Afrikable - Cooperación para el desarrollo en Africa

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Friday, 11 May 2018
Published in PROMOTION

On May 12 we celebrated the World Fair Trade day.

In Afrikable we bet on the Fair Trade as a key tool to get women’s economic empowerment..

During 9 years we’ve been working and creating opportunities to many african women and their families, accessing to a decent job, training professionally and growing together to start to own their own lives.

Putting their faces and hearts to what’s behind the elaborate product; Hope, justice, professionalism and above all empowerment, such as Khadija Hassan that started making recycling products and now she is the project’s manager in Lamu.

Khadija Hassan

Or Mamá Madina, (Madina mother), one of our “grandmothers".

“Madina mother does not remember how old is she, more than 60 she says. She had 10 children but two of them have already died. She tell us that nobody hires somebody of her age, and much less to a woman that also does not know how to read or write.

She is very happy with the new sandal’s Project because she sees that her work is important. She takes care of apply glue to the pieces, dyeing, and apply polishing wax and polishing the sandals.

With the salary that she earns, she can bring food home and to buy medicine to her sick husband. She also can pay the school for her children and even she can send one of them to highschool”.

Mama Madina

And the same as them, even more women, Anonymous heroines, tireless fighters that thanks to the Fair Trade, they have been improving their lives and those of their families.

From Afrikable we know that there is another way to make economy, to make a fairer and sustainable world to everyone.

As consumers we have that big power in our hands, valuing not only the economics but also the social and ecological.

We want a new global economic order with a fair Exchange, a sustainable social and ecological development, of quality of life for today and for the future, definitely, responsable and solidary consumption.

JOIN UP AND BE FAIR TRADE! #WeAreFairTrade

Afrikable - #SomosComercioJusto

tienda.afrikable.org

 

Author: Merche Cascajero | Translator: Rubén Duarte

Thursday, 08 March 2018
Published in PROMOTION

Today, millons of women around the world will raise their voices against the violation of their rights (sexual, reproductives, labor …) against male-chauvinist violence, against the invisibilization of a global society that doesnt take them into account, relegated to a second plane and still does not value them justly for who they are. And they will do it, from many different corners of the globe, joining to an international feminist strike.

The women makes the world go around. If the women stop, we all get stagnant.

The afrikable’s craftswomen want to be heard. to be respected and free. Today, they also join to the strike. They celebrate their day. From Lamu, Kenia, we join together with them to the millions of women that will go out to the Street to demand to be recognized, respected and treated as equal.

Nos queremos vivas y libre. Por los derechos de todas.

WE WANT US FREE AND ALIVE | FOR THE RIGTHS OF ALL WOMEN

Jose and Ana, the solidarity vacation’s coordinators and general support in field, they share what it means to them to live the march 8 next to them.

Ana Carrascón: “Every day in Afrikable is a gift. It’s to be able to put name, and last name and a huge smile to the fight of each and every craftswomen that are part of this big family. Women that, against all odds, show that they are able, strong, powerful and transformers. Women that drive changes to better, to them and their families, and that through their work in the just commerce circuit can guarantee an education to their children, to be self-sufficient economically and cease to be invisibles for a society that relegates them to the darkest corner.

We admire them because all of them, to get here today, they have had to face situations of inequality and injustice, discrimination, violence, lack of ascence to the education and to health. They are a real example of courage and empowerment. To be able to share with them the women international day celebration and their claims this year, it makes the greatest sense.”

Jose Mateos: "In Spain, the article 40 of the II Republic prayed : “ All the Spaniards, without distinction of sex are admisibles to the Jobs and public office …” Since then, and thanks to the tireless fight of the women like Clara Campoamor, we have not stopped advancing in the fight towards the equality and the freedom. A fight that still has a long way to go, but a fight that is condemned to success.

A fight required independently of the country, color or ethnic group. A fight in which we the men have the responsability, capacity, need and obligation to collaborate, ending in this way with the injustice situation that they live for the simple fact of being women. Fight that we musn’t stop until we get the total balance.

In Afrikable we believe in the female empowerment and that`s why we work everyday. It does not exist a man enough rich, able to pay what our women’s smile transmit. Note even, between the richest, could pay the spark that shudder your body when you see the evolution of women that have suffered in his own flesh the scour of inequality through the marginalization, the gender violence and the male- chauvinist submission.

