In this series of articles, we want to give you an idea who works for Kayan and which views on feminism our staff members have. Today we will start with Hanan from the Community Department.
What’s the reason behind your work for Kayan?
I’m an attorney and also a facilitator working on developing leadership and activism. From there I heard about Kayan and their activism. I applied to work at Kayan because from my village and the villages around I know the women’s needs such as to be empowered, the need for tools to be stronger and to be responsible about their decisions, to be equal and independent.
So growing up in your village helped you become a feminist?
Yes, sure. Also it’s my story itself. I am the first woman from my village that studied abroad, in Europe. I faced a lot of challenges.
Can you give an example?
Because of the chauvinism in the Arab society I was asked: How can an Arab woman go abroad alone? I am from a big family and but I knew that in Europe I would be alone. My opportunity was that I have an open minded, supportive family. So I went there and I was open about the other society. Eventually in Europe I became a feminist. Then I returned to Israel and became a member of the Bar Association in Beer Sheva. That was a special experience, because I was the first Arab lawyer to work there. After that I went to Jerusalem to work in an organization against torture. So I had been involved with different mindsets, I knew Arab women needed support.
Why do you like working at Kayan?
The staff is so supportive. I am new and started in October last year, but the old staff included and supported me. And I think their experience helped me. All the time we are learning and studying. When we are facing a new case we discuss it and I can learn from their experiences, we all exchange experiences.
Has it changed your views of feminism?
Sure, it became broader, wider and more open minded.
Do you think that working here makes you more optimistic for change in the society?
Yes. In field work with women groups I can see the effects. It’s a big change that they carried out in their villages, they leave a mark. Plus they become an address for others who want to start activities. If women believe in themselves and their power, if you can make a change in their way of thinking, then they can change their society.