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Room for Freedom's vision is to provide refugee women

  • Room to learn
  • Room to explore
  • Room to stand alone
  • Room to be together


So our name, Room for Freedom, has a double meaning. A room, a physical space with

  • Classrooms--real classrooms with blackboards and desks and a projector and screen.
  • A library with books in multiple languages, desks and work tables, and computers. A reading area.
  • A comfortable room to hang out in, to meet in, to talk and share in, to relax in.
  • A kitchen, necessary for those who stay in the shelter, but also as a nice amenity for everybody.
  • Day-care rooms, where children can safely play, learn, and nap.
  • Rooms with shelter beds for refugee women at risk. Dorm style for women alone, and family rooms.
  • A bathroom with a bathtub as a little luxury for those who haven't had a long hot soak for a long time.
  • A work-out room.
  • A sewing room.
  • An art room.
  • A workshop.
  • A quiet room where women can book time to be alone.

 

But the other meaning of room in our name implies scope for stretching, growing--room for women to spread their wings.

 

Room to Learn

 

Most importantly refugee women need to learn to communicate in their new European homes. Language and literacy classes will be key to women's empowerment and success.

 

English, Greek, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish...and how about HTML or JavaScript? We'll offer as many languages as we can. Speaking comes first, but reading and writing are vitally important, so literacy will be stressed. The library needs dictionaries, but it needs novels too. Dictionaries teach words, but novels teach grammar, culture, perspectives... Book clubs, at different learning levels, will be one nice way to advance literacy.

 

Beyond language and literacy, skills-based learning--especially those skills geared toward work--are another important element toward empowerment and success. Whether it's learning to create a garment or learning to create a website, learning to keep books or learning to publish books, Room for Freedom wants to offer the tools necessary. In addition to classes, Room for Freedom wants to offer internships, job-shadowing programs, arrange certifications and licensing, and even provide micro-loans. Room for Freedom wants to offer opportunity.

 

Room to Explore

 

Many, if not most, refugee women have lived in a single (and sometimes secluded) culture all their lives. Often their roles have been limited to those of daughter, sister, wife, and mother. But various women have expressed interest in other roles--judge, engineer, counselor, entrepreneur... Transitioning to living in European culture gives refugee women alternative lifestyles to consider, and offers other perspectives to better inform their own decisions. Room for Freedom will facilitate exploration through learning and through discussions with other women. Whether one-on-one or in a group, talking--sharing experience--leads to growth of all involved.

 

Room to Stand Alone

 

Here again, room carries two meanings. Room for Freedom envisions an actual physical room where women can go to be alone. Refugee women living in crowded camps or squats virtually never get any time alone to be quiet with their thoughts. But beyond the physical space, room to stand alone means having the tools and skills to survive on one's own, from income generation to societal independence.

 

Room to be Together

 

Being able to stand alone is critical to a woman's survival, but having room to be together--with tolerance, acceptance, and solidarity--is critical to women's survival. Room for Freedom will facilitate room to be together with group discussions and activities.

 


Room for Freedom wants to nurture friendships.

Room for Freedom wants to nurture possibilities.

Room for Freedom wants to nurture self-reliance.

Room for Freedom wants to nurture freedom.