Social Impact

These are projects designed to spark conversations about social change. We believe that people's voices aren't heard enough and we work to encourage the act of speaking up. Our projects embark on the mission to remind everyone their voices are valuable and capable of producing change.


 

Not Your Habibti: The Typewriter Project

By way of typewriter, Not Your Habibti is an ongoing series created to illuminate the issue of street harassment on urban Palestinian streets and to open an honest and uncensored dialogue amongst women affected by said harassment.

 
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The project takes its physical form in the shape of a typewriter, typically used in Palestine to type-up the Israeli travel permits required for Palestinians to leave and enter the country. In this instance, the machine will be typing up letters about women’s restricted movement due to unwanted sexual advances.

 
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This typewriter has been setup in various points across the West Bank, Rome, the USA as an open invitation to passersbys to stop and dictate a letter featuring their stories. Participants are invited to share personal experiences with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender-based societal oppression.

 

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In sharing personal stories in public spaces, participants are shattering societal norms which deem such topics as taboo.  These stories expose and humanizing gender-based issues often tolerated or brushed under the rug.

Not Your Habibti: The US Tour

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the typewriter project was recreated at 7 universities on the US East Coast. Each typewriter event was accompanied by a talk detailing the intersections of Arab Feminism, gender, and identity. The universities we visited included:

Dartmouth College 

Harvard University

Boston College

Brown University

Tulane University

Emory University

UNC Chapel Hill

 

 

موءودة، محررة: The Exhibition

Translating into "Buried , Freed," موءودة، محررة is  a traveling exhibition featuring letters about gender-based oppression and discrimination. Collected from men and women in the West Bank, Italy, and the United States, the letters seek to amplify the voices buried by society about our rights.

 
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In pre-Islamic times, a number of Arab tribes engaged in Wa’d, a practice in which female infants were buried alive immediately upon birth. In a few documented instances, the females were buried alive at older ages. Later condemned and banned in the Quran, the practice originated as a means to ensure a family or tribe was not dishonored by the female members’ actions. In an effort to prevent the dishonor before it could occur, tribes buried their female infants alive. In the Quran, Surat al-Takwir state that the infant girls buried will be resurrected on Judgment day and given the opportunity to name those who wronged them, share their stories, and thus free their souls ascend into heaven. In this instance, it is the voice of a woman which frees her. 

As the practice of Wa’d is still metaphorically practice through socio-culturally constructed norms, women’s voices are belittled and oppressed. It is only through expression that social change will occur, agency reclaimed, and personal freedom gained. 

 
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موءودة، محررة features a coffin painted with verses from Surat al-Takwir. The first coffin is filled with letters featuring intimate and personal stories detailing sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced by women and girls. The stories have been collected over 1 year through the Not Your Habibti typewriter project which traveled across the West Bank, Italy, and the United States. 

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The participant is taken on the journey of resurrection and catharsis elicited by the expression of women’s deeply personal and traumatic stories of gender-based oppression. The catharsis is made manifest in reading other’s stories, thus participating in a simultaneous personal and individual catharsis. 

 

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