Good Shepherd celebrates International Women's Day

'Think equal, build smart, innovate for change'

Each year Good Shepherd communities and organisations around the world celebrate International Women's Day. It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The 2019 theme Think equal, build smart, innovate for change focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

Photo - celebrations in Myanmar

'No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half of its citizens.'   Michelle Obama

 

Central East India

Celebration of International Women’s Day in Amaravathi, Central East India gathered 362 women, 129 youth from 3 Mandals (Blocks) namely Amaravathi, Krosuru and Pedakurapadu. A Public Meeting was held, and a range of speakers included eminent Government officials and Social Activists.

In her special address, local Good Shepherd Community Leader Sr Aruna George stressed that we are now living in a different kind of world where people are quite fast in exchanging ideas, concepts and concerns through different media. It all sounds good but when the same communication is used for bringing division and hatred among different sections of people, then we need to pay close attention.

A Reflection  We notice the absence of peace everywhere and we strongly feel the need to celebrate its presence everywhere. As persons conscious of the absence of peace, we all need to come together to build a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play, all the time and everywhere. We cannot achieve the Sustainable Goals without the women. The call now is to be responsive to equality, prepared for building a better world for all of us. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are now entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. Above all, let love rule the world, making it a place for all the living and the non-living. Equal rights; equal opportunities; and progress for all.

Full Programme

Click here for the full programme, including photos, submitted by Mr John Aruldass.

2019 IWD in Amaravathi, CEIN

 

Singapore

Good Shepherd Centre (GSC) in Singapore runs a temporary shelter for women and children. mostly from abusive /crisis situations.  At the Centre we brainstormed how we can translate this theme to our women and children. Before we can even speak about equality, innovation and change, do our women, who had suffered prolonged abuse, even value and honour their self-worth and womanhood?

  • Can they see themselves as contributors and actors for change, rather than passive recipients of policies and services?

  • How can we include our children by breaking down these big words so that it becomes relevant for them?

  • At what age do we believe that they can 'Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change?'

With these questions in mind, GSC structured our IWD celebration according to these themes. The women attended a programme which allowed them to affirm themselves, their womanhood, as well as those of other women. They were then invited to dig deep into the wisdom of their life experiences and reflect on the changes that they were prepared to make in order to enrich their lives, their families’ life and that of the world. Concurrently, the children aged 4 to 9 had a separate programme to learn about equality, respect, gratitude, children’s rights, and change through fun and games. The programme concluded with the children choreographing a meaningful dance to perform in front of their mothers, entitled 'The Greatest Love of All'.       

The programme ended not only with a greater appreciation and respect for womanhood but also fostered stronger bonds among the residents while strengthening relationships between the mothers and children.

Full programme

Click here for the full programme, including photos, submitted by Sr Fiona Yeo

2019 IWD in Singapore

 

Malaysia

Celebrating 2019 International Women’s Day in Kg Narayat in Sabah, Malaysia was a community event participated in by more than 100 residents on 16 March 2019. The theme #Balanceforbetter was lived out with equal sharing of responsibilities. To honour the women in their lives, the men took to the kitchen to see to the food preparation while the women took leadership in organizing fun activities that promoted fellowship, unity and positive competition. 

Dr Evelyn Sungip, a local medical doctor and our resource person officiated at the celebration. She spoke passionately about the potential and value of women succeeding in their various roles.  She encouraged them to be courageous in pursuing their dreams and to recognize their capabilities and life experience as a strength that could move them forward and help them to secure a better future for themselves as well as their families.  She also spoke on the need for parents to complement each other and share equal responsibilities in nurturing their children and not to be restricted by stereotype gender-roles.  This drew loud applause from the crowd.  She cheekily pointed out that men working in the kitchen marks the changing times!

Submitted by Sr Sandra Masilang

More photos

Click here - 2019 IWD in Sabah, Malaysia