Roj Women is Recruiting!

We are now recruiting a VAWG project leader (paid) and four female volunteers to work with us in providing culturally sensitive advice and psychological support for women from Kurdish and Turkish communities who face violence.

Click here for more information: VAWG project leader

As a sessional worker you will lead the VAWG project ‘For a life free of violence’. The project funded by Big Lottery Fund aims to provide integral services encompassing legal advice and advocacy as well as individual psychological counselling with a focus on women’s issue for victims of domestic violence, forced marriage or honour based violence.

Closing Date: Please submit CV, cover letter and equal opportunities form by 6 pm on 12th July 2015 to rojwomen@gmail.com. We appreciate the interest of all applicants, however only selected candidates will be contacted. Start date for this role is 3rd August 2015.

As an advice and support worker you will provide impartial advice and support to our clients on the options available as victims of violence, helping them find a safe place to stay, helping them with long-term issues such as housing, access to benefits and income generation, and informing them of the possible legal remedies and procedures, among other responsibilities.

As a counselor you will help users to explore feelings and emotions related to their experiences with violence. You will establish a relationship of trust and respect with clients, helping them towards a deeper understanding of their problems and to make choices regarding possible ways forward.

Click here for more information: Roj Women VAWG Volunteer posts

Closing Date: Please submit CV and cover letter by 5pm on Wednesday 1st August to rojwomen@gmail.com. Start date for this post will be 15th August.

Funded by:

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Call for participation: Building an exchange between women’s groups in order to prepare together the meeting on 1 July 2015

Solidarite Feministe Avec Kobane

Dear Friends,

Last October we first met in Paris and gathered our forces as feminists to support the women’s struggle in Kobanê. At first, we were united by the pressing need to make Kurdish female fighter’s voices heard in France and to let people know about their fight for women’s liberation. Following our first meeting, we wrote a text aimed at bringing together feminists from different tendencies around this solidarity project. In fact we consider that the strength of our collective lies in the fact that it is made of feminists who, while they have different perspectives on several topics, have stayed together to express their solidarity with the social and political project defended by Kurdish women.

Since the first meeting, we have agreed not to limit our work to public declaration of support. We were willing to act, not just to talk and, as a result, we decided to send a delegation to the Turkish border with the Rojava. In early November, eight women from our collective went to Northern Kurdistan and met with political leaders, elected officials, female refugees and women from the civil society. Once there, they saw the situation created by the war, as well as the strength of the organizations and the Kurdish people facing this very difficult social and economic situation. The forty pages long report we later wrote meant to reflect the extremely rich exchange that resulted from this dialogue between women.

Our will to share the messages of the women we met in Northern Kurdistan led us to participate in several public events. We were invited as a collective to radio programs and meetings organized by political parties. We were part of the protests and demonstrations in support of Kobanê. We organized events with other feminists. Lastly we wrote articles for several newspapers.

The struggle in Kobanê is now entering a new stage. The reconstruction of the canton is both a human and a political emergency. It is a human emergency because we know that thousands of people are currently living in an extremely bad economic and social situation. Thus, not only do we have to rebuild all the urban living areas, but we also have to address the needs of the population (in terms of food, health, education…). It is a political emergency because we know that obscurantist, imperialist and capitalist forces are today more that ever ready to stifle the social revolution happening in Kobanê.

For us, supporting the women in Kobanê means establishing a dialog between women that enables us to learn from each other’s experiences and to mutually reinforce one another. It is with this in mind that we want to support the effort of the Kurdish movement in general, and of the Kurdish women in particular, to build an anticapitalist, non-statist, ecological and feminist society. We would like to build a solidarity that respects Kurdish women’s autonomy, to forge an alliance based on the sharing of practices and on joint mobilisation.

From now on, our goal is to prepare the July 1st meeting by building a coordination between the women’s groups in Europe that are willing to get involved in the reconstruction project in solidarity with the Kurdish women. The preparation of this meeting by different women’s groups in Europe thus aims to foster a solidarity that will reinforce the Kurdish women in their project for the reconstruction of Kobanê.

For that purpose we invite you to join our initiative. We are currently developing a reconstruction project focused on the Kobanê women’s needs and expectations. We will send you the first draft of the project around June 10th. This draft will be written by our collective working closely with the Kurdish women in Europe and in Kobanê. They are the subject of the reconstruction and we would like to make sure that their autonomy is respected at every step of the way. After June 10th, once you will have received the project, we invite you to collectively look into this to let us know :

– Which knowledge and practices can you mobilize for this project?

– How does it resonate with your own political experiences?

– What forms of social mobilisations would you like to build around this project?

