6th women Conference: Empowering women is the only choice

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Caritas Pakistan conducted 6th Women Conference at Loyola hall, Lahore on October 5, 2019. Over 150 women participated from different fields of life to raise the voice of empowerment and motivation. The guests also viewed the exhibition by Caritas Pakistan Karachi Skill Training Center and Albayrak Waste Management.

Mr. Amir Irfan (National Coordinator – Livelihood and Food Security Program Caritas Pakistan) presented brief introduction of the Caritas Pakistan and its contribution towards community development. “The purpose of organizing women conference is to provide a platform especially to marginalized females to build confidence and to find appropriate solutions of the issues being faced by them” he said while emphasizing the importance of 6th women conference. “Let’s learn from each other and acknowledge our services. Sometimes women themselves exploit fellow females. You are the agent of change.”

Rabia Tariq National Program Officer Women Empowerment, Social Harmony and Special Education shared about Caritas initiatives for women empowerment in the last five years. A documentary on role of women in Caritas Pakistan programs was later aired at the conference. Two panel discussions were later held. The beneficiaries including teachers, women farmers presented their testimonies that how Caritas Pakistan has played a fruitful part in their lives.  

Ms. Anila Gill National Coordinator Caritas Initiative for Education Promotion CIEP facilitated the second panel discussion. Ms. Saadia Rafiq Assistant Communication Manager Albayrak Waste Management stressed upon changing mindset. She introduced a mascot sweeper and urged all to treat them with dignity.

Professor Rabia Shahzadi from Lahore College For Women University LCWU detailed the effects of climate change on social and economic situation of women. Miss Tazeen from Kashf Foundation spoked about microfinance and women entrepreneurship. Miss Jaha Aara, a psychologist, urged women to accept each other.

Sana Komal Communication Officer Caritas Pakistan National Secretariat presented a resolution on behalf of all the participants. The seminar resolution expressed a “joint” commitment to implement the learnings and share them with their community, family and friends.

“We shall promote social awareness, kitchen gardening and sustainable farming among women. They can play a positive role in strengthening families, reorganizing old groups, combating climate change and raising voice against abuse of women rights,” the resolution said. “A better care of livestock can help in decreasing food shortage. Caritas Pakistan announces to build a women forum to support the progress of females.”

Aneel Mushtaq Executive Secretary Caritas Pakistan Faisalabad, Samuel Clement. Executive Secretary at Caritas Pakistan Multan, Manshad Asghar Executive Secretary Caritas Pakistan Hyderabad and Mansha Noor Executive Secretary Caritas Pakistan Karachi also highlighted women services in their respective dioceses.

They later joined Mr. Amjad in unveiling the new t-shirts of Caritas Pakistan. The t-shirts were later distributed among the participants. Mr. Amjad Gulzar also handed over souvenirs among the distinguished guests. Expressing his commitment to environment, he updated about the One Million Tree Campaign that ends this December.

“So far we have planted about 9, 50,000 trees all over the country. It is equally important to own the plants in your surroundings,” he said. “Women have always been focused in all of our programs. We shall further coordinate with Catholic Women Organization to hold similar programs. These objectives will become part of our Four year Strategic Planning,” he said.

His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore concluded the event by appreciated the ongoing programs. “Women make a better society, they are skilled in budget management. Still they face many challenges,” he said highlighting the importance of Laudato Si (Pope Francis’s encyclical on care for our common home).     

“Everybody is talking about it. It saddens me to see running taps wasting water all day. This is a social sin, stop taking these essential commodities for granted. Let us start struggle against adulteration. Such conferences should also be organized in slums and villages.”