Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Almost half of the international migrants are women*, about 40% of the refugees living in Germany are women* and girls*. Refugee and migrant women* experience multiple forms of discrimination: through restrictive migration and residence laws and through patriarchal, racist and sexualized oppression and violence.

They face enormous obstacles: uncertain residence status, inappropriate accommodation in camps, restricted access to education, health services and the labor market. Many women* experience gender-specific traumas, were or are exposed to sexualized harassment and violence.

Many refugee and migrant women as well as inter*, trans*, queer and non-binary refugees and migrants are organizing, networking and fighting for their rights. With the Empowerment Program for Refugee Women* (EFF), which has been running since 2020, filia wants to support these groups and initiatives to strengthen themselves and be visible in society. For instance, through supporting community-building, networking, strengthening of existing skills and knowledge and building safer spaces (see funded projects).

Focus on self-organized refugee and migrant women*

Within this program, filia gives funding to groups and projects that are self-led by newcomer, refugee and migrant women*. This means that they shape and decide their activities and goals themselves. Refugee and migrant women* are at the center! The program is bilingual, English and German, from the call for proposals and applications to the advisory board.

One of filia’s goals is not to only treat the symptoms of inequality, but to also address the roots of the problems. This is why we support groups that want to intersectionally achieve structural changes in society. Empowerment improves individual situations, strengthens communities politically. Women* believe in themselves and fight together for structural change. Exchange and networking also mean self-determination and more visibility.

Advisory board of refugee and migrant women*

As filia’s girls empowerment program, EFF also has an advisory board. The advisory board is currently a group of ten refugee and migrant women* who advise the foundation on the decision about the funding and the further development of the program. It is important that people who know the life realities, are active themselves and bring experiences of flight and migration help shape and decide in the program.

More information about the Advisory Board are available here »

Projects are selected in a participatory process

In summer 2020, there was the first call for proposals in this program: ten short-term grants (5.000 € for about six months) and two strategic grants (20.000 € for 1,5 years).

The response was great: we received 68 applications. This shows us that, especially in current social developments, it tackles important issues.

The funding decisions are taken in a multi-stage participatory process: First, the applications are filed in filia’s office, then the advisory board makes a preliminary selection. During a weekend in Hamburg the board members discuss these selected applications. They recommend to filia’s general board of trustees which groups and projects should receive funding.

Your contact person

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact.

filia-team-lea-rzadtki

Lea Rzadtki
Advisor Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*
l.rzadtki@filia-frauenstiftung.de
+49 (0)40 380 381 99-81
+49 (0)176 15 15 13 30

Current grantees: Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Women in Exile e.V.
More information … »

BIWOC Rising
More information … »

NINA – womeN IN Action/fraueN IN Aktion
More information … »

International Women Space
More information … »

Unicorn Refugees bei PLUS. Psychologische Lesben- und Schwulenberatung Rhein-Neckar e.V.
More information … »

Migrant Mom’s Mic
More information … »

Starke Frauen
More information … »

Refugees Emancipation e.V.
More information … »

Cafe Merhaba im Mehrgenerationenhaus Mütterzentrum Fürth
More information … »

Verein MeineWelt e.V.
More information … »

Rainbow Refugees Mainz
More information … »

DaGeG (vorher Alter/Collect)
More information … »

Current grantees: Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Women in Exile e.V.

Place: Potsdam

Women in Exile is an initiative founded in Brandenburg in 2002 by refugee women who fight for their rights. We decided to organize as a refugee women’s group because we have made the experience that refugee women are doubly discriminated against: as asylum seekers marginalized through racist laws and discriminated as women. In the next two years we are going to focus on events which will lead us into celebrating Women in Exile`s 20 years anniversary in 2022. The idea is to make a nation-wide bus tour in 2021, build an archive for our work, research for and write a book. In the summer 2022, we will celebrate a history month of WIE and launch the book. Through meetings and empowerment workshops with refugee women living in the camps and those who have been lucky to get a residence and together with our friends without refugee background, we will develop a concept on how to make two powerful summer events for refugee women and feminist groups nationwide. This we will do without losing of focus the longtime campaign of „No lager for women and Children, Abolish all lagers“! We intend to involve our nationwide network groups which include the refugee women and their supporters.

www.women-in-exile.net
www.facebook.com/Women-in-Exile-Friends-953605994710745/
https://twitter.com/women_in_exile?lang=en

