Community workshops

  • Monthly meetings
  • Preparation for childbirth workshop
  • Youths workshop
  • Children’s workshop
  • Self-expression through movement

Monthly meetings

Awareness-raising must also be carried out with all female newcomers. ERF - Belgium - Brussels - GAMSSome are mothers and have managed to leave their country to protect their children from circumcision, others have had to leave their children behind fleeing death threats or some simply haven’t yet had children. ERF - Belgium - Brussels - GAMSWhatever the situation of the women who we see, it’s important for us to obtain their views on female circumcision and that they participate in our monthly meetings during which various topics are approached.

Subjects that are directly related to their life story : the place of religion in the mutilations, the medical consequences/complications of genital mutilations or other various topics, permitting them to understand on a social level such as the rights of foreigners, how to find a formation or meetings raising their awareness of the various realities: domestic violence, eating disorders….

Timetable

Preparation for childbirth workshop

These workshops are aimed at pregnant women, circumcised or victims of sexual violence, asylum seekers, benefiting from a subsidiary protection or refugees. These preparatory sessions do not replace the prenatal consultations by a gynecologist or a midwife. They are sessions to improve the women’s well-being and to give them somewhere to ask all questions regarding care during the pregnancy and giving birth in Belgium. These sessions can also be a place for discussion about the pregnancy, the protection of the unborn child with regard to certain traditional practices (female circumcision, forced marriages, violence). From 2016 the meetings will be held every 15 days and not once a month : 6 sessions are devoted to pregnancy, childbirth and early post-partum and two sessions are planned with the baby after the birth.

As the meeting lasts three hours and we also want to encourage good eating habits during pregnancy, a snack is offered (dairy products, fruit, bread, juice). The sessions are animated by voluntary midwives trained in the problems of FGM, a GAMS community animator, but also, since 2016, by a massage therapist for one hour of physical and breathing exercises to help properly prepare for childbirth and enhance relaxation. The participation in the sessions is voluntary and free of charge. Transport costs will be reimbursed thanks to support from the AMIF project (the women are reimbursed in cash on the same day on presentation of a bus/train/metro ticket where the tariff is visible.

Youth Workshop

The Youth Workshop is a group of young girls between 15 and 25 years which addresses as much non-accompanied minors as youngsters who migrated with their parents. The objective is to give the words of young girls a particular place, young adults to be, outside of the workshops on the last Friday of the month, which are aimed at an adult public. The same questions are discussed in both groups (the question of stereotypes, discrimination, equality men/women, gender violence,…) with the difference, in this workshop, to approach the contents by using creativity. Up on till now, we have created two plays « Aicha’s Destiny » (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNuicmHdJS4) as well as an action flashmob danced on 6th February 2014, International Day of zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBrdC3XfY. Beyond the debates and the informative contribution of the animations, the group wants to be able to transform things in a proactive way with the participants themselves and conduct public actions. The number of participants is unlimited, the workshop is fortnightly with a totally free participation.

  • For who ? : young girls between 15 et 25 yrs
  • When ? Wednesday afternoons from 14.30 to 16.30, fortnightly workshop throughout the year
  • Contact : Annalisa : annalisa@gams.be, Carolina : carolina@gams.be or 02/219.43.40

Children’s Workshop

Here is the latest workshop to date, created in 2016. Aimed at the children – girls and boys – of families registered with GAMS and who are also directly or indirectly concerned by circumcision, other forms of gender violence but also the question of exile and connection. The workshop’s objective is to make a creative space available for both visual and bodily art in order to work on the question of physical integrity, respect for oneself and others… We think that working on the physical integrity through, among others, self-expression through movement, would allow a place for trauma but also act as a means of prevention for any other physical intrusion. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 10 children, the workshop is presented in the form of modules of 6 workshops, for which we ask – a continuous commitment from the parents. Preliminary registration for ….

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One week internship planned during school holidays (spring breaks, summer holidays,…).

  • For who ? : girls and boys between 6 and 8 yrs
  • When ? Wednesday afternoons, from 14.00 to 16.00. Fortnightly workshop from September
  • On registration
  • Contact : Annalisa : annalisa@gams.be, Carolina : carolina@gams.be or 02/219.43.40

Self expression through movement Workshop

Movement is life. Even when we decide not to move, we move. By the simple act of breathing, the chest rises, the rib cage opens, the stomach fills, and nostrils vibrate. What about the need for movement within the walls of a Reception Center ? Where do the residents find this movement, where do they breathe ?

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Movement is fundamental. It makes you flee if need be, it permits families to cross the ocean to put their lives out of danger. It allows the body to express what’s in the heart. Movement allows refusal, escape, abandonment, survival, joy. Movement allows us to breathe. When a migrant stops running after escaping, they can breathe. Movement helps relieve punishment, when the body stops he’s filled with pains, he can express these pains, so he takes the time whereas in the home country, the body can’t stop, it fights. Since September 2014, we have exported the Self-expression through movement Workshop (AEC) towards the Reception Center for Minors in transit at Neder Over Hembeek, Brussels. Every Tuesday morning we propose a workshop for a group of young girls and boys between 12 and 17yrs. The challenge is considerable : work in the moment present, knowing that the youngsters come and go, one day they’re present the next they’re transferred to another center. What can be achieved in such a short time ? What traces will the workshops leave in their feelings, their bodies, their memories ?

The place is also surrealist, an in between hidden behind the Military Hospital where people in uniform are seen every day. The objects of such a workshop are multiple : allowing a physical ease, develop a feeling of general well-being, build a positive and gratifying self-image as well as develop a reinvestment of the body. Techniques such as the theatre, stretching, breathing, massage, mime, rhythm and relaxation are used focusing in particular on movement and dance. The workshop is appreciated by numerous young people. When the session starts, eyes don’t meet, the smiles are   « constructed » and to hold someone by the hand remains a challenge for some. During the session, the body heats up liberating movement, eyes start truly smiling and touching becomes possible. By the end of the session, the young people embrace. They have fun in their role of child and adolescent far removed from their everyday concerns about « papers ».