November: Rosanna

Rosanna Lewis is an Idva with Sistah Space, a domestic abuse service that profiles, gives voice to and raises awareness of African Heritage Women and Girls affected by domestic and sexual abuse. Rosanna has a social work background, particularly with children and families, and has also worked in domestic violence in the local area. She has always been involved in community work and facilitates holistic health workshops, and she has also been a bookseller for many years.

What are some of the specific challenges that women you support are facing?

The challenges that African heritage women face are numerous; but racism, stereotyping, the justice system and being absent from the very policies that are supposed to protect Us is very clear.
 
What keeps you going when the work gets tough? 

My colleagues keep Me going when things get tough. The bond we have is rock hard. We support and look after each other. Knowing the difference we are making and speaking for the voiceless in the African-Caribbean global community is everything. 
 
What are you most proud of so far? 

I am extremely proud that we have achieved so much on zero funding. The determination, fortitude, resilience and vision of success has made Us a formidable team.
 
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering working in this sector, what would it be? 

One piece of advice I would give is to take time and be creative in your quest to make a difference in the domestic abuse field.

Rosanna was nominated by her colleague Ngozi who said:

"As an 'elder' well known and respected in the Rastafarian/grassroots community, Rose has used her influence to highlight the various complex issues faced by black women. At least four days a week, Rosanna collects and distributes surplus M&S food to over 30 people. Rose runs several Sistah Space stalls and has raised a substantial amount of funds for the organisation’s work. Rosanna is one of the support trainers who travels UK wide speaking on behalf of black women abuse survivors. She is available at a moment’s notice to support both staff and clients. Always ready with a friendly smile and a hug, we are proud to call her 'Sistah’."

Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing communications@safelives.org.uk with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line.