Ann Konbat Vyolans Kap Fet Sou Fanm – Week 6

Ann Konbat Vyolans Kap Fet Sou Fanm – Week 6

News

In the final week we invited the student volunteers to reflect and evaluate the campaign. We divided them into five groups and asked each group to prepare a presentation and followed these with a general discussion around the challenges they faced in carrying out the campaign and how we could possibly move forward.    The students gave examples of their encounters during campaign walkabouts for example during the Bobin visit, one student reported being spat at and verbally assaulted by a male youth. However she said after the theatre presentation the man came to her and was deeply apologetic about his previous behavior and actually congratulated her and the group on the campaign saying he now understood and would try to do better in his relationship with women.   One of the difficulties many reported was women asking for solutions such as where to seek help as  victims of sexual and or domestic violence.  The students did not have knowledge of any organization in Haiti that worked with victims of violence so this would need to be included in any future campaign. Food was also a cause for concern as when inviting people to come and watch the play, many men and women asked if there would be food, and since in Bobin and Jalousie we did not have food,  they would not come to the theatre.

Students also reflected on possible causes behind domestic violence which they believed to be due primarily to poverty : poor housing, over crowding, lack of access to healthcare, food insecurity, lack of education and lack of access to support networks other than friends who were not always in a position to help.  We did point out that domestic violence happened within rich homes as well but the students felt it could not be as bad since at least the women there would have access to food, shelter and privacy.

A number of the student volunteers mentioned their families being supportive of their work in the campaign and how they were now being consulted by people in their neighborhood around domestic and sexual violence.  They therefore felt it was important to continue the campaign and for them to receive more education and training on how to support women victims of violence.

It is therefore unfortunate that Sopu Fanm Pou Fanm’s application to register with the Global Fund for Women was turned down which means it will be difficult for the group to continue with the campaign at least in the year ahead. This is a massive disappointment for all of us and we feel the rejection does not take into account the enthusiasm, the learning that took place and the commitment by all involved in this project.

On Friday 18th we invited people from the Morne Lazare community where SOPUDEP is located to attend our final event which consisted of two plays, entertainment from some of the students not involved in the campaign and the general public.  The group performed their two plays which can be watched on video.

We want to thank AmplifyChange for their grant to carry out this campaign and hope that other funding opportunities can be found so we can continue this excellent and much needed campaign.

Ann Konbat Vyolans Kap Fet Sou Fanm – Week 4 & 5

Ann Konbat Vyolans Kap Fet Sou Fanm – Week 4 & 5

News

This weeks theatre and campaign was in the Bobin neighborhood of Peguy Ville, a high density community with a maze of narrow alleyways and a mix of permanent and informal housing. The neighborhood has a high level of domestic violence and this was evident from the moment we arrived and began to arrange our posters and banners. We were immediately challenged by a group of young men which set the tone for the next two hours. Many of the participants were intimidated by the level of hostility which was misogynist with the men insisting women were bad and therefore needed disciplining. Rea Dol and the Bobin community leader, Rosaline Fabre Derival,  did engage with the men prior and after the performance which was on sexual violence within the family.

We broke up into groups of 5 / 6 and spent an hour walking through the neighborhood handing out leaflets and talking mostly with women but some of us did approach men. Again the majority of men were hostile to us and we had a sense that the women in the community were intimidated. One man actually told us he was going to beat his wife that evening just because he felt like it.

The performance itself drew a much larger crowd than in Jalousie partly because we had a traffic free space.  However we were unable to engage in a Q&A afterwards as once again a small group of hostile men argued with our organizers for over an hour. We did encounter two young men who were positive and thankful for our visit but none of the women engaged with us at the time. This is something we will reflect on and consider how to approach communities with a high level of hostility and a culture of violence.

We had an additional mid-week performance on March 8th where we invited some 200 women of different ages to attend an afternoon of theatre and discussion. The women were drawn from  SOPUDEP partner organizations which includes about 15% men. The two plays were on domestic and sexual violence and each lasted 20 minutes. We then spent time discussing violence with many of the women standing up and giving testimony about their own experience and also about their organizations and how they have been a great support. We served 204 high protein meals and drinks to the visitors and our group members.

Some of the audience responses to the theatre might be difficult for non Haitians to understand for example laughter during scenes of violence. However for residents of Bobin, violence is an everyday reality and as such the street theatre performances were familiar and it is in this context that the audience sometimes respond with a ‘knowing’.  We were also pleased to note that 50 + Bobin women did attend despite the risk to them personally. If each one had a positive experience which we believe they did then they will discuss their experiences with other women who did not attend.  In this way we will continue to reach an ever-growing number of people.

 

The campaign is just beginning but from the response we have had we are confident we have begun to make the  necessary impact which is why it is crucial that we are able to continue the program. Women have come up to us personally requesting more training, on VAW, fathers have come to us and asked please can their daughters join the program and to thank us for highlighting the issue of domestic and sexual violence.

It has also been a learning process for the students involved both in terms of understanding sexual and physical violence but also in organizing a campaign and working together as a group. IT has not always been easy as students wake between 4.30 and 5am and we have had to practice into the late afternoon.  Finally this has been an opportunity to commune together, have fun, consider serious issues and not only eat good nourishing food but also share that with family members and friends.

 

Ann Konbat Vyolans Kap Fet Sou Fanm – Week 3

Ann Konbat Vyolans Kap Fet Sou Fanm – Week 3

News Uncategorized

This week we performed our first street drama in Jalouszie neighborhood of Petion-Ville. The hillside neighborhood is home to some 200,000 people with a high level of sexual violence. The neighborhood has no clinic and relies on a few resident nurses and midwives to provide health services for residents. The pharmacy belonging to FASA member Fleurantin Marie Enise acts as one central point for health services where she and a few local nurses provide residents with advice and non-prescription drugs. There is only one narrow road running through Jalouzi with market traders parked on either side. The small patch of concrete outside the pharmacy therefore provided us with a small space in which to perform our play and allow for space for an audience to watch.

Prior to the play we made announcements and members of FASA and SOPU Fanm Pou Fanm, sang and danced to encourage passers by to stay and watch the play. Altogether we counted 38 people at various times. We had hoped for more but the location was a difficult one. The play lasted about 15 minutes and centered on the issue of Restavek children who come from poor homes usually in the countryside to work for middle and upper class Haitians. There is a history of physical, psychological and sexual abuse of Restevek children which was highlighted in the play. After the play there were some more songs around VAW and we were pleased that we did have questions from the audience.

The event lasted about 90 minutes and we want to congratulate all the participants, including Jalouzi residents for bringing the play together and the performance. We hope as time goes by we will improve but this was an excellent beginning.

Working on the princeip of “you don’t have to be a slave in order to eat, if you are hungry you should be able to eat” [Selma James] we have made it a priority to feed ourselves, to nourish our spirits and bodies.  Many of the students are food insecure and even where there is daily food it is invariably solely carbohydrates. We therefore choose to provide a more balanced diet which includes protein and carbohydrates other than rice such as sweet potato, yam and plantains.   We also believe it is important to feed  those who work with us and help make the project a success such as our chauffeurs and school guardians.

Next Saturday we will perform in the Bobin area of Puggy Ville also in Petion-Ville.