Educational theaters - human trafficking
We used the time from mid-June to end of September to conduct activities through which we educated and empowered many girls and women., and we've picked out some great things to share with you.
Our 7 young activists performed 5 educational theaters in 4 high schools, on the topic of human trafficking and informed their peers on how to recognise, prevent and report human trafficking. Two of those activists then underwent training in conducting workshops on the topic of human trafficking.
Our peer educators conducted several workshops on the same topic and later recorded jingles as a way to educate the general public, which was followed by a press-conference about conducted activities.
July was especially bussy, since we organised multiple complex activities, such as 9th ArtFemine Festival of Feminist Art and Activism, 1st Feminist-activist Camp for Girls and 8th Feminist Art Colony in Sicevo, as well as Anti-burnout Workshop in Gornji Matejevac.
Our ArtFemine festival contained many activities, such as street action, photography exhibition, performances and plays, educational, empowering and art workshops, panel-discussion, two premieres of films, poetry eventing and parties, and was visited by over 80 people.
We organised first Feminist-activist Camp where girls got empowered and educated through workshops on empowering self-defense, gender-sensitive language, activism, feminism, human traficking, violence against women, as well as survival in nature.
Feminist Art Colony in Sicevo gathered female visual artists from Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they had the oportunity to make art, as well as to attend several plays and workshops.
Since we strongly believe that feminism should include taking care of yourself, as well as the others, we gathered in Gornji Matejevac at Anti-burnout workshop, where we relaxed, learnt how to let stress out and connect with ourselves.
Unfortunately, 23 women were killed in domestic and partner violence from January till September, with 2 femicides happening in just 48 hours, so we felt the need to perform Women’s Graveyard street performance and to remind the general public that femicide in Serbia needs to stop.
Our work also includes support through the SOS telephone for women and children who are victims of violence and/or human trafficking.
Educational theaters on the prevention of human trafficking
Seven high school boys and girls from Niš, who underwent Center for Girls’ training on human trafficking and educative theaters, had the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge trough performing educational theaters in forn 170 peers in Nis 4 high schools: "Stevan S." gymnasium, "Law and Business School", " School of Economics" and "School of Fashion and Beauty". The audience asked the characters questions, and they answered and provided information about what human trafficking is, how victims are recruited, who is at risk of human trafficking, how to protect yourself and how to report human trafficking and who to contact in that situation. Educational theaters were performed within the project "Protecting youth in Nis from human trafficking".
Training to strengthen the capacity of the Anti-Trafficking Network
Two new activists of the Center for Girls, Mila and Mina, underwent training on conducting workshops on the prevention of human trafficking, as part of the training to strengthen the capacity of the Anti-Trafficking Network.
High school girls underwent workshops of Center for Girls’ peer educators as part of the second year of the “Chain Empowerment”. This year, the theme was human trafficking. After successful workshops, peer educators recorded educational jingles to educate the general public about the problem of human trafficking, its forms, methods of recruitment, who can be a trafficker and a victim, about ways to human trafficking is recognized and reported, and how to protect yourself from it. Later, a media conference was held, where peer educators spoke about the workshops, the project and human trafficking.
Feminist heroines are here – the 9th ArtFemine festival of feminist art and activism
Over 80 people visited the ninth ArtFemine festival called “Feminist heroines are here”. The Center for Girls hosted 25 participants from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. The festival started with a feminist street action on Fortess Bridge, and later that day guests had the opportunity to attend the exhibition of photographs by Jelena V. and Minja P. “Our 4 Walls” and the performance of the singer-songwriter Stroberiz, as well as a discussion about the position of the LGBT+ community in Serbia and the performance “Dance of Fire” by Saša R.
The second day of the festival started with the performance “Oxygen”, which was performed by Tatjana N. and Dragana J. in extreme heat, and on that occasion they planted the 7th and 8th trees. Numerous workshops followed: “Playing with Fire” workshop (Saša R.), “Bachata Dance Workshop” (Emina K.), music workshop (Anamarija T.) and “Empowering Self-defense” workshop (Tatjana N.). Later, a poetry evening was held with the poet Jelena Z., the author of the poetry collection “How I Became a Flamenco Dancer”, which was followed by a musical time machine through the eighties and nineties, with music played by DJ Casna Sestra. The third and last day of the festival started with another self-defense workshop and a dance workshop, and later the participants had the opportunity to try out their poetry skills, at the open workshop of Ljerka M. C. and Jelena Z. The participants attended the panel discussion “Feminist heroines are here – the feminist scene in the region”. Svetlana Š. and Daniela K. P., Doroti P., Vesna S., Ifeta M., Zaklina Z. and Dijana T. spoke about the topics of preventing violence against women and providing support to women who have experienced violence, the position of single mothers, ecology, female entrepreneurship and female empowerment and self-empowerment. On that occasion, a short film about the work of the Regional Network South was premiered, as well as the film “Landscapes of Resistance” by Marta P., which was its premiere in Niš. The last day of the festival ended with a party where DJ Casna Sestra played the hits of two thousand people.
