Interview with Fareeha Usman, Founder at Being Woman and Developer at Share Karo

BEING WOMAN is a charitable incorporated organisation based in Northumberland. We work towards empowering women with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination in society. We firmly believe that it is critical to engage boys and men to achieve gender equality. We, therefore, run all our programmes in collaboration with girls and women-boys and men from all different areas of society.

We partner with local and nationwide organisations, local authorities, schools, criminal justice education services and others, to deliver workshops and educational programmes to young girls and women in a variety of settings, predominantly in an educational setting.

SHARE KARO is a free delivery app that delivers food and essentials boxes right at the user’s doorstep. It is a user-friendly mobile application and helps to put food on the tables of those who are finding it hard to make ends meet. It started as a simple food delivery programme back in the month of Ramadan in 2020 when the pandemic had hit and the Muslim community was suffering to celebrate the Holy Month.

But seeing the increase in demand, we wanted to opt for a more integrated, easy-to-use approach so that everyone, without any cultural and financial barrier, could order food and essentials. At the moment we have 3400 active users with over 10000 downloads and many exciting features in the app that enables you to request a wish box as well as book digital and English classes with us.
MX ShareKaro (Indian ShareIt) – Apps on Google Play

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Luckily for me, my passion became my purpose and eventually, a profession. The aim behind Being Woman was to create a safe space where people can feel comfortable. Our work is all about people, their expressions, dreams and aspirations. We put our service users at the heart of everything and the relationship we have with them is something we continuously invest in and nurture.

Being Woman’s tailored support helps achieve positive outcomes by offering choice, creating independence, and helping people build a better life. Each of our services are encouraged to run more autonomously and embrace innovation, and each one has a distinctly different feel to it, too. That said, there is one vision that everyone at Being Woman shares – doing whatever it takes to help people within the community.

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, Being Woman, just like any other charity, has faced many barriers to keep running. We have been unable to hold any fundraising events for the people we help everyday. Since the first lockdown, we have seen an influx of referrals for the food parcels, domestic abuse support, ESOL and digital skills support online.

Due to the busy demand, we have had to hire more staff including volunteers to run online courses and sessions, which has led to larger outgoings. COVID has also led to our services being available in a wider area geographically across

Northumberland. Despite the recent difficulties, we have been very successful in securing funding and support from various other organizations and have even won many awards. We have seen Being Woman reaching new heights and excelling in ways that, even as a founder, I never imagined.

What can we hope to see from Being Woman and Share Karo in the future?

Everyday we are investing in new ways to reach the most vulnerable people in the community by maximising every opportunity we can get! We are planning to reach out across Northumberland, grow our team and we hope for countrywide expansion as well one day. As far as ShareKaro is concerned, the number of downloads is increasing day by day, as well as our team of volunteers for delivering and packing. We are planning to take it across the North East hopefully by the end of this year.

Tell us about your Purple Plaque award.

My team and I are over the moon when we received the news. It has been emotional journey for us. This award truly belongs to our community we serve, my team, their hard work, and most importantly their belief in me and the organization. I feel honoured to have won this prestigious award and it is something my children and my team are going to remember for a long time. Winning a Purple Plaque award is a testament that hard work never goes unrewarded.

‘Being Woman’ means using our voice to empower others to create positive change. More than ever, it’s important to understand that we need to act now to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.