Sierra Klingele (24, from Seattle, USA) has been at City Plaza for 11 days. Already she has immersed herself in working with women living at City Plaza, organising The Women’s Space.
Why did you come to City Plaza?
I had been involved in activist work in Seattle and wanted to work more directly with refugees. I heard about City Plaza from a friend and decided to come over here to help with this amazing project.
I’m learning a lot here and I want to take back to The States what I’ve learnt so that I can help more people in the U.S. to be in solidarity with refugees.
How does The Women’s Space at City Plaza work?
The idea of The Women’s Space is that it runs in the same way as the whole City Plaza, it’s self-organised. That means that all the women who live here can take initiative and create their own workshops or classes in the space.
The space is in a room on the 6th floor of City Plaza. It’s open everyday between 4 and 8PM. It’s open to all the women and girls who live here.
What is a typical day in The Women’s Space?
(Laughs) almost everyday I’m given a makeover by the girls. We have makeup, tea, biscuits, blankets. Sometimes we run Farsi classes. We dance. We laugh.
We talk about our families, our past, our stories, our hopes for the future. I hope that the space is a place of healing for the women.
This evening in The Women’s Space
Why is it important for the to be a space for the women at City Plaza?
There has to be a space here for the women where they can share ideas of what it is to be a woman. Sharing stories and history of femininity is so important.
We have really created a space where women here can be in a community. We all have some hours put aside each day to feel safe, to challenge ourselves and each other and take a break.
This afternoon women and girls wrote their thoughts on coloured circles. Some read: ‘my father’, ‘open the borders’, ‘Syria’, ‘Rafeef (the name of a friend who left City Plaza 2 days ago)’
Why do you enjoy working with the women?
This is where I get emotional! I think these women are some of the strongest women I’ve ever met.
I’ve been thinking a lot and I know that most of the women here have really so many responsibilities. They work very hard. They care for their family, their children and of course themselves.
It’s so important to me that they feel empowered and live their lives in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
How would donations to the City Plaza crowdfunding campaign support The Women’s Space?
To have supplies for the space, to be able to run interesting workshops and have dictionaries for example to learn languages together would be amazing. At the moment we are spending our own money but this isn’t sustainable.
This space is so important. The women can strengthen their experience while they are here, in a safe place between the camps and wherever they are able to live next.
And finally, given that City Plaza relies entirely on donations from around the world, what does solidarity mean to you?
It’s important to remember that besides what’s happening in the countries the people here are from, that they have futures as well as pasts. In order for these people to rebuild their lives, everyone has to support them.
City Plaza is not supported by NGOs, it relies entirely on solidarity and donations from around the world.
However small or big your donation, every little will help. Everyone at City Plaza thanks you for your kindness and support in helping us to continue to live and work together in our home, to continue to live here in peace, togetherness and solidarity.
Donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen