March 7, 2017

creating space for empowerment

Empowerment of women happens when we come together to make safe spaces, physically, mentally and emotionally, for women to choose their path for themselves.

Change can be bold, and it can be nuanced.  It happens in every conversation, in every move.   Creating space for self-determination, and success, by the measure of your choosing, is the key.

Spectrum staff are passionate about creating welcoming spaces.  Staff member Kumari Middleton, says of their new Mayibuye Dance Troupe, “We wanted to create a program where girls could come along, make friends and try new skills. After 6 months the girls decided they really wanted to focus on dance“.  And there begins the start of empowerment.  Choice. Self-determination.  Kumari, a dancer herself for over 20 years was very happy to oblige, “LETS DANCE!”, she said, and Spectrum’s partnership with the inspiring Mayibuye was born.  Mayibuye, empowers young people through performing arts and is established throughout Victoria and in 5 other countries.

In the free program hosted by Spectrum, each week young women aged 14 to 21 years come together in a safe and welcoming space to dance, build confidence and get active.  These culturally diverse young women from Vietnam, Iraq, Eritrea and Ethiopia, may have never had the opportunity nor confidence to join a dance school.  But here, “dance creates a common language and everyone is welcome”, enthuses Kumari.

Ultimately however, the program offers far more than just the space to dance.  Young women come together and build relationships, create support networks, they gain confidence, and the power that hides in the freedom to ask for assistance.  Support workers offer guidance to other services and opportunities for the young women to develop, and grow themselves as individuals.  The goal is for these young women to ultimately contribute their growing skills and leadership, back to their communities.

So as the sun comes down on International Women’s Day, Spectrum is hosting a dinner of celebration, where these young women will own the space they have created for themselves.    They will be performing in front of their family and friends who will see a newfound confidence in each of them.    With any luck, it will be another important step in their journey to feel at home.

#girlsmakeyourmove #thecouchcanwait #feelathome