This year’s MAUK International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration was one with a difference. On Saturday, 25th March 2017, over one hundred ladies attended the all-day free event held at Kerala House, which resonated the IWD theme for this year- #BeBoldForChange. The ambitious vision for this event was to build on the previous successes of MAUK IWD events but also offer a new, refreshing approach with an aim to attract new faces- particularly ladies from the younger generation and the wider community. Ultimately, the aspiration was to inspire and empower all the ladies who attended to perhaps take up a new hobby, try a challenge, make healthy lifestyle changes, learn something new, treat themselves, be safer in the streets and to take care of their mind, body and soul.
There were lots in store from 10 am including a variety of appealing workshops such as Yoga by Yasmine (Gate7 Yoga), Bharathanatyam by Santosh Nair, Mohiniattam by Kalamandalam Shruthi, Bollywood Dance by Ashlyn Mathews, Exercise to Music by Vimala Pereira, Self-Defense for Women by Sev Necati, Mindfulness by Dr Hena Vijayan and Health Check by Dr Seema Sivaprasad.
In addition, since the following day was Mother’s Day, there were also opportunities to treat mothers to some well-deserved pampering, indulging and luxuries including Hair & Beauty treatments by Swapna Libi, Saree Sales by ‘Theertha’ online designer studio, Cake stall by Ramya Kiran and Rohoney Dayanand and Henna by Bebi A Rahman. There was also an awe-inspiring Art Gallery featuring a collection of creative pieces by artistic ladies in the community- including paintings by Theresa Gregory and fabric art and wall hangings by elderly ladies at the 60+ Sisters Club. For lunch, idiappam was served with the much-favoured delectable home-cooked traditional Kerala-style chicken stew and vegetable stew made by Anupama Sojan.
The evening unfolded with a sensational stage show compered by Seena Ajish featuring local and blossoming talents. Following a 2-minute silence to pay respects for the victims of the recent terrorist attack in London and the welcome song, our chief guest, Cllr Rokshana Fiaz inaugurated the programme by lighting the lamp with Sheeba Anil and Rajeswari Sadasivan.
Other performances included singing, dancing, skits, kavitha (performance poetry) and kadhaprasangam (story-telling). The ages of performers ranged from 7 years to 70+ years, which made hearts smile. Motivational short clips were played in between performances to raise awareness about the history of IWD, inspirational women in history and the first women to achieve various things e.g. fly to space (Valentina Tereshkova, 1963) or to win a Noble Prize in Physics (Marie Curie, 1903).
Two outstanding ladies from the community were each presented with the ‘Inspirational Individual Award’- Mrs Sheeba Anil for her commendable efforts and astounding achievements to sincerely serve the community through her successful businesses and Miss Neethu Haridas for being the first female footballer from the Malayalee community in the UK to have graced the game and reached league level thanks to her tenacious desire to succeed.
The Raffle Draw prizes included a Micheal Kors hand bag, a stunning saree from ‘Theertha’ online designer studio, a facial from Guchi’s Beauty and a meal for two at ‘Uncle Joe’s Jerk’ restaurant. Donations were welcomed to raise funds for ‘Breast Cancer Now’ and to show their support, ladies wore pink. Over £250 was raised. MAUK would like to extend heartfelt thanks to ‘Adukala’ for sponsoring the delicious dinner as well as the main sponsors for the event- Sam Travels and Westbrook Lawyers. Also, MAUK sincerely thank ‘Oasis Sound & Light’ and Anupama Sojan for the Photography. Finally, MAUK would like to express the warmest gratitude to all the dedicated volunteers for their valuable time, commitment and support to make this event a great success.