JCW yearly wrap-up 2012
Saturday, 19 January 2013
JCW coordinated five Legal Clinics, providing legal aid and psycho-social counseling. The training groups were accomplished with around 15 to 20 women per group, coming from Jabal al Mukabar, Silwan, and the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.

Noteworthy, the participating women asked for more psycho-social support in the course of the training. The need for a safe and confidential space for women to speak out and to share their thoughts and feelings is apperent as they all are severly affected by a life, firstly, under Israeli occupation, oppression and discriminating separation policies, and secondly, under the oppression of a patriarchal society fabric.

Women increasingly reveal experiences of escalating domestic violence. Women pay the highest price, but often do not dare to challenge the patriarchal structure that affects their lives on various levels.

However, few, and increasingly more women, do speak out, and are couragous to change their reality. This is actually what we have heard almost always : that women want to change their lives, that this is their highest motivation to attend our groups.

We have heard of a lot of women's initiatives that were taken following the trainings. Women feel encouraged to go for their individual independence, also economic independence.

Besides the need for more individual psycho-social counseling, also legal counseling was demanded. Further, we referred women to specialized legal service providers, and psycho-social practitioners.

Re home demolition, eviction, and National Insurance topics, women learnt what they need to know, and to do regarding these issues, and some were able to solve their problems on their own and so saved the legal fee.

Women of former training groups came back to attend advanced trainings, follow-ups on gender awareness, 1325, and CEDAW. Besides their interest in the training content, they seemingly also returened to enjoy the gathering and sharing with other women which play a significant role in this society's context.

Yet, to provide these valuable follow-ups, or extended trainings more financial resources are needed.

Concluding, it has become easier to gather the groups for the Legal Clinics, as word-of-mouth is our best promoter.

The past year, we conducted the third Training-of-Trainers [ToT].

The main objective of this capacity building is to empower women in different levels of their lives. Communication, leadership and decision making skills, gender awareness, sexual harassment, psychodynamics | facilitation issues were the various topics which were tackled in the course of the year.

After the ToT women said that they felt more confident, stronger, emotionally empowered, and able to express themselves. They felt more confident to talk in front of others, and free to express their opinions, and this mainly with their husbands and close relatives. They were aware of their rights, they developed their capacity to identify gender violence incidents or tendencies within their communities or working environments.

The project was evaluated having a great ability to 'transform' women's lives. Families and the nearest core of the women (i.e. friends, community) have been positively affected by these changes and, in general terms, the project has contributed to reduce gender inequality roles which are ingrained in the society.

The course has also become a therapeutic space for women, where they can feel free to express their concerns. The project has created spaces for women out of their homes.

Training women to be better prepared to take on the existing political situation, to be better advocates for their rights, to be equal and engaged citizens, and to assume leadership and decision making positions is necessary now.

This project therefore seeks to transfer these skills to a group of women who are already working within the civil society, in order to better equip them with the tools necessary to influence both the external and internal conflict in such a way that promotes democracy and human rights in general, while insuring that Palestinian women's voices are included in the processes that ultimately affected them most.

Concluding, we coordinated a Youth Group, with young women and men who were provided an intensive training on gender awareness.

Within the course of the training the students were supposed to write stories of women who have been affected by domestic violence.

At this point we just highlight one of these remarkable young people : a young men wrote lyrics to a rap song tackling violence against women. We support this initiative and the production of the song is currently in progress.