Women empowerment in the context of refugees

Presentation of the VIDC gender tandem training manual for refugee women* from Afghanistan & a support project for associations.

"What women experience on the run is associated with great helplessness and thus exactly the opposite of empowerment. Therefore, self-empowerment is of very central importance. It makes it possible to move from a self-image as a "victim" to a "survivor"." (Dr.in Barbara Preitler, Hemayat)
The findings from the VIDC gender tandem trainings for refugee women from Afghanistan show how such empowerment can be made possible. Following on from our gender tandem programme for Afghan men, which was launched in 2016, intercultural teams (one trainer from the (diaspora) community and one from the majority society) have been conducting empowerment trainings for Afghan women in cooperation with the Afghan associations AKIS and IGASUS since 2020. Around 115 women have taken part so far and the demand continues to be high. Important counselling institutions such as FEM SÜD, the Wiener Frauenhäuser, Diakonie and the Beratungstelle für Migranten und Migrantinnen are also involved in the trainings.

In an interview with the two authors and trainers Aadilah Amin and Lena Gruber, the contents, experiences and successes of the trainings were discussed.

The manual is intended to encourage diaspora associations to organise gender tandem trainings for their members. For this purpose, a cooperation project with the association Frauen helfen Frauen helfen (Women Helping Women) will be presented during the event, which offers funding opportunities for diaspora associations.


Aadilah Amin

studies law at the University of Vienna. She already graduated in 2021 with a degree in German Studies and was involved for many years with the Interessensgemeinschaft der afghanischen SchülerInnen und Studierenden - IGASUS. She sees education as the best way for integration. As one of the tandem trainers, Aadilah Amin has been involved in the empowerment trainings from the beginning and is one of the authors of the handbook "Women Empowerment in the Context of Flight".

Lena Gruber

is a project officer at Südwind Steiermark. Previously, she was significantly involved in the development of the empowerment gender tandem trainings at VIDC and was a gender tandem trainer. She is one of the authors of the handbook "Women Empowerment in the Context of Flight". Lena Gruber studied peace and conflict studies as well as cultural and social anthropology and has versatile training experience in peace work in Liberia and Rwanda, among others.

Magda Seewald

is a political scientist and heads the Global Dialogue Department at VIDC. As a gender officer, she works with her colleague Nadja Schuster on gender sensitisation in the context of refugees and on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. She coordinates the funding project for feminist diaspora initiatives launched by VIDC and the Women Helping Women association.