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International Women’s Day 2020 #EachforEqual

March 6 - March 8

Our Services throughout Malaysia celebrate The International Women’s Day 2020 #EachforEqual with great fun and creativity!

Outstandingly interesting and inspiring are three young men from our GS Services in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.  Here’s their stories:

On International Women’s Day, three male staff of Good Shepherd Services in Kota Kinabalu  acknowledged that there are many ways they can actively play their part in making gender equality a reality. After having spent the whole morning preparing a lunch celebration for their female colleagues, they’ve come to appreciate that kitchen work is hard work that needs to be valued and appreciated.

 

 

This is what Jay Anderson, Safety Officer ( guitarist) had to say: “I was excited as I felt that this was something that I could contribute to my colleagues. However, marketing proved to be a challenge as I had no patience to scout the market for the freshest and value-for-money produce.  Also, my quantity estimation was totally out which resulted in multiple visits to the market.”

“From my experience, there are many skills and values that men can learn from women. Being the eldest in a family of eight boys, my mother has been a pillar of strength and resilience for us.  She is astute and efficient when it comes to managing the family.  I have a lot to learn from her and the women at GSS”.

“My hope for IWD is that more men will acknowledge, respect and honour the contribution and potential of women and actively create an equal society for all.”

And from  Joewell David, Program Officer for Sustainable livelihood:

“Participating in this initiative was rather daunting due to my limited cooking skills.  Everybody knows that I am a terrible cook. However IWD is a special time for me to show my support for the theme #EachforEqual, I took up the kitchen challenge.”

“I am an only child and grew up thinking that the kitchen was a woman’s place.  Working at GSS have made me more aware about gender issues and I have come to realise that I can be part of the solution by changing my outlook about women.  It’s the effort towards change that counts – just like the effort I am making to celebrate IWD by learning new recipes even though there’s no guarantee that it’s going to taste delicious.” [wink]  “My take from this experience is that we all consciously need to break the stereotyping of roles and see women as equal beings in God’s beautiful creation.”

Russell Rohnn, Youth officer, donning an apron was a first step towards his breaking down prejudices; It was his first time, experiencing the hardships of kitchen,  shared:

“My main role was dish washing which I found it to be tiring and frustrating as the dirty dishes just kept piling up.  Reflecting on this, I do feel bad for my mother and sister who had to see to the cleaning up after each family meal. I promise to help them and also get my brothers to do the same the next time I am back home.”

“Organising the IWD event also challenged my prejudice that IWD celebrations should be led by women themselves.  I was caught off guard when we (the male staff) were assigned the tasks to organise the celebration. I now see the logic of it and believe that we have stepped up well to the challenge. The elaborate lunch spread, song dedication and video speak of the external effort we put in to honour our women colleagues.” “But internally, organising IWD has certainly strengthen our belief for gender equality.  I am unsure if gender equality is achievable in my generation but I am willing to try. Exciting times ahead….”

The above contribution by Chin Poh Choo Director of Good Shepherd Services, Sabah

 

Another Celebration was held a day earlier on 7thMarch 2020 at Kampung Lintuhun, Tambunan Sabah, Malaysia.

Coming together as one big Good Shepherd family, the Women Support Group from 17 villages in the Tambunan district gathered to celebrate and appreciate women for their contribution to their families, communities and nation building. The celebration was made even more meaningful with the presence of their spouses and children.

The objective of this celebration is to increase awareness on women’s rights and to strengthen their collective-sense of belonging and unity.  Fun bonding activities generated an air of festivity, celebration and enjoyment for all.  As a symbolic gesture of solidarity, the women were invited to weave different coloured strips of cloth. Women and their families were encouraged to weave the strips into a plait and then join them up with others to form a circular string signifying their united front and bond of strength.

A plait of each link itself also symbolizes its unity bond is equally strong and important. The strength of the links emphasizes the conscious need to support women be it in the family, community or work place.  The involvement of the family members in weaving the links emphasise the need for them to participate and support the action for gender equality.

