Work! Play! Dance!

Project Update:

One week down, and Team Flying Broom is steadily soaring along. We have made a lot of progress with the massive archiving project at hand. We have clarified, simplified, and redesigned our initial statement of work, and most importantly, we have begun to gel as a team and clearly focus on or main goal at hand.  This is a very challenging task, as we have to have a system in place, and up and running, before we leave.  We are, however, well up for the assignment.  Although they are quite busy with a myriad of amazing projects on the table, we have received massive support from Flying Broom, who are quite anxious to see what we intend to roll out. Or main focus is on an archiving system which will allow members of Flying Broom to archive documents, pictures and videos, in a consistent manner from anywhere needed. This will hopefully include access from personal tablets and smartphones, as well. Our plan is still in a very immature phase, but we are excited and hopeful that we are on to something special. More to come on that, in the coming weeks. Samira, the in house cook has been spoiling us daily with Turkish çay, Turkish coffee, and delicious vegan food, to keep our energy high, and our minds sharp. We look forward with excitement, to see how the coming weeks will unfold, before us!

One of the evenings, last week, Flying Broom invited us to a Turkish play on Women’s Issues, at Ankara University. Thank you to Flying Broom, for inviting us

Turkish Play on Women Issues
eteğimizdeki taşlar afiş(1)

We boarded a cab from the office and it took us 15 minutes to reach the venue. The event was being organized with the help of Flying Broom’s “Young Board” at the Ankara University. The Young board consists of student volunteers from around 10 universities in Ankara, who come forward to contribute whenever the organization needs them.

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Turkish Play at Ankara University – The actors watch a TV talkshow that shows the gender gap

The play was organized to celebrate the International Women’s day, and play was named “Etegimizdeki Tasiar”, a Turkish phrase meaning, “The traditions that weigh us down”. The play was in Turkish and was aimed at spreading awareness about women rights and also a generation gap.  The play also focused on the subtle messages in TV advertisements, stereotyping women, that enter unconsciously influence societies mindset.

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Turkish Play at Ankara University highlighting Women Issues

The young following disliking some of the older traditions and the old trying to follow the young ones. Flying broom’s also used this platform to promote the 18th Ucan Supurge Film Festival going to be held in the month of May.

After the play, we stood by for a photo session and then joined the team for a dinner at a Vegan restaurant called “Veganka”.

Dinnner with Flying Broom Team at Veganka Restaurant, Turkey

Dinnner with Flying Broom Team at Veganka Restaurant, Turkey

During the weekend, we were fortunate enough to fit in some extracurricular activities, outside of Ankara.

International Women’s Day 2015
Celebrated in a very meaningful way, thanks to fellow NGO organization, A.S.A.M

As another example of how interconnected the work of the different nonprofits we are engaging with are, Team Flying Broom got to attend an event organized by one of the other nonprofits, A.S.A.M (Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants) on International Women’s Day 2015. It was a truly phenomenal and eye opening event on many levels.

The event took place in Cappadocia, and we were told that about 1200 refugee women and children would attend the event. We were asked to be sensitive as some refugees might be willing to talk while others would not, some wouldn’t mind their pictures taken, others might etc. With that, we walked towards the event venue on Saturday March 7th passing by numerous buses full of women and children who had arrived from different places.

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Team Symantec at the A.S.A.M International Women’s Day 2015 event at Cappadocia, Turkey

Volunteers in blue A.S.A.M jackets handed out food boxes and water bottles as the stadium filled up. Glancing around, people ranged from ages 2-3 years old to 60 years. Team Symantec joined the volunteers in going around with food boxes and water, and settled down on the back row to watch the event.

What happened next blew all of us away. As music from the refugees individuals countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria) blared on the speakers, the young girls jumped up first to start dancing. Soon the older women joined and suddenly it was one giant dance party! Children and adults alike danced together and many lip synced to the music. Truly does music unite! They had clearly assimilated into Turkey, their new home. Team Symantec was up on our feet joining the dancing, taking pictures and interacting with curious adults and children who wanted to get to know us. The A.S.A.M volunteers initiated a dance circle that brought everyone together in a bond of camaraderie.

A.S.A.M. volunteers and the event attendees form a dance circle

A.S.A.M. volunteers and the event attendees form a dance circle

Team Symantec had not been sure what to expect at the event, but most of us were thinking of a more solemn event, and a glimpse at the hardship and difficulties that refugees faced. After all, wasn’t that the image the word “refugee” conjured up? Instead the event humanized the word and demonstrated that we are all just people, united in our human spirit and just incidentally from different parts of the world. It was particularly empowering to see women and children celebrating their own place in their new home, giving us more meaning to the mission of Flying Broom to create an equal society for women.

We are grateful to our colleagues at Team A.S.A.M – Joe, Sohini and Mirabel and A.S.A.M members for inviting us and planning a trip so we could attend this truly meaningful and inspiring event.

Einstein Was a Refugee

Einstein Was a Refugee

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