A feminist organisation from Bosnia-Herzegovina: CURE
Marija Vuletić from Bosnia-Herzegovina is going to give a speech in the 5th Symposium against Discrimination. To know more about Vuletić before the symposium we had an interview with her: Feminism is regarded as a bad word in Bosnian society.
CURE Association founded in 2006 is an initiative which aims to strengthen young women. The association has brought LBT rights into question with many events since its establishment. Their studies on LBT women draw attention in particular.
Marija Vuletić the LBT coordinator of the association is going to be a speaker in 5th Symposium against Discrimination. Before the symposium, one of our interns, Elif Çeliktaş, talked to Vuletić about their associational works.
Could you introduce yourself?
I was born and raised in Sarajevo, BiH. I am a feminist, activist, vegan, lesbian, piano player, runner, Crossfit athlete. I work in a feminist organization from BiH, involved with LBT rights and women’s rights and empowerment of lesbians.
Could you please describe social work practice in your organization? What kind of services do you provide for LGBTI’s?
We provide assistance for lesbians, bisexual and trans* women. We provide a safe space for them to come in, talk to us, share their concerns and problems and for us to provide them with information on where to further direct their problem- to which institution/ person/ service provider. We also create empowerment workshops for LBT women where we try and empower them to raise their voices, except their identities, fight for equality, learn about activism etc. and we let them express themselves also through art of any kind through exhibitions of their work, ideas, stories etc.
Could you mention about process more? Is it belong to your organization? Why was your organization formed? What is its purpose?
Foundation CURE is a feminist organization focused on empowerment of young women in BiH through education and raising awareness on women’s human rights including LBT rights and the role of women in the society. It was formed to bring the issues of women to the public sphare and to talk about these issues in every part of public life. We are very visible and that gives us accountability for trainings, seminars, empowering workshops, creation of safe space etc. The process is already set up for us for 11 years now- every woman is welcome to our offices, we offer face to face consultations on first steps to take in a variety of different situations and we continue to monitor the development of the case. But, our main activity as an active civil society actor is education, education, education of women.
Could you tell the process of set up story of your organization? Have you encountered difficulties before and after establishing your organization and if there is/was how do you manage?
I was not present at the organization when it was founded, but I can say that even today we have difficulties existing. Firstly because the public does not support feminism, equality and equal opportunities for all, secondly the state does not support or fund CSOs dealing with these kind of issues and thirdly feminism is a bad word in the society of BiH so everything we do is controversial and out of the traditional norms posed by patriarchy. The organization firstly was established by young women artists who were interested to connect arts and activism, but later on it developed into a full grown feminist organization dealing with everyday life of women of all identities.
What kind of events done before and planning to do next?
In the 10 years of our existence we have done everything one can imagine. We did performances, exhibitions, workshops, seminars, round tables, concerts, lobbying, advocacy, meetings, travels, public speeches, street actions, marches, protests, media appearance, educational films, classes in schools, public campaigns etc. We plan to continue our struggle as loud as possible using all of the above and more.
Could you mention about financial sources? Are you working with donors or your services funded by individual donors? What’s your strategy for sustainability? How many people work in there and Do you accept volunteers?
We are financed mostly by feminist donors and donors who consider the main objectives of the organization crucial to their work. The services are funded by individual donors and we are writing proposals on yearly basis. 10 persons work full and part time, and we have many volunteers without which we could not do many of our actions, because they are crucial to our work. The strategy for sustainability is very hard to define being a feminist organization because donor politics change all the time, the focus is now shifted more to lobbying and advocacy for joining the EU rather than working on the field with women and their real life problems.
Can you evaluate LGBTI and the movement’s situation for now in your country?
It is very hard to talk about a “LGBTI movement” in BiH. I think there are individual actions which are great steps towards equality and for now that is all we can do. The decentralization from the capital has begun recently, so other parts of the country are also included now in the CSO world and we are trying to make this network of persons working on LGBTI issues in order to start creating the movement.
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