I just received this announcement and thought some in the area may be interested in the details. (Event announcement at end of post.)
IWPS Statement in support of Women for Life
The International Women’s Peace Service very pleased to confirm and continue its support for the excellent work carried out by Women for Life. We reject any campaigns of intimidation aimed at preventing Women for Life carrying out the essential work they are doing.
IWPS is an international team of women based in Haris (a village in the Salfit Governorate of the West Bank) who provide international accompaniment to Palestinian civilians, document and nonviolently intervene in human rights abuses, support acts of nonviolent resistance to end the brutal and illegal military Occupation and oppose the Apartheid Wall. Since our inception in 2002, we have worked closely with a number of Palestinian grass root community groups, including Women for Life.
We have worked closely with Women for Life since its inception and are very pleased to see that over the past several years it has grown from strength to strength and has played a critical role in not only supporting Palestinian girls and women in the region but also campaigning for and defending their rights both against the illegal Israeli occupation and within Palestinian society.
In 2002, women from around the Salfit district began to organise as Women Against the Wall, with the campaign soon growing in size and more than 100 women becoming involved in the campaign. While organising resistance against the Apartheid Wall, Women for Life realized that they needed to do more than just organising demonstrations. The occupation was having serious effects on the economic and social well being of women in the area, many of whom could no longer travel to work as a result of new checkpoints springing up everywhere. On top of this many women were facing problems at home such as domestic violence or divorce. Yet few really understood their rights as women or had access to help and support from within Palestinian civil society.
Since its inspiring beginnings, Women for Life has now grown to have a membership of more than 150 women, 7 full time members of staff and 16 groups in 4 different districts.
Women for Life’s programs include:
• A Legal program which advises and represents women in family cases.
• A Social program which is aimed at teaching women about their rights, support women going through family problems.
• A Counseling service where women and girls could come and discuss their problems with other women and trained counselors.
• A Income generation project which teaches women skills in embroidery, sewing, food processing and agriculture.
• A Youth program called The Flowers Against the Occupation which provides space for young girls and women to learn about human rights and confronting violence. The program also provides classes in art and music, with two summer camps run in Salfit, one on leadership skill, human rights, resistance to the occupation and arts and one specifically to train in music and dabke.
• Women for Life have been active in the campaign to get a maternity care centre for the Salfit district (women currently must travel to Nablus or Ramallah)
The Women for Life Association will hold an open day on Monday, 5 May 2008 at 10 a.m. in the Biddya Swimming Hall to present their vision and their activities to the public. The presence of all individuals and organisations supporting the struggle against the illegal Israeli occupation as well as women’s and human rights in Palestine will be highly appreciated as a show of support to Women for Live and the Palestinian movement for women’s empowerment in general.
For more information about the open day, please contact Women for Life: 09 299 4133
International Women’s Peace Service
Haris Village, Salfit District, Occupied West Bank
International Women’s Peace Service
Haris, Salfit - 09-251-6644