With the number of humanitarian crises on the rise globally, we owe it to ourselves to remain politically and economically aware of current affairs profoundly impacting our lives day by day. Nowadays, our TV screens are dominated by reality TV but the true reality is, there is an abundance of cruel suffering around the world amongst those who live in a society where freedom of speech does not exist, their mere existence is to simply survive for their families. This painful reality is not something regularly promoted on TV. It is far from entertaining but real and hits a nerve in us all that somewhere over a seemingly hopeful rainbow, there are many unfortunate souls on the other side who just want to be heard and set free from their silent pain. To the contrary, what is so inspiring and gives hope is that there are organisations, and individuals who have enough influence to make a difference to those who are fighting in silence for survival. That said, as part of an empowering international campaign named #SheInspiresMe Dance, Women for Women International established in 1993, have teamed up with Jo Manoukian, owner of Jo’s Dance and a Women for Women International supporter, to host a star-studded evening of dance and fundraising, on 25th January 2017 at Cafe de Paris in London, incorporating dance as a means of self-expression.
Women for Women International have supported 447,000 of the most socially excluded women survivors of war in such countries has Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Kosovo, Iraq, Rwanda and South Sudan.
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There is an urgent need to support women survivors of war which is proving to be an ongoing battle. Just recently, I watched a very moving documentary on BBC Three about Yezidi women fighting against ISIS on the frontline. Such women have faced extreme violence such as rape and witnessed their families being slaughtered right before their very eyes. Why did I choose to watch this instead of Celebrity Big Brother? Because, I have a constant need to educate my mind about the current state of the world which will, without a doubt, affect the future of our children.
In order to learn more about #SheInspiresMe Dance, I managed to secure a telephone interview with Jo considering her hectic schedule. I felt pretty inspired after our chat. Born and raised in Newport, Wales, Jo comes from a working-class background. Jo admits it was tough at times due to the financial struggles with which both Jo and her peers were up against. Jo is now a proud mother of four children. She always had a passion for dance which began as a form of exercise having “evolved organically” into classes that her close friends soon attended. Over a lunch meeting with Brita Fernandez -Schmidt, Executive Director Women for Women International – UK, #SheInspiresMe Dance was born. There was a natural synergy between the ethos of Women for Women International, being to educate women and provide them with confidence, and Jo’s creative vision to develop self-confidence through such a skill as dance.
From Jo’s experience as a dance instructor, dance is “like therapy” to a lot of women who attend her classes consisting of a diverse mix of women from different professional backgrounds. According to Jo, her dance classes help “women to have control over their lives who are the force behind encouraging the family” This can only be done with confidence which #SheInspiresMe Dance promotes. Jo mentioned one raw truth in particular that made me feel so grateful for the simple things in life – good times with friends and family – being that many women in war-inflicted countries are “dehumanised never knowing what they are entitled to, not having the freedom to be their own person” These touching words make you feel even more determined to support such a wonderful cause. Through Women for Women International’s 12-month program, women learn about their rights, as well as key life, vocational and business skills to break down the many barriers caused by poverty.
#SheInspiresMe Dance will feature an exclusive dance experience taught by skilled instructors of West London dance studio Jo’s Dance. Guests will enjoy a drinks reception and canapés. Tickets cost £200 and proceeds raised from this event will support Women for Women International’s work with women in some of the world’s most violently threatening countries. Click HERE to find out more about the event and to purchase tickets.
“Dance is such a wonderful way of celebrating life and expressing our individuality. Often when I travel to Africa, women will greet me with a song and dance. And I always think how powerful it could be if we all danced more – and now thanks to Jo we will and the funds raised from this remarkable evening will support the inspirational women in our programmes in countries affected by conflict across the world; providing the crucial support, practical skills and knowledge to inspire change” Brita Fernandez Schmidt, Executive Director Women for Women International – UK
Written by @Styleiconnat | The Lifestyle Collective – “A unique expression of a creative power” | Feature image sourced from The Business Woman | For ticket info please visit: www.womenforwomen.org.uk