Rising Up Moving On – Women writing our lives
This publication aims to make visible women’s voices and experience. It aims to inspire other women facing violence to seek support and find ways to overcome the abuse they experience. It aims also to promote our ongoing public awareness and lobbying work at the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development (Nisaa) and to serve as a tool for our organisational learning.
The rationale of the writing project was to take women’s empowerment a step further to enable women to experience healing and closure through the writing of their own stories. Writing enables the writer to step back to look at her life, to get a clearer understanding of her past and present reality. Writing
takes the writer into a depth of introspection, and can serve as the beginning of a longer, more profound process of change. Writing enables what is in the heart to come through in words.
The conceptualisation and planning for this project began in March 2012 through internal consultation between Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development and Oxfam Germany in liaison with the BMZ (the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the German Government). External consultations were conducted with Shamim Meer to customise the healing and writing workshops. Initially our plan was to select former women residents from the Nisaa shelter. However, our plans had to be modified in relation to the realities faced by many women. Some did not have child care to be able to attend a residential workshop. Some were unable to take time off work, and others were not ready to share their painful experiences in a publication. This publication is testimony to the fact that we all have powerful stories to tell. Even though the women writers of these stories had no prior experience in writing, and no time or space to write on their own, they have done a sterling job in articulating their stories. I would like to congratulate the women participants for digging deep into their souls in order to write these stories. The process was not an easy one, especially since it often meant eexperiencing and grappling with past trauma as they wrote. Nisaa would like to express our appreciation to Oxfam Germany and the BMZ for the sponsorship of the project as well as to the facilitators: Shamim Meer, Michel Friedman and Nyasha Mukuwane, for their wonderful effort and commitment to this project and for working alongside Nisaa in a constructive, amicable and sisterly manner.