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22 Mar 2016


Community event empowers women

Cupcakes were popular at Banksia Road Public School on International Women’s Day.

Stakeholders at the March 8 event included Breast Screen NSW, Baptist Care, Bankstown Women’s Health Centre, TAFE South West Sydney Institute, Legal Aid NSW, the Older Women’s Network, the Multicultural Network, Metro Assist, Navitas, Bankstown Community Resource Group, Ability Links, Greenacre Area Community Centre and the Melkite Catholic Welfare Association.

Noelene Holten provided local Aboriginal women’s stories, Cheeki Jean the clown painted children’s hands and faces, and a female constable from Bankstown Police spoke about opportunities for women in the police force as well the role of police in addressing domestic violence.

Information was provided about diabetes, including assessment tools and diabetes prevention, and South West Sydney Legal Centre provided information about legal services available in the region.

Juliette Kirkwood from Bankstown Women’s Health Centre gave a workshop on belly dance therapy (which certainly seemed therapeutic for those who participated).

Ms Kirkwood said by focusing on holistic women’s health, the health centre was taking care of women’s bodies, minds and hearts.

Break Thru People Solutions gave a drumming workshop, Pat Wilcock from Cowboy Cha Cha taught some line dances and Mountaha’s Helping Hand, a non-profit organisation assisting local families in need, contributed to lunch.

Breast cancer survivor Kerrie Newcombe spoke on a number of women’s issues, including gender equality, violence in marriage, family breakdown and responsibility for parenting.

She said smiling and conversation was important for connection with other women and emphasised how much support for women there was available in the community.

The day attracted nearly 200 women and 50 children. Mothers were laughing, smiling and having a good time while their children were entertained in the kids’ activities area.

Many women in attendance were pampered by a Henna tattoo artist and some were lucky enough to win a mini facial.

Volunteers helped at the event in many ways. Banksia Road Community Hub was busy baking and decorating cupcakes days before the event. Sales from the cupcake stall raised $257 for the hub.

Ms Boutros said, “The vibe was positive throughout the day, with the involvement of many warm, lovely women from all walks of life.”

She said, “The event was a sure way to empower women, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”

The feedback received from participants was rewarding, she said.

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