About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


Liberian Journey #3

It's only my 4th day in Monrovia and i can't believe how much i am learning from this whole experience.
From governmental level to the very grass roots peace huts or community center in one of the worst slums of the world, women are involved everywhere. "Whithout the women, my friend and i would've been killed during the war, they were the ones who went out and fetched food for all of us. We couldn't go out scared that the rebells would kill us", said one of the male counselors at the lutheran church trauma center. Yes, the women of Liberia went out during the conflict, protected their men, their children, found food, and struggled with violence and rape but they were able to stop the war and bring peace to their communities.

While i visited the WIPNET(Women in Peace Network) peace huts both in Monrovia and the rural area of Kataka, i understood the scope of their dedication and work. More than 40 women greeted us with chants and dances and music. They were happy to see visitors and grateful that we appreciated their work. They told us over and over how they united to pressure their government to sign a peace treaty. They showed us how they run mediation community courts in the huts to resolve conflicts including domestic violence, husband's abandonments and quarrels. Dressed in their uniforms with wipnet white t-shirts, they looked so powerful in their posture, sure of themselves.
WIPNET was the first local women's peace movement uniting over thousands of members across Liberia and more than 20 peace huts in rural communities. After the war, they continued their work, making sure to keep the peace, monitoring elections, trials and providing adult literacy courses for mothers. They also run skill development workshops to help women develop economically. The most important part was that, people respected them, listened to their advices, children followed them everywhere, even men supported their efforts.

After the day was over, during the bus ride back to the hotel, i was still thinking of all the work of these amazing women. I was wondering how they were able to take so much pain and resist to so much violence in their lives. Rape statistics are very high in Liberia as well as GBV, but yet these women find a way to slowly reach out to the community to advance their cause to support each other.

Today, i had an important lesson in true solidarity; between women from different religions, different tribes, different realities, yet so united under the roof of that modestly built yet such a joyful peace hut.

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