With Spark grants, Mama Cash supports feminist initiatives in the Netherlands that are continuously adding fuel to the feminist fire here. In August 2020, we put out a third call for applications. As the applications started coming in, we were excited that there was so much interest from such a wide variety of feminist, anti-racist and LBTIQ+ organising and movement building in the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles.
We received over 70+ applications and while, unfortunately, we couldn't support them all, we were able to increase our grantmaking by over 57% from the previous cycle. The Spark Steering Committee made up of six activists from across a range of social justice movements in the Netherlands had long and difficult conversations, and in the end decided to support a diverse range of groups doing urgent and important work. And we are thrilled to introduce those groups to you:
These are the twenty-two Spark portfolio grantee-partners for 2020:
6 (ISLA)(NDS) zine
6(ISLA)(NDS) zine recognises the lack of voices from communities from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint-Maarten, Sint-Eustasius and Saba in Black liberation work. Founded by two young queer Afro-Caribbean activists, 6 (ISLA)(NDS) zine creates space for these voices to be heard, organises workshops and makes the archiving of collective ways of decolonization within the ABC-SSS communities possible.
Amsterdam Black Women
The Amsterdam Black Women (ABW) Collective is a network that primarily supports Black women - in all their diversities - seeking community in Amsterdam by creating nurturing safe spaces where members can be fully themselves and unapologetically Black in a country that denies race. ABW promotes radical healing, serves as a site of belonging, facilitates the strengthening of Black communities by pooling knowledge and resources, and offers a space for the expansion of race consciousness by being a place where organic discussions about the marginalisation specific to Black women can take place.
CatcallsofAms tackles gender-based harassment by drawing attention to street harassment, specifically cat calling. People who have experienced catcalling in Amsterdam can send the group a message via Instagram and members of the group will then use chalk to write what was said on the sidewalk where the incident took place. CatcallsofAms has recently launched their first project, in which they discussed discrimination against Chinese-Dutch people, sexism and (street) intimidation. CatcallsofAms would like to hold their very first #chalkback event in 2021, where they invite anyone to come, get to know the group, talk and share.
Dikke Vinger is an activist collective as well as a support group that fights fat antagonism both offline and online. They are committed to equal treatment and against the stigmatisation and discrimination of their community. The projects are based on the pillars of support, action and information. Through their support groups and other events, they offer fat people a place to talk about their experiences. These events offer the opportunity to find recognition and create a community from where one can seek support. In addition to the support group, Dikke Vinger has been working on a project about the stigmatisation of fat people in media. Dikke Vinger wants to make the media and healthcare sector aware of the important role they can play in combating discrimination, division and intolerance towards fat people.
Dutch Emergency Fund
Dutch Emergency Fund (DEF) is an emergency fund for and by sex workers in the Netherlands. They raise small emergency funds for colleagues who depend on short-term income and are now in dire need of money due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. Based on their experiences over the past few months, in 2021 DEF plans to include: sharing information and providing practical support to sex workers wanting to strengthen or set up community support networks; connecting inexperienced and experienced community organisers; distributing emergency funds directly through formal and informal sex worker-led groups; and engaging with and educating social workers organisations about meaningful practical support.
Feminist Against Ableism
Feminists Against Ableism (FAA) is an activist collective that opposes the systematic exclusion and oppression of people with physical, mental, auditory, neurological, visual, psychological and intellectual disabilities and/or neurodiversities. The group actively fights ableism. For FAA, ableism is the discrimination, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people with a disability. It is also used as an umbrella term for the systematic oppression and discrimination of all people with a disability and/or chronic illness. FAA continuously works towards a society that is accessible and inclusive to everyone through various actions and projects.
Fundashon Orguyo Korsou (FOKO) is a Curaçao-based LBTQ+ rights organisation that was founded 25 years ago, organising activities such as Pride on Curaçao and Aruba and Human Rights Day on Sint Maarten. FOKO is now starting a public campaign on the Island around the diversity of the LBTQ+ community. The campaign will specifically focus on women who love women. Their aim is to break the taboo around sexuality and sexual orientation.
Fos'ten Surinaamse Vrouwen 50+
FOS'TEN is a collective supporting Surinamese women over the age of 50 in the Netherlands. They also work to combat racism in the workplace and they organise meeting events to combat loneliness among the elderly and promote access to information about for example changes in healthcare. During the coronavirus pandemic, they found that among the Surinamese elderly, access to digital information and / or contact with family and other relatives was very limited due to, amongst other reasons, the lack of access to computers, tablets and smartphones. With their project, FOS’TEN wants to train volunteers in the use of these resources and provide them with adequate material.
Fundashon MUHE (Motivashon Union Harmonia Empoderamentu) focuses on community building by supporting and empowering the women of Bonaire. They find that women in Bonaire are more often victims of domestic violence and disproportionately affected by poverty. By creating a space for women to come together, share their experiences as well as by facilitating workshops, Fundashon MUHE aims to create a safe space for women where they are also able to create new opportunities.
Formed in 2015, Genderclowns ia a support network for non-binary, trans, fat people and neuro-diverse people. They work with the belief that support groups should be for and by people from the community they wish to support. Through the support groups they want to create a safe place where everyone can express themselves. In October 2010 Mira Bellwether, a trans activist from the USA created "Fucking Trans Women #0", a zine dedicated to the exploration of non-operated trans women's sexual experiences and bodies. As for now, the zine is available only in English, which creates a linguistic barrier between the knowledge it contains and the many communities that can benefit from this work. Genderclown’s goal is to start breaking down such barriers by translating the publication into Dutch and Brazilian Portuguese. The intention of this project is to work closely with the original document, adapting and translating the text to the particularities of each language, taking into consideration the cultural aspects of the communities it is intended for, paying close attention and giving preference to community concepts and slang which can ground the translation and create a more intimate connection to these communities.
