President’s Message January 2022

Dear FIWAL Friends

As another historic year ends, I hope that you have had some quality time with your family this Festive season as well as a restful and relaxing break. Hopefully you have managed to dodge the Omicron variant but if not and your symptoms are mild than the old remedies for colds seem to work well – lots of lemon and honey drinks, rest, fresh air and stay warm. Of course, if you have any serious concerns then do seek medical advice.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your support of FIWAL these past twelve months. It has been another tough year and I realise how challenging it has been for all our Member Associations and their communities. However, do take a moment to reflect on everything that you have achieved this last year; in these difficult circumstances, it is easy to dwell on the negatives so do think about all the positives and how you have made a real difference in 2021. 

This last month, I had the honour of attending the Royal Thai Embassy’s National Day celebrations on the 9th December with FIWAL Honorary Secretary, Ameeta. It was such a treat to spend time with the Thai Ambassador and his charming wife, Mrs Thipayasuda Suvanajata who has always been a big supporter of FIWAL. She organised the wonderful Thai Suanplu Choir concert at St Luke’s Chelsea in 2019 and raised funds for FIWAL, PAWA and the Women’s Council. It was lovely to see Rajni Rijal and Lady Butterworth from The Women’s Council there, too.

Looking forward to 2022, we need to stay optimistic that the pandemic is just making us stronger and more resilient, and helping us focus on what really matters like the importance of friendship and support networks. This was so clearly demonstrated at FIWAL’s Festive Tea where women from most of FIWAL’s member associations were represented. We were from all across the world yet we were united by an amazing spirit of understanding, compassion and celebration. I, personally thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you “face to face” and I look forward to more of these special occasions. A big thank you to our gracious and generous host, Mina Alhaidary who organised an excellent afternoon of festivities and raised £1925 for FIWAL and PAWA (Pan Asian Women’s Association) whose main aim is to support teenage girls education in Asia. The funds raised were in honour of Mina’s mother, Nabila Ahmad who passed away last month. Education is a cause close to Mina’s heart as her mother started the Alreshad School in Baghdad that educated children from all levels of society regardless of religion.

Unfortunately our next event, a FIWAL concert, jointly organised with the Barcarolle Choir and the Ukrainian Cultural Association, planned for the 28th January, will now be postponed due to the increase in Covid cases. Such a pity but do look out for the new date which we will announce soon. In the meantime, please join us on Zoom for the Member reps meeting and our next Board meeting on 8th February 2022.

Wishing you and your loved ones peace and joy and a wonderful start to 2022!

Warm wishes,
Zehan Albakri 
President of FIWAL

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