Building Bridges Peace Through Women
Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
A brief history of Zonta Marian de Forest a playwright and journalist conceived the idea of an organization that would bring together women in executive positions creating a network that would help women reach their rightful places in their professions. Thus Marian inaugurated Zonta's first club in Buffalo, New York on 8th November, 1919. Zonta borrowing its meaning from Nativeâ€“American Sioux people stands for honest and trustworthy. Becoming an epitome of these qualities, over the decades, Zonta International has grown into a worldwide service organization of executives in business and professions working together to advance the status of women. Today Zonta has more than 30,000 members in more than 1,200 clubs in 63 countries all over the world. The first Zonta Club in Sri Lanka, Zonta Club 1 of Colombo, District 25, was launched in Colombo in 1966. Late Lady Evelyn de Soysa was the founding President and Mano Candappa the Charter Secretary. Over the next five decades innumerable are the contributions of these leading women of Colombo through multifaceted interventions on key issues affecting Sri Lankan women. Their inputs have impacted on many issues ranging from policy and legal framework to grass-root level activities. Some of these activities include awareness programmes for women on health, economic, legal and social issues through programmes such as well woman clinics, skills development initiatives, housing, empowering special groups of women, microfinance etc. â€“ all with the goal of advancing the status of women.
01 Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
02 Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
Projects past, present and future of Zonta Club 1 of Colombo
Zonta Club 1 of Colombo provides career guidance/mentoring for young women Through Golden Z – Creating a cohort of capable future women leaders from among female undergraduates who were recognized for their work in Tsunami Rehabilitation, through the Emma Conlan Award by Zonta International Woman in Business, awards and scholarships Support for vulnerable women – in Prisons, Methsevana, Mulleriyawa Microfinance projects – revolving credit fund for women’s businesses in the South, East and Northern Villages Advocacy on GBV – linking with Women In Need and Sri Lanka Medical Association Advocacy on ageing woman Mahaweli Well Water Programme, launched with assistance from UNICEF, 25,000 settlers benefited with 4,000 wells Health Education Programme to benefit the families living in the Mahaweli area Ragama School for differently abled and deprived children Well Woman Clinic for the lower socio–economic groups in urban slum dwellings Among Zonta’s International Programmes are YWPA and ZISWA, partnering with fellow Zonta Clubs, during the Zonta International 91st Birthday Celebrations ‘Young Women in Public Affairs’ successfully held each alternate year by Zonta Club 1 of Colombo Islandwide Zonta ‘Woman of Achievement’ Awards Ceremony conceptualized and implemented by Mano Candappa and conducted annually since the inception of Zonta Club 1 of Colombo 26 years ago A new programme focusing on women affected by conflict in the North and South of Sri Lanka
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04 Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
Building Bridges – Peace through Women Vision of Zonta Club 1 of Colombo To empower women by Building Bridges between the regions of the North and the South of Sri Lanka to strengthen and facilitate the on-going reconciliation process. The programme aptly titled ‘Building Bridges’ is designed around working towards a greater appreciation of the need for healing and reconciliation between individuals and communities who have been directly or indirectly affected by the conflict. We seek to build bridges of friendship, co–operation and strengthen relations between women of the North and the South, enabling them to share their experiences and foster goodwill and understanding. Recognizing the need for economic security, our initiative will initially focus on the provision of basic needs.
Necessity for ‘Building Bridges’ As identified by Zonta Club 1 of Colombo, areas that need urgent attention, support and help are: the lack of income and means to a sustainable livelihood, lack of permanent housing, lack of documentation such as land titles and identity cards, lack of family and social support, physical insecurity, lack of psychosocial support, social and cultural restrictions, school drop outs among female household heads due to financial challenges and conflict within families to name a few.
Targeted goals of ‘Building Bridges’ To join the hands of all Zonta / golden z / z clubs of Sri Lanka to develop partnerships comprised of women leaders to develop common goals in reconciliation. These leaders from both the North and South will be from parallel women’s groups in communities affected by the 30 year conflict. Zonta Club 1 of Colombo will strive towards providing women a partnership function to play a central and sustainable role in the reconstruction and reconciliation process in the North and East with the rest of Sri Lanka. We are confident that this will provide women from different groups an opportunity to work side by side to prevent misunderstanding, mistrust and violence in their communities.