This is why we demand the implication of the goverments in this fight that Benefit everybody. Implication through effective action that fights against this male-chauvinist system, where it continues to be tolerated situations like male violence, marginalization, and inequality in the laboral rights, staying the dome of the big corporations and governments in men’s hands.”

We will convert this day in a party!

 

 

Authors: Jose and Ana | Translator: Rubén Duarte

Wednesday, 27 December 2017
Published in PROJECTS

A few months ago we were lucky enough to share special moments with a very special girl. Saedi came to Lamu to do her internship at Afrikable. Saedi is, above all, a brave woman who is bursting with life, strength and courage... an example to follow at only 18 years old.

MGF Taller
Her parents are from Gambia and, although she was born in Spain, it wasn’t until a few months ago that she obtained her Spanish nationality. “My dad lived in Spain as if he were still in Gambia, he forbade me and my siblings to speak in Spanish at home, and he would beat us if he heard us speak in any language other than Soninké, our mother tongue”. Although that’s not the only reason why he beat them... abuse was constant at home.

When she was 8, her parents took her on a trip to Gambia with her little sister to learn how to be like Gambian women. Back then she didn’t know that trip would mark a before and after in her life. They stayed at her father’s house in Turekunda, a small village far from the capital of Gambia. One morning like any other, after a breakfast like any other, her mother dressed her in a cloth that seemed very strange to her and took her to the bathroom where suddenly more women came in: her cousin and her mother held her to the ground, one leg each, another woman stood behind her holding her body and arms. Lastly, another woman entered the room with a blade in her hand.

“I don’t really remember it as something extremely painful, but I do remember the screams of my sister when it was her turn” Saedi says. Maybe her mind wanted to erase such a horrible memory, maybe the fear or tension made her focus on what happened to her sister so she could somehow mentally escape what was happening to her. Maybe it simply didn’t hurt her as much as she expected.

MGF Taller
If I put myself in her place, in the place of an 8-year-old girl who suddenly is taken to the bathroom and forcibly held to the ground by 3 or 4 women while another one wields a blade in her hands, I would be terrified. In any case, what is clear is that that day, when others decided for her what to do with her body, they rode roughshod over her rights as a child and her rights as a woman.

Her parents returned to Spain, but she was left with her aunt in Gambia waiting to find a husband for her. During that period, abuse and mistreatment were common in her day to day life. Two years later Spanish bureaucracy gave Saedi a golden opportunity. She had to renew her residence permit since her father never registered her as a Spaniard in the civil registry despite being born and raised in Spain. He had to bring her back to Spain for the paperwork, and due to the precarious economic situation that the family was going through at that time, they could not send her back to Gambia.

The physical abuse continued in Spain, but one day Saedi, at the young age of 13, decided to let the brave woman inside her come out, the woman she has become now, and put an end to that situation. She talked to her teacher about everything that was happening to her and immediately all protocols for child protection were implemented. From that moment, thanks to Generalitat of Catalonia and Children’s Villages, she is safe and more full of life than ever before.

Within the cycle of women's rights, and specifically following previous workshops on gender violence, we wanted to close this cycle by raising awareness about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as the ultimate expression of the violation of the rights of women and girls, as well as a clear example of both physical and psychosexual violence against all of us.

MGF Stop

It is very common to hear about “female circumcision” when referring to FGM, and that’s why we wanted to focus our workshop on highlighting precisely the differences between male circumcision and female genital mutilation.

MGF Taller

Male circumcision is one of the oldest known surgical operations, it consists in the removal of the foreskin (skin that covers the glans of the penis). The main reasons for its practice are religious, cultural and for health. It is estimated that around 30% of men of the world’s population are circumcised. The risk of complications during surgery, or post-surgery, is 2%, and they are easily treatable in most cases. Recent studies by the World Health Organization indicate that male circumcision significantly reduces the number of urinary infections, some types of cancer, and even sexually transmitted diseases. Special mention for the WHO studies that show that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection by approximately 60%.

MGF Circuncisión Mapa

Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia and other injuries to them for non-medical reasons. It has no beneficial effect on health and harms women and girls in many different ways. It can cause severe bleeding and urinary problems, and may later cause cysts, infections, birth complications and increased risk of newborn death. More than 200 million women and girls have now been subjected to FGM in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where this practice is concentrated.

MGF Mapa

Female genital mutilation is classified into three major types:

  • Type 1 - Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris.
  • Type 2 - Excision, involves the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the external skin folds of the vulva).
  • Type 3 - Infibulation, consists in the narrowing of the vaginal opening, which is sealed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora or majora, sometimes by stitching them, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).

