Donne come costruttrici di pace e leaders che promuovono famiglie e comunità sane in questi tempi difficili

Dal 18 al 20 Novembre si è svolto a BRATISLAVA l’annuale Convegno Europeo della WFWP che quest’anno aveva per tema:
“Donne come costruttrici di pace e leaders che promuovono famiglie e comunità sane in questi tempi difficili”.
Erano rappresentate 25 nazioni europee, e dall’Italia hanno partecipato 8 persone. Le giornate sono state intense e ricche di contenuti, ma anche di condivisioni e riflessioni, insieme a tante opportunità di creare nuove amicizie.
Tante le sessioni di lavoro ed i temi trattati, questi i principali:
Diventare un cittadino globale e costruire una famiglia globale: educazione del carattere in famiglia, a scuola e nella vita.
Incoraggiare le giovani donne a diventare agenti di pace: perché le ragazze si stanno radicalizzando?
Le sfide della nostra società multiculturale
Responsabilità condivise ed inclusiva leadership per uno sviluppo sostenibile e buon governo
Immigranti: una vita tra 2 culture
La Dignità della Donna e una Cultura di Pace
FGM e la Violenza contro le donne
Motivare i giovani ad uno stile di vita puro
I Media e noi, come influenzare l’opinione pubblica
Come il Welfare Aziendale può creare famiglie e società sane
Nella sera di Sabato come da tradizione si è svolta la cerimonia di Gemellaggio,che quest’anno aveva il particolare significato di allacciare ponti di amicizia tra donne dell’Europa dell’Est e dell’Ovest, inoltre particolare significato ha acquisito l’amicizia tra donne russe ed ucraine, tra donne cristiane e mussulmane.
Molto forte è stata anche la presenza dei giovani che con il loro entusiasmo e la loro freschezza,oltre alle proprie competenze hanno portato un notevole contributo al successo dell’evento.
C’era una sensazione condivisa da tutte che saremo tornate a casa, arricchite di tante esperienze,con maggiori conoscenze e competenze e con la voglia di continuare con ancora più energia e determinazione il nostro impegno a lavorare per la pace, partendo dal nostro speciale contributo femminile.

Potete trovare nel nostro sito web: wfwp italia gli atti di alcuni interventi

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Slovak Catholic Charity, Integration Project Rafael (Anna Balgova, Mgr. Emilia Trepacova, Mgr. Jana Verdura )

Our focus is working with refugees that obtain international protection in Slovakia. Why do some people tend to radicalise? We want to belong somewhere. However, we often can be excluded, from classrooms, friends and the larger society. If we are excluded, we cannot feel satisfied with our lives and young people in these situations are more vulnerable to become a part of radical groups. Successful integration plays a really important part in this process. We are Caritas Slovakia, a non-profit, providing charitable social health care for those in need, including creating projects for victims of human trafficking. We seek to help without regard to origin, religion, nationality or political affiliation. Our first project was Backita, which aimed at providing comprehensive services to unaccompanied minors. Our current project is Rafael (patron saint of all travellers) where we are offering support in various aspects including social, legal, psychological counselling, and Slovak language courses. We have 3 integration centres, in Bratislava, Central Slovakia and in the East.

Many of the realities/problems that we encounter: health insurance, public opinion/impacted by politicians’ opinions, accommodation, pension insurance, Our focus is the situation of the clients.

What can we do better?

There are so many obstacles to be overcome. We are known as a country that is not open to migrants. We, as a nation, are an official partner of the ministry of interior – deporting people. As Caristas, we struggle every day to make a better condition for the refugees lives, those who came here. Our country should take responsibility for the people that are already here. This year only 100 asylum applications were launched in our country. We need to build a successful national integration program. We don't have one. A common asylum system in the EU should be build where the rights of those coming here can be ensured. We need to focus on long term projects: organisations are changing, people are changing. But building connections with refugees takes time. We need to consider this. Also, meetings are often just for us to speak to ourselves. We need more space for public discussion, and media needs to change the narratives. It’s really important to involve local communities to the integration process. Notes Submitted by Heather Fraser-Harris

Empowering Young Women in the ME(by Ms. Natascha Schellen)

Although I’m German/Austrian, English and Arabic are more familiar to me. I spent almost 20 years in Lebanon– a dual cultural experience. I feel very close to the Lebanese culture. This has inspired me in many ways. I am now doing an MBA with a focus in NGO management. I'm particularly interested in women empowerment. I really believe that if we have more women leadership (nothing against men!), we can find peace sooner. This is my image of Arab Women – strong! What the media shows is often skewed, and misrepresents who we are.

