Every year, the Rapid Response Grants (RRGs) team organizes an encounter for systematizing experiences centered on a topic identified as a trend in Latin America. We build a safe environment with women defenders and activists so we can collectively listen to each other, and look after and strengthen ourselves. As a result, we are able to expand and innovate strategies to respond to the Region’s challenges.
This year, our interest focused on sharing with women who had been supported through RRGs for processes of relocation, of a temporary or permanent nature, inside or outside their home countries, on their own or with their families. Collectively, we wanted to identify the implications of relocation on the lives of women defenders and activists, and to think about how to place care at the center of these processes, which affect us physically and emotionally.
The event, which took place in the city of Lima, Peru from August 5th to 7th, brought together 15 women defenders from the region who had experienced relocation directly or whose organizations that had accompanied other women during such processes. For three days, we engaged in dialogue about safety and protection strategies practices for nourishing care and wellbeing amongst women activists and lessons learned from these experiences. The central question we asked ourselves was: How can we ensure these relocation experiences are undertaken with the greatest care possible?
Some participants shared this was the first time they had encountered a safe environment to open up with other women who had also lived through a relocation experience in their own bodies, recognizing similarities amongst themselves and seeing themselves reflected in others.
“We never talked about our relocation experience or the impacts in our lives. I had not met anyone with whom I could talk the way we did during these days. I feel I can keep going on this journey that has just begun”.
The shared experiences and emotions touched us profoundly and reached deep into the hearts of the entire FAU team. We are grateful for everyone's trust and we will continue to accompany the diversity of women in the region and their organizations, understanding that “accompanying is a conscious, critical, political and sisterly process. It is not a model, it is a perspective for caring for life”, as one companion participant shared.