Tipos de Mutilación Genital Femenina

FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of women and girls. It reflects a deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is almost always carried out on minors and constitutes a violation of the rights of girls. It also violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right not to be subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life in cases in which the procedure leads to death.

According to UNICEF, 9.3 millions of women and girls in Kenya (27% of the total) have experienced female genital mutilation, which positions Kenya as the number 17 of the 29 African countries where FGM is practised.

Mutilación Genital Femenina en África

The ethnic group that practises FGM the most is Cushite, which includes the Somali, Borana and Orma tribes. The Maasai and Samburu tribes from the Nilote ethnic group also practise it to a great extent. On the contrary, the ethnic group that practises FGM to a lesser degree is Bantu, among which are the Giriama, Pokomo and Kikuyu tribes, as well as the Swahilis. 87% of the mutilations in Kenya correspond to type number 2: Excision.

Mutilación Genital Femenina por tribus

In 2011, a law banning Female Genital Mutilation was passed in Kenya: “The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation ACT nº32, 2011”. Under this law, it is illegal to practise FGM or even to take a woman or a girl abroad to practise it.

Since the law was passed, the practice has fallen by 11%. In contrast, the girls who suffer it keep getting younger, probably so they won’t be able to resist while being mutilated. If girls reach school age, they will probably refuse to undergo the practice since nowadays there is more information on the subject and they would have more options to lodge a complaint.

Many of the Afrikable women were subjected to mutilation when they were little, or even their daughters have experienced it. They all agree that there are no rules related to religion that force people to carry out FGM; most recognise that it is a cultural issue, that has been done ancestrally, that nobody told them it was wrong and that other options existed. In the past, women who didn’t undergo ablation were rejected by their community and couldn’t find a husband since they feared they would leave them for other men. It was also practised as a way to keep virginity intact until marriage. They now realise that men from their tribes marry women from other tribes where ablation is not practised and they wonder why they have to undergo it.

Since the law was passed, they have encountered many difficulties to carry out FGM on their daughters, and fortunately many have been saved from being mutilated. After the workshop they have verified and understood that some traditions are better relegated to the past.

All women were impressed with Saedi’s testimony and strength, and encouraged her to specialise in this area, thus, with her testimony, she would be able to contribute in the fight to eradicate female genital mutilation.

MGF Taller

Saedi, you are quite the role model… we congratulate you for being the way you are and we encourage you to move forward, to become the great woman we know you are going to be… It was our good fortune to count on your support and collaboration with Afrikable. Karibu tena!!

MGF Taller

MGF Taller

 

Author: Lola Serra | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Published in PROMOTION

Finally, the day to present the New Afrikable catalogue.

Behind each product, each photo and each design there is great teamwork that has lasted for years, and many stories to tell.

From every woman who, with perseverance, effort and their willingness to always improve, grow and better themselves, has cut, sewed and ran every stitch from the first to the last product with a smile on their face

Since that day Lola and I were sitting down with a pen and a notebook in hand, the new catalogue started to become a reality, instead of a new dream to fulfill, to showcase all the work we do every day at Afrikable, with enthusiasm, professionalism and the same goal as always: women’s empowerment and fair trade as a tool for change.

From every photo taken of each product, by the number one photographer and model, that with each flash takes you to another place where you can hear the sewing machines, the soft singing of women while working and the laughter of children in the background.

From the great and essential graphic design work, with a consummate professional at the front spreading energy through each improvement and idea put forward, where the outcome of the road we have travelled together can be shown, to achieve much more than a Fair Trade catalogue, a catalogue of stories, empowerment, self-improvement and effort.

Regalos solidarios de Comercio Justo Afrikable

A new catalogue with new products, in line with new trends, as well as the total upgrade of the existing products with remarkable improvement in quality and design.

All items shown in this catalogue are handmade under Fair Trade standards , by Afrikable’s producer groups: Jimudo Women Group, Masaai Crafts, Lamu Recycling Solution and Viatu Project.

Find out all about it!

 

DOWNLOAD your catalogue now or visit our online shop

 

Author: Merche Cascajero | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

7 years ago, during our first trip to Lamu, Kenya, we met Lola Serra and Merche Cascajero.

We were following the project they had recently launched: AFRIKABLE.

It gathered a group of 10 women of different ethnicities and religions, with their children, who had important needs for subsistence. With Lola and Merche at the front, running on no more than their enthusiasm and total dedication.

