Meetup #18: Empowering each other

On the 15th of September we hosted a slightly smaller, live meetup again! This time we were invited by Suleyman Gogus at his Sensa Zorg office.  Stichting Home Empowerment (SHE) took the stage - read on to see what they're all about...

Stichting Home Empowermenthelps victims of domestic abuse to find safety and independency. Maybe you're thinking: how does that fit The Present? Well, about 80% of SHE's cases are newcomers, and their approach to the issue is vital to people who are unfamiliar with Dutch institutions or the Dutch approach.

Because SHE does not 'just' help victims - they truly guide them all the way. They pick them up from their homes, help them to file a report, take them to a safe house, help them find a job afterwards and support them mentally throughout the process. SHE additionally overcomes the language and cultural barriers that often make it so hard for victims to report domestic abuse.

This would all not be possible without the heart and mindset of SHE's founder, Rafia Aallouch. She starts off the night by telling us about a couple of stories of women whom she has encountered, and also her own story and motivation for starting SHE. You can hear a pin drop while Rafia tells us about what goes on behind closed doors - perhaps even your next door. Because this can happen to everyone.

Despite SHE's efforts and close connection to the target group, they have not been given the recognition they deserve. The large, formal institutions pat them on the back for their work and happily make use of their services, but this has not led to any financial or sustainable support. So we are put to work with the question: how can we find other ways to ensure SHE gets more recognition and sponsoring?

For half an hour we hear nothing else than the scribbling of pens and crunching of brains. After this, each of the four groups presented their best ideas in a 1 (or 2) minute pitch. They varied a lot: bring out the stories of victims in a positive and visual campaign, write a book containing their stories, look for famous ambassadeurs, start a crowdfunding, make your own podcast, give out workshops on empowerment... Rafia had a hard time choosing the best one!

But there can only be one winner and that was team yellow; for their all-encompassing idea including a business plan and social strategy. Congratulations! 

The prize? A #WEnotME Dopper of course!

After the pitches there was time for a couple of drinks and further elaboration on all of the great ideas. 

A big thank you to everyone who came to support this great initiative - see you at the next one!

Photography: Eyas Hafez

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