SOWJRA organized more than 4 poetry events for about 190 women across Somalia; 2 events were held in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia while other two were held in Garowe, the capital city of Puntland state of Somalia. SOWJRA has been focusing on Buraanbur poetry which is one of the main sources of cultural pride for Somali women and that it is a cultural treasure that fosters excellent cultural practices through which women celebrate, inspire, praise their womanhood and role in the society.
These Buraanbur events become a place where Somali women of all ages met, interacted and shared their stories and experiences through poetry. These events engaged and given an opportunity for hundreds if not thousands younger poets who have not had a platform to show their talents to their communities. It has been surprising to see participation of 70 young women who are below the age of 20 in the most events who have been playful and interesting to be part of the traditional dances and poetry to preserve their culture and values. Transfer of Buraanbur, cultural values to younger generations has been top priorities of these events which has been successful considering the massive number of young women and girls participated in the events and their interest and keen to preserve their cultural and follow suite of their grandmothers.
These events encouraged women and their self-esteem and confidence, and also provided women a safe space in which they relaxed and escaped from the stresses posed by the deteriorating environment and life challenges. These events given 51 survivors of gender-based violence a peace of mind, sense of excitement along with a comfortable environment to feel loved and cared to take back their life and sexuality.
“I felt relieved and cared. I enjoyed with excitement and sense of hope that given me a moment to forget my painful past experiences and what I have went through” says Amina Nur, a survivor of gender-based violence who participated in the events.
These events were organized attractive and fun way starting with traditional Buraanbur songs and dances, where women stand in a circle and one or two women at a time enter into the middle of the circle to dance energetically and enthusiastically. The audiences and participating women have been supporting with clapping to the rhythm of the music, accompanied with a drum or a plastic container drummed with a stick or a tambourine. The drum rhythm in Buraanbur is an organic element of the dancing and heals hearts and minds of the present women.
“The gathering was a typically traditional dances we have used to perform back in the hey days in the rural where such dances have been our biggest enjoyment and fun available for women and girls in the nomadic life” says Mariam Hassan, who participated in the event.
These Buraanbur events preserved and promoted Somalis’ cultural heritage, language, arts, and values. The poems presented mainly touching and stressing on the importance of unity among the Somali women in this difficult time and to act collectively to address the growing gender-based violence in Somalia.
“It has been victorious and I believe that we have achieved something that has never been come to us; coming together for one purpose and with one heart and feeling. We would be able to continue such unity and achieve more in the future” says Leila Osman, the executive director of SOWJRA and a journalist.
SOWJRA is planning to continue such activities in pursuit of unit and moving forward as community in this time of difficult where Somali women and girls are facing horrific sexual violence that occurs at alarming rates in Somalia while even their needs are unnoticed and there are no spaces where they would feel more comfortable to discuss issues related to them.
SOWJRA appreciates the generous support and technical assistance provided for realization of these activities by different donors and partners in Somalia. We will not forget your continued support to Somali women and achieving a society where all people are equal and valued and respected.