Tag Archives: US

Give a Heart to AfricaMy memories of International Women’s day over the years are a collage of completely different experiences.What were my past highlights?

Ukraine. Primary school: walking to a small market to buy flowers for my teachers, absolutely mandatory! University: getting flowers from students, having celebration drinks with my women friends, men always congratulating women, trying to do something special on that day.

  • America. Despite the fact that the first National Women’s Day was celebrated there, getting blank stares when talking about the holiday to men. Certainly no flowers or gifts are expected.  Feeling like a foreigner talking about an exotic holiday. Later discovery: lots of events to celebrate women’s achievements sponsored by both corporations and non-profits.
  • Switzerland and UK. Pretty much the same as the US: unnoticed on a relationship or family level but events to empower and celebrate women are held close or on the day.

Was there one particular day that stood out? Not until this year.

2014 International Women’s day was nothing like I have ever experienced or expected. It was a Saturday at the end of my first week teaching business as a volunteer at Give a Heart to Africa in Moshi, Tanzania. There are two of us on site at the moment.  Eva is a psychology student from Germany working here for a month before returning back to school.  We have come here to work with Tanzanian women who are learning how to start a business, and working on their English to get a better opportunity in life through education.  The center is free for all of the students and volunteer work and donations are critical. This year, a group of truly international women, inspired and organized by WHOA Travel, were climbing Kilimanjaro to summit on the 8th of March. What a way to spend the International Women’s day! They have made it their goal to support Give a Heart to Africa women’s school and efforts by raising money as part of their adventure. Two of our current students, Christina and Magdalena were invited and successfully climbed with WHOA travelers.

Eva and I spent the week teaching at the foothills of Kilimanjaro and talking about the brave WHOA Women and how we could make this year’s IWD memorable for all the students. It’s never too late to celebrate women so the following Monday, we got to meet at school and deliver a presentation about women’s rights, equality, the history of this holiday, its modern meaning, and where in the world it is observed as a holiday.

It was amazing to have all WHOA Women on site with us. We finished the morning splitting into small discussion groups to talk about women’s rights in Tanzanian society, what our students would do differently when they raise their children and ideas that they have to help women make progress. This was such a unique opportunity to learn more about women’s rights in Tanzania and compare with many countries around the world.

2014 is added to my bank of International Women’s day memories as something that is hard to live out better. It could have only been improved by joining the climbers at the summit on that day.

By Yelena Mackay

Serial expat. Founder of Moving Without Shaking Ltd

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