World Council 2019 day 1: Building on the lives of the women who have gone before us

What an eventful first day it was. We have heard many great speakers at the first day, we voted on the first documents and we had great discussions in the hall way. It was the opening day of the World YWCA Council 2019.

Our delegation consists of three, our lovely president and two young ladies. We are inspired by the cultures all the YWCA sisters have shared with us and especially, we feel very much welcomed by South Africa. Land of singing, dancing (which I cannot stop doing), speaking, listening and inspiration.

We starting our day with the worship. Which was led by a female pastor and was full of African tradition. Like the calabash, which gave women a strong connection with their body, mind and soul. The theme was building on the lives of the women who have gone before us. And how true is that? Our mothers and grandmothers paved the way for us so that we could have a better future, so that we could develop. Let us not forget and mostly give thanks to them.

This first day we had the presentation of the Presidential candidates (from Nigeria, Palestine and Canada) and treasurer candidates (from India and Australia). We heard their ideas about how we should thrive for justice, freedom and equality, how funding is a major topic within our organisation, that we should work for a sustainable organisation for all and that we come from an outstanding legacy.

Also we have been part of the road to the elections. One of our delegation members, Jeannette, is running for the nominations committee and one delegation member, Dieke (Alberdina Hendrika), is running for the board. This means we have meet and greets, people ask questions and we are meeting a lot of you to talk. The past board has done an incredible job in crucial times. Women from 18 different countries and 10 different time zones came together online and in person to lead our world movement. Four years of dedication.

We had to vote on some of the documents, like the Ways of Working. We gave feedback on this document before the Council and we are so happy with the result. We thank our board members a lot to have done such a great job to organise a good Council. Also we had the report of our President which also talked about hard times we are going through, but besides that we are keeping our head up and our hearts strong.

After our sessions, we as a delegation worked on our Power Session. This Tuesday during lunch break, we will host a Power Session on Economic Empowerment. All the wealth in the world is only held for 5% by women. This means for us we still have a way to go and we still can empower each other to be economically aware and participating. We hope we can energise some of the women in only 30 minutes of the essence of this topic. We have prepared a very nice quiz for you! J

Our evening was so much energizing, fun and happy. The South Africans gave us an African welcome with singing and dancing, and some phenomenal speakers. The Minister of Agriculture of South Africa, Hon. Angela Thokozile Didiza, was a keynote speaker. She talked about empowerment, how women should be and are already strong and present. We had a great dinner together where we can connect with a lot of you and mostly dance.

We are very tired but very satisfied with our first day. I hope this gives and impression of the Council. We will try to upload these blogs daily.

Written by Dieke (Alberdina Hendrika) Hengelaar

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