On Friday we arranged a one day follow up workshop here in Tbilisi for the Young Women of South Caucasus who participated in the Integrated Security Workshop in Turkey in November 2012. We wanted to see where the participants are today; what did they manage to integrate in their personal lives as well as in their activism? Also Sandra Ljubinkovic; facilitator of our small follow up with several years of experience working with and developing the concept of Integrated Security Workshops, taught the participants some new methods.
So what happened in the three months since the workshop? All participants talked about that they had started thinking about their personal well being – that they were claiming more space for themselves; one participant said for New Year’s she and her mum had gone to massage instead of buying material things. Another one had started to go to the gym, a third one to eat healthier. Seemingly small things but they all make a big difference for the activists themselves; they feel less stressed and more relaxed. And not to forget; change takes time and energy (yourself as well as your organisation and your community); so it was very inspiring to see just how much the participants had been able to integrate in three months. I am impressed and inspired!
I and my colleague, Katarina Härröd, recently had the privilege to take part in an Integrated Security Workshop arranged for Young Women of South Caucasus in Turkey. It is really an interesting concept; to integrate security and to create the space for activists’ own safety and well being – to make activism sustainable on all levels (personal, organisational, community).
In my case the integrated security workshop took me back to my childhood; to the first burning memory of gender inequality; of being treated differently just because society defined me as a girl. It was not until much later I learned about feminism and started defining myself as a feminist, however the roots of my belief in feminism is to find at the age of 3 or 4, even before I could name it.
It also took me back to my teens; growing up in a world which dramatically changed with the end of the cold war which resulted in the outbreak of numerous of violent conflict (which we in Sweden unfortunately did not hear so much about – I learned more about the collapse of the Soviet Union much later in life).
I and my colleague Katarina Härröd have had the opportunity to take part in the meeting of Young Women’s Network of South Caucasus in Istanbul the last three days. From time to time it has been chaotic; strong feelings, problems, “aha” points in discovering similarities and differences, a mixture of languages and new friendships all mixed with a spirit of young activism and a sense that everything is possible.
Tomorrow we leave Istanbul to continue with a smaller group of young people to take part in an Integrated Security Workshop; the weather forecast says it will be cloudy, rainy and cold but we hope for a warm and cosy atmosphere within the group which will keep us warm and motivated for the rest of the week.