The song spoke of courage, of determination, of overcoming. Inspiring! I listened to the strange, rhythmic words coming from the elected woman in the village, from time to time looking out at the audience of women and children. The colours of their clothes were vibrant, and I found myself studying the patterns and colour combinations. Yes, it was a good, good day.
Women. Despite the language and cultural barriers, I felt a strong connection with the ladies from a farming village in Chhattisgarh. They had guts, and big smiles to match. Without a translator, we had a conversation about children. I said I had four, three girls and a boy. These two ladies in the picture below had three each, two girls and a boy. Women: we share stories.
Women. They spoke of change. In their village, alcoholism was rife due to the illegal production. The women together, went to the authorities, and were able to abolish alcohol in the village. With this came education for the men who were gambling and drinking, causing violence and abuse in the homes. But no more. Women: we foster change.
Women. During the welcoming chatter, I noticed a conversation between the women and the World Vision staff. Later I found out they were raising some issues, and I LOVED that. I thought YES, this is what women do, we make the most of opportunities, and we talk about stuff. It also was a demonstration of the trust they hold in the World Vision staff, that they felt empowered to speak up and say what wasn’t working. Women: we communicate.
Women. They sang, we sang. They clapped, we clapped. They smiled, we smiled. It was fascinating to see, to feel all lines blur; there was no barriers, no distinction. Them; us: it was just a bunch of women together and THAT is powerful. Women: the power of women together.
These women I’m talking about, are part of an established Women’s Self-Help Group. This World Vision project brings women from a village together, and empowers them to support each other, save money together, and even do business together. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing and my heart sang at how confident these women were and the changes they made, not only to their own families, but the entire community. I felt even more proud to be a women this day. Yes I did.
We were asked to sing a song for them, the only songs we could think of quickly were Advanced Australia Fair and Kookaburra Sits in The Old Gum Tree. Yeah, we totally went with the fun one.
This experience made me think about what I am doing to support women, and what changes I could foster in my own community. It confirmed to me the beautiful thing of women together, supporting and caring for each other. We can do great things. I was inspired to be brave and live with courage, to overcome and grow, to inspire and change, to be a woman.
This piece was originally published on Kelly’s blog, beafunmum.com