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Thank you letter

Dear friends, supporters and all newly curious people,

This year 2020 is heading to its end and as for most people and organizations also for us it brought a lot of changes, challenges and chances.

It was quite different than other years but due to our courage and your great support and solidarity we could and are facing the challenges successfully.

The year started greatly for us and thanks to your help, we were able to open our safe space for refugee women* at Hermannstr. 22. We warmly thank all who contributed to make this possible. Especially this year it has served as our refuge, our key place, a space to break the isolation in the lagers and even with social distancing, we used this space to organize ourselves to fight for refugee women rights. Mostly our meetings had to happen online or in bigger spaces, but our work has still continued.

It was hard that we couldn’t visit the women in the Lagers (visitors are forbidden since march) but we got some insights on the situation via video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuA09OPqS18

As it was and is very difficult for women to come out, because of the pandemic, we organized a lot online to break the isolation and leaving no one behind. Instead of ticket refunding we paid internet cards for the women, especially the ones living in the lagers with no or really poor access to internet so that they could join our monthly meetings online.

During lock-down period, their lives were and are even more difficult because the movement was often limited to the camp grounds and this made us start the #tag “Social distancing is a privilege”.  This year showed it is impossible to keep the physical distance rules in the camps and how dangerous that is.

Especially in this difficult time the continuation of our work and the connection with the women was important. Apart from the online meetings and many phone and video calls, we had also very successful workshops with refugee women, e.g., on the Covid-19 rules, access to the labour market, asylum laws, reproductive health, making a banner, flyer design.

In summer we normally organize a bigger action with our nation-wide network of refugee women. This year we made a tour in Brandenburg and visited refugee women in front of the camps in Doberlug-Kirchhain and in Wünsdorf to show our solidarity. We organised open air picnics in front of the two camps, respecting the distances and wearing the masks.

Another highlight was that a small delegation from us could take part in the 2nd Feminist Connect Camp in Hamburg, a gathering from different refugee women activists.

Also, the launching of our Health Magazine was great. The magazine includes our work on refugee women health issues from the last three years. We are happy we can share it online or in hard-copy with you: https://www.women-in-exile.net/en/health-magazine/

Apart from the pandemic, racist and sexist violence and injustices continued. So keeping quiet is not an option for us!

We were on the streets and took our basic right to demonstrate:

Demanding Justice for Oury Jalloh,

remembering the murdered people of the racist attack in Hanau,

being visible as Black lives matter movement,

crying out with the refugees in Moria,

fighting together on gender equality on the 8th March,

and stating again and again that  lagers are not a safe place for women* and children, latest on 25th of November, the International day for the elimination of violence against women (https://www.women-in-exile.net/gefluechtete-frauen-in-erstaufnahmelagern-flucht-vor-gewalt-in-gewalt/)

We thank all the networks, movements and individuals involved which give us strength.

This year the situation in Greece, especially Moria and the spread of the Corona Pandemic in the lagers showed us again that the mass accommodation has to be dissolved and people should be housed in dignified conditions. Nevertheless, we also saw clearly that not only Covid-19 but also sexual harassment and other violence endangers the lives of refugee women inside the lagers.

On 07.04.2020 was the first anniversary of the disappearance of our sister Rita. Now knowing her body was burnt and facing that her case might be closed in April by the prosecutors, we keep on demanding answers and justice.

For the next year 2021 we keep on these fights and for this we especially need to keep our own safe space. To enable us to realize that, we need your support. We appreciate any support or donations to our bank account or via betterplace:

https://www.betterplace.org/de/projects/88115-spenden-um-uns-zu-helfen-unseren-eigenen-safer-space-zu-bewahren

On behalf of all of us at Women in Exile & Friends we thank you again for your solidarity and for supporting us. It means a lot to us.

All the best to you and your loved ones, stay healthy, warm and strong and get safe through the pandemic.

Yours sincerely,

Women in Exile & Friends

PS.: For all those who supported us this year and wish to receive a “Spendebescheinigung” – if you gave us your address, we will send it to you in the beginning of next year. If you want a Spendenbescheinigung and didn’t give us an address yet, you can just send it to us via mail:  info@women-in-exile.net

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