Every year May 1st, Bahrain celebrates International Labour Day, in this day Bahrain Women Association for Human Development (BWA) celebrates this day appreciating the continuous and unlimited giving of Bahraini women, what they do, and the love and sacrifices they make. This is to support them towards more development, more education and awareness, and to encourage them to take part important roles for their society and nation.
“The most wonderful work is serving other people, regardless to whom they are, their age, wealth, religion or sex, but as human God created equal”, this was an opinion expressed about volunteer work, by a member in (BWA), Mrs. Jameela Al Sairafi. It’s the duty of the human being towards the world, a view shared by most of BWA’s members, considering their role in the human development as a slogan and mission away from narrowing themselves into minor, specific women issues.
In this occasion, BWA presents this report introducing some pioneer members, whom with their courage and great will, were able to achieve their goals and become role models that BWA is proud to speak about in this special day.
Benefit for “all”, rather than just for “one”
Starting with Mrs Dekrayat Sanad’s experience: “Since I joined BWA and in particular “Be Free” program related to children’s’ issues, I learned many things. I learnt values, self-development in terms of knowledge, literacy, social relationships, logistic and artistic skills”. She continues “The most important thing I gained, was the way I viewed the whole world equally, that because our association was never sectarian, but serves every human who cares for humanity. BWA has a global vision and cares for the whole world”
Dekrayat also emphasised on the highly respected values BWA enjoys, like caring for the all rather than for one only, that personal matters evolve when stand against the benefit of others, volunteer’s work depends mainly on caring for others, respecting them and their rights, and looking at their differences as blesses and benefits to this world.
Mrs Masooma Al Matrook, another BWA member, thinks that every human should seek to develop him/her self as a general rule, “that’s what I am continuously doing” she said. After joining the association, her self-confidence raised and developed in many aspects. She feels that the huge jump she had is: being more skilful and able to handle and prioritise tough issues.
She mentioned “Unbounded Women” program in BWA taught her more about women rights, roles and perspectives. This made her spread awareness among her family, friends and people around. On the other hand, when she joined “Be-Free” program, it taught her children rights, proper treatment, and this has helped her lot in her career as a teacher.
A dream come fact… and the impossible has become reality
It worth mentioning the achievement of Eman Al Asfoor, another BWA whom always thought of success as an impossible, and only considers success when huge and massive results are notice worldwide. Thus, this thought had imprisoned her for years and made her think it was never possible to make any success. Through her membership in BWA she realized that success may be achieved in different ways, by overcoming the obstacles, by accomplishing many small tasks needed by others, and this makes the person an achiever.
She added “First I learned a program that could help me design booklets and magazines, that’s was my beginning, over time my skill improved and I become BWA designer for different projects. It helped me massively to change the way I see myself, I became more confident and much stronger than before.
Fadheela Hammad, another active member at BWA, spoke about her experience saying: “In life, me and everyone wish their dreams to become true, and there are those who reached their dreams and make the impossible possible and tangible, but how?
Also, there are those whom stood beside you to achieve your dream?”
“Bahrain Women Association offered me different opportunities to learn and gain more skills. On the personal perspective, my self confidence increased through participating in many conference committees held by BWA, or in international conferences. I came to realize my skills, and was able to achieve my intellectual goals, improve my writing skills, and participate in writing articles; some were published in “Be-Free” program newsletter”
Ultimately, dreams are achievable once you decide to achieve them, obstacles do exist and can be overcome, and then your dreams are achieved.
“My participation in radio program was one of my biggest impossible! I never expected myself doing it. Now I can proudly say I participated in MANY!,
I also have conducted a workshop outside Bahrain, viewed by more than 100 men and women.” said Fadheela. Without the bitter taste and overcoming obstacles you would never know what success was.
Serving the community with spirit of humanity
Fatima Mohammed Jassim, a BWA member was happy and proud, because she found herself in the volunteer work that raised her self-esteem, and enabled her to reach her goals.
Fatima says: “I started my volunteer work at BWA believing that every person is part of the society, as a thread in a web, each should give as he/she takes and should produces as consumes. I enjoyed my volunteer work a lot, I was growing with every goal I achieved, and my happiness was increasing with my achievements. I learned that the work you dont expect anything in return, is what gives you joy and pleasure”.
But challenges are there facing Fatima trying to delay her progress in the Association’s work, especially those regarding to her job and her family commitments.
“I had to face them gradually and wisely, so I decided to manage my responsibilities with prioritization and time management, and it worked. I finally succeeded, managed my commitments, and achieve work-life harmony” said Fatima.
Social and Financial burdens
Zainab Abdul Aziz, another member at BWA faced some severe financial problems that could prevent her taking a role in the society, but when BWA established, she joined the “White Hand” program, which aims to take care of those having chronic diseases like sickle cells, as to support them in their education. At that time, Zainab’s main challenge was transport issue. “I chose a neighborhood child and used to visit him once a week and established great relationship with his family as well. I then managed to have another child from a nearby village, whom I was walking to his house. When the holy month of Ramadan started, I had to make my visits at night, yet that didn’t stop me from doing my duty”
A BWA member, preferred not to mention her name, joined the association at its beginning in 2001, she faced several social issues within her community, due to lack of knowledge about volunteer work and its importance.
She said: “I believed in the importance of volunteer work, and that believe was growing, making me able to perform on more than one scale, home and work. Later, I faced bigger problems forcing me to choose between work and volunteered tasks, yet, I chose to continue with both and to overcome obstacles. At present, I feel I am doing all I could, and had proven to myself and others that hard work will make us reach our dreams.”
The path to find yourself
Najah Ismaeel, a (BWA) member who was very special, she was trying to find her way through volunteer work. Finding one’s self is hard due to the many problems and challenges one might face. This was typical for Najah, but she chose to move with her determination and commitment regardless of all difficulties. She managed to succeed and lit her way through, expressing this success as: “yes, I found my destiny, my lost dream, I’ve always asked myself: why do I seek volunteer work all the time? I got confused with the answer, but later, I found it… it’s the real life; it’s like oxygenfor the living souls and adds a lot to your spirit!
Before, I used to ask myself: who I am? What can I give? And was lacking self-confidence, but now I became different, I am much more positive and enthusiastic about life”.
But what does Najah do when she faces majeure circumstances?Or when problems surround her?
She replied: “I remind myself that I have a task calling me with love, this gives me a wonderful feeling, and suddenly I feel that I can overcome challenges, and soon I am back to norm considering my lovely work as my life which I care for the most. With this attitude life is different; it’s optimistic, spiritual and makes me a better person”.
A final word: the stories shared simply illustrate the different challenges faced by women. Some consider them huge; others view them as small and easy. Challenges also varies from social, financial, intellectual, and religious… but once a woman believes that she is an important figure, and had the enough courage, she can make a change to overcome her challenges, and will definitely achieve her human role successfully.