Legacy of Oldham suffrage champion lives on through refugee women’s charity

THE legacy of Oldham suffragette Annie Kenney’s life is contributing to a brighter future for scores of women fleeing from war-torn hot spots in the Middle East and Africa.

Sales from a book on Kenney’s life by Carol Talbot and proceeds from talks about the suffrage champion by the author have been donated to CRIBS International.

Founded by Sally Hyman, CRIBS International provides safe homes for refugee families in Greece.

The charity particularly focuses on women dealing with pregnancy or a new baby and supports them through the crucial pre/postnatal months.

Now, it has received a £1,000 boost thanks to Carol’s donation and to highlight Refugee Week, Carol presented her cheque to Sally at a special ceremony by the Annie Kenney statue in Oldham town centre.

MPs Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth) and Jim McMahon (Oldham West and Royton) also attended.

“I like to think as we stand with Annie’s statue that she would be immensely proud that people such as Carol and organisations such as CRIBS are using their influence and character to affect real change and progress in our world,” said Mr McMahon.

“And that the events of women’s suffrage did in fact help to change the world today.”

Carol’s book, ‘Working Class Suffragette, the life of Annie Kenney’, was launched in December 2018 to mark the centenary of the granting of votes for some women.

“CRIBS is a small charity working tirelessly to help pregnant women and their young children who have managed to get to Greece from war-torn countries,” said Carol.

“Women in the camps give birth to their babies on the dirt floor of a tent.

“Thanks to the dedicated work of volunteers and supporters, some families have now a roof over their heads. They can start to re-build their lives.

“Sales of the book have gone well so I decided that a contribution to a charity that concentrates on helping present day women in need would be a fitting tribute to Annie’s life.”

Sally added: “CRIBS operates completely on the generosity of our donors.

“Carol’s act of kindness will directly fund our families and continues Annie’s radical legacy of elevating women’s rights.

“And help is needed more than ever because we are now starting to receive calls for help from women in French-speaking African countries like Congo and Cameroon. A lot of them are rape survivors.

“These women have made their way to Greece but I can’t begin to understand which route they have taken.

“However, for various reasons they have found us and I receive regular phone calls saying ‘can you help me?

“We have also opened a free shop in Athens and all donations go to the shop so we can give out clothes and nappies and other essentials.”

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