Once a month throughout the year, a group of women, with and without disabilities, take a break from their daily lives and meet for a weekend in nature, to go through a process of personal and collective empowerment. The participants take part in various challenging activities – hiking, rappelling and water activities. They face challenges and difficulties, and overcome them. This enables the participants to experience success and expands their sense of self-confidence and self-reliance.
Afterwards, the women join in a circle to talk, process and reveal the feelings that have arisen during the activity. Two weeks later, the group meets again for a facilitated group discussion that allows further processing of the issues.
Towards the end of the year the group is expected to initiate a community project for empowerment and social change.
In Etgarim we believe that challenging outdoor activity is a metaphor for daily life. The challenging activity is an opportunity for reaching new insights, for personal growth and for collective development. Being outdoors instills a feeling of freedom and peace. The challenges offer opportunities for dealing with new things and enable us to examine changes that occur within the collective.
The groups deal with a variety of subjects that are universal as well as those of particular interest to women: stereotypes, body image, leadership, dealing with changes, asking for and receiving help, disability that is seen or hidden, independence and dependence, romantic relationships, motherhood and child raising, goal achievement, group cooperation and dynamics.
A women’s forum group is on a hike, where a Gilgulon (rickshaw-like one-wheeled wagon) holds a woman with disabilities. The group work together to pull and push the Gilgulon. This requires cooperation, trust and the willingness to give to one another. The collective success of this activity, women working together to enable a member of the group to reach places she could never have reached on her own, is the heart of the experience we try to create with these activities.