At Free Design Bank, we feel hooked to this group of brave women from the beginning.

We wanted to provide our help and collaboration, from designing, by seeking methods and resources both in the design of products with improved commercialisation, always fair trade, and in the training and funding.

Amparo Balbastre 01

After these 7 years, the group has grown; more than 40 women and 100 children now live off the project. New facilities that have improved their life and work quality have been built.

Afrikable is more than an NGO. It’s a life project, which we fully share at Free Design Bank.

Today, you can feel the strength every single woman of the project transmits in every thank-you hug, in every word in Swahili, that don’t need translation because they strike deep in your heart.

During this last trip, we were very touched; we felt part of this beautiful project, in which, on a human level, we always receive more than we give.

Thanks Lola, thanks Merche.

 

Author: Amparo Balbastre , FREE DESIGN BANK Coordinator | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

Once we saw the opportunity to set up this project together with Afrikable we did not hesitate. Almost in unison Amparo Balbastre, Carmen Gujarro and I thought that this was another one of those challenges Free Design Bank had to face. We talked to Merche Cascajero and Lola Serra and we all saw it clear, we would end the circle of needs; we would build the crafts workshop building that Afrikable had always needed, we would get new sewing machines and create a new collection of more attractive products, commercial products adjusted to the new technical possibilities of craftswomen.

The Free Design Bank team set off and many volunteer designers responded to our call, they were organised in three groups; one group would be in charge of design proposals that reused the plastic of all the water jugs consumed in Lamu, another group would propose exclusive sandal designs for the Maasai women group, the last group would work on proposals with Kanga and Kikoy fabrics. I assumed the leadership of the groups and projects, while Carmen was responsible for the management of the project and for refining the designs proposed by the volunteers; Amparo took care of the groups’ coordination and of creating or improving the prototypes’ patterns.

Manolo Bañó 01

Four months later, after many hours of work from both volunteer designers and the Free Design Bank leaders, the collection was ready to be produced by Afrikable’s groups of women… But, in which building? Truthfully, Merche and Lola moved quickly, on our arrival to Lamu we were surprised to see that the new sewing machines were set up and running, and above all that…The new workshop building was almost finished!!.

At Afrikable’s headquarters in Lamu we have spent three unforgettable weeks setting up the project, selecting the designs and assembling the machines, while Amparo trained the women on the use of the new industrial electric sewing machines. Those three weeks of close relations with the women of the project and their concerns have filled us with excitement, knowledge and strength to keep collaborating with Afrikable from the social design fundamentals that Free Design Bank represents for many years to come.

 

Author: Manolo Bañó, Manager of the FREE DESIGN BANK Social Design Project | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

I’ve been collaborating with them since I found out about the NGO when I was at university thanks to a Free Design Bank collaborative project between designers and different organizations from developing countries. Later I had the chance to spend some time in Lamu as a designer, living day to day and developing products hand-in-hand with them. The experience was a blast, it has been with me ever since and keeps me tied to them.

They, every single woman who works for Afrikable and makes it possible, are a lesson of strength, and their example has forced me to always put myself in their place and set the record straight.

Afrikable has been showing us that obstacles are surmountable and there is no adversity impossible to overcome. It is a family that continues to grow and as a growing entity it needs resources that will develop with it. To present this project on their behalf is to give them a little push to help them achieve their goals. The fact that my company gave me the opportunity to improve their working conditions means finding a common ground between my context and theirs.

Carmen Guijarro 01

What motivates me the most is knowing that they get to keep all of this, the workshop, the tools, the training courses. The soul of all of this is to provide them with the mechanisms to continue to work.

I hope this is just the beginning, that they are continuously trained in these spaces, that more women join them so that it requires building one, three or five more floors. I hope that they keep growing, proud and brave, showing their integrity and energy.

They defeated the hard reality, but luckily for all, the future is theirs.

 

Author: Carmen Guijarro | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

I still remember that day at the library when Carmen Guijarro called us to tell us the news... It has been granted!!!... We did it!!!... Finally the women’s workshop would be a reality!!!

My cries of joy still echo in the library’s walls (and they’re probably still ringing in Carmen’s ears) but it could not be otherwise, something Merche and I had been fighting for from the beginning, for more than 7 years, had become a reality.

