Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
When I got news that I had been awarded the scholarship to participate in the Rotary Peace Program, the first person I called was my mother. I like to think that even in a small way I can be like her, in some ways I am. Remembering the lesson on the 10 roles of thirdsiders, I see my mother as a Provider, Bridge builder, teacher, mediator, equalizer, healer, a witness and a Peacekeeper.
She would protect young girls from being raped while out at night, she would always let them know the dangers of walking out alone at night. She did this knowing very well she can be a target for the criminals. The first words that she said after sharing the news with her was, we thank God. She is more religious than I am.
Working in South Sudan and Kenya, I had experience on women related programs however I still knew I needed to learn a lot more. This program continues to sharpen my knowledge, I feel am getting more equipped to be able to engage much more and much better with women in a much more meaningful way.
In one of the trips in Northern Thailand, where we met women who shared with us some of the work they do and the challenges they face, it was somehow similar to some of the challenges that we in Africa face especially in Kenya and South Sudan where it’s a patriarchy society. But I have also seen how strategies, patience and focus can change a challenging situation into to a fruitful result, and am hopeful that these women fighting for conservation together with men will also get the results they are hoping for.
The International Women’s Day event was equally an eye opener on the issues affecting women in the South of Thailand. Every minute counts, the creativity involved in sharing stories from 3 bold women as well as questions and answers all in two solid hours was a takeaway. These women being aware of self protecting even with risks involved.
Women and men in our class directly or indirectly touching the lives of women in the areas they work in, the two amazing ladies who make sure we are fed and working in a clean environment. The Centre staff working round the clock to make sure the program is running smoothly and the Host counselors who care for us as family. Am simply grateful.
After the program I see myself more energized to work much more with women as we engage with men to continue filling up our space as women at the decision making table at all levels.
Jane Wambui Wanjiru – Kenya
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 22