Palestine: AIC wins the Follow the Women Price
Diakonia's partner organization AIC has been awarded the Follow the Women Price 2013. The reward goes to AIC for its art empowerment programme directed towards women from villages around Hebron.
Personal and political expression
For five years now the AIC (Alternative Information Center), in cooperation with the Palestinian artist Yousef Katalo, the Palestinian Culture Ministry and the Hebron Municipality, has been conducting weekly art trainings for young Palestinians in the Hebron area.
80 percent of the participants have been young women from the marginalized villages surrounding Hebron. By providing them with tools and skills in art training, the AIC aims to develop the independent voices of the participants and provide them with outlets for their personal and political expression.
Upon hearing about the reward from Follow the Women, the AIC Programme Director Connie Hackbarth reacts like this:
"It has not always been easy to explain the deep socio-political impact that our work can have, but after five years we are seeing clear results. The recognition of these efforts by Follow the Women will assist us in continuing to empower more Palestinian young women."
An activity that produces results
The art empowerment training is part of the AIC's wider commitment to work with local grassroots communities, particularly in the Hebron region. And after five years of hard work, they are beginning to see the results. For example, the fact that the AIC, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization, can work directly in cooperation with official Palestinian institutions is a testament to the potential of AIC's political vision and organizational integrity.
One of the participants, a young girl from the Hebron area village of Dura, describes her feelings about the art training:
"We learn something totally new: Artistic techniques, how to use materials. But also how to express what we feel, and how to use the paintbrush to tell who we are and what we want."
Diakonia's support an important part
Connie Hackbarth from the AIC are very proud of the price, and sees Diakonia's long-term support as a key component of the success of the AIC:
"The long-term partnership of Diakonia has been instrumental in strengthening and promoting the AIC's work, which directly led to the awarding of the Follow the Women Prize 2013."
Diakonia is also very proud of what the AIC have accomplished, and we look forward to provide continued cooperation.