This isn’t just about a sartorial-locally-made event that deserves to find echoes in our region due to the prowess of the magical-nay- phenomenal fingers behind it. This event also deserves every bit of praise; ounce of hype, every Insta-influencing tagging noise; for the many voices that it encouraged to unstifle, for the day by day job it took upon itself to create hope where once only barren numbness strived on fear, post-traumatic syndroms and anxieties as the only way to exist.
As a textbook softy, compassion is more of a duty I owe to myself in order to Be and there is nothing that torments more than Injustice. For, it is not only the unpunished crime itself that these exceptional women have been suffering from but also the stigma that ironically they had/have to deal with, the shame that was brought upon them for the mere fact that they are born Female and the precarity they live in.
This budding social enterprise finds that “a chance for a better tomorrow” is not yet another catchy line from Annie, but it IS possible to make it reality and they are.
They have single-handedly succeeded in supporting survivors of gender-based violence by helping them stand on their own two feet again. They are trying to break the violence chain, by enabling them to believe in what they are capable of (yes indeed, there is a word for that: “empowering”, but it has been so used and misused, that I have an aversion towards it and refuse to assimilate them to that). Whether it is teaching them a trade, a craft or simply using their social capital to provide them job opportunities, even perhaps help them with their court cases, PW are trying to break the first shackles that silence women and girls despite their suffering: dependence.
For its first edition, PW brought the talented designer Nour Najem on board their first mentoring program: Sewing and Design. And after all the hours they put in sweat, and hard work, they are revealing their first collection on December 6th, at The Sage Parlour, Mar Michael, Beirut.
Each garment will be telling the unique story of its maker, it is true that they all emanated from pain and despair, however the mere process of creation and production brought passion, bravery and hope to the equation.
ABOUT PHENOMENAL WOMEN:
Phenomenal Women is a social enterprise that links women living in difficult situations and survivors of gender based violence to better opportunities, whether jobs, trainings or business contacts, to become financially independent and leave the never-ending cycle of violence.
We do it through:
Many women who undergo domestic violence, discrimination and sexual abuse are taught to believe that they cannot survive on their own and that they must suffer silently mainly when they are dependent on their oppressors for financial, social, or emotional “support”.
We are here to say we can. And we will.
By investing in a unique, determined and passionate workforce that wouldn’t have worked otherwise, we are awakening hidden talents and tapping into unexploited potentials that would most definitely impact our community.
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