Stories

69
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Huriye Göncüoğlu Bodur attended the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva on 6–7 April 2022. Bodur’s work contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 Life Below Water, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. Her work also relates to SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.
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Özlem Altıparmak is a lawyer based in Izmir, a western province of Turkey. She is an activist working in the fields of human rights, gender equality, climate change, and environmental protection for almost 20 years in Turkey. She is the legal advisor of Doga (Nature) Association, a grassroots organization defending the rights of nature and taking action to sustain biodiversity. She attended the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in April 2022 held in Geneva with the support of UN Women Turkey, which she describes as a critical milestone in her activism.
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Nilgun Binışık has been the principal of the Fenerbahce College’s Primary School and Kindergarten for four years. After participating in gender equality seminars organized by UN Women under the HeForShe movement – Fenerbahce Sports Club collaboration, she was inspired to become a change leader for gender equality and raise awareness about the issue among young people. Under the leadership of change leaders including Nilgün Binışık , a Gender Equality Education Programme was launched at Fenerbahce College, to spread a culture of equality in the school and beyond.
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Svetlana Babaș, 19, is a Ukrainian Roma woman who had to flee her home as a result of Russia’s military invasion in Ukraine. She shares her story as a young mother who was worried about her fast approaching due date while escaping war and her journey to safety in a temporary placement center for refugees in central Moldova.
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Katarina Ponjavić is a final-year student of Dental Medicine at the Faculty of Dentistry in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This young aspiring surgeon invented a device for medical and infectious waste disposal that received international patent protection from the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.
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Blerta Basholli is a filmmaker whose feature film “Hive”, a Sundance Festival triple winner, is now Kosovo official entry for the Oscars’ international feature category. Hive follows the true story of a woman from Kosovo who breaks barriers to become a successful entrepreneur. After her husband went missing during the armed conflict of the 1990s, she and other women widows from the village of Krusha established a cooperative to produce and sell the pepper-based condiment ajvar, and other local food products. Despite the hardships they experienced, they continued to support their families and contributed to post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding efforts in their community. Today, this cooperative has a large market base and even exports internationally. UN Women spoke to Basholli about why she brought this inspiring story to screens around the world.
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Rafif Hamami is a 36-year-old Syrian refugee who has been living in Izmir, on the western coast of Turkey, with her husband and son since 2014. She explains how the MUDEM Refugee Support Centre (MUDEM-RSC), one of UN Women’s partners in empowering Syrian refugee and local women, helped her build self-confidence, take up new skills and develop existing ones to hold onto life.
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Aleksandra Tomašević is an activist with the VelikiMali, organization, which works with children and youth with disabilities. She is also a member of the Women's Peace Group from Pančevo, a city close to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and is currently working for a network called From the Circle – Serbia, which is providing support and assistance to women with disabilities. This network is among the civil society organizations participating in the UN Women project, Test it, if you tasted it, focused on showing the hidden discrimination that marginalized women face.
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Silvana Malluta from Albania participated in the Expo aimed to support and empower women entrepreneurs during and after COVID-19.
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Eldar Alić is a young farmer from Kalesija in north-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. He founded Nutri Pelet, a company that produces ecological manure pellets from unprocessed manure. Alić advocates for healthy living and practical, eco-friendly solutions to better manage earth’s limited, natural resources.
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During the COVID-19 lockdown, women in Turkey and around the world have faced serious safety risks as the quarantine exacerbated violence, according to representatives of the Foundation for Women’s Solidarity in Turkey. Büşra Sünetci, representative of the Foundation and a social worker, told UN Women about the support they provided to women during lockdown.
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Snezana Zivadinovic heads the Association for the Development of Creativity in Aleksinac, Central Serbia, and is a vocal advocate for an equal distribution of care and domestic work, especially in rural areas. The coronavirus has increased the demand for care work in many families in rural areas of Serbia where the workload falls heavily on women and girls. Zivadinovic speaks to UN Women about the situation and how her NGO provides solutions under the UK-UN Women programme ‘Redistribution of unpaid care work’.
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Osman Doğan is a schoolteacher in Bursa, a north-western province of Turkey. He has a 12-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son.
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Zerina Mandžo is a computer science engineer working as an IT Girls Project Officer for UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The initiative focuses on gender equality in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and increasing women’s participation through skills development, mentorship, economic empowerment and confidence-boosting. Adapting to the COVID-19 crisis, IT Girls has taken its work online, organizing a series of free webinars on a range of topics related to ICT for girls and young women in BiH, whose regular education has been interrupted by the crisis.
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43-year old Nargiza Eshtaeva is a psychologist and a UN Women gender expert from Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern region. With COVID-19 spreading fast across her region, Eshtaeva is offering women and girls in lockdown much-needed psychological consultations over the phone. She is also leading a group of 40 volunteers who bring vital aid such as food, transport and cash to the families most in need.
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Regardless of the social, political or health situation, notwithstanding quarantine, the social assistance system must be functional at any time. Social workers and assistants need to be able to fulfill their roles of supporting people in distress, visiting families and people with disabilities and helping all of them to cope with their varied obstacles.
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Ivanka Marković is the president of the Council for Combating Domestic Violence in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has been an expert in legal regulation of gender-based violence since 1998.
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Red Cross employee Marijana Tosheva works tirelessly to assist the most vulnerable in North Macedonia. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, she’s been supporting the people with disabilities.
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Dina Smailova, a well-known activist from Kazakhstan, recently spoke to UN Women about the rising reports of domestic violence since the introduction of quarantine measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. With 4 billion people around the world sheltering at home, many women are left in isolation with abusive partners, unable to access life-saving resources and support systems. In some countries, helplines have registered an increase in calls by more than 30 per cent.
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Davbekova Ashyrgul, 49, is the leader of a self-help group in a village on the disputed Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border. Her group promotes participation of women in community development and peace-building processes.