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Case Study of Mujeres Supervivientes – Spain

Ruth Simsa - Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) - Vienna (Austria)

Abstract: Mujeres Supervivientes (Surviving Women) is a non-profit organization offering diverse services for victims of gender violence. Additionally, it runs the soup kitchen ‘Food and Company.’ To generate further income, in 2015 it started selling organic wines with the goal to sustainably finance the services offered to women. The organization is situated in a social centre called Pumarejo. Activists had fought against the building of a luxury hotel in this old building, and since 2009 it has been leased to civil society initiatives by the government. It hosts 17 initiatives such the platform for mortgage victims, a food-market, a soup kitchen, political groups, social support for refugees, cultural events, workshops, and a social currency. Further, the organization Mujeres Supervivientes is interlinked with the network Social Market Spain , a network of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services for entities of the social and solidary economy. Just in Madrid it consists of about 120 organizations and 500 individual members. It offers advocacy and support of social entrepreneurs and runs its own social currency (boniato). Further, it is imbedded in the network of the Spanish Alternative and Solidary Economy (REAS red alterantiva solidaria). Moreover, it is linked to the social movement 15M, which started in 2011, protesting against corruption, against the grave social situation characterized by high unemployment, poverty and evictions, and for more political participation. In spite of the small size, Mujeres Supervivientes is an interesting case of a social movement organization that introduced itself successfully into the field of social service provision. The social context of the organization is a situation of grave domestic violence against women in the country. Between 1999 and 2015, 990 people died because of gender-based violence. Further, the economic and financial crisis that has led to an increase in poverty all over Europe, including hunger and malnutrition. Spain, by October 2014, had 55 food banks in total, with the numbers of people depending on them having increased to 1.5 million. Mujeres Supervivientes was founded in 2012 by six women, who had been victims of gender violence. It mainly works with women who have survived domestic violence. Currently, the organization is serving about 120 women, offering individual advice, programs for empowerment, self-esteem or self-defence workshops, legal advice, and therapy, job-training for women who have left their husbands because of domestic violence, and cultural activities like dance or photo workshops. Further, the organization is engaged in political work, such as the organization of protests, a radio program, and information on topics related to violence against women. Apart from donations, it receives 300€ per month for 1 year from the local government. In 2015, the wine retail business was established.