reflect on her partnership with the Trust.
Hi Faustina – can you please introduce yourself and your organisation to those who may not be familiar?
I’m Faustina Yang, founder and leader of Chinese Women in Peterborough. The organisation was established in 2013 to bring dedicated supported to Chinese Women in the local area. We offer opportunities for connection, empowerment and create lasting impact.
As a woman from ethnic minority background, I am passionate about tackling inequality, especially in areas such as employment, and access to health and social services. I am keen to raise the importance of cohesion, integration and collaborate with partner organisations to make a difference at every level of society.
Since I founded the organisation we have helped Chinese Women to access practical English lessons, increase their mental wellbeing, reduce social isolation and enable women to reach out to volunteers who can speak their language and provide culturally appropriate support. The organisation also carries out work around understanding hate crime and how to report it, giving our women the chance to speak out when they have experienced discrimination or violence.
Smallwood has had a partnership with Chinese Women in Peterborough through both the Women Thrive Fund, and more recently as a referral partner as part of our Cost-of-Living Fund. Can you speak to how this partnership has supported you on your journey toward this exceptional award?
The Women Thrive Fund has helped us to support Chinese Women across Peterborough to access services like wellbeing initiatives, walks, coffee and chat, online seminars, practical English lessons, hate crime awareness sessions and menopause awareness which greatly improved mental wellbeing and offered a relaxed environment for women to come together.
We’ve seen the financial resilience of Chinese Women improve through our ‘Covid Cash Course’ programme which was delivered in both English and Chinese to understand what financial support is available and how to access it. Though this we were also able to then sign post to local support.
Chinese Women in Peterborough was also able to access training through the Women Thrive Fund, including policy writing sessions, which were really helpful in strengthening our organisation for the future.
Being a referral partner for Smallwood during your Cost-of-Living Fund meant that vulnerable women in the group, including those who have experienced financial difficulties, mental health issues or domestic abuse received grants which has helped them to pay bills, buy school clothes and put food on the table.
Funding is crucial to ensuring we can support our community groups and these opportunities have been really important to my journey, so thank you.
You were described by UK Chinese Women Connect Chairwoman Qun Yang as a “shining example of the strength, resilience, and determination of Chinese women.” Could you tell us how it feels to receive this recognition?
I feel this award is not for me personally, it is for the communities that I support.
Founding Chinese Women in Peterborough means I can represent Chinese Women on the frontline and be part of a wider community. It’s important that we are heard in this way and are able to increase awareness of issues affecting the Chinese community and support more people in need.
What’s next for Chinese Women in Peterborough?
We just celebrated International Women’s Day with inspirational speeches, story sharing, delicious food, dancing, singing, and networking.
We have some exciting work coming up which will support the local NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT) wellbeing strategy and initiatives. This is part of NHS England’s mission to redesign and transform primary and community mental health care, taking a holistic approach to mental health provision by involving diverse communities. We will be working very closely with the amazing NHS CPFT ‘How Are You Peterborough’ team.
Chinese Women in Peterborough have also been funded by Rosa UK’s Rise Fund to continue building on our work and strengthening the organisation in areas like governance, building alliances, partnerships and demonstrating impact.
If someone is interested in supporting your organisation and its goals, what’s the best way they can go about doing this?
There are many ways to support Chinese Women in Peterborough. Readers are welcome to fund our great work, to mentor or coach our management team or volunteers, or provide training, or volunteer with us. Any help is appreciated.