Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day is commemorated globally. It presents an opportunity for people to celebrate the contribution females make to society, to stand in solidarity with females in need, and to raise awareness of gender equality issues which inhibit the advancement of women.
The theme for this year’s celebration, declared by the United Nations, was ‘Press For Progress’. St Jude’s students and staff were more than willing to raise the roof with words of wisdom and empowering songs at the inaugural International Women’s Day assembly.
Curated by founding members of St Jude’s new Marketing Club, with the support of Ms Pendo, Assistant Deputy of School Values and Welfare at Smith Secondary Campus, students were encouraged to reflect on inspiring females in their own lives, without whom they could not become strong, moral and intellectual leaders.
Zulfa, a Form 5 student, opened the ceremony with a stirring speech entitled My Voice is my Strength.
“With my voice, I am able to spread the word of equality, justice and liberty. I can decrease the rate of poverty by speaking against violence. I can make those who feel low, stand and rise again. It takes a voice to bring back life in areas where oppression has dominated.”
Following Zulfa’s emotive declaration, Yasintha, also in Form 5, took to the podium with a recitation of her original poem, The Conqueror.
“…She rises above her pain, her sorrow, brushes down her worry, gets herself in check, always ready for tomorrow. She is a burning fire. No way is she going to be stifled, left to wither like a rose. They call her ‘Prey’, they call her ‘Nothing’…but I call her ‘The Conqueror’.”
The assembly concluded with a spontaneous eruption of solidarity. Students in Forms 1 and 5 entertained the crowd with songs written by African women. To conclude, they beckoned staff, students and visitors to the stage. More than a hundred people jumped to their feet and joined the choir, raising their voices in collective celebration.
Inspired by the unique event, Mr Emanuel, School Registrar at Smith Secondary Campus, offered an impromptu vote of thanks to students and staff involved with organising the assembly, and some food for thought.
“It is impossible to imagine a world without women. They bring life. To all students, I pose this challenge: what will you do to change this world for the better? How will you make it possible for all females to thrive?”
Form 5 student and Marketing Club President, Lina, quoting her role model, Marianne Williamson, had the perfect response.
“’Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure…we ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world.’”
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