Every year on 8 March, the day is earmarked as a day to raise awareness on the plight of women on the face of discrimination, oppression, abuse, violence and injustice. “Equality for Women is progress for all” 2014’s theme validates the tremendous achievements women have made in economic, social and political dynamics, when access to education, technology and health care inter alia are provided without prejudice.
All Bhutanese in spirit and action came together on this day to testify their support for holistic growth for women. Across the nation, RENEW through a network of dedicated volunteers observed the day, celebrating the roles women play and/or have played in shaping lives positively; in homes, schools, offices and public spheres.
The main event was held in Haa at Gongzin Ugyen Dorji Higher Secondary School with her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuk’s presence. From Haa, addressing the nation, Her Majesty, the President of RENEW and UNFPA’s Goodwill Ambassador vouched her interminable support to empower women against abuse and violent transgressions.
Joining efforts, across the nation we saw volunteers organize public presentations and talks events in schools and public spaces. Banners were hoisted across thoroughfares and posters were displayed for all to see at public gathering spaces. Stop Domestic Violence stickers were distributed to general public by volunteers. The awareness campaigns were varied, colorful and impactful, all at the same time.
Volunteers from Trashigang together with Sherubste College students & faculty, district government officials, and Jameling Higher Secondary School organized a sensitization walk. Besides that, they also outdid themselves by organizing cultural shows and skits on Gender Based Violence.
In Bumthang, the volunteer’s program extended to having sit-in talks with 22 dancers from 3 drayangs, sensitizing them about HIV/AIDs and STIs.
To commemorate the day, the volunteers in Chhukha observed the day in Chhukha Higher Secondary School. To mark the day extraordinarily, the school’s academic award day function was organized to coincide with the day. Parents of students also participated in the awareness drive.
Chhukha Hydropower project volunteers in collaboration with Wangchhu Middle Secondary School organized an all girls football match to commemorate the day.
To further their commitment to empower women, volunteers in Pemagatshel decided to scientifically celebrate; they set up a free medical camp where almost 200 women were counseled and medically diagnosed. They did an analysis on Women’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and Blood Pressure (BP). 60% of the women who visited the camp were found to have high levels of BMI and BP, much beyond the ideal level. This initiative encouraged women to lead healthier lifestyles.
Enthusiastic Phuentsholing volunteers conducted an awareness meet involving Drayang girls, school students, teachers and general public.
Jointly the team of volunteers in Samtse organized an educational program in Samtse Higher Secondary School. Her Majesty’s statement was read out in the morning assembly and posters/banners were displayed across the school premises.
With the purpose to sensitize our young minds, the volunteers of Sarpang District got together students of Sarpang Lower & Higher Schools, Losal Gatsh, Kuendrup and Pelrithang Higher Secondary Schools. The volunteers spoke about RENEW and its services that render help to Domestic Violence victims.
In Thimphu, the volunteer together with other organisations organized a musical concert with prominent female singers performing in it. Huge crowds gathered in the Coronation Park to show their support for the day. Across Thimphu, schools read out Her Majesty’s statement in morning assemblies.
In Tsirang, the volunteers made presentations and organized sharing of experiences of women violence to the participants. Key speakers were invited to give talks to the audience. New volunteers came forward to commit their effort for violence against women.
An engaging debate on the day’s theme “Equality for women is progress for all” was organized in Bajo Higher Secondary School by Wangdue Volunteers.
In Zhemgang Higher Secondary School, students made pictorial decorations of inspiring women and displayed them on the school bulletin boards. Towards evening, a skit on the theme of the day was played out by students.
Punakha volunteers organized a theme based drama competition in Punakha Higher Secondary school.
These were few of the many creative ways in which RENEW volunteers (both adult and youth) observed the Day. Volunteer’s hard work and undying commitment make it possible for RENEW to spread awareness on violence against women and promote gender equality to all corners of the nation despite limited resources.