President’s Message April 2022

Dear FIWAL Friends

I hope you have all been enjoying the early warm Spring weather, perfectly timed for all the Spring celebrations of Holi, Nowruz, Passover and of course Easter this month. Over the years, March has developed into a month of events around International Women’s Day (IWD) so I have had a very full and inspiring month! 

FIWAL started off the IWD celebrations with an uplifting concert – “A Celebration of Women in Music” – with wonderful performances by the Barcarolle Choir and Alla Sirenko. FIWAL was delighted to play a role in raising awareness of the situation in Ukraine with coverage of Alla Sirenko, UCA-UK and the concert on Channel 4 news. We raised £2220 on the night including a £522 donation from FIWAL for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. The donations were very well utilised with funds going directly to Lviv for the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate Monastery who hosted refugees from the East of Ukraine. One of the Sisters is a doctor in a local hospital; much needed medicine and medical equipment was sent there. UCA-UK will continue to work with volunteers to send food and medical supplies directly to Ukraine.

On IWD itself, the Australian Women’s Club hosted a most enjoyable and interesting event at Australia House.  We were treated not only to their delicious cakes but also toexcellent talks by the Deputy High Commissioner, Julie Heckscher and business leader, Samantha Barber. Eachgave us insights into their experience in male dominated work environments. That week I was also invited to join two international Zoom events by WOW Founder, Jude Kelly and a book launch hosted by Malala Yousafzai for the book,“Empowered”, by Vee Kativhu. I would highly recommend this book for young women everywhere. With Zoom allowing input from across the world, it was a truly global experience.

The 17th March was a busy day which started with the FIWAL Member reps Zoom where the topic discussed was Events – these sessions have proved to be very valuable as they encourage a useful exchange of ideas and concerns that can be shared and discussed between the Member reps and FIWAL. Looking forward to many more!

This was immediately followed by a most uplifting and inspiring IWD event by ASAHCA on “Breaking the Bias” at the Ghanian High Commission – all three speakers were exceptional women from the fields of medicine, civil service and corporates. We were also treated to a delicious lunch of African delicacies. Congratulations to ASAHCA President, Tina Owusu-Ankomah on organising a very special afternoon. 

Finally, PAWA had their IWD event at The Nehru Centre, on “Fabulous Foodpreneurs” – a discussion by threeenterprising Asian women in the F&B industry. It was enlightening to hear that despite the obstacles they faced and the bias they experienced, they had all achieved success within that industry.

After all these events, I certainly feel that women are “Breaking the Bias” across all fields and I feel very positive about the future for women. Nevertheless, we must not forget the women in conflict zones across the world in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and many more who are struggling to survive each day. Every little bit does help,so as well as fundraising, all our efforts to raise awareness by giving women a voice will make a huge difference to our place in the world as well as future generations of girls.

Looking ahead we have some exciting plans to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee so keep the 7th of June free!

Wishing everyone a very special Easter!

Zehan Albakri 
President of FIWAL

president@fiwal.org.uk
fiwal.org.uk 

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