The power of a woman telling her story lies in the transformation she lives when she hears the strength of her own voice and in the transformation we live when we are forced to shift our own ideas about women as faceless objects without a voice.
This project aims to establish a dialogue and cooperation between Armenian and Turkish women, to build solidarity among women across the closed Turkish-Armenian border and to develop an innovative approach to peace-building by collecting a number of interviews by and from women in both countries, which will then be turned into a performance and book for larger audiences. Some of the themes that will be explored include violence, poverty, family, and sexuality. One of our main goals is to make visible ordinary women’s lives living across the border, and to make their stories accessible to women in both countries, as well as to women in other countries with conflicted borders.
Because most policies and peace negotiations are usually implemented at higher levels of government where women’s voices are not often heard, this project will place the power to create peace into ordinary women’s hands. After all of the interviews are conducted (approximately 30 in total from both sides) a group of women from Armenia will travel to Turkey to meet and work with a group of women from Turkey for two weeks. The interviews that were conducted will be discussed and analyzed, workshops on effective peace-building and conflict resolution will be given, and a short film will be made documenting the process of the two groups coming together and preparing for a final performance at Madrasa Theater in Sirince, Turkey. Some time after this initial meeting, the group will also meet in Armenia to hold a second performance in Yerevan.
This project is a collaboration between volunteers from the Women’s Resource Center in Armenia and volunteers from AMARGI, a women’s collective in Turkey. We believe that women should take peace into their own hands and one way to begin is by sitting down with one another, across borders and across difference, to tell our stories.
Your donations will help us cover our travel costs to Sirince, Turkey as well as some of the travel expenses to conduct interviews in Turkey and Armenia.
Thank you for all your support and solidarity in helping us realize our goal! Please help us spread the word and share widely!
Also, check out our blog for stories as we conduct our interviews: www.linking-our-stories.tumblr.com
Risks and challenges
One of the main challenges this project may face, being a peace-building project, is that the participants coming from the two countries that share a closed-border would run into problems effectively communicating. However, we will have a professional with us who has done a number of trainings on non-violent conflict resolution and she will be working with the group during our collective meeting in Turkey to train everyone in effective conflict resolution skills and nonviolent communication.