Last Friday, May 24, a Social Mentoring Day with a Gender Perspective took place in Bilbao, organized with our collaboration by Guerreras del Alto Deba, an Association of resilient women from Eudkadi (the Basque Country). This one-day conference was part of the training project that Dones Mentores – Emakume Mentoreak  has been developing with the resilient women’s associations of the three historical territories of Euskadi.

We were accompanied by the Basque Country’s Minister of Equality, Justice and Social Policies, Nerea Melgosa; and by Miren Elgarresta, director of Emakunde, the Basque Women’s Institute that sponsored of the event. Mònica Lafuente, the Councillor for Equality, feminisms and LGTBI of Sant Feliu de Llobregat (Barcelona) also participated in the event with a keynote.

The very interesting round tables, conversations and presentations highlighted that sexist violence is structural and a public health problem of epidemic dimensions; Unfortunately, public assistance is not always enough, which is when mentoring among women comes into play, proposed by Dones Mentores – Emakume Mentoreak as a “link between professional attention and what an organized and formed society can do.”

The round table on mentoring experiences in Catalonia included the participation of a mentor/mentee pair (Silvia S. and Sonia R.) from the mentoring program of the Sant Feliu de Llobregat City Council, as well as two other mentors (Victoria R. de L ‘Hospitalet de Llobregat and Pia H. de Santa Coloma de Gramenet). The presentations were moving and clarified the real impact of mentoring in overcoming sexist violence, in the restitution and recovery of lives free of violence.

From Euskadi we heard the testimonials of the resilient women’s associations of Bizkaia (Bizitu Elkartea) and Gipuzkoa (Guerreras del Alto Deba, the organizers). These associations play a crucial role in the response to sexist violence, through their experience as well as through the training on mentoring they received from Dones Mentores, in which they acquired tools for mentoring among women; as It was rightly put,  “not all accompaniment is mentoring.”

The day began with a conversation between the director of Dones Mentores, Lores López, and Beatriz Hernández de Fuhr, international consultant on mentoring with a gender perspective (key in the early days of Dones Mentores). We also presented the mentoring programme that we are implementing with the Baix Llobregat SIE, led by Dana Machado, social worker.

We learned about other social mentoring programmes in Euskadi, such as Izeba from the Baketik Foundation and Urretxindorra from SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa. Likewise, we addressed the role of mentoring in social action and quality mentoring with the help of Raquel Carrión, director of the Coordinadora de Mentoria Social.

There was also room for the arts, with the bertsolari Iruri Altzerreka and the graphic facilitator Mercedes Corretge, who ensured the graphic record of the day.

We leave with you the link to the press release made by the Basque government, in which you will find photos of the event:

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