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08 nov 2023
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During the women’s groups in Sveržov not only friendships are strengthened, but also communication skills are improved

The community centre in Sveržov can be considered a kind of „pioneer“ of women’s groups, as the local ladies started meeting even before the pandemic, in 2019. After more than four years, new faces are still joining them, and today it can be said that a really good group of women has formed there.

In the beginning were children and music.

In the beginning were children and music.

Jarka Krukárová, director of the Sveržov Community Centre, recalls the beginnings of the women’s meetings. „It was sometime in 2019 and at the very beginning it was actually the children first. We were looking for some activities that would interest them. Meaningful activities that could move them somewhere in life. Aside from games and conversations, we started reading the Bible together and learning about Christian values, but we also started making music. From the meetings we formed a music group with which we went to perform, for example, at various senior facilities. It all made a lot of sense to the kids, they started to look at things around them differently, they started to see what they can achieve in life when they do something meaningful.“

Their mothers also noticed the changes in their children and came to the community centre with the request that they too would like to meet in a group, talk, play or just drink coffee in peace. They saw in their children that they could look at ordinary things like a family argument with different eyes, and even suggest a reasonable solution, and this encouraged them to open up to group conversations and sharing in a safe environment.

They share both joys and worries

Today Jarka herself is surprised that there are more and more women. „I knew that it probably wouldn’t last, but in the end there was a solid core of four women, with two or three more always joining in, as family commitments and time allowed. They meet regularly twice a week.“

In groups they talk a lot and reflect on what they do wrong in life, but also what they do well. What they enjoy and what they would like to change but find difficult. They often entrust their troubles to God and pray together. In short, they talk it out and this is very important for them and perhaps also healing.

Jarka recalls that during the pandemic, when community activities were forbidden indoors, they used to meet without her support, outside in a local gazebo. They read, talked, complained to each other, prayed and in this way „ventilated“ and returned to their homes in the community, where life is really very difficult,“ Jarka says, referring to the period when they managed to manage the meetings themselves because they felt that they were helping them.

They learn not to react too quickly, to control their emotions, to be supportive and role models, to help each other.

Jarka Krukárová

„In many ways, the group sessions brought women from the local marginalised community closer to what is and is not appropriate behaviour, whether in raising children or in marital, neighbourhood and friendship relationships. They used to be able to hurt each other a lot, especially verbally. Today they stick together and know that what is said in the group stays in the group. We are learning not to judge each other, but rather to seek understanding for each other. If they are in trouble, they know how to get together and go to pray or talk, they go to help each other. Sometimes they even go to help in other communities where people are even worse off than themselves.

They are also making progress in education

In addition to strengthening relationships and helping each other, local women, most of whom have only completed primary school, are also improving other skills. They have seen for themselves that they are better at reading and communicating, better at expressing themselves and naming what is on their minds.

And what about the men? This and that.

In the beginning it was interesting, according to Jarka Krukárová. One of the women, for example, her husband thought she had a boyfriend because she started to behave differently, more calmly. She didn’t need to argue so much, she was able to calmly tell him to think about himself. Well, his reaction was that she didn’t like him anymore and that she was definitely cheating on him, so he had her watched. Eventually, however, he and the other gentlemen of the community came to understand that women do nothing wrong or forbidden, that they simply need to get along well on their own and share their lives outside of their immediate family. And so they got used to it.

From time to time, thanks to Jarka, they also manage to meet another group of women, which is made up of ladies from completely different – majority backgrounds, but in the end they always agree that they are suffering from the same worries. They all know how to argue with a man or children. In these inclusive meetings, they are looking for what unites them, not what divides them. And so far they are succeeding. Fingers crossed that their groups continue to bring them together and enrich them.

When families have difficult conditions or illnesses, we think of each other, we write, we pray. It is good to feel that if you are in trouble, someone is thinking of you.

Jarka Krukárová

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