We would be able to offer the women of the project a decent work place, professional machines to improve the production, proper storage space, a library of materials to store patterns and prototypes, design training workshops, increased production and many other essentials to be able to improve the working conditions of the project’s female workers, and the production, thus being able to reach more people through Fair Trade, then again having an impact on the improvement of the quality of life of many Kenyan women.

Factory 01

Carmen Works in a multinational fashion company as a designer and is a volunteer at Free Design Bank, a non-profit platform of the CEU University of Valencia made up of design students and designers, which collaborates with Afrikable since our inception. Carmen came to Afrikable for the first time in 2013 as a volunteer to help improve textile production.

She saw with her own eyes the problems workers faced daily: lack of space, lack of a proper storage place, a rented house where water would come in every time it rained and everything would get wet (the women, the products, the material, the children...). When it didn’t rain but it was windy, everything went flying out the window (the fabrics, the patterns, the threads…); in short, it wasn’t the right space. It wasn’t our first house, before that we had rented another house where the school, the dining hall, the kitchen and the workshops were on the same floor and interconnected. It was a very dark house, full of mosquitoes, and very small, which for the first months served to launch the project, but it wasn’t ready to take on the growth we have experienced during these years.

In 2014, with great effort, we were able to buy a land on instalments where we could grow by building appropriate spaces for all. There our dreams came true step by step: the children’s school and dining hall, the Volunteer Holidays programme’ facilities, and even the Maternity, but the biggest dream resisted. In the new facilities women worked wherever they could: inside the bedrooms when the Volunteer Holidays programme was closed, in the classrooms during school holidays, moving yet again when the Maternity building got the ceiling done... and under the trees when all the buildings were busy.

Many companies provide subsidies to the projects their employees submit through their Corporate Social Responsibility departments, which sometimes are voted and/or selected by their workers. And that was Carmen’s case when she presented the “COOPERATION THROUGH DESIGN FOR THE CONSOLIDATION, CAPACITATION, AND TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE CRAFTSWOMEN GROUPS OF AFRIKABLE NGOD IN THE LAMU DISTRICT (KENYA)” project to her company.

 

 

The project also counts on the collaboration of Free Design Bank, in the hands of Manuel Bañó and Amparo Balbastre, who collaborate with Afrikable’s craftswomen by supporting them in their training in design and the creation of new products that will be manufactured in the new workshop. Free Design Bank provides the professionals, training materials, and designs necessary for the achievement of a professional commercial collection.

We want to thanks to Carmen, Manolo and Amparo for trusting Afrikable and for making this dream come true. Click on each of their names in order to learn about their emotional testimonies as the major force behind the project.

Asante Sana!

Factory 02

 

Author: Lola Serra | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 03 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

During this research study I’ve had the chance to hear stories about brave women who decided to break sexist rules and to move forward. Accepting a job, disposing of their money, divorcing their husbands or refusing to see their daughters being forced to marry. But I have also learned about their context and not everything is positive.

Lamu is a city of very traditional and sexist cultural norms and massive economic poverty, just like the rest of the country, just like many other countries in Africa and all over the world. This makes it very difficult to find a way out of male violence against women. The police station receives about 4 or 5 reports on the issue each week, but nearly 100% of the reports end there since the police themselves recommend to talk to your husband, or to the people’s authority, in order to tackle the issue and reach an agreement to “forgive the first mistake”, because “you’re not going to put your husband in jail”.

Comisaria policía

Then, if you have broken through your own fears and achieved to file the report not letting your parents, friends or relatives persuade you, you must go to the hospital and pay about €10 to get a medical certificate assessing your injuries. This may not be shocking, but here the average salary is €30, and given that the vast majority of women don’t have access to the labour market, it is an unreachable amount for many of them.

However, not everything is negative. Lamu currently has a female judge committed to women’s rights, who works with female lawyers’ associations to enable women to defend their rights in court for the lowest possible cost. Before I talked to her, many people told me how great she was doing because she was starting to impose heavy sentences on rapists.

Lamu violencias machistas

Thinking about what is the most positive aspect of the research study, I would say women’s fighting ability. When you spend time sitting next to them and listening to them, you don’t come across women who are tired of life because they work all day, inside and outside the home, experiencing all kinds of violence and discrimination. You come across cheerful and smiley women, eager to make a joke, ask you things about your city, to learn and dream. You can find a woman who, while breastfeeding her child and moping the floor, tells you that she wants to open her own beauty salon in two years. Another woman, while she takes her child to the hospital, tells you on the way there that she wants to work her way up to get money to build a second floor at her home, hers and her children’s home. That is why, they are not women who have given up, they are women who keep fighting to improve their lives and their families’ life.

