Women in Bastan Village, Kurdistan

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Empowerment has a face--Workshops in Haifa and Jaffa- 09-19-10

It is impossible to put in writing all what is happening to me. I am having so many experiences, that I cannot keep up. This week was another short one here in Haifa, because of the Sukkot holiday. I had the opportunity to participate in two of the workshops that are part my organization effort to educate and empower Arab women in the northern part of Israel. There I saw really vivid, attentive, capable and strong women that are willing to take the future in their hands. One of the workshops was about conflict resolution and how we as women use our skills to manage conflict.The facilitator, one of the women that works with Kayan, explained the different actors and how they can manage things to act in their favor, when they want to win something that could be in conflict with their culture or in the society. We had a lecture and then we gathered in groups to analyze a conflict and give suggestions on how to better manage the specific examples that were personal stories of the women. I was part of one of the groups and even was allowed to give my opinion and felt very much part of the experience.

Women at Haifa University, participating in the Conflict Resolution Lecture .

Shahira Shalabi, Social Worker, Facilitator and Member of the Board of Directors of Kayan Feminist Organization

On Tuesday, we met with another group of women and this time the workshop was about consumer rights. These women were part of a project called “An Active Approach to Personal Economy” and they participate in a series of lectures that prepare them to know their rights as Israeli citizens and what are the different options available to save and to encourage them to think about their future. The workshops are meant to prepare the women to start to take action now to prevent them to become poor when they are older. They were participating actively and discussing about buying practices and what they do when they request services, all of them were speaking about their buying habits and they shared a lot of stories about when they go to the market, even I shared that I was also a victim of the market vendors, because here, you don’t know the price until you have to pay or if you asked, but imagine asking the price of tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, carrots……. Also it depends who is the buyer and who is the seller, so the price can vary from day to day. There are many laws in Israel that often go unnoticed by the Arab population, mainly women from the villages that don’t speak Hebrew or don’t have access to the internet. Kayan brings this information in an easily understandable manner and the purpose is that these women will bring this information back to the village and educate more women. I spoke to the women about a project that I am planning to do about a photo essay with interviews to the women about how these workshops will impact their economic lives. They were willing to be part of the project, so soon I will interview some of them and will share their stories with you and the rest of the world. I was very happy to participate in the workshops and to connect with the women, who were really welcoming and made me feel part of their groups and their struggles.

Women in Jaffa from the project of An Active Approach to Personal Economy.

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