Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Sophia Forum is the only charity focusing on the rights, health and welfare of UK women with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). We want to run two "WISE-UP+" activist training workshops for women with HIV. We need your vote to make this happen!

Today, women represent a third of the 100,000 people with HIV in the UK. You have probably already met a woman with HIV without realising - HIV affects all areas, jobs and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, women are extremely underrepresented in medical trials, programmes, policy and research. Women with HIV are also likely to face complex issues including violence, stigma and poor mental health. For example, during a previous WISE-UP+ workshop, 79% of participants revealed that they had experienced gender-based violence.

There are a handful of women who are openly living with HIV across the UK, who are role models and activists. They raise awareness of HIV issues with the government and service sectors to help tackle urgent problems. Inspirational, motivating and well known in the sector, these women have been living with HIV for 10-25 years. Many say they would love to see new, younger activists among women with HIV. However this is difficult to achieve because there are hardly any young women who are openly living with HIV.

To build future leaders, we would like to run two three-day WISE-UP+ workshops. This would provide a life changing opportunity for women with HIV to meet other women with HIV and would allow the women, who are new to activism, to develop their advocacy work. Sessions would cover topics including human rights, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, creativity and support for emotional and mental wellbeing. They would be run by expert trainers and doctors. A third of Sophia Forum board members are women with HIV who work with other women with HIV, so we understand how to support women with HIV to make change. By helping women who want to become activists, we would increase the number of involved citizens working to tackle HIV.

We will promote this exciting project through our networks and communities which include women with different ethnic, faith and gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, immigration statuses, locations, relationships with the criminal justice system and educational backgrounds. Ninety percent of previous participants were migrant women, we believe providing a safe space for these women is imperative. We will ensure the group is diverse and worthy of your vote.

Each WISE-UP+ workshop will involve 30 women with HIV; the impact of WISE-UP+ will spread to each of their communities, across the UK.

Based on our previous WISE-UP+ workshops we estimate that we need a total of £12,460 per workshop. Funding will go towards planning, coordination and reporting (£4,130), food and board (£3,300), travel (£1,900), the venue (£900), session facilitators (£1,900) and accountancy (£330). If we receive Aviva funding we will not need other funding.

Don’t think we can do it? These workshops will build on the success of two previous over-subscribed WISE-UP+ events held in 2014 and 2015. Over 95% of participants thought the 2014 sessions were good or excellent.

"The workshop has been very educative & empowering. My confidence has been boosted up."

By the end, most of the women said that they wanted to be activists and advocates in their communities ( One WISE-UP+ graduate joined our core team as our volunteer fundraiser and a book of powerful poetry written by WISE-UP+ graduates, ‘I was the one who walked myself home’, is now on sale to help support our work. This shows that we can deliver lasting results – the funding would allow more women with HIV to be heard.

Vote for WISE-UP+!

Project Video

Sophia Forum

Moment of Pride

We are so proud of the women with HIV who attended our previous WISE-UP+ workshops. These WISE-UP+ graduates are enthusiastic, really creative and eager to speak out. As a new generation of activists they are making real changes to how women with HIV are treated in their local communities.

Location: 345 City Road, London, United Kingdom