A group of fantastic individuals. All united behind a powerful vision for freedom and safety for vulnerable women in Tunisia. All committed to seeing Bright Women’s Association of Today (BWAT) grow into something beautiful.
Holding your first member conference is a big step for any fledgling organisation. Having been invited along to meet those involved, take some pictures and hear some of the stories that are giving BWAT its drive, I was excited to be involved.
It was a beautiful setting. On a sunny weekend in early November, members gathered from all over the country in the coastal town of Hammamet. Over the course of the weekend, over 20 participants and trainers from Sweden would spend time learning and shaping their vision for BWAT.
Sessions included looking at the stories of women of Tunisia and sharing experiences from around the world. Time was spent drawing the vision of BWAT, and “peeling the onion” – that is, looking at BWAT’s structure, aims and values.
All aimed at helping BWAT learn and grow.
A particular highlight for me was a painting session. “Imagine a long-awaited day,” says trainer Frederik. “What hope do you have for the future of Tunisia? What is Bright doing to help build this vision?”
Here were some of the answers shared:
That people would have pride in Tunisia
A feeling of freedom and release from oppression would be known everywhere
Confidence and hope for women
People supporting each other
Lots of peace
“Women standing for Tunisia”
Forgiveness between people
Another highlight was a time of sharing with a friend of BWAT from the Ministry of Women. She talked about the difference in women’s legalstanding, and what the reality is for many in Tunisia. Violence statistics, illiteracy at 19 % (rising to 41% in rural areas) and high divorce rates are just some of the areas that contribute to women being at risk here. Women in Tunisia are also unable access loans, which further disadvantages them.
Four key projects of BWAT were also discussed. People shared on establishing the safe house – one of BWAT’s key commitments – as well as the different trauma and Shine training to have taken place. Finally, founder Awatef shared on the need to be creative in how to help those who are isolated and struggling – how helping the individual and advocacy plays a part in all BWAT does.
“Journeying Together – BWAT Conference” was the first step in what will hopefully bring about a great deal of change for vulnerable and at-risk women in Tunisia. Thanks to all who took part and helped make it such a success.