Each year, starting on November 25th, a total of 16 days are dedicated to promoting awareness of violence against women and culminate on December 10th- International Human Rights Day. Since violence against women is one of the many issues WVN combats, it was a privilege to have been able to present WVN to a chapter of Gamma Phi Beta women at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TX).
As a current Gamma Phi Beta alumnus I was very excited to introduce my fellow sorority sisters to WVN because both WVN and Gamma Phi Beta share something in common. In their own ways whether it be through film screenings worldwide or selling s’mores and hotdogs on campus to raise money, WVN and Gamma Phi Beta ultimately promote resiliency among girls and women. Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy is in fact: Building Strong Girls and WVN’s mission (on a more global scale) aims to empower women. Now that I think of it, I believe that one of the reasons I was so drawn to WVN was because it reminded me of my philanthropic experiences with Gamma Phi Beta. So, naturally when I briefly spoke about my experience with WVN and the part of the world we focus on, my sisters were very excited to learn more.
On November 23rd I was welcomed to one of the chapter’s meetings and since WVN focuses on Muslim-majority societies I wanted to get an idea of how much my sister’s really knew about the MENA region. To start, I pulled up a blank map of countries in the Middle East and North Africa and asked them, “Where is Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, and Iraq…?” Let’s just say a fun geography lesson resulted. Then, I proceeded to ask the women what some of their daily activities were. Some answers consisted of driving to school, shopping, hanging out with boyfriends and going to work. Typical things we don’t even think twice about doing here in States. Much to the their surprise once I informed them of facts such as women being banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, or boyfriends being forbidden in countries like Iran, I could tell my sisters were shocked.
I then went on to introduce WVN’s website and showed them where they could find more information on the region, statistics on women, where they could find upcoming events or learn more via The WVOICE and what they could do to help. I was especially proud to show off WVN’s work on the Global Tour and the films that were created by talented artists that have been and will be showcased. In conjunction with discussing our daily lives I showed three films to my sisters that touched on the daily lives of women in Afghanistan (”Sunglasses” by Mustafa Kia), Morocco (”Empowering Women, Empowering Families,” by Arielle Moss, Liz Vaughn, Myself), and Egypt (”Spring ’89,” by Ayten Amin). After watching the films many favored “Sunglasses” due to the film’s profound effect via simplicity. The struggle between tradition and western ideals was evident in the woman’s desire to simply purchase and wear sunglasses.
Overall, introducing my fellow Gamma Phi Beta sisters to WVN and sharing a common passion was a great way for me to be able to spread awareness and it was fun. I was able to contribute something meaningful while others learned something new. I am now looking forward to what is in store for the month of March - a month dedicated to women.
6300 Ocean Dr
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
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