“Because feminism is about caring for the other, and empathy.”
The Association has been working to support refugees from the Lublin voivodship for a decade already. For the past several years, it has been supporting women residing in centres for foreigners in Łuków and Bezwola, and engaging in assistance, integration, and educational activities: “Culture and art are areas we see as nearest and most important to us. We contact refugees through culture. We have been running music, theatrical, and vocal workshops; we worked together to produce theatrical plays and video clips,” members of the Association declare.
Most recently, the Association established a Meeting Club for Women at the Centre for Foreigners in Łuków, where an arts and crafts studio was opened as well. The Club invites different women to attend meetings and disseminate their knowledge and skills to refugees: “The most important thing for us is to make refugees independent and capable of earning their keep. We plan to open an online shop, selling produce crafted by women from the Centre, among others.”
How do they define feminism? “Feminism is a natural state for us. (…) Because feminism is about caring for the other, and empathy. It stands for peace, love, and non-violent conflict resolution. For tolerance, anti-fascism, anti-racism. It is about all the colours of the rainbow, accompanying us in our beautiful and peaceful village at the end of the world,” members of the Association declare.
Arts and crafts as herstory carriers
Artist, friend of the Association and honorary member Pamela Bożek will deliver interdisciplinary art workshops for refugees from Łuków. In co-operation with Ukrainian seamstress Natalyia Gunina, participants worked to visualise selected memories and experience. All workshops were storytelling in nature, items designed and produced during meetings becoming herstory carriers. Traditional arts and crafts techniques – such as working with textiles, crocheting, and embroidery – have been used in creative and innovative format. The workshop cycle will close with an exhibition and auction of all works created.
Workshop participants included refugees awaiting international protection decisions. Most have been living at the centre longer than one year. All are mothers. “The meeting aspect remains the primary reason for the project. Project participants (…) have found themselves on hold, in conditions steeped in restriction, lack of freedom, and lack of access to intimate space they could call their own. Meetings involving creative work and a common objective (the exhibition) have allowed us to learn more about one another. Another factor is that of self-development and gaining new skills,” project authors declare. The auction of all works created is equally important – it may allow financial support for the development of an arts and crafts studio for women from the Centre in Łuków.
Grant amount: PLN 4,400.00
Photos: For the Earth Association