The project


THE RAILWAY DIARIES A women’s epic journey along the Silk Road

What does The Railway Diaries consist of? The Railway Diaries is a documentary movie, which retraces part of the ancient Silk Road, without aiming to unveil its glorious past but the peoples that enliven it.
This long Path has been taken by men and women for years and, since the beginning, it has widened their cultural, commercial and political knowledge and bound together lands not as far away from each other as these people might have thought at first. Today, because of immigration and terrorism issues, borders are sadly often looked on and built as physical barriers meant to separate similar and adjacent realities. What we want to achieve with “The Railway Diaries”, and in general with Nawart Press association, is the circulation of different, less stereotyped and more coloured, information from the one conveyed by the mainstream media. Moreover, we want to give a face and a voice to ordinary people, who don’t usually get the chance to speak, in order to go back to the traditional idea that cultural exchange is about enriching people instead of dividing them.
In the present time, as people rush from place to place and can’t stop looking at what and whom is around them, as old borders cease to exist and are being redefined, and wars and conflicts spread rapidly under different ideological flags, this issue couldn’t be more sensitive and concerns each of us closely.

The Railway Diaries consists in a personal and modern Silk Road, featured by a new and mainly feminine outlook.
We will start our journey on May 2, 2015 and we will get back home on August 15, 2015. The decision to start our run in Venice and finish it in Almaty (Kazakhstan), and to leave aside Italy and China, hails from our will to focus on those legendary, but mostly unknown, middle lands and their peoples.

A journey ONLY BY LAND

Horizontality – meant both as constant sharing and absence of hierarchy – is a concept we are very keen on and, if it’s essential for the relationship we would like to establish with all those, who – hopefully – will follow and comment upon our feats, it is also a benchmark for our journey.

For this reason, we will travel by train. In fact, trains are tantamount to slowness, endless movement and repositioning, as well as multiculturalism. On each train car we will collect stories and opinions from a wide range of local people.

Telling the culture of a place through THE EYES OF ITS WOMEN

In rural and often patriarchal contexts, men used to spend most of their time out of their households because of wars, trades and private or public meetings, and women were in charge of the hearth. For this reason, women turned into the keepers and transmitters of legends, cults, and peculiarities typical of each of their communities and it is with them, and through their eyes, that we want to retrace this journey and dig deep into several multi-faceted cultures.

What is The Railway Diaries going to produce?

Each story will be told through articles, documentaries, and photographic reportages that will be published on news media outlets, radios and TVs. Surely, we will share all the contents with whomever will be following our project thanks to our blog. For each stopover we identified several different female stories: we will deal with ethnic and religious minorities, such as the female Rom community in Kosovo or the Zoroastrian female priests in Iran; we will unveil ancient traditions, such as the ones of the Sworn Virgins in Albania, and explore the lives and achievements of the female mayors in Turkish Kurdistan. And much more. We will dig deep into the women’s daily lives and their trades in the Uzbek countryside, or into the artistic and cultural avant-gardes in Kazakhstan. We will add more places and stories on the way, according to what we will find out during our journey and our resources.

Who is Nawart Press?

The Railway Diaries was born together with Nawart Press and would be meaningless without it.
We knew that we wanted to create an association based on the traditional values of journalistic ethics, not subordinate to anyone and focused on those stories often disregarded by the mainstream media – and that’s why we created Nawart.
We also knew that, in order to make people understand our real intentions, we had to expose ourselves through a common journalistic project, which reflected our vision of life and journalism and – why not - our female outlook, and that’s when we came up with The Railway Diaries.

Why the crowdfunding and why you?
Because crowdfunding means collective participation to a certain project and it was natural for us to adopt this alternative form of financing.

Because it is with you and for you that Nawart was born and is now taking off.

Because in this historical period of time it is important to take a challenge, and to believe in a solid idea and share it with all those who, like us, think that it is still possible to realise independent, original and accurate information. We will undertake this journey with you thanks to a collection of updated blog posts, pictures, articles and first-hand testimonies.

All the money we will collect will be used to cover our travel expenses and nothing will be allocated to our salaries. The higher the final budget will get, the better and more extensive our research and work on the ground will be. Again, the amount of money collected from this crowd funding will help us start our journey and, together with the agreements we will tie with Italian and foreign news media outlets, will allow us to cover only our travel expenses.

Nawart Press – The journalistic project

Nawart Press was born on March 8, 2015 from an idea conceived in December by three young freelance journalists with different but complementary personal and professional backgrounds. It was just a usual evening in Cairo, when Giulia, Costanza and Eleonora gathered on the balcony of their flat and, while sipping a beer, had an epiphany. “Why can’t we use the individual experience we gained in the field to realise something new, which really represents our personal idea of journalism without, for once, having to bend to any rules and stereotypes?” they wondered.
Giulia and Costanza cut their teeth at, where they learnt what the strong and weak points of any team work are; Eleonora boasted about working by herself but, in the deep of her heart, she couldn’t wait to find the right fellows with whom to take a challenge. Despite their collaborations with news media outlets, such as The Atlantic, Limes, La Repubblica or Middle East Eye, the crises in the publishing sector was giving them a hard time.

Nawart is a collective of independent journalists who, because the world has always been their oyster, decided to focus their work on the foreign affairs. Nawart is a beautiful, poetic and almost lyric Egyptian expression, which means, “you lit” and, in the current days, is used to return a compliment to the person who made it, making him feel welcomed, and loved.
For us “nawart” means putting our work of journalists to use of those people and stories that are rarely given a face and a voice, “enlightening them” and making them feel not only considered and appreciated, but also loved.