To conclude, all that remains for me to do is thank every person who has made this project possible, specially to Lola and Merche for making it happen, the coordinators team and former coordinators who have joined me along the way, and particularly to the women who have been part of this paper, for every glance, every handshake, every kiss and for sharing in such a pure and real way their outlook on life. It has been a real challenge to conduct a research study on this topic here, but it will always be the best decision of my life.

Asante Sana.

Badaee.

 

Author: Ana Fernández | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 03 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

Despite it being the aim of my research, it’s a topic difficult to address. For me, it is due to the respect they instill, I’m terrified of them seeing me as a teacher who comes to give moral lessons. However, I think it is a topic that has to be talked about and addressed without fear.

The starting point to talk about violence is to not separate the public sphere from the private sphere, which means not to treat violence cases as ‘domestic’ cases that happen to some people at home and as something not to talk about, but as a consequence of men wanting to maintain their position of power and that women all over the world suffer socially.

Therefore, we started talking about who has the power. We are all clear about the answer, men. But, after one of the women said in the interview that they had more power “because they are the ones who bring the food”, I felt it was necessary to talk about how in the past male superiority was acquired by fighting wars, hunting, working, etc. But nowadays they have power because of tradition, not because of their actual situation. Since the women are the ones who work and run the household, they are the protagonists of this new reality in which both men and women work, but men still have more power.

And, once we manage to reach an agreement on it, I bring myself to talk about violence. But in order to talk about violence, first we need to talk about what we understand by violence. Women start to talk about different types of violence: taking all your money not even leaving you some for medicine is violence, hitting you is violence, forcing you to do all the housework and threatening to hit you if you don’t do it is violence, etc.

Violencias machistas 01

From there, we started to look at the types of violence one by one. We started with physical violence, what it is and who is affected by it. When I ask if all men resort to violence, some answer all of them, others say the majority. One of the hardest moments was when we decided to ask the opposite: Who has experienced physical violence? And all of them started to raise their hand until one of them clarified: “all of us have experienced physical violence".

It was comforting to see how some women encouraged other women from the same tribe to talk, to not be silent, because later would be too late. I took the opportunity to tell them that the same happened in Spain, people said that these things must be solved at home, saying the phrase: “you shouldn’t wash your dirty linen in public”. I explained that only in recent years, people have started to stop accepting it as commonplace, and are starting to criticize it and take action, at least against physical violence.

The problem is that when we talk about Spain, they picture a very resourceful place with many possibilities, and it is true that, compared to their situation, it probably is. However, they find it very difficult to get out of the situation of violence in which they have to break religious, cultural, moral and economic rules in order to choose to report it and start a new life.

It was very complex to tackle the issue of sexual violence and to tell them that having sex against their will is violence, even with their husbands. It is very difficult to address this subject, in Spain people recently have started to talk about it with the No means No campaigns. I believe the fact that they hear it lays the first stone in the foundations of change. When we talk about sexuality many of them laugh and others make jokes about how to avoid having sex with their husbands when they don’t want to. In the end, they say that they have to defend themselves; when I mention that we are starting to give self-defense classes at the University, they ask me to teach them how to defend themselves. They say it while sharing jokes and knowing looks, but the step has been taken, they know it is wrong, they know their lack of power does not allow them to fight the battle right now, but they want to defend themselves in the future.

Another complex issue was economic violence. As I said at the beginning, some of them recognised the denial of their right to dispose of their own salary as a form of violence. But later, when we talked about salary, many acknowledged that their husbands have their account numbers and that they manage to hide some of the money, but not all of it. Then, they start a very interesting debate on what they should do, if it is right or wrong that their husbands know it, and how some of them manage to dispose of their own salary. The picture of this moment could not describe better what the creation of women’s support networks is.

Violencias machistas 02

I could tell word for word how everything unfolded and I wouldn’t be able to transmit the power I felt in that room. Women listened to us, got the message and were willing to talk, that was a gift that will be with me for the rest of my life.

Change won’t happen overnight, change will be pole pole, brick by brick. I have no doubt that these brave women who have experienced all kinds of violence throughout their lives are resilient, they know what they have been through and they don’t want that for their daughters. This will make them pass on a different kind of values that will be a shift towards a more equal society.

 

Author: Ana Fernández | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

WHERE ARE WE

  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162