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From Woman to Woman uses music to support the healing process of women who were victims of war and/or domestic violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in cooperation with local partner Snaga Žene (BiH).  While the project officially concluded in 2015, both the choir and selected activities in refugee camps continue to operate.

Background

"The pain is gone."•• Workshop Participant

The 1995 genocide in Srebrenica left thousands of women alone and grieving for their men and boys. Many were themselves victims of (sexual) violence, displacement and other traumatic experiences. In communities like Potočari (the scene of a mass murder in 1995) and the villages and collective settlements around Tuzla where Bosniak refugees are still living, women still live with unimaginable grief and loss. This affects not only themselves, but also their children and other family members, their neighbors and the surrounding community.

From Woman to Woman addresses the problem of isolation by providing a way for Bosnian women musicians and dancers to offer their professional skills and their compassionate support to their countrywomen.

The project is built on a solid collaboration between Musicians without Borders and Snaga Žene, an organization that offers psychological, social, medical, pedagogical and legal support to women, children and adolescents (refugees, returnees and displaced persons) who suffered different traumatic experiences during and after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

 

Strategy

From Woman to Woman produced a pool of trained local workshop leaders to lead music and dance workshops and activities with women who are still haunted by traumatic experiences of violence, dislocation and loss of loved ones during the ethnic ‘cleansing’ especially in the Srebrenica region.  Parallel with the didactic/ artistic/ therapeutic training, the project focused on creating a local project management team with skills in organization, logistics, public relations, communication and fundraising.

The following activities were planned between May 2013 – May 2014 in order to achieve the objectives of the project:

  • Build upon the pilot projects that MwB has already implemented together with Snaga Žene, the local partner, and further train the women who volunteered for these projects and who wish to be involved as choir singers;
  • Recruit additional local professional musicians and provide training for them;
  • Recruit other women singers for the choir and/or collaborate with other existing choirs;
  • Together with the choir members, establish a repertoire and record performances in order to promote them through different networks and social media outlets;
  • Conduct weekly workshops connected with Snaga Žene’s activities in Srebrenica and Potočari, introducing music and movement therapy.
Blog / News

International Women’s Day, March 8, is widely celebrated in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as in the entire former Yugoslavia region. This year, MwB’s music coordinator, Almerisa Delic and partner organization, Snaga Zene created a memorable day for hundreds of women survivors in eastern Bosnia.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

Time for us has stopped here in the past years, but we need positive changes, if not for us, for our children; we need to think positively!

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

Brave Roses – our From Woman to Woman choir – offered an early gift to the women who live in Dom penzionera Tuzla (Home of Pensioners). On the 8th of March – the International Women’s Day – they will sing for and with the women of Srebrenica.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

During the music workshops with children, their mothers join in and listen to their children singing and watch them play musical games, share their joy, their creative energy and their genuine sense of freedom, which brings them closer to the experience of music.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

And this is how 2013 came to an end for a small part of those who live in the camps of Ježevac and Višća, with music from woman to woman, with new bonds created and with renewed hope for a better life.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

The group smiled, thanked her, and then all headed to their homes, already talking about their next meeting. In the days to come, they will sing again for the women in the camps, in Potocari, in Srebrenica and, maybe, make their lives brighter and richer, by sharing with them the gift of music through their singing.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

But there is so much more to this, there is the process, the people involved, the smiles, the path to the goal. And the obvious question that followed was: how do we share this with our supporters, with our networks and those who’ve never heard of this project?

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman Videos
October 21, 2013
October 21, 2013

By the end of the workshop, the women were creating their own music, using percussion instruments and simple vocal elements. The effects of this process were visible: the women were smiling and looking serene and relaxed. They were clearly enjoying being together as a group, but they weren’t singing – or at least they didn’t realize they were.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman
Media
July 14, 2010
Roses for Srebrenica

From Woman To Woman (Od Zene Do Zene) is carried out by Musicians without Borders and the Bosnian women’s organization Snaga Žene.

March 8, 2014
From Woman to Woman | Music To Help Heal War Wounds

From Woman to Woman is a collaborative project between Musicians without Borders (Netherlands) and Snaga Žene (meaning ‘Women Power’) based in Bośnia i Hercegovina. The project uses music to address severe, persistent war-related trauma among women in Eastern Bosnia.

Staff
Iulia Socea
Project Manager
Marijke Smedema
Trainer
Lis Murphy
Trainer
Daniela Micevic Dedovic
Program Manager, Snaga Zene
Almerisa Delic
Music Activities Coordinator
Marijke Smedema
Trainer
Daniela Micevic Dedovic
Program Manager, Snaga Zene
Partner Organizations
Snaga Žene
Local implementing partner organisation. Supervision of the choir activities and music therapy of the activities with the women involved  of the "From Woman to Woman" project
Donors
The Transpetrol Foundation
The Transpetrol Foundation (TPF) is a Bermudian non-profit organization which has been active since 2006. It is run by a volunteer board and its aim is to support (or initiate) projects worldwide in the fields of economic enterprise, social welfare, relief of poverty, education and arts. Its purpose is to make a lasting improvement to the lives of as many deprived and disadvantaged people as possible.
Netherlands Embassy to Bosnia Herzegovina
Cultures of Resistance Network
Cultures of Resistance Network aims to promote and support organizations, activists, and artists who seek a more peaceful, just, and democratic world. The CoR Network was created by Iara Lee, director of the feature documentary Cultures of Resistance, as a way of supporting people wishing to take action around peace and justice issues.
Netherlands Embassy to Bosnia Herzegovina
Cultures of Resistance Network
Cultures of Resistance Network aims to promote and support organizations, activists, and artists who seek a more peaceful, just, and democratic world. The CoR Network was created by Iara Lee, director of the feature documentary Cultures of Resistance, as a way of supporting people wishing to take action around peace and justice issues.