Monday, April 2, 2012

About me

Women Power. Source:
At the end of 2010 I participated at the Regional Conference of Dalit Women in Ahmedabad, India. I shared three days with dozens of Indian women, strong, dedicated women who have had a hard life. All of them came from remote villages of the country, all of them belonged to the group of "untouchables", the "outcastes", or in their recent name, the Dalits. The Dalits are still one of the most marginalized communities in India. All the participants were survivors of domestic violence or rape. Half of the first conference day was spent with introductions. These women, one after the other, proudly shared their personal stories about how they got strengthened and how they managed to abandon an oppressive, violent relationship and since then how they have been organizing in their neighborhoods against all forms of violence against women. They were leaders, people who focus on the interest of the community, support their fellows and use their talent for the benefit of the group.

Conversations, singing, thinking, planning went on for three days. By that time, for a couple of years, we had been working with the Minority Rights Group to support grassroots, community-based organizations, and for a year we had been building The City Is For All, the movement of homeless people and their allies. I came back with the experience that I would like to see more and more community-based organizations in Hungary and the region, which have a wide base, and through which those whose rights were abused can also accumulate knowledge, power and relational capital.

2012 is an exceptional year in my life: I have been learning community organizing in the U.S. with the support of an American community organizing organization, Virginia Organizing. I would like to share this learning process with as many people as possible. I address my posts most of all to the Hungarian and the Central and Eastern European audience. I will be writing about the different organizing styles, my practical experience, community organizers, my readings, and methods and strategy. My question is: how can we most efficiently support the proliferation of democratic organizations, which give back the power to marginalized groups?

Bernadett Sebály
sebaly . bernadett AT gmail . com

Read it in Hungarian.

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