NINA – womeN IN Action/fraueN IN Aktion

Place: Hamburg

NINA is a feminist antiracist open group for all women*, refugees, Germans and migrants, which was founded in 2016 as a result of a visit of the self-organized refugee women’s group Women in Exile. We are fighting for the rights of women. The personal problems of one are our problems – we see them as problems of society that we are facing. We are helping and empowering each other. We learn from each other. Women in camps are living in constant fear for relatives in home countries, of being deported in brutal ways. They suffer abuse and have to cope with racial security companies at the camps and are suffering from a racist misogynous children unfriendly society. With the funding we want to make visits to camps every month. We decided that altogether six women, two every month, will go to various camps. And we will ask a lawyer to go with us to different camps. Additionally, workshops will be organized for the group and new members.

www.facebook.com/fraueNINAktionHH/
www.ninahamburg.blackblogs.org
www.instagram.com/frauen_in_aktionhh/

Unicorn Refugees bei PLUS. Psychologische Lesben- und Schwulenberatung Rhein-Neckar e.V.

Place: Mannheim

PLUS offers psychological counseling, self-help and youth groups and events by LSBTIQ* for LSBTIQ* to improve psychosocial health and quality of life. Since 2015 PLUS is more and more working for LSBTIQ* refugees and since then offers psychological support, preparation for hearings, social connection to and voluntary support from the community, referral to lawyers, therapists and other counseling centers, supports self-organization and meetings and sensitizes among social workers, accommodation facilities, authorities and local politics. The heart of the work is additionally the self-organized group „Unicorn Refugees“. It was formed in 2016 by LSBTIQ* refugees and meets 1-2 times a month. The group is led by a Black lesbian refugee woman and a non-binary queer refugee PoC. With the funding 2 refugees* can start the coordination of a women*’s group for mutual exchange, self-led formulating and fulfilling their needs, networking with local queer-lesbian and feminist groups, participating in events for empowerment and encounter.

www.plus-mannheim.de/index.php/refugees-welcome/unicorn-refugees

Starke Frauen

Place: Tübingen

We are a group of women, almost exclusively with migration and/or flight experience. We got to know each other through a film project 2016-17 at the Stadtmuseum Tübingen „Directing my life“ about women and flight. After this intensive and successful project, which was strengthening and publicly effective, we stayed in contact and looked for new possibilities to continue the project. We know that many women/mothers in our circle of friends and acquaintances are in or on the verge of separation and are struggling to find their way. Some see moving into a women’s shelter as the only way out. We would like to network and strengthen them so that they do not have to fight alone with feelings of guilt, but are supported and go through or out of the crisis with a strengthened consciousness and matured personality. In 5 workshops we would like to approach these topics holistically – emotion and body work, knowledge/input, self-awareness, practice. Three women from the group lead the project. All other women are equal experts, co-creators.

Cafe Merhaba im Mehrgenerationenhaus Mütterzentrum Fürth

Place: Fürth

We are a bigger group of refugee women from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. A voluntary worker from the Mehrgenerationenhaus Mütterzentrum [multigenerational mother center] „gathered us together“. We lived in the various refugee accommodations in Fürth. We meet every Friday. We exchange ideas, talk about our life in Fürth and our worries, problems and wishes. Everyone in our group has a good education. We have worked in our countries of origin, and have reconciled family and career there as well. In Germany, we feel reduced to the family. We want to invite speakers from job center/agency for work and several women from different professions who can consult us how and what we can achieve with our educations. Which internships are possible? We also want to see that we create good educational opportunities especially for our girls.

www.muetterzentrum-fuerth.de

Rainbow Refugees Mainz

Place: Mainz

Rainbow Refugees is a non-profit organisation under the umbrella of Queernet RLP. We support women, trans*, inter*, queer, and non-binary refugees. Our help addresses also qay refugees. We started our organisation in Dec. 2015 and we have about 50 help-seeking refugees in Mainz (state Rhineland-Palatinate). We offer a gathering in the safe space (queer center Mainz) every 2 weeks. We encourage queer refugees to speak out publicly about their situation in their home countries as well as in Germany. Women and trans* persons are especially victimised in shared accomodations; so, crisis situations often cause our intervention to focus on give safe shelters to women and trans* persons.

https://rainbow-refugees-mainz.jimdosite.com/

BIWOC Rising

Place: Berlin

BIWOC Rising is the first intersectional co-working and social space in Germany. BIW*oC stands for: Black, Indigenous (formaly colonised), women* of colour, as well as all those who identify themselves as women and consciously includes the transgender communities and non-binary people of colour. BIWOC Rising is a migrant women* self-organization and emerged due to huge demand for more safer spaces for intersectional empowerment work and economic participation from within the target group. Therefore, it has the advantage to concretely react to needs and close existing gaps. We are migrants, refugees, women* of color of the migrant diaspora, Afro-Germans, Sint*ezze and Rom*nja etc. In addition, many of us identify ourselves as queer, inter* and trans* – the advisory board consists of queer Blacks and women* of colour. Most of our community comes from working class families and some have physical disabilities. With our mentoring program we intervene here and bring BIW*oC together to learn from our experiences. This is not only about the technical hurdles such as letters of application, but explicitly about how people have managed to make it despite intersectional discrimination. These are precious experiences and skills that are still invisible to our community.

