For this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8 (or #8M), the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) will hold its first Festival for Refugee Women at the Ciudad Cultural Konex. Entrance is free, and festivities will begin at 6 PM.
The goal of the festival is to “make refugees’ situations in the world and Argentina visible, focusing on the particular context of vulnerability that women confront when they leave their home countries due to armed conflict, persecution, and human rights violations,” according to UN officials.
The Bubble spoke to Analía Kim, a representative from Argentina’s UNHCR branch, (ACNUR in Spanish), to learn more about this event and the UNHCR’s work.
Kim told us that although Argentina is geographically distant from many sites of conflict in the world, this country is home to more than 7,500 refugees. Many of these refugees come from the South America region, with large populations from Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and Peru. Recently, many Syrian refugees have come as well.
Many challenges afflict refugees when they come to a new country, Kim said. Language and cultural adjustments are major, she explained, not to mention having to build new lives for themselves basically from scratch.
“You have to understand that women, in this case, are twice the victim in a highly vulnerable situation,” Kim explained. “In many cultures, women’s role is still secondary, even minor, still discriminated against. In that context and on International Women’s Day, we want to shed light on the fact that there are refugee women in our country. There are women refugees in the world, twice the victim in a highly vulnerable situation. And we have to show that we can do a lot for them.”
The festival at Konex will feature women refugees in prominent roles. One of the main events will be a Syrian refugee named Lana, who will be painting a mural live. Attendees will be able to participate in the creation of the mural, contributing their own messages. Performers Las Taradas, Fémina, Yacaré Manzo, and DJ’s Villa Diamant will also be there.
“On March 8, it will be great that women are the protagonists, and in our case, women refugees,” Kim said.
“In that way, we can highlight the impact that refugee women have.”