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06 Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
Building Bridges primary areas of focus Housing Years of conflict have caused the homes and their immediate environs to become uninhabitable to women in the Northern Province, where proving title to land and homes are a challenge together with obtaining other lost documents. Housing is therefore seen as the foundation stone in the building blocks to their lives. The initial phase of the programme commenced in October 2012 with the construction of 3 houses for war widows in Jaffna supported by Dr S. Handy. In addition, Zonta Club 1 of Colombo will commence a housing programme to fulfil similar housing needs for impoverished widows with children in the South.
Health Interventions Liaising with the Government health sector to provide health screening, immunization, the nutrition needs of pregnant and lactating mothers, health education, specialized clinics and counselling, as required by the different age groups.
Water, Sanitation and Solar power Many of the areas that some women are living in have dilapidated wells or a complete lack of any means of water; therefore well cleaning repair and water purification with provision for toilets will be provided. Furthermore there will be community mobilization to prevent vector borne diseases. Owing to the remoteness of some of the areas and destruction of existing infrastructure by the conflict in some areas, electricity is to be provided via solar power installation.
Education Literacy programmes for students in areas key to future career growth after school. G.C.E Ord. Level students provided extra help with past papers. Under the twinning schools initiative the programme focuses on creating a link between two schools one in Colombo and the other in the North, with a view to fostering friendships amongst these children. The two schools picked for the first of such initiatives are Bishop's College Colombo and Uduvil Girls School in Jaffna. The project commences in January 2013.
Training Skills development provided for young women through the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA). These women will later be provided opportunities with private institutions under their respective CSR initiatives and training by Zonta professionals in various fields in Business and Industry.
Developing Earning potential They will be assisted with necessary infrastructure, capital and skills development to facilitate them earning a living without delay. Women with sustainable enterprises will be provided access to relevant industry links to further develop and expand their livelihoods. They will also be introduced to finance and banking facilities from reputed organizations. Women with skills training in various areas will be appropriately placed through Zontian links. Joint enterprise will be encouraged to empower and foster partnerships.
Empowerment These women will be provided with qualified personnel to help them obtain advice on issues faced by them while helping them understand what their entitlements are. Women subjected to various forms of abuse will be empowered with the ability to rise above the adversity while they are provided with safe havens. Professional assistance will be provided to women through the Zonta Network, including â€˜Women In Needâ€™ (WIN) to obtain assistance and due resolution to their legal issues.
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08 Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
Desired results of ‘Building Bridges’
Facilitated through the vision of Zonta Club 1 of Colombo Greater awareness of key aspects of reconciliation and peace Recognition of the welfare of women and women-headed households affected by conflict as a major post-conflict challenge Access to housing, water and sanitation facilities Transfer of skills and knowledge to women and the means to a sustainable livelihood Health and psychological needs addressed Education needs met and links with selected schools in the North and South enhanced Greater women’s participation in decision making related to the protection of women and female adolescents and ensuring protection and equal opportunity for women are secured Zonta Club 1 of Colombo is confident that ‘Building Bridges’ would enable a greater sense of appreciation for the need for healing and reconciliation of and between individuals and communities who have been directly or indirectly affected by the conflict which lasted 3 decades Recognizing the welfare of women and women-headed households affected by conflict as a major post-conflict challenge will be addressed as a matter of priority in concurrence with all stakeholders This will be by ensuring concerns for protection and equal opportunity for women being secured. Zonta Club 1 of Colombo will strive towards providing women a partnership function to play a central and sustainable role in the reconstruction and reconciliation process in the North and East with the rest of Sri Lanka. Zonta Club 1 of Colombo is confident that this will provide women from different groups an opportunity to work side by side to prevent misunderstanding, mistrust and violence in our communities
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10 Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka
We always read about the plight of those facing hardship caused by the conflict and feel for them. Here is an opportunity for you to help in this rebuilding initiative titled â€˜Building Bridgesâ€™. No donation or offer of support pledged by you is considered too little; after all it is the humble little drops that give birth to the mighty ocean. Please e-mail your pledge/s of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
THREE SIXTY FIVE 0094 772 196206
For further information from Zonta Club 1 of Colombo - Sri Lanka please call +94 777 344 480 +94 777 853 833 or visit www.zontaclub1.org