“As the year 2020 is beginning, the world seems like it has taken steps back on great amazing work done by feminists throughout history. Violence against women and children are on rise, inflation is on a higher level of increasing, corruption by political elites have put citizens in situations where their health is compromised and often turn fatal. As the women of Namibia, we are tired.. We know that we can have a better life with dignity, a life where we are not raped, told what to say and what to do with our bodies. We deserve to live in a better society, a society that is about breaking the structural oppression of patriarchy that’s sucking the life out of us day by day. We deserve a society that takes care of the earth we live on that sustains us and starts looking at measures where we have to ask what drought means for the lives of women and girls in the near future. We are rising.
We the indigenous San Women and children are rising
We the rural women of Namibia are rising
We the Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and Queer women of Namibia are rising
We the unemployed
We the disabled
We that the health system of this country is failing are rising
We are refusing to be on the margins of oppression any longer. We are refusing to let others do what they want with our bodies
We are standing up against rape, violence against women and children and against femicide.
We are calling for climate justice and economic justice for all women of Namibia
We will dance to heal
We will paint our pain away
We will use poetry to speak words which will touch the hearts
We will shout louder and RAISE THE VIBRATION.”
One Billion Rising Coordinator for Namibia, IRENE GARAOËS, is a feminist activist and community mobiliser from a small village called Leonardville in western part of Namibia. She is passionate about movement building on the rural level with marginalised groups of women in Namibia. Irene is working with women’s rights organizations (indigenous women, women who live under customary law, lesbian women, and rural women) and trains young people on issues of human rights, sexual, reproductive and human rights (SRHR), conflict resolution and healing from violence, as well as organizing and coordinating trainings with life skills teachers and religious leaders, training young women in self-defence, public performances, writing, feminist leadership, and movement building. Irene is passionate about poetry, storytelling and film-making. Irene is an alumnus of IVLP African Women in Leadership and holds a Bachelor’s of Communications (Honours) degree from Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).