Council of Ukrainian Muslims

«And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah, and be not divided among yourselv» (Quran, 3:103)

Small Steps That Make Global Changes: Secrets From Participants of “A Woman, Ambassador of Peace” Conference

13.03.2017 / 1947

Greeting speeches, video presentations, proto reports and repetend message “It’s important to search for points of contact, find something that unites us regardless our religious and ethnic background, and get together even if it’s just for a tea party, not to mention solving some problems together” — this was the spirit of an international conference “A Woman, Ambassador of Peace”.

On 11 March, about 150 people came to INCOM conference hall (mostly women, but men were present as well) just to get yet more proof how wrong is the definition “the weaker sex”, and what great strength, both inner and physical, the ladies have. Prominent Ukrainian women (Muslim and non-Muslim), along with guests from Turkey and France shared their stories and experience, socialized and inspired the audience.

Here one could see activists from Women’s Social Organisation “Maryam”, with its Head Kateryna Sapryha presenting a report on their past activities and sharing plans for the future. MP Olha Bohomolets, who stressed that she was standing there wearing a headscarf not for the reason of following some Muslim tradition, but because that has always been an inherent part of a traditional image of any Ukrainian woman before the Soviet regime started raping and oppressing the traditional culture. She told that she decided to start her political career after the shooting on Maidan, where 16 people died in her arms just because it was impossible for her as a medical worker to help them — that was the point when she decided that it was impossible to go on like that and the country needed changes; the system had to be changed from the inside.

Ms.Nalan Dal, an IHH International Institutional Partnerships Coordinator from Turkey, introduced her organisation and stressed that even people who themselves were in difficult circumstances could help others without aggravating their own situation. All they had to do is think out of the box. As an example, she mentioned one experiment of some Turkish housewives who decided to save water as much as possible, and donate the difference between their usual water bill and the bill that came after they had started their challenge to a charity digging wells in roughlands of Africa.

Ms.Olha Bashei, a paramedic, a councillor to the Minister of Defence and a holder of the People’s Hero of Ukraine order, told that women, when on the frontline, provided a great support for men with their very presence there, not to mention medical aid or military action, as they remind their brothers in arms of their mothers, sisters and daughters awaiting for them to return home. This reminiscence gives them strength to carry on in the hardships of battlefield life.

Ms.Kamilia Yunis, a representative of Federation of Islamic Organisations of Europe (FIOE) dedicated her speech to the importance of the role models the children saw every day in their parents’ (especially their mother’s) every word and action — including social service and reaching scientifical, cultural, political, religious and educational goals.

Ruslana Martsynishyna, Headmistress of Gymnasium “Our Future” and holder of Mother-Heroine Order, turned everybody’s attention to the fact that people tended to concentrate on some misfortunes and failed to see the great benefits from that small misfortune, or the greater harm they had avoided because of that small misfortune.

A common thread running through the presentation of PhD in Psychology Yanina Omelchenko was the concept that “A woman makes the emotional climate in the family, and they way she feels will certainly influence the way the whole family feels. A wife gives her husband energy for new achievements; a mother gives her children inspiration to study and conquer the wide world. So never underestimate a woman!”

Ms.Leokadia Herasymenko, Head of the Union of Ukrainian Women spoke about her organisation’s practices of building a constructive dialogue between women from different regions of Ukraine in order to let them see for themselves that we all had much more in common than we ever thought, and together we could make a great input in the social development.

Ms.Gaiana Yuksel, a member of Executive Board of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Head of Department of Crimean Tatar Media Development and Director of the Information Agency QHA, spoke about an extremely difficult and extremely important mission of saving both their own lives, their elders and their offsprings the Crimean Tatar women were on during the 1944 total deportation. She also mentioned how women found themselves in a similar situation nowadays with their husbands, sons and fathers being illegally arrested, kidnapped, tortured and gone missing.

And Maria Karchevych, Head of Department of of Regional Youth Policies and Support for Youth Initiatives at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, spoke about the role the young people played in maintaining and establishing peace.

The informal section, as promised, included a sweet buffet and a tea party, interesting socialisation and casting of lots among those who had registered at the counter beforehand. None of the guests, however, was left without a small keepsake present.


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