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Stichting Bayanihan (Netherlands) Celebrates International Women’s Day 2017

By Myra Colis and Yukari Shiozaki
Photo credits: Salome aan den Toorn-Panoy
Utrecht-The Netherlands
March 23, 2017


Filipinas, Dare to Use Your Strength!

Every year, Stichting Bayanihan celebrates the International Women’s Day in line with the mission of The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (also known as UN Women) to advance gender equality and women empowerment.

On March 11, 2017, Bayanihan spearheaded the gathering of Filipinas at the Driegeneratiecentrum in Utrecht to celebrate the strength of Filipinas in the country.

In her welcoming remarks, Bayanihan Chairperson and Social Cultural Worker Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza indicated that though gender equality is still far from reach, women’s commitment to act now and sow the seeds of change from where we stand at present is absolutely necessary.

“If I can do it, so can you,” exhorted Belen as she concluded her inspirational talk. “In the case of writing, nobody is old to be a writer. Who knows? Even before the decade ends, we shall be having another book presentation from one of us.”

Following the talk was the workshop session; participants were grouped into four and each member gets an opportunity to share her (or his) own success story, elaborate on the qualities or strengths that helped her/him to get there, and further exchange ideas and tips on how each one can enhance those qualities and strengths to become more empowered or be an inspiration for others.

Among the top common responses in terms of the next action points to be done to further achieve concrete results were as follows:
1.    Stay focused and determined to achieve what you set your mind to do. Set your goals, know your priorities, and stay motivated.
2.    Get to know yourself more. Everyday is a learning opportunity. Make the best of it whenever you can, wherever you are and whatever you do.
3.    When things go wrong, take time to reflect on what went wrong. Be forgiving to yourself and work things out to make that wrong right.
4.    Connect or stay connected with the community. It’s an important step in your settlement and integration process.
5.    Keep your faith in God strong by knowing more about Him through bible studies and counseling. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13), so in all things give thanks (1Thessalonians 5:18).
6.    Take care of yourself! Be careful that you don’t get caught selflessly taking care of others and forgetting to look after yourself. The healthier and in better shape you are (mind, body and soul), the more effective and efficient can you look after the people and matters you care about.

As usual, a Filipino gathering won’t be complete without a salu-salo (community eating). This time, it’s a merienda, combining the Dutch style (coffee and tea with biscuits) with that of the Philippine style (homemade, traidtional Philippine snacks). The spirit of encouragement and assertiveness filled the room as everyone- the participants, Bayanihan Board, organizing team, volunteers, friends and family- brought this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day to a successful, happy ending.

Till next year! Ipagpatuloy natin ang diwa ng Bayanihan!

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