This was the theme that the committee of social advocacy of the Hostel, chose for this year’s International Women's Celebration: “I AM A WOMAN OF CHANGE”.
A good number of us, ladies-residents of Loreto Hostel were gathered, together with the SSJ’s- Srs. Ived, Liza and Cecilia. It was a night where we shared, created and danced together. Sr. Ived facilitated our workshop, with the help of the advocay committee.
The highlights of the evening celebration were:
· We shared the memories and treasures that are precious to us…simple things but meaningful to us because of those who gave them to us or that they have been with us for a very long time.
|OUR PRECIOUS MEMORIES|
· We danced our emancipation as women birthed to be Women of Change.
· We sang more than once and reflected upon the song “I AM WOMAN” by Helen Redy… this song helped us to realize that we are strong, we are able to stand up for ourselves and no one is going to keep us down…
This song helped many of us to realize, too, that the International Women’s Day is a legacy from men and women who have advocated the rights of women and have fought for women to have better health care, better education and freedom of expression equal to men.
· Teanne explained to us why the Theme for this year Woman’s Day is Gender Equality … we were invited to be truly women of change and that we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements. And that collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
She also explained how we can all choose to be #EachforEqual.
· We danced with the symbol of Gender equality and were able to express ourselves in relationship to what we want to do as women of change for PNG.
· We then were introduced to the Mandalas… beautiful images of women with different themes in themselves… for some of us the mandala chose us… we were drawn to her… like she was the inner me calling… to others we chose it because it brought back memories of beautiful days… and still others chose it because it spoke about who we want to continue to become.
We were filled with an aura of strength and we did it all together as women creating something new and beautiful… recreating ourselves. We worked on our mandalas creating the image and recreating it. Though some images were repetitive … every single one was unique because that is how we are; unique individuals seeking to work for the good of all.
This part of the workshop we have expressed that for many it was new and very calming… it help us to forget everything and center ourselves in the creating of the image we had in front of us… we were guided through out the exercise with music, words of encouragement as women and bible passages. It was a very good experience.
Some of the ladies also expressed that they liked seeing the Sisters with them doing the Mandalas as well. This part of the mandala concluded with a simple rite of going forward in this year as women of Change… we posted our Mandalas and said out loud “I AM A WOMAN OF CHANGE” and the rest of group answered: YES, YOU ARE A WOMAN OF CHANGE… it was an experience we will not forget.
We were gifted with a small beautiful bag that contained extraordinary things… chocolate, a beautiful hand made flower and a phrase to carry on as women of change.
Afterwards we had our refreshments and chatted about what we had just
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." (Gloria Steinem)