Robert Bosch Stiftung
FEMALE EMPOWERMENT PROJECT SUPPORTED BY THE ROBERT BOSCH Stiftung
The goal of Female Fellows e.V. is to give refugee women and girls the opportunity to unleash their potential and find their place in society. The Empowerment Project focuses on strengthening women’s partnerships (Tandems) and supporting the resulting sense of belonging. Workshops in the areas of self-assertion and self-defense, implemented in collaboration with women from all countries of origin, as well as workshops on topics such as migration, integration, societal development, and cultural events, are intended to support this initiative. Trained personnel work on these projects, catering to the individual needs of the women. In addition to experts from various fields, a personal contact person is available to support the partnerships in the long term to assist the women. Providing childcare is an important prerequisite to enable women with children to successfully participate in our Empowerment Project. One of the project’s outcomes should be that the integration of women leads to better overall family integration. It is also crucial that the project operates at the local level, allowing the offering to be very efficiently managed through personal contacts.
Contact Person: Jana Derbas
Jana Derbas took on the project coordination role for the Female Empowerment Project. She was responsible for planning and organizing six events and served as the contact person for the project participants and partnerships (Tandems).
challenges and opprtunities in covid-19
Challenges and Opportunities: How We Managed the Fempower-ment Project Despite COVID-19
We were extremely excited to finally begin the Female Empowerment Project. The project was funded by the Bosch Foundation from 2020 to 2022. However, everything took an unexpected turn: COVID-19 arrived, and as a result, all planned events were canceled. It was a very challenging period for our organization, as we had been struggling with limited resources even before, and our success relied heavily on personal relationships with our partnerships (Tandems). Internally, we had to completely rethink this concept.
Fortunately, the pandemic brought a surge of volunteers who wanted to support us, especially in terms of organization. This led to the development of our first digitalization concepts, such as online events and online tandem interviews. We cooked, laughed, exchanged ideas, did yoga together, and even sang together online. For all these wonderful events, we owe a huge thanks to our amazing organizing team, without whom it wouldn’t have been possible.
Online Yoga Session
Online Cooking Session
Online Cooking Session: Pide
In October 2020, we hosted our first live event under COVID-19 regulations – the Kickoff Event of the Bosch Female Empowerment Project. We discussed issues and misunderstandings within the partnerships (Tandems) and discovered that these often arose due to inadequate communication. Cultural differences and language barriers often played a role in these challenges. In the large and informal gathering, it was fascinating to discuss topics such as polite behavior in different cultures, different expectations, and direct vs. indirect communication. This discussion expanded our horizons as it helped us become more aware of our own cultural norms.
It was only through the shared experience in the partnerships that we could truly experience the significance of different cultures in real life. We exchanged ideas and concepts for future events and decided to organize events on topics such as culture and integration, informal German learning, cooking together, and stress management. These themes served as the basis for the planned events of the Bosch Fempowerment Project. The Kickoff Event initially served as an evaluation of the project’s current status.
Flucht & Integration – “My name is not refugee”
»Escape and Integration« - Workshop with Dr. Masooma Torfa
In the workshop on the topic of escape and integration, Masooma Torfa criticized the fact that people are often reduced to their flight from their home country and emphasized that her name is not “refugee” (“My name is not refugee”).
In German, we predominantly use the word “Flüchtling” (refugee), whether in the media or in daily life. According to the Neuen deutschen Medienmacher (New German Media Makers), a collective of media professionals with and without a migration background, words ending in “-ling” tend to diminish and are often negatively connoted (e.g., intruder, pest, etc.). Furthermore, the word “Flüchtling” reduces individuals to a part of their biography and turns their flight into an identity marker. An alternative term that can be used is, for example, “Geflüchteter/Geflüchtete” (refugee).
In the workshop, we also discussed what integration means to us and arrived at the following answers:
- Tolerance and appreciation
- Mutual communication
- Expectation: Adaptation
- Participation in society
- Mutual learning from each other
Cooking Together and Learning German
Cultural Diversity in the Kitchen: Cooking Together and Learning Languages
For our joint cooking and German learning event, the training campus opened its doors and generously provided us with its kitchen. We had a goal in mind: to create a multicultural menu. Together, we prepared a delicious pumpkin curry and baked a traditional Afghan Bolani. However, it wasn’t just our taste buds that were pampered but also our cultural horizons expanded. We exchanged thoughts on various topics and learned German, Afghan, and Arabic in the process. As the grand finale, we conjured up delicious Baklava following the original recipe. A feast for food lovers and an unforgettable exchange for all of us!
self-perception and mindfulness
Self-Perception and Mindfulness Workshop with Kopfkultur Stuttgart
On June 29, 2022, Sophia from @kopfkultur.stuttgart conducted a mindfulness workshop for us. We explored how to be more mindful in our daily lives, how to integrate meditations into our routines, and engaged in exercises related to perception. Together, we learned to meditate, gaining initial experiences and insights into how we perceive things and the difference between doing and being. With snacks and beverages, we spent a lovely afternoon filled with engaging conversations and valuable workshop content.
Website Courses for Female Fellows Participants
WordPress Courses for Beginners and Advanced Users
Beginners and advanced learners reached out to me and asked me to offer a WordPress website course. The reasons for their participation varied: Some women wanted a website for their resume, others wanted to create a blog, while still others were looking to start their own business or operate an online store. I was thrilled by how motivated all the women were and how strong their interest was in learning new things.
Women and Integration
Empowerment through Integration: Workshop for Women with Dr. Masooma Torfa
Masooma Torfa led a workshop on “Women & Integration” for our participants, a topic that concerns all of us in our daily lives. The workshop covered subjects such as the significance of the concept of integration and the opportunities and challenges that arise for women in Stuttgart. There was active exchange and discussions among the participants during the workshop.
Acknowledgment to Robert Bosch Stiftung
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Robert Bosch Stiftung for their generous support of the Female Empowerment Project. Through their financial assistance, we were able to conduct a series of events and workshops for young women in Stuttgart, aimed at strengthening their skills and self-confidence and providing them with the tools to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Thanks to the support of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, we were able to offer a variety of activities, including workshops on topics such as integration, self-defense, intercultural exchange, and more. These events helped build a network of young women who support and inspire each other to achieve their goals.
Once again, thank you to the Robert Bosch Stiftung for their generous support. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to carry out this important project and hope that we can continue to count on their support in the future.
2023 | © Female Fellows