STA, 21 November 2018 - A Slovenian project promoting intercultural connections, integration and education of women from the Western Balkans has won the international Alpine Pluralism Award 2018. The award was conferred in Innsbruck on Tuesday to the head of the humanitarian association UP Jesenice that runs the project, Faila Pašić Bišić.
The award-winning project is entitled Hands Revealed (Razkrite roke), which is a reference to the women who conceal their faces and communicate with the world through their loving and hard-working hands.
Currently, 30 women with a migrant background participate in the project, making unique textile products, which are available for sale.
The project is run by UP Jesenice for the fourth year in cooperation with the Ljubljana-based institute for modern textile art and design OLOOP.
This year, the project has been upgraded with a web site (here), where the hand-made products combining the traditional with modern as well as the women who create them are presented.
"We are trying to complement social cohesion with art, not just folklore and cuisine," Pašić Bišić said about the project of including women from the Western Balkans in the labour market.
By taking part in the project, the women overcome many obstacles. "With Albanian women, we first had to talk to their husbands, because these cultures are extremely patriarchal and women are pushed in a passive role," Pašić Bišić said.
But while talking to the men, Pašić Bišić was shocked to learn that they too are socially very excluded despite having a job and speaking Slovenian, which are two crucial factors for integration.
"They do not know how the local community functions, they are not active in any sports associations and they do not know their environment," she said.
These are also the problems that their project is trying to overcome.
The Alpine Pluralism Award is conferred by non-profit organisation Cipra Lab and a task force operating as part of the EU strategy for the Alpine macroregion.
The Hands Revealed project is funded by the state and the EU social fund.