Sister System won the Haringey Giving Funded Project of the Year Award for the second year running. The award ceremony took place during the annual Haringey Community Expo 2022 on 1 Dec 2022. The award was a recognition of the outstanding work the Sister System has been conducting amongst girls and young women aged 13-24. Sister System 'sisters' are affected by the care system and often fall through the gaps in terms of emotional and practical support. 

Okela Douglas (right) receiving the Haringey Giving Funded Project of the Year Award 2022 from Helen Rayfield, Chair of Haringey Giving (left)

Helen Rayfield, Chair of Haringey Giving (left) presenting the award to Okela Douglas, Founder and Director, Sister System

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Sister System is unique not only to Haringey, but also to London. The organisation's founder Okela Douglas chose Haringey. She based her choice on research into the numbers of disenfranchised girls and young women in the borough. Having often suffered violence and abuse they find themselves in the care system. Furthermore, Haringey is still one of the most severely gang violence affected areas in the capital. Sister System are on a mission to minimise the impact of adverse circumstances. Through a mentoring support system 'Big Sisters' mentor younger girls. 'Big Sisters' help younger ones improve self-confidence, emotional resilience and coach coping strategies. This process can last up to nine years. 

Sister System are also an Open College Network approved centre. They deliver accredited courses which enable the 'sisters' to go into further education or into skilled employment.  Dedicated career coaches help them achieve their goals and fulfil their potential in their chosen career. Sister System focuses on STEAM careers so science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. They encourage women and girls into these industries and thus also have a positive impact on female representation. Through their model Sister System are able not only to provide emotional support.  They also guide girls and young women more practically through the initial stages of adulthood and professional life. The organisation aims to recruit 40% of each group giving the alumni a much-needed head start in their employment journey.

Sister System logoDuring the Covid 19 lockdowns Sister System also responded quickly to the changing circumstances by providing nutritious food and hygiene boxes on a weekly basis.  The recipients would otherwise not have access to these items. Thanks to a swift response which was enabled partly through a Haringey Giving grant Sister System prevented a lot of emotional stress and anxiety.  They also provided a safety net at a time where the girls and women were at highest risk of returning to unsafe households or relationships. 

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Sister System's success is based on the trust they have been able to establish in the community. A lot of the girls seeking support come to the organisation on a self-referral basis.  They have heard good things about the centre from previous cohorts. 

Through the years Sister System have demonstrated professionalism, commitment to their mission and the ability to adapt to critical situations.  Thanks to this the Sister System team have seen a number of girls not just change from survivors to young women who thrive and blossom. They also enabled them to grow into emotionally resilient individuals.  The alumni move on with their lives and contribute to society. They are able to break the cycle of the impact of violence. And they also increase the representation of women in important industries.  

We are proud to be partners for Sister System. We wish them well for the future and we are excited to see what new projects they will come up with in support of girls and young women in Haringey. 

The two runners up in Haringey Giving Funded Project Award 2022, who achieved Highly Commended, were: 

Helen Rayfield, Chair of Haringey Giving (left), presenting the Highly Commended certificate to Hesketh Benoit, Director of Haringey Basketball for All

Congratulations to all the winners!