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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.
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.