The Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian women in the diaspora is an initiative to empower women in the diaspora to become agents of change in the Colombian peace process and in their host countries, hosted by Conciliation Resources in London.
At a time when Colombia is building its collective memory and addressing the legacies of its violent past, these women of the diaspora have a crucial role to play. The migration experience has equipped them with skills, knowledge, sensitivity and a certain world-view – helpful in the quest for building a more peaceful, democratic and inclusive Colombian society and enabling them to contribute greatly to their host countries.
During more than 50 years of war, hundreds of thousands of Colombians left their homeland. The journey of migration has been long, and often painful. Conciliation Resources works to support women of the Colombian diaspora to share their stories, memories and hopes and to claim a place and a voice in the county's peace process.
The recent referendum on the peace deal in Colombia has polarised Colombian society, demonstrating more than ever the need for national dialogue and reconciliation among the Colombian people.
The work that the TMR Commission has rescued the rituality inherited from the traditional cultures that are part of the Colombian identity. Rituals in dance, creative exercises, and representation of traditional ceremonies emerged from the group, allowing the closure of painful experiences and absent mournings, the development of skills used to get through life and build ties of hope and renewed vitality. We have used a wide range of rituals, from rites with Christian to Shamanic characteristics: fire, burnt of past experiences and sowing of everything we want to close and end.
The rituals have become a crucial activity of our work, as they have made us conscious that we connect with the female line of our ancestors, recognising acts of violence suffered by them and traumas we have inherited throughout generations.
The conversations, the written stories, and the listening exercise have created spaces for dialogue with family members - alive and from the past. For us, the healing is perceived as a spiritual need that looks for ways of expressing and building peace.