KiranMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 23-Jun-16 09:14:51

Guest post: "At this year's Glastonbury, we will celebrate refugee and migrant mothers"

Much of Glastonbury festival is run by women, and this year many will come together under the White Ribbon Alliance , says Emily Eavis

Emily Eavis

Co-organiser, Glastonbury Festival

Posted on: Thu 23-Jun-16 09:14:51

(43 comments )

Lead photo

"At one time or another, we are all migrants."

This country has a proud tradition of welcoming people in need of sanctuary, and Glastonbury as a festival has long championed women's rights. As the refugee crisis has unfolded, it has been clear that pregnant women, mothers and young children are especially vulnerable - and so at this year's festival the White Ribbon Alliance will be celebrating mothers, with a focus on those who have come to the UK as migrants and refugees.

The WRA advocates for every woman's right to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth - a right that is often jeopardised when women are fleeing war or persecution.

Unfortunately, this right is not assured even once women reach the UK. Undocumented pregnant migrant women face NHS maternity charges of up to £6000. These women are vulnerable; they may be undocumented because they were refused asylum, yet have no home to return to, or fear violence if they do. Ironically, our government actively supports free maternity care in many of the countries from which these women have fled.

Much of Glastonbury festival is run by women and many of us, myself included, have young children. We understand the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and motherhood, so this is a cause that's close to our hearts.


Hospitals are required to report unpaid debts, which creates fear in migrant women who feel they can't go to hospital in case officials report them to the Home Office, while putting midwives and doctors in an extremely difficult position. Groups working with undocumented pregnant women say that some women are even deciding to give birth at home, alone. The bottom line is that all pregnant women, wherever they live and wherever they are from, have the right to decent, respectful health care.

Much of Glastonbury festival is run by women and many of us, myself included, have young children. We understand the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and motherhood, so this is a cause that's close to our hearts.

At the festival, half a dozen different organisations and many individual volunteers who have been supporting refugees and migrants this year in Calais, Greece, the UK, and other parts of Europe, will come together in the White Ribbon Alliance's 'Tent of Sanctuary'.

This is a collective space for all those activists, including migrant women volunteers, who have given such heartfelt support to those who are seeking to rebuild their lives. It will be a special opportunity to listen to the voices of women who are rarely heard - we'll have some amazing speakers every day, talking about where they come from, how they have survived and thrived. It's also an important place for connecting with others who want to do something to help, for celebrating the contribution of migrants to this country – and for recognising the fact that at one time or another, we are all migrants.

If you're at the festival, we'd love you to join us in making a noise for mums in the Glastonbury tradition - you'll find the Tent of Sanctuary under the Park Tower. Or, find out more more on the Glastonbury Festival website and the White Ribbon Alliance website and share your messages via #WeAreAllMigrants.

By Emily Eavis

Twitter: @emilyeavis

PrettyDumb Thu 23-Jun-16 13:19:48

This sounds like a very worthy, and very urgent cause. Thank you for organizing this and raising awareness of this issue. I didn't know that undocumented women were charged, that is shocking. sad

Enjoy Glastonbury! wineflowers

noeuf Thu 23-Jun-16 18:11:00

Nope sorry. Reading the link, I'm not sure why we should be expected to fund maternity care for someone who knows they have no right to benefits. I

Footle Thu 23-Jun-16 20:33:47

Why can't they give birth behind a bush in the park, the presumptuous hussies ?
PP, do you understand what a refugee is ? It's a woman like you who knows she will be killed if she stays at home , so she starts to walk in a direction that she hopes will lead to safety.

noeuf Thu 23-Jun-16 20:42:29

Yes of course I know what a refugee is, what a silly question. As I said I read the link and the case study was not a refugee. But dont worry about any of that, you're so much nicer and kinder than me.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GlitterGlassEye Thu 23-Jun-16 21:06:45

The reason women in this country are allowed decent health care is due to the tax system. It's not a free for all the world to come and use.

Think people forget the nhs doesn't run on no money whatsoever.

Limer Thu 23-Jun-16 21:18:30

Undocumented? Don't you mean illegal?

So this campaign is for illegals to get free NHS treatment, and for the Home Office to be kept in the dark about it? No thanks.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RitchyBestingFace Thu 23-Jun-16 22:01:06

There are commenters here that would probably feel more at home on the Britain First facebook page.

"Illegals" FFS. Vile.

noeuf Thu 23-Jun-16 22:11:04

Oh yes that's such a clever argument Ritchy, you too are so much nicer than me.

bigolenerdy Thu 23-Jun-16 22:14:40

"There are commenters here that would probably feel more at home on the Britain First facebook page."

That still wouldn't invalidate the point being made though would it.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SirPugalug Fri 24-Jun-16 15:43:52

Sorry but no. I don't agree with this. I know a woman personally who lost her baby because the maternity hospital she went to was so understaffed and busy they couldn't scan her, this lady had lived here and paid taxes her while life. So I don't think undocumented migrants should be able to give birth here for free.

YabuDabbaDoo Fri 24-Jun-16 18:28:17

Errrrr... You are seriously telling me that you have created a safe space for migrant mothers... and put it in the middle of Glastonbury Festival? Hardly accessible, is it?

Dontlaugh Fri 24-Jun-16 23:40:18

Could the pp please identify the "problem"? "Illegal" immigrants using a health service to have babies (who have a habit of not waiting to suit paperwork)? Is that it? What about the people with minor illnesses blocking A&E who should be at their GP? Am I a horrible lefty for pointing that out? Or can they skip scrutiny because they pay tax or get the dole ?
Yes, the NHS Is not a bottomless pit, there are not endless resources to meet extraneous demands.
But rest easy, OP, Brexit will get rid of all those horrible ~educated professional hard working~ people for you with their lovely border controls. No longer need you fear your pork pies being raided, your Sunday Service being invaded, the call of the Minaret nor the fear of the Koran being taught in school.

specialsubject Sat 25-Jun-16 10:01:16

Glastonbury £200 plus to get in, I believe? So how about not going and giving the money to support this cause instead?

emilybohemia Sat 25-Jun-16 13:22:49

Lovely post. A great way to raise awareness. Hope it went well.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sportinguista Sat 25-Jun-16 17:08:55

Women should not have to remove anywhere to access maternity care. If I do go to another country to give birth I can expect to pay I understand. It would be non negotiable fo me and as I haven't got unlimited funds I would be counted as vulnerable. Still I understand I would not be exempt. I could die or my child but I would still have to pay. But a woman who is counted as refugee would not. Who is vulnerable? Both or only one...

RustyParker Sat 25-Jun-16 17:25:15

What a diverse mix of women in the main photograph hmm

sportinguista Sat 25-Jun-16 17:44:47

You know Glastonbury is hardly representative of diversity. Speak as one who went n with the travellers the last time it was allowed. It is completely middle class now. We who were what made it do not count anymore. I wouldn't go if you paid me.

RustyParker Sat 25-Jun-16 18:51:27

Quite sg. That photo just screamed white, middle class handwringing about a "pet" project to me.

noisyrice Sun 26-Jun-16 00:36:02

1) How the fuck are refugees who cannot afford to have their babies delivered in hospital just going to swan into Glastonbury? Why would they go there? I doubt they are No1 Fans of Arctic Monkeys.

2) To me, this just screams of shit. Middle class folk doing something awfully jolly nice for the 'illegals' or 'undocumented' women who probably will not attend a music festival in England and may or may not speak English. How pointless.
You'll be stood in a muddy tent, probably drinking champagne prosecco darling? whilst the people you are/were trying to help are completely oblivious of this awfully nice idea.

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