 

 

 

During the activity, the women were encouraged to hold high the bond of unity and to stand in solidarity in prayer with many other women whose dignity have been violated or who are suffering silently. In a final act, the women gave a resounding “EachForEqual” exclamation signifying their intense spirit for equality!

 

 

“I truly enjoyed myself and wished this celebration would not end ” said Agnesia James, a member of Women Support Group of Kg Molosun. “We seldom have the opportunity to treat ourselves to such celebrations as most of the time we are busy juggling our responsibilities.  I feel empowered today” she added.

Video Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TbkXydtEqbwMbetFtP6jTR3jUQWG5Iv8/view

By Sister Jossie Sili,  Centre Manager of Women Support Group, Tambunan, Sabah

And more Celebrations started on 6th culminated on 8th March in Ipoh

In Ipoh, Good Shepherd Services – Community Service Centre kicked off as early as  6 March 2020, the celebration of  International Women’s Day by two male members of our team.  They are Kelvin Soimin and Ziffyon Minsun who led a session on the theme #EachforEqual. During the session the staff shared about the women such as their grandmother, mothers and teachers who had been role models in their lives.  The session culminated with the presentation of  a candle, symbolic of ‘light’ to each staff as a way to affirm her / his contribution to gender equality.

Having heard about the celebration of International Women’s Day, later in the evening, four boys made a card each to give to their mothers as a sign of their appreciation for their love and care.

 

 

 

 

 

Another special International Women’s Day  celebration was held on the actual day,  8 March 2020 at the GSS: Community Service Centre to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of women from at-risks Indian community. This appreciation-celebration was attended by nine women. It aimed at increasing  the awareness on the significance of International Women’s Day and the need for an on-going progress towards  a non gender-based violence.

The event started with the women putting their photos onto a world map that has the photos of women in different parts of the world who has contributed to the growth of nations or brought about empowerment, visibility and equality for women.

The women were given information on International Women’s Day and why it is being celebrated internationally on a yearly basis. They were shown a  video entitled MAHILA (Click: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Nsd8JQDMkK4 ). After which they shared what inspired  and/or touched their hearts. They shared about their achievement and how they can do their part as individuals to bring about gender inequality. As a sign of appreciation for who they are and what they have achieved, each woman was given a little cactus plant indicating her care as a mother and her growth in empowerment. This was  followed by a simple fellowship.

“We had a beautiful time celebrating international Women’s Day together. We are so grateful to all of you who joined us for a day to celebrate women’s day and for your encouragement”, said Puspa, a mother of two.

Contributed by : Beatrice Lim, Manager, Good Shepherd Services – Community Service Centre Ipoh

One more celebration at Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ipoh.

Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s League celebrated International Women’s Day for the 4th consecutive year on the 8th of March. The core team members work hard each year to organize and finance this event through sales of plants, jumble sales, breakfast sales etc. They decided to empower themselves to be financially independent and not to depend on the parish to fund us.

They worked around the International theme, “An Equal World is an Enabled World” and adapted it to the given culture and mindset of the women in this particular Parish. The majority of women who signed up for this event are bilingual but more fluent in Tamil than English. The talks are bilingual.

Event Programme

Registration and Door Gifts

Welcome Speech and introduction

Ice breakers

Talk on Self-Motivation

Group discussion and sharing

“Cat Walk” and prices for best dressed.

Closing prayer

Bollywood dance

Dinner

The Speaker for the Event was Helen David, a fairly new team Member. She works for “Amway” and is trained to give talks. Helen has arrived at the highest level of sales – “Diamond”.  She is an empowered woman! Helen is married and is a mother of three children and her husband sells fish in the fish market.

Powerpoint is her presentation of her talk Women Empowerment Helen

During the year there are other programmes such as “Gender Sensitivity” training. This, for obvious reasons, includes men and boys as well.

As the people here are still steeped in the old culture of male dominance, I try to bring about change through a positive approach that does not cause disharmony in families but rather enhance better relationship.

Contributed by: Sr Veronica Anthonysamy, Pastoral Ministry in Ipoh

Details

Start:
March 6
End:
March 8
Event Category: