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Women celebrate diversity at Newport event

26 February 2009

Women dressed in traditional costume of their countriesBRCWomen from around the world joined together in Newport to celebrate diversity and the impact women have on their communities at an event organised by the British Red Cross and partner organisations.

The International Women’s Day celebration was held at the Share Centre and organised by the British Red Cross, Newport Local Health Board and Welsh Refugee Council, among others.

Welsh Assembly member Rosemary Butler introduced the day, saying: “Women have played a vital role in all societies throughout history but there is still important work to be done in getting women into decision-making positions in Wales, such as magistrates, assembly members and councillors.”

Celebrating and learning together

As part of the celebration, women performed traditional songs, dances and poems from Wales and around the world. They also showed a film made by young refugees, portraying how they dealt with starting life in a new country, coping not only with the usual teenage pressures but also with exclusion and cultural and language differences. 

The event also provided an opportunity to let women know about services they can access in Wales. A Kurdish women's group, set up by Theresa Mgadzah-Jones from the Red Cross' refugee services and Elizabeth Kalynka from the Welsh Refugee Council, had representatives at the celebration.

Elizabeth, who is also a midwife, explained: "We work closely together to help the women settle into this country and promote equality and diversity. While the Red Cross provides English lessons, I provide health education so that we can ensure both mother and child are getting the care and support they need."

One of the event's participants, Selina Begum from Bangladesh, commended the Red Cross for the work it has done preparing women in Bangladesh for disasters and helping them recover after cyclones and floods.

She said: "We are women here from all corners of the world – different cultures, styles of dress and religions – but we are all united by our humanity."

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