It’s a black and white image. that tries to put women in one box. In Lebanon, a small nation of 4 million people there is o much diversity. We can’t simplify this way. In Lebanon women are very active – they are out on the streets, protesting for rights; they are interested and invested in their future; they care about their country.

When men leave due to lack of job opportunities, the women stay behind. This can of course be for a number

of reasons from the need to take care of the home, or because there are sometimes less opportunity for them to leave. However, there is a lot of momentum with women being engaged. We are also seeing a rise of women education. Women make up 54% of university students but 26% of labour force. This is a big improvement, but there is large room for growth. This isn't just a Lebanese issue. We see inequality of pay. It is indeed getting better, but it is still a huge global issue. We also see women as examples, raising up the next generation. I recently worked as a journalist. We made an effort to focus on women and their careers, and singled out CEOs in order to show them as examples. As for WFWP, it is active in 4 countries.

WFWP Lebanon: Ketermaya Public School near refugee camps. Through donations it has helped refurnish the school library, and is currently focusing on organising book drives to fill it. WFWP Jordan: vocational skills,youth and character education through drama. WFWP Cyprus:
20th annual WFWP ME. A gratitude poster from children in Gaza who receive support from WFWP, was presented during that conference.

Ms. Natascha Schellen, MBA Student, WFWP Middle East
WFWP Europe Annual Conference: November 18-20, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia

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Immigrant: A Life Between Two Cultures (by Ms. Miriam Baghdady, )

Several people have already talked about personal development to build proper character. I’d like to share about the challenges and benefits of a life between two cultures. The Free Girls Movement focuses on individuals with an immigrant background. I was born in Austria, and my parents are from Egypt. They come from a Christian minority and thought they’d have a better life in Europe. I grew up with a part of me that I didn’t understand. In my town we were the only family that was different, and I always felt I had to explain myself. I didn’t know where I really belonged to. Who am I really? Where do I belong? What is my culture? I couldn’t explain it to others, but mostly I couldn’t even explain it to myself. Living between two cultures seemed more like a challenge, I didn’t see the benefits. But I began to get involved with this topic on an academic level, and that helped me develop my character and I started to see my diversity as a benefit not a challenge. The public discourse often focusses on the negative aspect of migration, and the children of these families feel it. They feel lost, they don’t know what to do, and they don't understand what is happening to them. They don't see the benefits, and are not taught to appreciate it. This often leads to a rise in aggressive behaviour, being secluded/quiet, or radicalised. These youth don't find their way in the society. I began to understand the significance of talking about this. When I shared it [my story] with children they were happy to have someone they could relate to. The Free Girl Movement does a lot of mentoring. The future you want, means starting from knowing who you are. And seeing diversity as a benefit, I think is one of the biggest contributors to peace. I’d like to end with these words by John Hume:

“Difference is the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth, and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”

Ms. Miriam Baghdady, Co-Founder Free Girls Movement, Austria
Conference November 18-20, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia

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Seeds of Change – How Your Effort Matters (by Veronika Kvietkova and Jakub Senesi)

We shouldn’t be another brick in the wall. This is our main motivation in the things that we do. We are a group of young people, and we really care about our society and surroundings. Our values are empathy, civic engagement, raising awareness and critical thinking. We care about peace, equality, human rights and freedom. We want to make a change. We came to exist after the latest election when the extremist right political party started to apply the plan of Adolph Hitler in Slovakia. We see it as a potential danger. So we started to take actions to stop the radicalisation of young people. Our first event was an exhibition in our school addressing the solution of the Jewish question. We had a workshop followed by a discussion with the students. We shared facts and stories of survivors. Student contributed their own opinions, questions, and stories of their ancestors. We tried to prove that the movement of hate is wrong, and empathy is the way to heal the world. We continued to spread to the community level. We organised sports events, and standing protests – holding up facts confronting the political party in rule. We spread yellow cards throughout the city to encourage people to stand up against discrimination. We began an internet campaign. We are also continuing our workshops and non-formal education in schools where we can really change the opinion of students. Our aim is to raise awareness that youth need to be active; to be be more empathic; to think about things in a humane way, not like politicians. Our vision is to see less hate and more love in this world. Let’s plant our seeds so flowers can grow.

Veronika Kvietkova and Jakub Senesi, Flowers of Democracy, Slovakia

WFWP Europe Annual Conference:
November 18-20, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia

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