The Cracow-based Venus de Milo Zone Association is Poland’s first feminist association founded on initiative of and for women with disabilities. It was established in December 2014 in response to the disability perspective having been neglected by feminist organisations, and the gender perspective having been neglected by organisations supporting persons with disabilities. “We were fed up with support provided to us as passive aid beneficiaries. Most activities targeting us bordered on charity, protectionism, and infantilising. We want to change the model, and start working to the rule of ‘Nothing about us without us’. We want our voices to be heard. We want our capacity and needs to become visible. We wish to reclaim our autonomy and a sense of agency.”
The Venus de Milo Zone used mini-grant funds to design and deliver a WenDo self-defence and assertiveness workshop for women with visual impairment. “This was the first workshop in Poland to address that particular group, designed to meet its requirements, and delivered by coaches with varying degrees of physical ability.” The WenDo class was attended by over a dozen blind and visually impaired women. Organisers jointly with participants wanted to “create space allowing them to feel their strength, explore cohesive and assertive communication and decision-making skills, discover their capacity and resources, and identify their rights and related sense of control in circumstances of abuse or threat.” Participants actively joined the task of collecting examples of abuse against persons with visual disabilities, and ways of effective response desirable in view of their own experience, certain response patterns recommendable in further work with persons with visual disabilities.
Grant amount: 4400.00 PLN
Photos by: Venus de Milo Zone Association