Together we celebrated the International Women’s Day with a number of initiatives
This year’s 8th of March was very special for us and our entire growing community! For a second consecutive year, we supported brave and influential initiatives through which we marked women’s achievements and contributions.
After the great interest in the ‘8 March’ open call and the 72 received applications from 34 regions, the Bulgarian Fund for Women awarded eleven bold project ideas that marked the International Women’s Day and their achievements in political, economic, scientific, and cultural aspects.
We attended the traditional March for Women’s Rights in Sofia that was entitled “No to War” and organised by the ‘Feminist Mobilisations’ horizontal group.
Fine Acts organised a thematic edition of the innovative format SPRINTS’ – an artistic boot camp where the artists had 48 hours to work on a given social topic. 12 Bulgarian artists took part in the edition dedicated to the 8th of March. They created a collection of 20 artworks in total, most of which have versions in English and Bulgarian. All of them are published for free usage and adaptation under the Creative Commons license of the platform TheGreats.co, and feminist organisations and activists can adapt and use them in their work and communicate their campaigns and causes more successfully. Find the entire collection HERE.
Thanks to the Hayaci Association which works towards the preservation of traditions and customs within the Roma community, we learned about some of the culinary secrets of the Roma women from the Druzhba neighborhood in Novi Pazar. They chose to prepare traditional community recipes that were collected and printed in the ‘Culinary Magic from the Roma Cuisine’ book. You can find its electronic version HERE.
Traditions are passed down from generation to generation, but they should also be shared, especially when it comes to prejudice and neglect of one nationality at the expense of another. ‘With this project, we want to show the skillful hands of Roma women to other nationalities and the fact that the Roma community has capable and creative people, we want to bring together people from different cultures and ethnicities living in the city’, said the organisers.
The artist Izabela Ivanova created a series of short comics named ‘My Reasons to Mark the Women’s Month’. The stories aim to inform the readers about the purpose of the 8th of March and to pass on the feminist activist idea to the wide audience in an easy and accessible way. The comics give voice to representatives from vulnerable groups whose voices are often being silenced. The characters represent different social groups and talk about their motivation to be politically active on topics regarding women’s rights. Have a look at all the illustrations HERE.
March is traditionally a month for cinema as well. Cinema Politica, the international network for the dissemination of independent documentary cinema with current social and political themes, prepared a selection of 7 documentary films, followed by discussions within the 26th International Sofia Film Fest.
The English ‘Dying to Divorce’ (2021) was among the films we saw – it took the audience into the heart of the violence against women crisis in Turkey and into the last political events that seriously damaged the democratic freedoms there. After the screening, there was a discussion with a representative from BFW, the producer of the film, a lawyer from the film as well as the Lawyer Natasha Dobreva who has led a number of human rights cases in Bulgaria. The entrance to all films was free of charge.
The ‘Lyuben Karavelov – 1921’ Community Centre in Buzovgrad village and the informal association ‘Pritok’ – Art as a Life Experience’ organised an open call for a poster themed ‘A Woman by Nature’ and over 30 participants took part. The initiative aimed to stimulate the participation of local people by encouraging them to imagine the topic of women’s strength and bravery in a new and creative way. The jury consisting of Anastasia Gyukova, Zhenya Dimova and Katya Zografova, had the difficult task to select the three best proposals. These were the works of Filiz Yurkyush (aged 17, Hadzhidimitrovo village), Sevda Poturlyan (aged 50, Shipka), and Mihaela Dimitrova (aged 18, Stara Zagora). A selection of artworks was organised in the exhibition in the community centre in Buzovgrad village.
In Bulgaria there is no contraception method covered by the National Health Insurance Fund. For many health-uninsured women, the price is even higher as they need to pay for their examination at the gynecologist. Voluntary abortion is also paid for. As a result, many women in vulnerable situations do not freely own their bodies and are physically and economically dependent.
The 8th of March was a reason to once again talk about these topics alongside the support from the ‘Doctors of the World – Sliven’ Association who organised a conference ‘Together for Women’s Health’ in the French Institute in Sofia. We discussed topics such as access to care, sexual and reproductive health, public politics in Bulgaria and other European countries. The event took place thanks to the support from the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and the Bulgarian Fund for Women.
The EMPROVE Foundation and the Women Survivors organised a special thematic event called ‘A Day to Remember: From Women To Women’ where they shared practical advice and opportunities for mutual help. The event consisted of three main sessions – a lecture part for sharing experiences and practices regarding possible difficulties and psychological consequences after ending a violent relationship, a practical one including meditation, yoga, dancing, as well as an artistic one where each participant described her impressions from the day and drew a t-shirt with a message for another woman.
‘Young, Active, Creative NGO’ and active women from the municipalities of Karlovo and Sopot marked the 8th of March with an event called “We Have the Power to Save the World”. Its aim was to raise awareness around the achievements of local women within the sphere of nature preservation and encourage women’s equal participation in the decision-making process regarding climate change and sustainability. Danita Zarichonova from the ‘Za Zemyata’ Ecological Movement and the ‘Zero Waste’ team was a guest lecturer and had a discussion with the participants about ideas and recommendations that the two municipalities can implement in order to be greener and more responsible.
During the event, empathy was expressed towards all people suffering and running away from the war in Ukraine, and the participants declared their readiness to help according to their strengths and abilities. Read more about the event HERE.
Galina Delikirova and the ‘Buditel’ Club from Kardzhali organized the ‘Street Fest 3E / Emancipation, Erudition, Empathy’ initiative.The festival included a creative workshop in the Kardzhali City Garden, and over 60 girls participated. They created artworks containing messages about equality and overcoming gender-based stereotypes, and their works were displayed in the “My Voice” exhibition at the City Library. At the end of the creative workshop, the girls participated in a performance in front of the Municipality of Kardzhali holding their drawings and expressing their problems through art. Another important part of the Festival was recording 20 video messages from local leaders and women of art in the city which were collected in a video playlist. They talked about their professional interests and the challenges they face in the region. You can find additional information about all Festival events, photos from the exhibition and recordings of the video messages on the specifically created website of the initiative HERE.
The ‘Days Without Lipstick’ initiative by Association for Support of People with Mental Difficulties in Varna organised a special 8-March event for young women with disabilities and mothers of people with disabilities where they shared information about the barriers and challenges of living with disabilities especially during a pandemic, as well as examples of how to overcome them. Pre-made photo portraits of the participants (preceded by professional make-up and hairstyle session) will be displayed in an exhibition on the 8th of March during a Coffee Conversation ‘Days Without Lipstick’ about the contribution of women with disabilities and mothers of people with disabilities towards the achievements of women in the times we live in. Learn more HERE.
The ‘8 March’ open call took place thanks to the financial support of the online shopping platform Answear.bg, British Embassy Sofia, Dokova and Dokov for Future Foundation, individual and corporate donors. We would like to thank them all for the support!