A packed hall of 400 ladies from various parishes of Bangalore participated with great enthusiasm, in a very unique and awe inspiring programme to celebrate International Women’s Day at Paalanna Bhavana on 8th March 2020.
The chief guest Faye D’Souza, a charismatic, outspoken journalist and TV anchor, special guest Donna Fernandez of Vimochana and Brinda Adige a well known human rights activist, spoke on topics pertaining to women’s empowerment.
The day began with a special prayer by Mrs. Elaine Menezes, a senior member of the Women’s Commission and the head of the Organizing Committee.
Msgr. Rev. Jayanathan, the Vicar General, addressed the audience and appreciated the role of women in church and society, especially their orientation to service. Rev. Fr. Cyril Victor, the Coordinator for the Women’s Commission spoke on the theme for International Women’s Year, #EACHFOREQUAL and how the church is working towards the empowerment of women through various interventions.
Mrs. Lorna Lobo, Secretary of the Women’s Commission, spoke on the Vision, Mission and Objectives of the Women’s Commission in the Archdiocese of Bangalore. She shared about the SPARKLE program being conducted in the parishes for creating a platform for women to connect, communicate and co-create actions and forming a Women’s Cell to address the needs of Women and girl children at parish level. This would ensure that the women of our parish would be empowered and bring in a change in their family and society at large through focused programs and skill building initiatives.
Faye D’Souza touched upon many pertinent subjects, Gender inequality at work, home and in society. She encouraged mothers to raise their girl children to be fearless, ambitious and relentless in their quest to attain success in their chosen careers. Only then will women succeed in areas like politics where their representation is very small. She credited her mother with giving her the invaluable values of honesty and hard work, which have made her successful in her career.
She also asked women to support each other in every setback they may encounter and asked each of us to provide sustenance and proper nutrition to the girl child of the economically challenged. Only then can our country and girls rise up and prosper and make the necessary change in a male dominated society. Women are a powerhouse of strength who have always served others. Their talents and abilities are not always given due regard. She ended her talk by asking us to assert ourselves and stand up for our rights in society.
Mrs. Donna Fernandez, the founder of Vimochana, a powerful speaker, came straight to the point and spoke of how valiant Indian women assert themselves when they see an unjust law being promulgated. She asked the ladies to lend support to those who are bravely continuing their resistance of this new law being implemented by peaceful Dharnas and refusing to provide documentation to prove their ancestry. It would exclude women who are widowed, divorced or single as once a woman marries, very often she loses her identity and is only known as the wife of the man she marries.
Brinda Adige, the third speaker spoke in Kannada for the benefit of some ladies in the audience, on the need for women to be given a chance to make independent decisions. This would enhance women’s safety in a society that still is unsafe, particularly for young working women.
Priya Francis, the Joint Secretary of Women’s Commission hosted Faye’s talk session and moderated the audience questions to the speakers in the panel.
Annice Joseph spoke on Breaking Stereotypes, followed by Edwina Pereira’s presentation on Prevention of Child Abuse.
A beautiful tribal dance programme by the Medical Mission Sisters and short skit preceded the Eucharistic celebration which was con-celebrated by His Grace Most Rev. Peter Machado.
His Grace spoke of the great contribution women have made in the church and in all spheres of life. He emphasized that in this year dedicated to the poor in society, we women could do a lot to help alleviate their suffering.
After the Eucharistic celebration, His Grace commended the organizers of the women’s day event. He was hopeful of the Women’s Commission cells being started in a great number of the parishes by next year.
We especially thank the organizing team headed by Elaine Menezes along with Lorna Lobo, who worked relentlessly with their handful of dedicated volunteers to ensure the success of the event. A very big thank you to Fr. Cyril Victor and Elvis for their solid support every step of the way.
When we work for the glory of God and trust in His divine intervention, the result is always a BIG resounding success!
Secretary - Women’s Commission