The Women’s Program in 2008 has benefitted young women by providing a common platform from each sub-region to share experiences, exchange ideas and plan of actions to deal with the patriarchal and stereo typical societies, and advocate gender justice effectively in their communities.
Young women have potentials and creativities to bring change and make a difference in their communities. It is important to create space for young women who are vulnerable in our society to come forward and empower themselves by enhancing their leadership potential. They will be the agent of change as they dream for a better world.
This has created awareness and educated women on the emerging trends of trafficking, forced migration, HIV/AIDS and helped to develop skills for critical analysis and different mechanisms to address the issue in their communities. It has enhanced their leadership qualities to work confidently in their community. It has provided them with concrete experiences with the community of women affected by forced Migration, Trafficking, Prostitution, HIV/AIDS, and poverty in general. The theological reflection and contextual Bible studies have strengthen their faith perspective on the issues of suffering women.
Language barrier was another challenge during the programmes. Though we celebrate the diversity of Asia and the Pacific at the same time we are challenged to adopt English as the medium of communication for the programmes. So we had to do additional arrangement for the participants who needed interpretation to express their ideas and participate actively during the programmes
During the individual and group evaluation the participants expressed that the programmes were unique experience for many which was informative and challenging on the issue of forced migration and the inputs were insightful to identify the root causes like patriarchy, social norms, values, culture and traditions that implements or sanctions violence against women in different level. Some of the participants have shared in their evaluation that this programme has an impact in their life which has motivated them and made them strong to work for women in their society. Moreover during this process they felt more confident as women and the programme helped them to change their attitudes and mindset towards the maginalised and oppressed people of the society. Their spirit is uplifted and some of them can work confidently in their leadership roles in the SCMs. They also think that young women are mostly neglected and they should be given more priority and space to articulate for a radical thinking.
Some of the immediate action plans by the participants were—creating space in the local SCMs to share the resources, educate and bring awareness among the student community about their rights as women. And strengthen the movement to work for the gender justice in their community. The exposure to the community has certainly challenged them so they would plan to arrange a similar kind of exposure for the students in the local SCMs to expose the realities and have a live in experience with the community.