We organized the first Feminist-Activist Camp. During 6 days, 11 girls in the nature of Mount Goc went through workshops on empowering self-defense (led by Tatjana N.), violence against girls (led by Ana Mirkailo), the problem of human trafficking (led by Mina Zi.), digital security (led by Sanja K.), activism ( led by Marta S.) and LBT+ topics (led by Marija V.).
Through workshops on empowering self-defense, they acquired skills on how to defend themselves physically and verbally, worked on their assertiveness and realized how physically strong they really are, even though most did not think so. They learned to light a campfire and roast vegetables in nature, to set up and fold a tent, they walked over logs over the river, they walked among the trees and listened to the sounds of the forest. They watched movies and talked about them. The girls had the opportunity to watch the play "I am an emotional being" performed by Centric activists Jana T, Sara P, Marta S. and Marija V. We played the Secret Friend game and secretly left gifts to the person whose name we drew on the first day of camp. We also played the Fearless Woman board game that celebrates the contribution of women to society. The game is the original idea of Gabriela I, developed by a team gathered around the association K-Zona (Croatia).
The participants of the first feminist-activist camp are from Smederevo, Bor, Cicevac and Niš.
Feminist art colony in Sicevo
Ten female artists from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia participated in the 8th Feminist Art Colony in Sicevo. This year's art colony hosted Irma M. (Bihac), Ana T. (Skopje) and Ivana S. (Skopje), Jelena P. (Uzice), Jana S. (Belgrade), Dunja C. (Belgrade), Tamara Z. (Belgrade), Anastasija T. (Belgrade), Sanja S. (Kragujevac) and Sara M. (Belgrade).
Upon arrival in Niš, the artists had the opportunity to watch the play “Jelena D. – Letters from Niš”, about the writer Jelena D., which was performed in the fortress of Niš by the actress of the National Theater in Niš, Dragana J. This was followed by joint painting in front of the monument to painter Nadezda Petrovic on the Circle of Serbian Sisters Quay. On the second day of the colony, the artists got to know the history of the Feminist Art Colony and the work of the Center for Girls and later attended the performance of the play “Kiseonik” in Cair Park in Niš. On the third day, in Sicevo, the play “Nadezda P. – Self-Portrait in the Plural” was performed for participants. On the fourth day of the art colony, the activists of the Center for Girls, Marta S., Jana T., Sara P., Mila . and Mina Z. performed a part of the play “I am an emotional being”, by Eve Ensler, in front of the artists. On the second, third, fourth and fifth days of the art colony, artists participated in empowering self-defense (ESD) workshops led by Tatjana N. and on the fifth day they also attended a workshop on gender-sensitive language.
Tatjana N. Conducted 27 workshops on empowering self-defense for girls and women with 95 participants. Workshops consisted of different exercises and activities through which participants could empower themselves, learn how to say “no”, how to set boundaries, be assertive and have more confidence, as well as how to leave potentially dangerous situations, call for help and defend themselves physically, if necessary. For many girls and women this was the opportunity to share their experiences and fears in a safe space, to learn more about themselves, to overcome certain obstacles and challenges and see that they are more capable than they ever thought they were.
On the first and second of August, we held a workshop against burning in the village of Gornji Matejevac, not far from Niš. The workshop was led by psychotherapist Maja D., and 9 women from organizations of the Regional Network South (Center for Girls Niš, SOS Vlasotince, Women for Peace Leskovac and Independent Women's Center Dimitrovgrad) participated. On the first day, we did a sensory awareness exercise. In this exercise we involved all our senses. We ended the day with another exercise, listening to stories (Kitna). On the second day, we reflected on yesterday, what we did and what significance yesterday's exercises had for us. After that, we did exercises – Searching for answers and Map of the journey, where we mapped everything we did in the training with free associations. After choosing the strongest impressions during these two days, the task was to shape it through a haiku poem.
We held a street performance “Women’s Graveyard” in the center of Niš, regarding the 2 femicides that occurred in September in a time span of just 48 hours. This year 23 women were killed in femicide till September. Therefore, we organized a street performance where we stand still, dressed all in black and wear names of women killed, to address the problem of femicide.
Support to women in Iran
In solidarity with women in Iran that were killed or are currently fighting for their lives and freedom, we conducted a street action with banners saying “You can not kill us all”.
OAK and Trag foundation, Global Fund for Women, US Embassy supported realisation of these activities.
They say that a picture speaks 1000 words, so we convey to you a part of the atmosphere from the described events through photographs.
Until next time, be well and stay with us.
Chain empowerment - workshops with peers
The 9th ArtFemine festival
Feminist art colony in Sicevo
Performance - Women's Graveyard
Support to women in Iran