today is officially named international women’s day to celebrate equality for women, from simply being more appreciated, respected and loved to acknowledging economic, social and political achievements – i think that every day should be like this whether you are female or not!
i admire that quite a few of my girlfriends have changed their careers and now are amazing therapists – nutritionist, osteopathy, pilates, hygienist, psychotherapist and now acupuncture – plus i get to learn more about natural therapy and am treated to more alternatives to standard medicine!
i love that women are not challenged by anything – dont ever think that you are too old to start something new! i was inspired by the fact that Julia Margaret Cameron started her photography career at 48.
The incredibly prolific and inspiring American poet, author of seven autobiographies, actress, civil-rights activist, producer and director passed away in 2014, leaving behind a huge volume of work celebrating black beauty, the strength of women, and the human spirit. In 2017 her life was celebrated in the documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, which featured interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Quincy Jones and Maya Angelou herself.
‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
i started to volunteer at the bay tree centre in brixton 3 years ago – a centre for women and their daughters of all nationalities to go and learn english, further their studies in the essentials of education – reading, science and other skills, but also fun activities like cooking, dancing and art. there is a strong emphasis on social inclusion, encouraging equality in development and supporting them to think out of their box and achieve whatever their dreams may desire. after school, the centre serves for the local ethnic children whose parents don’t speak much English and need help with their homework and studies, but in the day, the centre helps refugee children who are awaiting school places. it reminds me of my own life, from a single ethnic mother whose father departed when I was five leaving my mother to work long hours as a waitress to feed three young children; I had to look after my 2 younger brothers, get them to school – she was never able to go to parents evening, nobody to help with my homework, she could barely speak English but then I never wanted for anything, there was always food on the table and clothes when I needed them. through sheer hard work, a lot of luck and determination, I have risen to middle-class life in london with my own family and yes three homes – two of which are mortgaged entirely to the bank, but at least they give me a purpose, a retreat for my family, a small income and they pay for themselves. i get criticised a lot about this, but at least they are creative spaces that I share, as I do with my blog, with others. i would have loved a centre like Baytree, but I dont think that these type of places existed then. they say its harder to get jobs now and to get onto the housing ladder – and this is definitely so in london, but out of london I think its still possible, you just have to want it and work towards it.
I have now volunteered an extra hour teaching maths and English to these girls – all at different levels and stages, so there is always a need for extra volunteers – you only need to offer an hour a week, every little helps. you don’t have to be a qualified teacher – I have no training – you just have to be enthusiastic and patient – but its very rewarding.