Documentary and Short Film Festival Celebrates the Power of Women in Kosovo
As part of DokuFest, an International Documentary and Short Film Festival, UN Women and partners in Kosovo1 recently celebrated women’s resilience. Under the festival theme of ‘How to Survive?’, the stories of women survivors of domestic violence were showcased through a video installation and a handicrafts exhibition at DokuFest.
Vulnerable women recently got the chance to display and sell their handicrafts and tailor-made products – such as portraits, accessories, bags, and traditional dishes – through a longstanding partnership with DokuFest, UN Women Kosovo, the municipality of Mamusa and the Women’s Association, Orkide.
Hosted in Prizren, the second most populous city in Kosovo, the exhibition aimed to recognize women’s contribution and encourage their social and economic empowerment. It was organized as part of the European Union funded project ‘Response to COVID-19 Emergency and Early Recovery Support’, which is implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kosovo.
“These kinds of exhibitions play a really important role for us women working with handcrafts, because we get the opportunity to showcase and sell our products,” said Fetije Basha, one of the participating women. “This helps us contribute to the family income, empower ourselves and gain independence all at the same time,” she added. "I feel very grateful and hope that this kind of exhibitions will be organized more often in the future,” said Ayeta Danyal, another participant.
Speaking at the event, Vlora Tuzi Nushi, Head of UN Women Kosovo, said: “As UN Women, women’s empowerment is at the core of our mission. We believe that women make enormous contributions to communities, whether in businesses, as employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home. That is why, today we put together an exhibition that displays the work of women from the most vulnerable communities and paves their way to self-empowerment”.
“For years now, DokuFest has been supporting projects aimed at empowering women, youth and the community. I would like to congratulate all the women here today and hope that their work will become an inspiration and success story not only for the citizens of Prizren, but for all DokuFest visitors,” said Linda Llulla, Executive Director of Dokufest.
Video installation highlights women’s survival stories
As part of the collaboration with DokuFest, a video installation was placed in one of the most visited cinemas in the municipality of Prizren. Featuring real-life stories of women who have experienced domestic violence and managed to survive, the installation aimed to raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence, while also highlighting the increase of femicide in the country.
“I have survived violence non-stop for three years. But in 2010, I was so close to death, I thought I would not survive. It took me years to heal from my scars. But the process of healing does not end when the scars are no longer visible. Recovering from the psychological violence I faced took time. I was scared to look people in the eye in public or greet acquaintances. I was living in a constant state of fear. Now, I am independent and have my own business. I think I was re-born after what happened to me. For anyone who might be in a similar situation please leave as soon as you can, and report violence,” reads one of the testimonials displayed.
The stories of the women survivors of violence offered the audience inspiration. They called on everyone to create a conducive environment where women and girls can benefit from equal social and economic development opportunities, while living a life free from violence in private and public spaces.
The installation, which helped raise awareness on domestic violence and the importance of supporting survivors, was supported by UN Women under the EU-funded regional programme ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’.
1 All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).