Hopeful Migrant Lesbian Women
Hopeful Migrant Lesbian Women focuses on migrant lesbian and bisexual women whose background limits them to openly talk about or discuss their sexuality. The group aims to bring together the voices of migrant lesbian and bisexual women towards ending the stigma and discrimination against them that exists in asylum centres and in Dutch society. The project focuses on women whose procedure or application is ongoing and who are waiting for the outcome of their asylum application; those who have not commenced their procedures; those whose applications have been rejected (with or without the right to appeal); and those whose application have been accepted but are dealing with any challenges of integration.
Kabra is creating an official centre where BIPoC mental health practitioners can offer services and activities on resilience, emancipation and healing for BIPoC womxn, queer, non-binary and trans people. This project aims to provoke a shift in the way mental health care is being practised in the Netherlands. By acknowledging the destructive impact structural racism, capitalism and patriarchy have particularly on BIPoC people, Kabra would like to establish a mental health care practice that underlies a strong intersectional analysis and is driven by progressive identity politics. Kabra would like to contribute to a better understanding of the ways in which politics and care are intimately intertwined in BIPoC lives and in what ways mental health practices need to consider the power structures that people live in in order to be effective.
Reframing HERstory Art Foundation
Reframing HERstory Art Foundation is the producer of music- and dance theater Schitterende Schaduw (Radiant Shadow), about Gelderland's Colonial- and Slavery past. The project is based on historic facts from research on Black ancestors, the roles, lives and feelings of Black people, especially Black women. The goals are to raise awareness and to reframe the discussion to include the findings of this research on the role of Black women in Gelderland’s history, to educate and to start a dialogue after the show on the message or the essence of the show. They are also setting up an education programme for students, that will be based on themes from the show and experiences from the audience.
Sard is a visual storytelling project with the aim to present an alternative discourse of the Arabic language and to showcase a representation of North African and Middle Eastern bodies and environments in visual production. Through creating a space for documenting, theorising and archiving their lived realities, Sard will share a collective space with an intersectional, feminist and critical lens. Sard intends to provide a space that allows Arabic speaking women, queer and non-binary people to rediscover their language and are revolutionising an artistic representation of their lived experiences. Sard has two main objectives: reclaiming the language, and discovering a visual identity.
Sehaq queer refugees group
Sehaq Queer Refugees Group is a refugee-led collective that raises awareness, hosts community events, and creates safe spaces for LGBT*Q asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented people in the Netherlands, and which centres the experiences of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
Show, Don't Tell: the Sex Workers Cinema and Arts Festival
Show, Don't Tell: the Sex Workers Cinema and Arts Festival supports sex workers by focusing on breaking down stigma around sex work and promoting emancipation and empowerment of sex workers. The group is in the process of setting up a 4-day community film and arts festival that will take place in the fall of 2021. By using film and art they help raise voices, tell stories and claim public space for sex workers.
SNAKY ZINE is a self-published political zine focused on socialist feminism, racism, ableism, sexuality, spirituality and community building. The group wants to create a community of people who, regardless of differences in everyday life experiences under white heterosexist patriarchy, share similar values. These values are rooted in a politics of equity, care and solidarity and resulted in the making of a zine. Two issues on the themes healing and movement have been already printed.
Stories of Womanhood
Stories of Womanhood is a recurring full evening programme in which women have a platform to tell personal stories about 'womanhood' through the creative arts. The programming consists of theatre, music, spoken word, a short lecture, poetry and art. It is held in different cities, while seeking collaboration with local initiatives with similar objectives.
The Sapphic Network
The Sapphic network aims to vocalise the struggle of LBTQ women who are seeking asylum or have been granted refuge in the Netherlands. The network is producing a documentary which aims to shed light on these stories, to make their struggle visible and to show the thriving of those who were able to stay and build a new life.
Chaos Press (Uitgeverij Chaos) is a not-for-profit intersectional feminist press agency and platform. In 2020 and 2021 Chaos Press is working on guiding and publishing different literary works by young authors who have not previously been published in the Netherlands. Chaos Press will be releasing a series of essays in the context of the new exhibition in Showroom Mama called 'On Collective Care & Togetherness'. This collection of essays will be selected through an online open call where people are free to submit their work. This publication will be a collective effort with critical reflections on healthcare and self care in our capitalist society and propose new ways to shape care in collective ways.
Eindje0Filter (Unapologetic Radio)
Eindje0Filter is a weekly local radio show in Eindhoven, that aims to grow into a platform with its own events. Eindje0Filter wants to raise awareness about different themes at the intersection of racism, feminism and LGBTQIA+ issues. By making space for the voices from their communities to be heard, the group hopes to reach an audience that has not or barely been reached in the South of the Netherlands until now.
Voices2connect creates a safe environment for second generation Dutch youth with a migration background to discuss the search and balance of their various identities. Voices2connect wants to create a social media platform where people can share their own stories and experiences on several topics where two cultures can collide (e.g. dating, sexuality, gender, menstruation, family connection and clothing style). They also want to encourage Dutch youth without a migration background (in recent generations) to share their experiences. By creating the platform, Voices2connect hopes to stimulate young people to better understand each other and engage in conversation about often stigmatised topics.