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16 Days of Activism with Women Refugees in Serbia
Within the campaign “16 Days of Activism” NGO Atina has, with the support of UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund, conducted 5 empowerment workshops at the Asylum Center Krnjaca for asylum seekers who are accommodated in the center, as well as a workshop in its Reintegration Center for asylum seekers who are in NGO Atina’s programs of assistance and support. During the campaign “16 Days of Activism” workshops both in the Asylum Center Krnjaca and NGO Atina’s Reintegration Center were attended by a total of 61 women: 49 from Afghanistan, 4 women from Iran, 1 woman from Russia, as well as 2 girls from Syria, 4 from Ghana and 1 from Cameroon.
The topics that were discussed during these workshops came from women refugees and their needs to deal with individual challenges that occupy their attention to a greater extent. Some of the topics were “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” attended by 13 women from Afghanistan, then “Istanbul Convention” that was attended by 2 girls from Ghana, 2 girls from Syria, and 13 women from Afghanistan.
A workshop titled “Letters for the Future” attracted special attention and was attended by 6 women from Afghanistan, 1 woman from Iran, and 2 girls from Ghana. Women also talked about the “Importance of Education”, and that workshop was attended by 15 women from Afghanistan and 1 woman from Iran. A workshop “”Human Rights Day” was held in NGO Atina’s Reintegration Center, and attended by 1 girl from Cameroon and 2 women from Afghanistan.
The main goal of all the workshops within this campaign was to inform asylum seekers about significant dates and events within these 16 days, as well as about important documents and normative frameworks for the protection of women, both at the global and national level. Each workshop had its specific and distinct objective, with the overall idea of empowerment, support, and education of asylum seekers.
What is noticeable is that a growing number of both women and girls attends workshops, and that a certain structure of participants is being created. Regularity and dynamics of workshop activities contribute to asylum seekers structuring their free time and thus ease their stay in Serbia during the journey toward the countries of final destination.
For the very first time, asylum seekers met with, for example, Istanbul Convention, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as some normative solutions in their countries of origin. They heard of the events that took place on November 25, or December 6, some of them were introduced to the concept of activism, mechanisms and methods of activism.