By
Su Riddell
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13 March, 2012

Team members Grace from Kenya, Buddhi from Sri Lanka (Photo: Su Riddell)
Team members Grace from Kenya, Buddhi from Sri Lanka (Photo: Su Riddell)
In Oxford and Edinburgh, local Creators of Peace (CoP) teams went to meet other women and discover their concerns at events to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.

In Oxford, Karen Ridley and Su Riddell attended several Women’s Festival events, developing new contacts and meeting women from across the community. We ate Asian food and had our hands hennaed at an Asian Women’s Group celebration. We enjoyed conversations about equality and diversity, the themes of the Festival, with clients of a welfare advice service (for whom Bob Marley figured large.) Karen joined in the dancing to African drums at the ‘women and human rights’ occasion. We ate cake, pilau, samosas, and sushi, washed down with plentiful cups of tea.

With members of our local Creators of Peace team we held a stall as part of a networking occasion for women’s projects

Karen and Buddhi at our stall, Oxford Town Hall (Photo: Su Riddell)
Karen and Buddhi at our stall, Oxford Town Hall (Photo: Su Riddell)
held in East Oxford (the car-plant side of the city) as well as setting up a stall at the main Women’s Festival event in the Town Hall on Women’s Day itself. The two stalls enabled our local team to interact with other local women’s projects, and meet passers-by. We will use these new insights and contacts to develop opportunities for Creators of Peace Circles work in our city.

On both occasions we invited people to add something to our interactive board, on the question reflecting the theme of the Festival, 'What are the ingredients of diversity and equality?'

Conversation at the Cowley Road networking event, Oxford (Photo: Buddhi Munasinghe)
Conversation at the Cowley Road networking event, Oxford (Photo: Buddhi Munasinghe)
Answers were striking. ‘Acknowledgement of privilege.’ ‘Communication.’ ‘Fairness.’ ‘Understanding.’ ‘Love.’ We asked the contributors to tell us a bit more, with the result that behind each word, we found a personal story. Someone wrote ‘Respect.’ When asked why she had chosen it, a story poured out of discrimination leading to ‘redundancy.’ A lady of Indian background wrote ‘Appreciation of others’ and added, 'Tolerance is not enough. It is just not enough. We have to truly appreciate each other.'

In Edinburgh, two of the team supported the Edinburgh Women’s Interfaith Group afternoon. They ‘manned’ the welcome desk at the Edinburgh Women’s Interfaith Group afternoon. Jasmine Perinpanayagam, one of the team, says the afternoon included fruit and juice, drinks and cake, health checks, henna, massage, threading, etc,

Equality and diversity (Photo: Su Riddell)
Equality and diversity (Photo: Su Riddell)
for women from all faiths. She says 'It was excellent and we were on the welcome stall, on which we also placed the CoP leaflet, which went down well. We now have eight names of people interested in joining a peace circle.'

 

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