We will need you to send us your answers on June 20th so that we can rework the project based on your answers. That way, we should be able to return a new working paper to you, one that takes into account your answers.Thus we ask you to start planning now your working meeting. It should take place between June 10th and 20th, so that you’ll have time to discuss the document we will send you and to share your thoughts with us. Feel free to contact us by emails as of now to exchange, to meet us and to know more about the proposed initiative.

Rojava is liberated, the women’s struggle continues !

The struggle will continue until women’s liberation in all areas of society!

Collectif Solidarité Féministe avec Kobanê

Contact : solidaritefemmeskobane@gmail.com

3-5 April- Dissecting Capitalist Modernity – Building Democratic Confederalism

On 3-5 April, a conference will be held in Hamburg University called Dissecting Capitalist Modernity – Building Democratic Confederalism, registration is now open to all.

This follows the last successful conference in 2012 when hundreds of students, intellectuals and activists came together for three days to discuss perspectives to overcome the current, crisis-struck system of capitalist modernity and the ideas of the Kurdish freedom movement and others on this topic. This year, featured speakers include Havin Guneser; Prof David Harvey (US), Prof David Graeber (UK),  Prof. John Holloway (Mexico), PYD Co-Chair Asya Abdullah (Rojava/Northern Syria),  Dr. Ahmad Yousef (Rojava/Northern Syria), HDP MP Selma Irmak (Northern Kurdistan/Turkey), Prof. Elmar Altvater (Germany), Janet Biehl (US) und Demetrios Rossopoulos (Canada) and Dr Radha D’Souza (India/UK).

You can find out more about the conference here: http://networkaq.net/

You will find details of how to register in the letter of invitation: http://networkaq.net/2015/General_Invitation_2015_Conference.pdf

THURSDAY 12TH MARCH- NEWROZ RECEPTION AT LGA (GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY)

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Address: The GLA, Committee Room 4, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA

Hosted by Roj Women’s Association & Kurdistan National Congress with Osman Baydemir (former HDP-Mayor of Diyarbakir)

Roj Women’s Association & Kurdistan National Congress  would like to cordially invite you to a reception to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year festival. The reception will take place in Committee Room 4, City Hall-Greater London Authority on Thursday 12th March between 6.00pm and 9.00pm and will be hosted by Roj Women’s Association and Kurdish National Congress. Food and drinks will be provided and there will also be an opportunity to enjoy traditional Kurdish music and dance.

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22 FEB- Victory in Kobane: What next in the Rojava Revolution?

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At mid-afternoon on 15 September 2014, the foreign minister of Kobane, Omer Mus, received a call from a UN official stating that Turkey was prepared to take in 40,000 refugees crossing the border from Kobane. Hours later, ISIS began attacking the city from all three sides and the YPG and YPJ forces began a massive evacuation of tens of thousands of villagers. Those that remained took part in a historic defence of their city, which, had it not been successful, could have had disastrous consequences for the people of the region.

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Revolution in Rojava transformed the perception of women in the society

Begum Acar from Socialist Feminist Collective interviewed Ayşe Tekağaç from Roj Women, about the lately published report of Roj Women conducted last September.

You interviewed people, mostly Ezidis living in Newroz Camp (North Syria) which was established in August. What did you aim in this report?

The main aim of the research was to document the situation and the needs of the Ezidi people who sought refuge in Rojava, who were attacked and forced to flee their homes by ISIS. Straight after the attacks in August Roj Women made contacts with the women’s organisations in Rojava, who particularly highlighted the lack of research and evidence documenting the situation of the Ezidi’s in Rojava. We are well aware that women especially become vulnerable in war torn, conflict areas, Roj Women took on this fact-finding mission and conducted a gender based field research.

How many people have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict in 2014?

There are no concrete figures, and it is impossible to establish precisely how many, the numbers fluctuate constantly, and families are often on the move. The official figures which were declared back in September 2014 is estimated around 500,000 displaced people settling in camps in South Kurdistan (KRG region) and tens of thousands more in refugees crossing the border into Rojava, Syria, the self-administered region of North East Syria.

Whom did you talk to and which method you preferred to use?

The report contains two parts, part one is about the perceived needs of the Ezidi women and men who were interviewed, we used the HESPER method, and this is a needs assessment which identified the perceived needs of the people living in Newroz camp. After establishing 110 tents through a random selection, we visited each one and spoke to the respondents face to face. The fieldwork team completed 101 interviews. The second part is a situational analysis of the Rojava women’s organisations and institutions we visited, for which we examined their activities and capabilities on addressing gender based violence. The second part aimed to address the main gender based violence issues that might arise for the new refugees in Rojava and record the existing activities and supports for the migrant and displaced women. We also conducted 4 in-depth interviews with Ezidi people from the camp in relation to the attacks they had experienced.

“Rescued women risk suicide and social isolation”

What are the main problems of the displaced women? What do they think about Rojava, under protection of YPG/ YPJ? 

