Humanity in Action in Rotterdam!

By Tahmina M. Ashraf

Wednesday, June 7th was reserved to visit another amazing Dutch city, Rotterdam.

Even though the weather and the train transportation were a bit disappointing, the fellows agreed that this day was one of the more interesting days up until now. I personally felt very content to hear this, because I was involved in organizing this day.

As an active citizen of Rotterdam, I got the chance to show the fellows what we do in Rotterdam in the field of human rights and women empowerment. Our first speaker was Jamila Talla, the initiator of the foundation Voice of Afghan Women (Hereinafter: VoAW). Jamila has fled the war in Afghanistan and lives in the Netherlands since 1999. Her own struggle and the struggle of many other refugee women triggered her to initiate VoAW. Jamila felt namely that these women need an address, a voice.

VoAW worked since 2010 in the field of women’s rights and delegated this responsibility in 2016 to the youth, because they are the future and they need to take their responsibility of tackling social issues. Voices foundation is therefore established in 2016, with the aim to delegate the responsibility of tackling social issues to the younger generation.

During the workshop, the ladies of VoAW and Voices had an interesting dialogue about integration in societies. The ladies from Rotterdam mentioned their interpretation of the concept of integration and they explained what the challenges are in Rotterdam. It was also interesting to hear that the fellows from USA recognized the integration issues as being almost parallel to the issues in the USA.

Then, after this workshop, we went to meet another social initiative. We met the director of the café “Heilige Boontjes” or holy beans. It was just amazing to see how young delinquents were trained to become great baristas. This café is set up to re-integrate mainly “ex-criminals” into the society by means of economic empowerment. The participants get a job, different soft and hard skill trainings, and personal coaching.

To conclude, I personally think that this day was a very refreshing day, because we showed the fellows what “humanity in action” can look like in practice. I hope that they got inspired. At least, I did!