Hibiscus Initiatives (Hibiscus), the UK’s leading organisation working to support and empower Black, minority ethnic, refugee and migrant women affected by the criminal justice system and immigration restrictions, is delighted to announce the appointment of Marchu Girma as its new Chief Executive.
Marchu is joining Hibiscus from her current role as Deputy Director of refugee empowerment charity, Women for Refugee Women, where she has worked for over 10 years. Her time at the organisation spanning varied roles across grassroots coordination, client engagement and empowerment, partnership building, and advocacy and influencing.
Having claimed asylum in the UK herself, Marchu will no doubt bring the insight of her own lived experience to the role and, therefore, Hibiscus’ work with and for refugee women and all those with whom it works in redressing inequalities in the criminal justice and immigration systems. This is crucial as Hibiscus seeks to become a stronger, client-centered organisation as part of its Strategy 2022.
I am delighted to have been selected as Hibiscus Initiatives’ next CEO. Having worked consistently with marginalised women over the past decade, I know how imperative Hibiscus’ work is in making a difference in the lives of those with whom it works. I am looking forward to progressing the incredible work the team has built to date. I am passionate about social justice and in centring and amplifying the stories of those with lived experience. As a former asylum seeker, myself, the issue of migration is one that is close to my heart, and one I am determined to change for the better. I want to be of service, galvanising and championing the women we work with, working with others in the sector, and forging new partners to advocate for and achieve systemic change. I hope to build on the achievements of Adrienne and the Hibiscus team. I look forward to working together to ensure Hibiscus’ future goes from strength to strength.”
Marchu will take up the role in October, replacing Adrienne Darragh who is stepping down after over seven years with the organisation. Adrienne can be credited with helping Hibiscus to double in size during her tenure to reach more women than ever before, in overseeing the opening of the organisation’s Women’s Centre in Holloway Road, in expanding its work supporting the international resettlement of both male and female detainees in immigration removal centres, and in leading the organisation during the joint-publication of the ground-breaking Still No Way Out report, with the Prison Reform Trust, and the organisation’s upcoming Closed Doors report. Everyone at Hibiscus is deeply grateful for Adrienne’s dedication to the work and the communities with whom Hibiscus works and wishes her all the best going forward.
Rachel Youngman, Hibiscus’ Chair of Trustees said:
Everyone at Hibiscus is incredibly excited that Marchu is joining the organisation as we celebrate our 35th year. Marchu’s dedication to amplifying the lived experience of women will be a real asset as we pursue our goal of becoming a stronger client-centred organisation. Whilst her wealth of experience in advocacy and in coalition building will undoubtedly enable Hibiscus to continue to develop innovative services and to deliver tangible impact on the policy landscape, helping to eliminate inequalities from the criminal justice and immigration systems. The Board of Trustees and entire staff team is very much looking forward to working with Marchu to build on the incredible stewardship demonstrated by Hibiscus’ outgoing CEO, Adrienne Darragh, in our pursuit of a fairer, more just society for everyone.”