Trailblazing Advocates: Women on the Move Chronicles

The Advocacy Group represents a type of spice; when you prepare a meal and put the spice, the smell will be felt everywhere. When the organizations talked about our problems, I don't think anyone cared because they just said: okay, now you've shared it, and that's fine. But this Advocacy Group shows who the people behind the name "refugees" really are. They are smart, they are strong, they are empowered women who are behind that refugee label. ~ Christa, from the film “Women on the Move”

You can watch the short documentary film "Women on the Move" here.

What happens when, in one moment, your whole life changes entirely because you are forced to leave your country and embark on a journey to the unknown? What awaits you on that road, but also in the unknown, and how understanding will that unknown be for you, a woman who most likely comes from a different culture, speaks a foreign language, and maybe has a different skin color? In other words, what does it mean to be a woman refugee?

At the moment, girls and women make up about 50 percent of people who are refugees or migrants. But, despite that, they still do not have the same rights as other residents of Serbia; they are at multiple risks of violence, and their political participation is also limited, which is the central pillar of change in this gloomy situation Atina has already written about.

When they cannot rely on institutions, women depend on themselves, or as Hava, one of the Advocacy group members, said - no woman can feel fully empowered when she’s alone in a foreign country. But being a part of this group and "Atina" helped me a lot, especially this group of girls.

For this reason, Atina gathered women like Hava and Christa, who have experienced refuge firsthand and supported them in developing the Advocacy Group. More about this group, which has 16 permanent members who radiate energy and strength that can motivate everyone, can be seen in the documentary film “Women on the Move” which is available on Atina's YouTube channel.

The movie “Women on the Move” introduces the general public to the personal stories of four women who come from different backgrounds - from Iran, Nigeria, Chechnya, and Burundi - but in an empowering way. That is why the film's primary focus is on personal experiences and the support and empowerment these women received through working in the Advocacy group and on their path from refugees to advocates. As activists and advocates, they not only empower themselves but actively fight for their voices to be heard and taken into account when decisions are made regarding the protection system for refugees and forcibly displaced persons in Serbia.

For Atina, which supported the gathering and development of the Advocacy Group, the most significant aspect lies in providing an alternative to these women so that together, we can create opportunities for them to live outside the camps, to breathe freely, and to feel safe and dignified.

We are incredibly grateful to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), which allowed us to capture this unique movement and celebrate life.

The opinions and views of the authors do not state or necessarily reflect the views of the RBF.