www.biwoc-rising.org
www.facebook.com/biwocrising2020
www.instagram.com/biwocrising
www.youtube.com/channel/UCc1KrkT9nYJzuykHVhwWDDg

International Women Space

Place: Berlin

The Break Isolation Group of the IWS is a self-organized group of refugee women who have arrived in Germany relatively recently and women who have been here longer. In this project, we are also interested in ensuring that newly arrived women in Germany become familiar with the practice of self-organization. We want to pass on this practice, which we at the IWS have been implementing together for years, to new women. Currently we are carrying out the self-organized IWS/BIG mobilisation tours to the Brandenburg Lagers, empowering and building the capacity of refugee women in the lagers. Also, we are publishing the Corona-Audio-Reports from the women living in the Brandeburg Lagers under the current situation of the Corona Pandemic.

https://iwspace.de/?v=3a52f3c22ed6

Migrant Mom’s Mic

Place: Essen

We are a multilingual group of four migrant and refugee mothers from Iran, Syria and Indonesia, living in NRW, who have organized ourselves around the idea of storytelling as empowerment. Through sharing stories, we draw attention to the social structures and constructs that disempower and underestimate women* at the intersection of migration and motherhood. We wish to create a more extensive network of empowered migrant mothers*. Through this community-building effort, we aim at developing a platform to represent our voice and develop the power to question the hegemonic ideological and political discourses imposed on our lives. We plan a series of empowerment workshops to build a community and create awareness by producing a(n online) media presence. In each event, migrant and refugee mothers*, BIPoC experts and activists come together, either in person or online due to Covid-19 situation. Ideally, from each workshop a podcast will be made as an output available to other mothers*.

www.instagram.com/migrantmomsmic

Refugees Emancipation e.V.

Place: Potsdam/ Brandenburg

We are a self-organised refugee organisation in Berlin and Brandenburg. We create free quiet spaces for refugees to: reflect on their asylum and integration process, learn and empower themselves, exchange their experiences with other refugees. These spaces which we call Internet Cafes are built by the refugees themselves, they are host in these spaces, they reflect on their needs and invite the civil society to help orientate and empower them. For the project „Übergang als Chance“ [Transition as opportunity], we plan 18 workshops to respond to the tendency of many refugee women to wait for years until they get their legal status to start thinking on how to empower themselves, we want to train refugee women that: The transition period between asking for asylum right up to getting documentation is an opportunity to reflect and educate yourself, and that their past competences and capacities have value.

www.refugeesemancipation.com

Verein MeineWelt e.V.

Place: Lampertheim

Meine Welt e.V. is an association for power-critical as well as developmental education work. Refugee women often come with sufficient social skills that they have acquired in their countries of origin. In general, the challenges of the host country and the need to support spouses, husbands and teenage children often lead to them staying away from personal development activities. Unfortunately, they are not listened to and involved, they do not have a strong voice in political debates. But given the central role that these women play in their living environment, they are indispensable as actors and multipliers as they are influential in terms of social change and development behavior. We want to start the project “The invisible heroines” on December 10th, the Day of Human Rights with the topic “Human right, women right”. Every 2 weeks or twice a month until April 2021 an online webinar and presence interview with a woman will follow.

www.verein-meinewelt.org

https://frauen.verein-meinewelt.org/

DaGeG (vorher Alter/Collect)

Place: Berlin

DaGeG is a group of Arab-Queer artists living and working in exile, devoted to a mission of altering our reality and striving to create our own opportunity against all odds. As a collective, we endeavor to understand the complexity of our current time and take a leading position in translating the pain, and ultimately attempt to fix the fraction created by the dominating binaries. Our main focus will be on the art and cultural field in Berlin and how much we can establish as a collective a safe space for people like us who are constantly deprived of opportunities due to the complex legal situation, language barrier, obstacles to education and work, among other limitations that are being created to stop us from thriving. Since art is a great representative and a bridge across languages, cultures and communities, our focus will be on art and culture, with the SWANA film club, artists talks and bread and salt events, we will create authentic representation that will be a first step among many to promote our cultures.

www.dageg.xyz