What is ROSA?
The non-profit organisation ROSA was founded in March, 2021. It describes itself as a political organisation with an intersectional view of society; working with a queer-feminist and anti-racist consensus.
In our work, it is important for us to continuously deal with the topic of racism and to critically question the potential connection between our actions and post-colonial hierarchies. We live a consensus-oriented organisational process. We design the Safespace together with the women in Greece and value a diverse team in terms of cultural backgrounds and migration experiences.
ROSA explicitly speaks out in favour of a global co-existence, prioritising solidarity that respects human rights and is against any form of state borders and repression. We call for institutional action against the current global humanitarian catastrophe and for gender-sensitive aid strategies.
Vision – why are we doing this?
In 2019, 1% of the world’s population were displaced. Of these, almost half were female (48%) (see
In contrast to men, the situation of fleeing women is characterized by additional burdens and challenges. In addition to gender-specific reasons for fleeing (such as genital mutilation, fear of femicide or forced marriage), various factors such as responsibility for children, existing pregnancies, and the lack of safe spaces also lead to increased vulnerability of women during flight; repeatedly leading to physical and psychological abuse ( . Offering support to the growing number of people fleeing is essential due to the extent of the trauma experienced during the flight and the correlation of integration processes and the quality of life in the respective country of arrival.
People fleeing war and terror should not have to wait in front of closed borders but should actively experience help and solidarity. We need a society in which people of all genders experience real equality – that is, that the standard is not a male one and that the difficulties that women, intersex people, non-binary people, transsexual people, and all people experience are of social relevance. This presupposes that in humanitarian emergencies there are also offers of help that are tailored to the needs of these people.
Since March 8, 2022, the Rolling Safespace has been located on the Attica peninsula, north of Athens. There are three refugee shelters (Ritsona, Oinofyta and Malakasa) in this region, which we have been visiting regularly ever since. The truck has a small treatment room, a kitchen with a changing table, and a cosy seating area. Since it has been warm, pavilions have been set up in screened-off areas for workshops that are protected from view and offer childcare. In winter we want to use heated tents.
Our broad concept enables us to respond to individual needs and local conditions. The first few weeks have shown that a protected space for women fleeing is urgently needed and that our offers are in great demand. At the same time, we continuously evaluate the project, considering the wishes and needs expressed by local women.
The mobile Safespace provides the advantage of also reaching women who cannot leave their place of residence for a variety of reasons, such as existing trauma, caring for children or financial reasons. At the same time, we can be active in the vicinity of different refugee accommodations in a region at the same time.
The contact point offers basic medical examinations of women in a protected space. In addition to the care of minor health problems; medical consultations, pregnancy counseling and postnatal care can take place. If diseases are diagnosed that exceed the capacities and possibilities of the Rolling Safespace, the women are referred to specialised medical facilities.
Sports and exercise offers
. ROSA e.V., therefore, organises a workshop with a focus on movement. The program offers women a space for empowerment through exercise and learning self-defence. The idea for this form of support came from the work of some founding members of ROSA in a refugee shelter in Lebanon. There, the women expressly wanted a range of sports.
Guided by a doctor and a midwife, topics that are of concern or troubling the women can be discussed. Currently, these are e.g. breast cancer prevention, fertility, and menstruation. The discussion groups enable exchanges of knowledge and sharing of concerns in a protected place. Inspiration for these discussion groups is, among other things, the project Women for Women of the Charité Berlin as part of the round table (Runder Tisch) of the LandesFrauenRat Berlin e.V..
Women are often primarily responsible for the children who flee with them. Childcare in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle is therefore an important means of giving women access to the services of the Rolling Safespace.
Distribution of menstrual and hygiene articles
Barrier-free access to sanitary facilities and hygiene articles is both a prerequisite for the well-being and health of women fleeing and a fundamental step in gender equality. In a society that wants to treat all genders equally; self-determination about pregnancy and the support of pregnant, breastfeeding, and child-care women are necessary. The issue of items such as menstrual items, diapers, and contraceptives such as condoms, diaphragms, etc. is therefore an integral part of the Rolling Safespace.
The ROSA crew is the heart of the project and consists of a doctor, a midwife, and a translator. There are also about five other volunteers who take care of workshops, childcare, and coordination. All members are prepared for and followed up on the work on-site via workshops. The crew lives in a house rented by ROSA and travels to the various camps with a truck and an escort vehicle. If you would like to be part of the crew, please get more information here.
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