The members of the women’s organisations raised serious concerns for the displaced Ezidi women. It was indicated that honour-based traditions and religious rules regarding virginity and marriage are practiced; and women rescued from the attacks/ kidnapping, risk suicide, and societal isolation when they return. For example, it would not be generally acceptable for women/ girls to travel away from their families and due to this, women’s organisations had plans to bring training within the campsites. A large majority of the Ezidi community said safety was not a problem where they are now under the protection of YPG/YPJ.

Are there any women joining Women‘s Protection Unit/ YPJ after the attack?

We were told that some young Ezidi women have joined the ranks of YPJ after the attacks and these numbers have increased since. Some Ezidi women and girls have chosen to remain with YPJ -Women’s Protection Unit, and had called their families to say to ‘forget’ them and that they have joined armed resistance.

What is the situation about kidnapped women? What do people tell you about them? What happens if they are rescued?

In the interviews this was one of the most mentioned serious problems, which led us to carry out in-depth interview with 4 respondents.  The respondents underlined that one of the main reasons to flee their homes is related to women’s honour, and those kidnapped women was taken as a prize of war. When we asked about the return of the kidnapped women and how the Ezidi community would treat this, they said the Ezidi community want the women to be returned; however it would not be possible for those women to marry and have a family, and they were worried about the women victims who may commit suicide and mentioned that it is likely that those women would face societal isolation. When we spoke to a member of the women’s organisations she said most if not all of the established women’s organisations in Roajava had the kidnapped women on their agenda. The women movement in Rojava refuse to adhere to society’s rigid rules of womanhood. So, with this in mind, those women who return as well as the refugee Ezidi women in Rojava, they will carry out trainings, activities and educational approaches to tackle the prevalent patriarchal systems within communities and in the region.

“Most of the camp administration consists of female staff”

What are the examples of male violence in the camp? Is there any specific work carried out against this violence? 

The HESPER interviews include a question on safety and protection of women from violence a large majority stated that violence for women is not a serious problem. Most did mention that in their former lives before the attacks that this was a serious problem. This research was conducted on the first few weeks of the Newroz camp being formed, and a second visit to further this research would provide more information on the subject. Also, the camp administration includes women members from Kurdish women movement and Asayiş (local women security forces) members, and most of the camp administration consists of female staff. The majority of women we spoke to, when asked about security, were aware of whom and where to go to should they have any issue.

What is the population rate of women in the camp? What kind of gender-based services are needed?

According to UNHCR, total number of female count in the camp is 1782, the population figures are fluctuating and at the time of our visit 20 families were placed into homes in nearby towns. Newroz camp was newly established in August 2014 and had very limited capacity for addressing gender based violence issues at the time of our visit. However, the local women’s organisations indicated that they will provide gender based violence prevention services.

Are there any women‘s organizations from Rojava to provide psychological & social support for women in the camp?

We were only able to visit 7 out of the 27 established women’s organisations in Rojava, the Women’s Foundation was one of those and it is one of the leading organisation for providing psychosocial services; they have a 24 hour line on call service. They provide supportive counselling and case management of survivor. They advocate for the needs of survivor to family members and other agencies. They were one of the organisations that provided immediate support to the camp and made campsite visits at the beginning of the camp construction. During our interview they mentioned that they are extending their services to the women in the camps.

In the report, you also talk about women‘s organizations established in Rojava since the revolution. What are the main fields they work in? What are the changes in the society as a result of women‘s struggle?

The system of women’s organisations has been established since the start of the revolution and is under constant revision. These organisations are funded and run by volunteer member who may share the cost of communal spaces/ offices in order to carry out their work. The organisations provide a variety of services including gender based violence assessment and support, family mediation, legal support, safe houses for women and children, support for the wives and families of martyrs, personal economic and social empowerment programmes.

Some women’s organisation members also mentioned that the fact that these communities witness women leading armed forces, commanding, taking active role in protecting their people and lands has inevitably played a role in transforming their views and perception of women. When we asked the respondents about violence against women within the camp, most of the response we received which were with little hesitation was that it was not an issue since arriving into Rojava, one woman commented she was now more able to talk about the issues women face.

What is the recent situation in the camp under winter conditions? What about international solidarity?  What is the way to send anything needed?

Support and solidarity from all over the world is being received; however, resources are limited by the economic conditions of the self-administered areas and the lack of recognition of the self-administered government under international law. Funds and aid is often delivered through organisations from Kurdish regions of Turkey. However, there is a need for a stronger international activism and solidarity across different sectors of women’s organisations, civil society’s, NGO’s and governments, this is particularly vital for the missing Ezidi women.

