International Women’s Day is a really important movement as it brings to the fore many issues around the world and also gets a lot of people thinking and acting on behalf of certain causes. This year, I would like to highlight the Join Me on the Bridge campaign which everyone can become involved with…
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an important day for women worldwide, celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. As well as a day to celebrate achievements, it is a day to remind the world of how far we still have to come in the fight for global gender equality.
As Women for Women International’s founder Zainab Salbi says: “we envision a world where no one is abused, poor, illiterate or marginalised; where members of communities have full and equal participation in the processes that ensure their health, well-being and economic independence; and where everyone has the freedom to define the scope of their life, their future and strive to achieve their full potential.” Join me on the Bridge is part of our fight to achieve this goal.
Join me on the Bridge began in 2010 when women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda joined together on the bridge connecting their two countries, showing that they could build the bridges of peace and hope for the future. This action sparked a massive global movement, involving thousands of people on hundreds of bridges worldwide. Bridge events have taken place in all the countries Women for Women International work with: Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria and South Sudan. Women survivors of war in these countries have lived through unimaginable suffering and hardship, but they find the strength and courage to call out for change and demand peace and equality for themselves and their loved ones. Join Me on the Bridge asks people to stand with these women on International Women’s Day (March 8th), to show support and solidarity for their struggle and to raise awareness of their plight.
We ask people to stand with women like Lucienne M’Maroyi, a participant in one of the Women for Women International programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lucienne is a 24-year-old mother of three who was raped, kidnapped and forced to watch the murder of her brother during an attack on her village in December 2006. After eventually escaping her kidnappers she was shunned by her husband when she returned to him. Without her husband she had no way of supporting herself and her children, which is when she found Women for Women International. The programme she enrolled in gave her the skills to earn a living and live independently. As Lucienne told us: “Joining the programme has been a salvation. My children were suffering from malnutrition, but since I began receiving training and learned about the three types of food that need to be part of good nutrition, my life has changed and my children are healthy.”
Join me on the Bridge is an important campaign for women like Lucienne as it lets them know they are not alone, and that women all over the world will support them in their fight to build a safer world for themselves and their families.
There will be events taking place globally from Canada to Tasmania, so check the Join Me on the Bridge website to find an event close to you. Our flagship UK event in London will be starting at 10:30am on the south side of the Millennium Bridge. From here the march will go on to the Royal Festival Hall, arriving at 12:30 for speeches, stalls and entertainment – all are welcome to join. The event is open to everyone and the organisation also encourages you to organise your own event, there is a variety of resources available to help you, including a free organiser’s toolkit. Your event can be as big or small as you like, and can be organised at any time of day to suit you.
There is also information on how to fundraise at your event, to raise money to sponsor a woman through one of our programmes. No matter what size your event, every person standing for peace on March 8th will make a difference.
Thanks for Sarah from WWI for providing this information, and do let me know if you are going and I will meet you there.