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Girls or women are repeatedly exposed to discrimination and disadvantage in the prevailing patriarchal structures. Especially girls with refugee experiences are affected due to intersectionality. Through a girls’ meeting place, a shelter is created that enables exchange and networking. Free of (role) expectations and demands, the young women can meet to develop their competencies together. The content of the meetings is geared to the needs of the participants. A group with a maximum of 15 participants aged 14 to 17 will be formed with girls from refugee shelters. From January 2023, the group will be mentored by three social pedagogues for three hours a week. Activities will focus on strengthening individual resources such as self-confidence, self-esteem (empowerment), self-care and self-determination.
The living situations in the accommodations for refugees are particularly challenging for young people. The experiences of flight and the situation in the accommodations do not leave children and young people unscathed. It is important for them to know that they are not alone in this situation. Girls in particular need access to spaces of empowerment because of the additional experiences of discrimination with regard to their gender.
Many young women are being thwarted by existing gender roles when trying to lead an independent life. In order to overcome this, education and awareness-raising will be provided. It is important that this development continues after the meetings. To ensure this, access to other social institutions will be constituted.
A group of about 15 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 will be formed, meeting once a week for about three hours. The project started in January 2023 and will include at least 10 meetings. We will cooperate with refugee shelters in Brandenburg, with which we have already established links in the past.
In order to implement the aforementioned objective of strengthening individual resources, some activities are planned outside the shelter. These include visits to girls’ centers, self-defense courses and leisure activities in the vicinity of the accommodation. With the help of these activities, knowledge about their rights and how to deal with gender-specific challenges is to be built up. When planning the meetings, the girls’ participation is a priority. This means that they will be invited to participate actively in the design of the activities and to bring in their own topics. This participation process is intended to promote the self-determination and joint decision-making of the participants.
In addition to the excursions, we want to spend leisurely afternoons together, discussing (gender-specific) topics such as menstruation, sexuality and ideals of beauty without any pressure to promote ourselves or justify ourselves. Here, experiences of discrimination can be exchanged and recognition can be found in the group.
The success of the projects depends largely on the background, experience and enthusiasm of the staff. Social Science Works is very pleased to be working with Alessia Arbustini, Kim Blokland and Norma Böhm.