Individuals and women’s organisations can do whatever they can in their power to support the people in Rojava, different campaigns are taking place to mention a few:

Kurdish Red Crescent (Heyva Sor a Kurdistane)

The UN predicts that many vulnerable people may not survive the winter unless more aid money can be raised. Heyva Sor a Kurdistane, formed in 1993, is the main charity supporting Kurdish refugees, where UN and other agencies have no presence. The temperature is already below freezing and more suitable tents, sheltering containers and heaters are urgently needed, along with more food and medical supplies. Heyva Sor needs donations from the international community to help these refugees and those still stuck in Kobane survive winter.

Donate using Paypal at: http://www.heyvasor.org.uk

Or donate using JustGiving: www.justgiving.com/heyvasor

Or donate using sms: to donate £5, text KURD78 £5 to 70070 to donate £10, text KURD50 £10 to 70070

-Roj Women is currently re-constructing its website www.rojwomen.org to include a donation page where funds will be dedicated to the women’s organisations in Rojava, this will become live by 15 February and contain further details on how funds will reach the organisations and how it is to be used.

Source:  http://sosyalistfeministkolektif.org/english/928-revolution-in-rojava-transformed-the-perception-of-women-in-the-society.html

Syria Isis News: Kurds Grant Women Equal Rights in Defiance of Isis Laws

New Decree also Abolishes Forced Marriage and Honour Killing.

The local government of an autonomous Kurdish area in Syria has granted women equal rights to men.

The move came as dozens of Kurdish women and girls are taking arms to combat the insurgence of terror group Islamic State (Isis), who have seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq since its uprising erupted in July. IS has imposed its own rules and version of Sharia law in the occupied territories.

The decree, published on the local government’s official Facebook page, stated that women and men should enjoy “equality … in all walks of public and private life”.

Women should be at least 18 to get married and they cannot be married off without their consent.

The decree also banned polygamy and stated that women now have full inheritance rights as men and they have the same weight as male witnesses during court trials.

Women will be now paid full maternity leave and they will no longer be subjected to honour killing practices, which the decree banned together with other forms of “violence and discrimination” against women.

Honour killing is the homicide of a person who is thought to bring shame upon their family.

The decree came a few weeks after IS militants admitted that they are kidnapping hundreds of Yazidi women and forcing them into sex slavery.

Slave markets across Iraq and Syria have been used by the terror group as a way to recruit new fighters.

According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the decree is an “affront to laws being passed by IS, which are highly discriminatory against women”.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory director told AFP: “While fighting the jihadists, the Kurds also want to send a message to the international community, to say that they want to espouse a culture of democracy and civil rights.”

The three Kurdish-majority areas in Syria have established autonomous governments, which, however, are not recognised by Damascus.

Source: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-isis-news-kurds-grant-women-equal-rights-defiance-isis-laws-1474059

Roj Women is recruiting a Career and Employment Advice and Support Worker

About Roj Women Association

Roj Women Association (www.rojwomen.org) is based in the London Borough of Hackney. We work to provide ways for Kurdish women to recognise their needs and rights and to empower them to fulfil them.

Our ‘Enhanced employability, boosted chances’ project supports unemployed Kurdish women. Support, tailored around the individual, is offered via a variety of interventions including job search, employer engagement and work placements, mentoring and personal development planning.

Job title: Career and employment advice and support worker

Job scope

A part-time position (2 days per week) to offer training, support and guidance to beneficiaries, identifying key strengths and development needs relating to specific jobs skills. The post-holder will deliver training and coaching on group and one to one basis and assess clients to enable them to access and sustain employment.

Accountability

The post holder is line managed by the Projects Coordinator

Salary

£24,000 per annum pro-rata

Key responsibilities

  1. To hold sessions with beneficiaries on an individual or group basis providing job advice and support including assistance with CVs, application forms and interview preparation.
  1. To maintain a good understanding of local vacancies in order to effectively match customers to suitable job vacancies/work placements and market beneficiaries to employers.
  1. To assist beneficiaries to develop appropriate skills by identifying training and placement/volunteering opportunities.
  1. To deliver outreach workshops in community centers to inform professional and the general public about our services.
  1. To monitor the performance of beneficiaries and to keep appropriate records.
  1. To undertake necessary administrative duties relating to the role.
  1. To work flexible hours in various locations (within Hackney Borough) in order to meet the needs of beneficiaries

Person Description

Essential

-Fluency in Turkish and English

-Experience (at least one year) of delivering training in group situations and providing one to one coaching

-Experience of building relationships with third parties

-An understanding of the factors to be considered in supporting people in employment

-Knowledge of the job market in Hackney and neigh bouring boroughs

-Good self-organization and self-motivation skills

Desirable

-A qualification, or accredited training, in systematic instruction, training, or social care.

-Fluency in Kurdish

Please submit CV, cover letter and equal opportunities form by 6 pm on 4th February 2015 to rojwomen@gmail.com. Only selected candidates will be contacted.

Please note the start date for this post is 23 February 2015

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