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Aliyah Ali

Founder and CEO of The Daddyless Daughters Project

Call for New Ideas: It was an opportunity we felt we have worked towards  

Aliyah Fadeela Ali, is a trauma informed trainer, consultant, researcher and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Daddyless Daughters Project CIC.

In this Blog, Aliyah reflects on Daddyless Daughters’ journey with Commonweal’s 2023 Call for New Ideas: Criminal Justice initiative – testing new housing models to address injustices facing those in contact with the criminal justice system.

I am extremely passionate about supporting marginalised girls and young women as well as the sector, using over a decade of both my professional and personal experiences to maximise impact and reshape services.

The Daddyless Daughters Project CIC is a non-profit organisation based in London providing physical and emotional safe spaces for girls and young women aged 11 – 25 years old who have been affected by family break down, abuse and adversity. We provide 1:1 and group mentoring programmes, creative expression projects, community events and educational workshops to empower these girls to go on to build healthy relationships and lifestyles free from trauma and complex behaviour patterns.

We are a lived experience led organisation specialising in implementing trauma informed approaches and centred on research. This gives us a unique positioning to thoroughly understand the profound impact of childhood trauma, often resulting in vulnerability to sexual and criminal exploitation and complex behavioural patterns.

As the Founder of Daddyless Daughters and having first-hand experience living in a residential children’s home, I have always aspired for our organisation to establish our own therapeutic housing project for vulnerable girls and young women who are care experienced and engaging with the criminal justice system. I have always wanted to launch this part of our work with the right opportunities and  partnerships, as I envision a space where both our team and the young women we support can truly thrive.

When we heard about Commonweal Housing’s Call for New Ideas, inviting organisations to apply for funding to test the viability of new housing models, it was enviably an opportunity we felt we have worked towards. Now was the perfect moment to put our work at the forefront of the challenges we know our girls are facing within the criminal justice system.

For years, we’ve recognised the existence of the care-to-custody pipeline, noting a significant gap in our sector regarding the correlation between care and custody. Through our Sister Squad mentoring outreach service, we’ve encountered first-hand the obstacles marginalized girls encounter within both the criminal justice and care systems.

Our proposed housing model, the Prosperity House Project, seeks to meet the housing needs of young women by implementing a trauma-informed, therapeutic residential care model. These approaches aim to empower care-experienced young women to confront the underlying causes of their offending behaviours, thereby deterring future reoffending. Additionally, our model aims to equip them with the necessary tools and opportunities to transform their lives and build futures free from trauma.

Since partnering with Commonweal in August 2023, the team has been a supportive resource in refining our approach to our housing solution and clarifying our purpose and organisational frameworks.

Collaborating with Commonweal has enabled us to form a partnership with the women’s charity Agenda Alliance to craft our proposed project in tandem with the girls and young women we support, as well as external organisations within our network. This involved conducting interviews with social workers, police officers, current housing providers, and other external agencies that work with a similar cohort of young women. This part of the feasibility study has provided invaluable insights, allowing us to assess our project from multiple perspectives and identify previously overlooked blind spots.

The opportunity to co-develop our housing model with our stakeholders has significantly enhanced our overall vision, mission, model and framework.

We hope to sustain our partnership with Commonweal and take our model to the pilot project development stage in collaboration with them and our broader professional network. We are very optimistic that this dream will become a reality for both our organisation and the young women we support.

Photo Credit: Megan Morgan (photographer) Founder of Daddyless Daughters Project, Aliyah Ali.

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