|THE FOUNDATION FOR THE SUPPORT OF WOMEN'S WORK (FSWW)|
The Foundation for the Support of Women's Work (FSWW), founded in 1986, aims to support women's efforts to be economically independent and to improve the quality of their lives in urban and rural communities in Turkey. Starting by assisting mothers to expand community based child care and education services and create their own parent run cooperatives in 4 neighborhoods in Istanbul, today FSWW also partners with women in the earthquake devastated Marmara region and in SE Turkey to expand their involvement in local community development and decision making.
FSWW facilitates and supports women to define their problems, to produce solutions for these problems, and to reveal and activate their potential. Opening "Women's Rooms" -where women come together, discuss their problems, produce and express themselves-are the heart of this approach. An entry point for women to claim space to explore self help solutions to common problems and shared priorities, the women-run community spaces birth childcare, craft, and marketing training, as well as micro-credit and small business start up assistance. In the process of meeting their own needs and solving shared problems, women learn how to negotiate with municipalities to open up both physical and political space for themselves.
In the Marmara region of Turkey, eight Women and Children's Centers were established in a very short time after the earthquake destroyed and made thousands of families homeless. Moving from tents to centers in prefabricated settlements, women quickly established systems for collectively caring for their children, distributing and stretching relief aid, and for understanding and accessing their entitlements for housing and economic assistance. Today hundreds of women are involved in negotiating replacement housing, pooling savings to legally establish housing cooperatives, and pressing local municipalities to work with them to keep women involved in positive actions to rebuild what the earthquake took away.
FSWW is a major resource in Groots for other local women's groups who are interested in training and childcare program support to establish community based childcare programs and financial resources that are in local women's hands (and not controlled by outside professionals and government bureaucracies). In addition, it looks to partner with women from other communities harmed by natural disasters to show how women's groups can be central participants in every stage from relief to reconstruction.
Contacts for the Foundation for the Support of Women are: