black Switzerland, Black Women in Europe, Vienna Declaration

A Look At Zeedah Meierhofer Mangeli – Speaker at the 1st Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna

Zeedah Meierhofer Mangeli
Zeedah Meierhofer Mangeli

Zeedah Meierhofer Mangeli is a Board Member of King’s College London and the Director of the Meeting Place and Resource Center for Black Women in Zurich, Switzerland. Her address to the congress on the opening day was inspiring, funny and uplifting.

Trained in the fields of sociology, pedagogy, and conflict resolution, she has been an educator and a specialist on women’s human rights and race relations. She served as Co-Director of the Zurich Women’s Shelter for Abused Women and Children; and led the youth awareness and civics training for Focus World, Switzerland. In her work, she has also been involved in concept development and training for the Swiss Police on domestic violence.

As a member of the Social Party of Switzerland, she was the first Black woman to contest for Parliament in Switzerland as part of a coalition between SP and FRAP. Zeedah is committed to the education of young girls in Africa. She recently founded the Resource Center for Women and Girls Trust in Kenya, with a flagship programme, the Empowerment Camp for Girls, which became operational in 2007. Her hobby is photography. Her photographs have featured in exhibitions in Switzerland, the UK and at the United Nations in New York. She sits on several boards, including, The African Leadership Centre, Akina Mama wa Afrika, and also the Gender and Equality Commission for the City of Zurich.

While she has created a place for Black Women in Zurich, she also works to improve the perception of Black Women in Switzerland. In the true African style of community, she organizes a African-Lunch buffet that is open to the public every last Friday of the month to promote integration. The center is open for women each Friday and here is what they do:

Project
Our Center caters for Black Women from all the 5 Continents, living in Switzerland. We offer counseling, translation; act as buffers and intercultural mediation for Black women and their families in crisis situations. We work with the courts, the social services and with psychiatric institutions. We are an information post for individuals, schools, and other educational institutions. We offer services which assist the women in their integration process. We are well linked with other migrant and non migrant women’s NGOs in Switzerland. We are linked with other Black Women’s groups in the Diaspora, working and linking with them for internship, training and information exchange.

Strategies
A safe space: We offer Black Women encouragement, active support mechanisms, and also a safe place where they can meet, be on their own and articulate their own priorities. Black women can support each other and develop their own voice, thus empowering themselves to combat social injustices and marginalisation. Many Black and Migrant women are socially isolated; the Center offers possibilities for contact with other Black women and other support groups or persons, which serves to support the process of integration.

Advocacy: We provide a forum for dialogue with policy makers and promote public awareness and consciousness on issues concerning Black and migrant women and their families. We do this through advocacy, by organizing regular workshops, and by participating or facilitating information exchange platforms.

Mobilising, Empowering, sensitising: One of our priorities is to encourage Voice and Visibility of Black Migrant women living in Switzerland.

There is a permanent gallery on display at the Center; The Photographic and Educational Exhibition to Promote Positive Images of Black Women.

Services
Language Translations in 27 African and European languages, Counseling, Mediation Work, Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, Newsletter, and Youth Forum Facilitation.

For more information find it here.

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