Monday, February 27, 2006


I was asked to write a piece on Italy (for the leading partners) obviously all the juicy bits of the trip are missing and this is more work orientated but it is still a taste of the trip. I am leaving the honour of writing the fun aspects of the trip to MD including pictures.

I left Manchester on a cold rainy day to arrive to a somewhat less cold but nevertheless rainy Pisa. Getting to Livorno was rather straightforward once I found an English speaking attendantAs the sole traveller on the bus from Pisa to Livorno I was able to converse with the driver and learn more about Livorno. However my Italian was limited to a few food names and phrases that I had learnt prior to boarding the plane. The driver could speak as much English then I knew Italian. But armed with an Italian/English phrase book and abundant enthusiasm we talked (to the back drop of the back street boys on the radio).

Livorno is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno and the third-largest port on the western coast of Italy. Having arrived at the bus station, I took a Taxi to Hotel Europa located at the heart of livorno and within walking distance of most things and if not I discovered the number 1 bus, which proved to be invaluable.
The first day’s work shop was held in the Provinca de la Livorno office. Maria Giovanna, Silvia Caturegli (Italian representatives) Jana Kondasova, (Czech Republic representative) and I had a very productive day, the discussions centered on the similarities and the differences of partner countries, the insight was fascinating. The pivotal achievement of the day for me was the fixing of common notions and terminologies related to gender discrimination, this would be the basis for all of our future work.

The partners presented the current situation in their countries as did I. We did this through a questionnaire that was provided prior to the visit and we discussed issues such as specific legislation on equal opportunities, disability, national and regional statistics on employment and unemployment as well as any particular issues which are of importance to the country. We spent half a day at a “local study visit”. We were introduced to the innovative Job Centre of Livorno, including the services offered to the various target groups. These groups consisted of women, students, migrants and the disabled. Each service was every specific and was tailored to the needs of each group. We learnt that the job center was built upon the model used by the UK .The working day came to a close at 5pm and we made arrangements to meet up at 8pm to go to dinner.

Prior to the dinner Jana and I took the invaluable number one bus to the sea side, and walked on the promenade as the sunset over the Ligurian Sea. Absolutely beautiful! At 8pm we met at the reception of La Hotel Europa to make our way to have dinner at converted warehouse named “Magizino”. We walked through a tangle of streets, which embroider the town's Venice district. The restaurant was quirky and charming which provided the opportunity for us to get to know each other, we had an excellent time.

The next morning, Jana and I both made it to the La Province building with ease. The first half of the working day was spent discussing the current picture under which women work in the partner countries. The second half consisted of a conference sponsored by the Equal Gender Opportunities provincial advisor office. The speakers a side from myself consisted of Monica Giuntini ( Vicepresident Provincia di livorno) Franco Franco Franchini (President provincial council provincia di livorno) Paolo Nanni ( President Provincia di livorno Sviluppo srl) Graziella Peerfederici ( Presdient provincial committee equal opportunity Livorno) Maria Giovanna Lotti ( Equal Gender opportunities Provincial Advisor). The conference provided a platform to share experiences and discusses challenges; the contribution from the delegates was invaluable. The conference was conducted in Italian which meant I had a personal interpreter. This was a fantastic opportunity.

I am looking forward to the next workshop and the continued work between the partner countries.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I need to be here again ( EGYPT, the Nile seems like it was so long ago and not last august, oh how i miss thee)

I haven’t posted anything for a while and the sad truth is that’s not because of the lack of material but because of the lack of time. I work 3days a week and have a 4days weekend yet I seem to have no time. It’s not helped that my internet provider is having line issue and I can’t access the web from home.

I seem to be doing 20 different things all in one go all the time, but none of them are things that I can tick of my never ending to do list. I am drowning in lists, ever growing ones

I feel that I might be losing the barak (blessing) in my time, I hope not. I obviously need time out (preferably locked in my room) to sift through all that needs doing!!!! I need to learn to say NO and priorities. Do the things that matter i.e. spend quality time with the family, visit the sick, adopt an orphan, the things that bring us closer to Allah and make us feel useful.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ask and thou shall receive (inshallah)

Remember my rather plausible but ultimately cheeky email to the leading partners at my work place (Refer to blog “woohoo”) well it paid off and I have been added to an on-going gender workshop which spans over 5 countries and involves 4 different transnational trips. Alhamdulilah Alhamdulilah Alhamdulilaaahaaaa, I feel a Native deen nasheed coming!

Any way yours truly is re-presenting the UK and as part of the first workshop I went to Italy (Livorno in Tuscany) in January. The remaining 3 transnationals look like this

Country City Month
Hungary Budapest June (2006)
Czech Republic Prague October (2006)
Belgium Brussels February (2007)

Also I am off to Bosnia in April for a 3 ½ days European Muslim youth conference and then in August for the actual conference which is scheduled for 10days (10-20th ).

The way things are going it looks like my blog will be dedicated to bus incidents and European cities. Can’t complain.. Fantastic gap year this is turning into I just need to learn to priorities inshallah

I am going to look up some self-help books or raid my bosses never ending library.