International Women’s Day 2017- Be Bold For Change
The last public International Women’s Day Celebration that I celebrated was at Trashigang in 2011 under the auspices of RENEW Bhutan. I was coordinating an Art Competition amongst the students from various schools. Since then I have celebrated the day very quietly either treating myself to a good massage in a saloon or cooking my favourite dish at home. Either ways I always tried to pamper myself on this day. On some days I treated myself to a full new set of attire that I had always wanted to wear. And I tell you awesome women out there, it really feels good to be treating and pampering yourself.
2017 International Women’s Day on March 8 is one I have embraced it wholeheartedly. The fact that the campaign theme for the year happened to be ‘Be Bold For Change’ made me bold I guess. The theme for 2017 International Women’s Day is “Women in the Changing Work Place- Planet 50-50 by 2030.
The moment I decided that I would indefinitely celebrate the day with the inmates of Dawakha gave me some kind of inspiration- something that you feel from the deepest core of your heart. And immediately I made a post on FB seeking for financial support to uplift the spirit of the women who feel they are outcast and treated differently. My only wish was to celebrate the day with them so as to empower them and make them feel that they are no different from anyone of us and that they too can live a life like anyone of us.
I felt overwhelmed with the support that I got from all walks of life to help these women celebrate the day. Today if I celebrated the international Women’s Day, it is due to all those caring souls that made it possible and happen. With your generous contribution, I have been able to support the female inmates of not only Dawakha but also Tshimasham female inmates as well the residents of Tshimasham to celebrate the day. A big THANK YOU to all who made it possible. (Shall post a list separately when I am done with the final list)
I celebrated the day with the inmates of Dawaka Open Air Programme along with Ashi Mendarawa Dorji, Sonam Choden Tenzin and Tashi Payden Tshering. In the company of some amazing women!!!
We easily joined in the laughter and smiles of the females colleagues who were filled with joy and excitement. They swayed their beautiful moves to the music of Boedra, Zhungdra, Rigsar and Lhotsampa Dance. They played games starting from musical chairs to marble and spoon race to brain test for the NFE learners. And most of all we ate continuously from the time we reached there till the time we departed. All those yummy stuffs were prepared by themselves with each one taking the role over their speciality.
It was a day filled with love, respect, fun and encouragement for each other as we blended in together.
Here is my English version of the talk, which I actually delivered in DZONGKHA to a group of female colleagues at Dawakha:
Dear fellow women,
A huge Tashi Delek to you all on the International Women’s Day. My colleagues and I are very privileged to be escorting Ashi Mendarawa Dorji who has come to grace the International Women’s Day with you all as a Chief Guest. Ashi has supported us with Nu.10,000 for the programme.
You may be wondering who the other two ladies are here wth us. We have with us Sonam Choden Tenzin who is also one of our greatest sponsors. She works in BNBL and she managed to collect Nu.11, 555 for today’s programme from the staff of BNBL.
Besides them, we have supporters from all walks of life for this programme. We have many generous people who came forward to support our today’s programme.
As we come together to celebrate this day here, let me tell you that your colleagues along with the residents of Tshimasham are celebrating the day too.
I want you all to know that it is the benevolence, kindness, love and compassion of His Majesty The King who wished that his fellow women be given a second chance to redeem, reform and rehabilitate by being in the open air as opposed to being locked up in traditional cell. Thus, it was in July 12, 2013 that 52 of you got the opportunity to breathe fresh air and be as open in all its sense of openness. You were given the gift of being in a programme called ‘Agriculture Based Female Open Air.’ It was the progarmme designed to prepare you all for a life after prison. To make you all ready to fit in the society. To ready you all to be part and parcel of the society so that you don’t feel out cast, ignored and left out.
By this very gesture of His Majesty, you all should feel grateful and pave a way towards being a responsible person so that everyday life out here becomes easier for everyone. The fact that you have been given a second chance in itself should be your guide to lead a daily responsible life. And how can you show that gratitude for the gift that has come from the throne? It is simple. All you have to do is follow the rules and regulations of the system, be disciplined in your every day life affair, listen to and cooperate with your supervisor, and maintain cordial relationship with your colleagues thereby making life easier for everyone here.
Today I want you all to know that every person who are in prison are not a bad person, it is just that their one bad decision brought them here. You change that one bad decision and you are like anyone of us who are living freely.
Also remember that not all who go to prison are criminals. Deep down all human beings are good, all human beings have compassionate heart and not all human beings intend to do bad things intentionally.
Many of you may be feeling sad, frustrated and depressed. Many of you may have your husbands leave you, many may not have family and siblings visiting you and you may feel let down. You may think of resorting to many evil ways to over come these emotional humdrum by getting into drugs, and alcohol and may end up being further punished.
All I want to tell you today is to focus on your positive talents, skills and knowledge. There are many things that you can do here. You are surrounded by beautiful nature and many of you are talented and skilled. I just saw how beautiful and smart you are, how beautifully you all dance and how beautifully you all have displayed your talents and skills in the forms of many products.
Well, this is the area you have to focus on. Remember that when you get out of here, you should be able to integrate with the mainstream society and deal with people out there and live your life. There is so much you all can do here. Those of you who are educated and learned can either read books or write essays and poems. Who knows by the time you come out of here, you may even become an author having published all the works that you have composed during your stay here. Remember, Cervantes published his most famous book ‘Don Quixote’ while in prison.
Those of you who are skilled in weaving can focus on weaving, those who are talented in knitting can focus on that area, and those of you who are skilled in making products out` of waste materials can come up with different products. Channelize your energies in such areas which will benefit you all in the long run. If you need help in marketing the products, I will be more than happy to support you all in this area.
There are many famous people who have been in prison and its ok to be here. So focus on your positive outlooks, focus on your skills and talents whenever you feel sad and depressed.
I want you to know that International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March through out the world to commemorate and celebrate the success and achievements of women in social, economic and political arena of women. However, over the years the day has not only come to celebrate such success but also to pay our love and respect to women across the word for the role that they play for just being a woman.
It is on such occasion and day that only a woman can come forward to support another. That’s why we are here to celebrate the day with you all to show our support.
Today I am glad to have this opportunity to celebrate the day with you all- my fellow women beings. Its such a privilege and a huge satisfaction to know that you and I can together celebrate the day and be one in all and all in one.