Sep 14, 2020

femLENS Five-Year Anniversary!

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

We hope that you and your families are safe in these uncertain times.

Since our last report, we have organised and finished another series of workshops with women from across Russia. We are very proud of the breadth of stories that they came up with.

August 2020 marked five years since femLENS ran its first series of documentary photography workshops with women in Dublin, Ireland. Since then we've worked with 12 other groups of women in 6 countries, organised seven photo exhibitions, published three issues of We See magazine, and to celebrate our achievements, published a book "Unlearning the Ordinary: through a lens for the commons*". The book can be purchased through Blurb.com. You can see the pdf of the book on our website.

We couldn't have done this without the support of people like you, the partners, and the trust of the women who took part in our workshops and shared their stories and lived experiences.

Thank you for being with us, and we hope that you will continue to support us, spread the word and follow our work.

Also, around the start of October, we will be launching a print sale to raise money for our workshop participants Halima Al Haj Ali and Faten Anbar who live in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanon was already experiencing a serious economic crisis, the explosion made the situation worse. We would like to support Halima and Faten, and offer you the opportunity to own a beautiful fine art print of their photos. 

If you would like to be informed about the print sale, please follow us on our social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

Thanks for being with us! Here's to another five years.

With gratitude,

femLENS Team

Jul 10, 2020

Education in time of pandemic

Dear Friends and Supporters. Since autumn 2019 we have been trying to get permission to enter Gaza to start our photography workshops with women living in Gaza. We have contacted various international organisations (mostly European aid groups but also an Israeli-Palestinian access group) and individuals working in media as well as human rights defenders. We have also reached out to both the Estonian embassy in Israel and the Israeli embassy in Estonia, and the Israeli border agency. 

The replies were different. From refusal from some Israeli agencies with no explanation, to no answers from others. Some have explained to us that to get approval to enter Gaza, we need to register femLENS in Israel, however Israel hasn’t been accrediting new NGOs to work in Gaza for several years already. We really appreciate those who replied and tried to give us some information. Others said "It is almost impossible for foreigners to get permission to enter Gaza... " and "it is highly unlikely that she can get to Gaza under the current stringent blockade." 

So around February 2020 we felt that we had reached a deadend. After a long discussion and consultations with different parties we decided to move ahead and had agreed to consider conducting our workshops in the West Bank (I had also been invited to participate in a photo event organised by the EU in the West Bank). It could have been a stepping stone for us to get access to Gaza in the future. However, now with the global lockdown, the West Bank is also inaccessible, and this project will have to be placed on hold until the situation in the world improves.

But even in the midst of the pandemic we have been working hard. Earlier this year we organised a series of online documentary photography workshops for Palestinian women living in Isreal, with the help of Tsipi Karlik, an Isreali documentary short film maker. We found that while working online may be a good solution in some situations, we faced some technological challenges from the start that could not be resolved. You can read about the experience here.

Another problem that online workshops cannot not fix is the language barrier. During our real-world workshops we have someone who speaks the language of the participants to translate simultaneously which has always worked perfectly. Eventually we had to suspend these workshops.

However, one of the women who signed up for the femLENS workshops but couldn’t participate because she doesn't speak English was Nivin. She is 22 years old and lives in the north Jordan Valley. Nivin has so much to share. She has been sending us photographs and comments about her photos. We use a translation site to translate her comments for the photographs, and sometimes guide her photo taking. We are building a website which we will continue to update with Nivin’s photos so you can see into the world of Palestian women through their own eyes.

When the situation in the world stabilises, we will continue to make every effort to work with Palestinian women face to face, be it in Gaza or the West Bank. As for now, we will continue to empower women online. Please stay with us for updates on our achievements and support our efforts by spreading the word about our work.

Stay safe, and thanks for being with us!
Best wishes,
Jekaterina

Links:

May 18, 2020

Thank you for your generosity!

Online Group
Online Group

Dear femLENS Supporters and Friends,

Thank you for generous donations!

In 2020 femLENS has already run a series of workshops with a group of women in Berlin, Germany, a group of young women in Narva, Estonia, as well as an online-only workshop with women from DRC, Mexico and England! As the climate for travel and meetings is not ideal right now - we are continuing to run workshops online.

Earlier in the year we hosted a photo exhibition in Berlin to celebrate the work of the different women who have participated in our documentary photography workshops over the last 4 years. We are also talking about a possible photo exhibition later in the year in Tallinn, Estonia. And we published the third issue of We See magazine, dedicated to the stories of our workshop participants! You can download all 3 issues on our website or order hardcopies from blurb.com.

We invite you to read the latest articles on our blog about the importance of women in visual storytelling, as well as women experiencing migration, and more!

Thank you for being part of these events!

Best wishes,
Jekaterina and femLENS Team

Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Narva, Estonia
Narva, Estonia
Photo Exhibition, Berlin, Germany
Photo Exhibition, Berlin, Germany

Links:

 
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