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Building Bridges Festival – 26.-28.07.2019

Newsletter #16

In the last years we have focused our actions on breaking borders, outwards and inwards. Now we want to build bridges between diversities. The Festival will take place in Oranienplatz, well known by the refugee movement. It was the arrival point after a march all over Germany to fight against Residenzpflicht, lagers, deportations and for the right to stay, to study and to work. At that time some successes were achieved. But now Residenzpflicht is back, deportations are massive, there are new police laws using racial profiling or AnKER centers mean greater loss of rights and worse living conditions – traumatizing generations.

We come back to Oplatz as a refugee women’s group to create awareness of the worsening situation through which refugee women are going through in the lagers. We want to make visible the structural racism and build bridges to other non-refugee women. We believe that to be able to build bridges we need to be aware of our differences and respect them.

The Festival will open the space that listens to all women*, because we want a feminism which is inclusive and intersectional. We want a Festival that together with feminism brings awareness about colonialism, capitalism and other flight reasons.

The first preparation meeting of the Festival was in Göttingen, where women came together from A.F.G – women group Göttingen, FLIT Solidarity Africa – Munich, Activists and Afghanistan Women group – Magdeburg, Women in Exile-Berlin/Brandenburg, Nina Hamburg.

During the meeting some goals were clear: fight deportation laws, deepen the understanding of women’s rights, guarantee same labor, educational and health right for everybody. Also the different groups enhanced the wish of cultural exchange by literacy training in Persian and Arabic, parade of costumes, with music and dancing, workshops on solidary feminism, legal advice or health.

Together with feminism, health will be another of our main topics during the Festival. We are witnessing how refugee women face lack of adequate medical treatment. Often we are not told what are the illnesses, making us be in a fragile health situation, which in many cases increases stress and is the cause of many mental health problems. As a result, there are many suicidal attempts and there is an increase on deaths due to the living situation in lagers.

In the Festival we want to discuss what is our role as feminists in changing this situation. For this reason we expect to enter into dialogue with other non-refugee feminist groups and develop long-term strategies that can show solidarity beyond punctual actions and can move the comfort zones in order to be inclusive and provide solutions for refugee women’s situation.

During the Festival there will be tents for workshops and discussions. Through this we will deepen the different topics. All the workshops are meant for women*. “Only” the one on feminist parenting is for everybody. There will be a stage where all refugee women* will display their cultures through modeling, food, dances, play back theater and music. Everybody is welcome to join the cultural activities. There will be space for children’s activities during the day. We keep in mind that they are the next generation of building a future racist and sexist free society.

To make this Festival happen we need everybody’s support: collecting donations, providing some of the infrastructure needed, help to build the camp, on spot help, etc. If you want to collaborate in any way please write us to info@women-in-exile.net

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