The first meeting of the Balkan Feminist School took place between May 14 and 16 in Cappadocia, Turkey. This school is one of the activities resulting from the International Feminist Organizing School Berta Cáceres (IFOS) and it brought together women from Armenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Romania, and Turkey in an experience of exchange and learning. The event was carried out just after the International Comittee meeting of the World March of Women, which took place in the capital of Turkey, Ankara. During the activities of the school, sisters came together to share their experiences, talk about movement building in the region, and strategies to construct feminist economy.
In this very first meeting, the basic aim was for the women to meet and get to know each other, learning about the conditions in these Balkan countries, considering issues related to feminist struggles. As women from the Balkan countries, we are geographically close, but we do not know very much about what is happening in each country and how we can create a solidarity web together. So this first step towards knowing each other has been a good starting point to build up relationships between feminist groups.
During the meeting, the World March of Women in Turkey shared information about the IFOS and the school contents. In order to have a concrete vision about the school processes, we organized the meeting sessions based on the pedagogical tools and ideas from the IFOS. The participants were divided into committees with different responsibilities, such as: energizers, synthesis ans facilitators committees, and the women responsible for the mística. With this method, everyone had the chance to actively take part in the meeting. During the first moment together, the women introduced themselves and each group talked about basic issues related to feminist struggles in their own areas. The next session was the mística, a very new experience in learning processes, about which all the attendees were very curious.
The mística group chose to share lullabies from each country and talk about how they were related to their local gender culture. It was a really powerful and bonding session for the group. During the following sessions, the participants discussed feminist economy and how we can adapt or create a new content for political education from the Balkans, based on the IFOS experience. During the last session, we decided to meet regularly and continue to organize the Balkan Feminist School. This moments created a joyful togetherness and we are hopeful to go on and work together.
Watch a clip about this experience: