Here is a copy of a publicity leaflet about the work of a
woman's group in Kosova which is working on empowerment of rural women - changing traditions and responding to educational needs. We hope that
you find it interesting. We would be very happy to correspond with you
by email and to hear your comments, suggestions or about
your experiences. With best wishes.
Society for Education of Women
Background: WHY "MOTRAT QIRIAZI"?
Named after the two sisters Qiriazi,
who founded the first school for girls in Korca (Albania) 100 years ago,
two sisters from Prishtina(KOSOVA) Safete and Igballe Rogova, formed a
society for education of women: "Motrat Qiriazi" (Sisters Qiriazi). With
the formation of the Women's Network in Prishtina and with the
collaboration of other women's groups Motrat Qiriazi started its
activities in february 1995.
Activities: CHANGING OPPRESSIVE TRADITIONS
Motrat Qiriazi began its
work in the ethnographic region of "Has" (an isolated region in western
Kosova) which suffers under the domination of many oppressive
patriarchal traditions. It is the only region in Kosova where more than
50% of the girls are promised in marriage by the time they finish
primary school. Very few gi rls attend high school. After marriage,
often to boys they have never met, the girls go to live in an unfamiliar
village with their husband's extended family. In this environment a
woman's life is controlled by her mother-in-law, senior males in the
famil y and by the power of the social circle. In this context the
customs and worldviews of bygone centuries are reproduced generation
after generation. This program emphasizes the preservation of tradition
and at the same time the elimination of customs and practices that are
detrimental to women. At present Motrat Qiriazi is working in 13
villages in this region and 13 local activists take part in the
organization and implementation of the project and carry on the work
when Motrat Qiriazi brings the project to other regions.
Strategies for change: WHAT WE ARE DOING
One of the key goals at
present is to create and maintain a regular forum of weekly meetings in
the local primary schools. The meetings provide a forum where women
gather to exchange ideas with each other and with visitors from outside
the village, where they can begin to examine the ideological and mental
parameters of their lives. In some cases this is one of the few
occasions where women can meet with other women outside of their family
Motrat Qiriazi is dedicated to the following principles:
- Understanding the problems, needs, and desires of rural women
- Raising the consciousness of rural women and breaking their isolation by facilitating the exchange of ideas and skills between rural and urban women.
- Supporting the democratization of the family and aiding in the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
- Addressing issues like; health education and the importance of High School education for girls.
- The health component involves bringing gynaecologists, pediatricians, and general practioners to hold discussions about pertinent health issues, answer questions and provide information on:
> Women's health care (contraception, pregnancy, childbirth etc)
> The care of infants and children.
> Personal and household hygiene.
> The cause, prevention and treatment of diarrhoea and other water related diseases.
Other activities: PROVIDING FRESH EDUCATIONAL POSSIBILITIES
- In June '95, in collaboration with the group "Home Economics" from Prishtina, Motrat Qiriazi started sewing courses in response to women's requests. It is hoped that this will eventually lead to income generating activities.
- In September '95, a literacy component started; women who need training in basic literacy skills follow a six month literacy course with two or three lessons per week.
- In September '95, a six month English language course started for the local activists and other women who want to learn. It is hoped that this will eventually give women greater access to diverse types of information and world views.
- In September '95, collaboration with the local paper of Has, "Etja" began. There is now a minimum of 4 pages (out of 31) set aside for women. The publication is an important vehicle for social change; it is read in every home, and its content directly reflects issues important to the local people.
We are looking for examples of women's problems and solutions found in
other parts of the world - to break the isolation of Has women and to
provide ideas of how they might change their lives.
SO..... IF YOU:
- Have stories of women changing their lives and their communities,
us these stories.
- Work in a similar project us so we can exchange ideas and learn from each other.
With thanks and best wishes.
L O V E W I T H O U T B O R D E R S
D A S H U R I P A K U F I J
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