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Mar 16, 2012

Win Belize Community Service Expo

An assortment of items, including handicrafts and artwork were displayed today at the YWCA basketball court. The expo was organized by the Women’s Issues Network Belize to promote the work of its member agencies and to promote the empowerment of women. Also on hand were a number of government agencies involved in the advancement of women issues. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

As part of activities for Women’s Month, the Women’s Issues Network celebrated WIN Belize day with a community service expo. Executive Director, Carolyn Reynolds says it’s a long-standing plan that just came to fruition.

Carolyn Reynolds, Executive Director, WIN-Belize

Carolyn Reynolds

“The WIN-Belize Day and community expo is an idea that we discussed with our member agencies for some years now and during this year we know there are agencies that are having problems—WIN-Belize as well—will resources. And so we see this as an opportunity for them to showcase their—for all of us to showcase our programs and services that we offer.”

Several member agencies and NGOs set up booths on the YWCA basketball court to educate the public about their organization.

Joyce Flowers

Joyce Flowers, Co-Founder, Women’s Circle of Belize

“Today we brought out some of our booklets that we had produced, we have Breaking the Silence it’s on violence against women and what that entails. W have our brochure which tells people what Women’s Circle is all about. We have pictures to show activities that we do and we have a little bit of fundraising because you know without money, we can’t do anything.”

Noriko Takemae, Volunteer Coordinator, JICA

Noriko Takemae

“JICA is sending Japanese Peace Corps to the country for more than three years so now we have normally fifteen borantia [volunteers] in Belize. This is a one of our volunteers’ activity. They are environmental educator assigned to town councils in Dangriga, PG, Corozal and Orange Walk and they are visiting schools and teaching environmental education to school kids. At the same time they are teaching recycling.”

Others such as the Fajina Women’s Group, travelled from as far as the Toledo District to showcase their handiwork. Since the items were on sale, it was also fundraising opportunity.

Angie Cal

Angie Cal, Member, Fajina Women’s Group, Toledo

“We brought baskets that are made with jipi japa, then we brought cuxtals, Maya blouses and calabash art.”

Delahnie Bain

“Can you tell us a bit about what Fajina does?”

Angie Cal

“Fajina does crafts, Fajina has a Maya restaurant which sells caldo only with chicken.”

Delahnie Bain

“So it’s a women’s group?”

Angie Cal

“It’s a women’s group, yes.”

Brenda Ferguson Serrano

An invitation was extended to government agencies as well. WIN-Belize was impressed with the participation of the Labour Department, which was represented by Employment Officer Brenda Ferguson.

Brenda Ferguson Serrano, Employment Officer, Labour Department

“Mostly my part is trying to solicit vacancies for job seekers through employers. We also have entrepreneurial training, which you can see we have arts and craft, cake decorating, sewing and cosmetology. And it just provides an outlet for women and gentlemen as well so that they can use their time wisely while soliciting jobs. So that is what we do at the employment office at the Labour Department besides the labor administration.”

Carolyn Reynolds

“We also have Haven House, which is a shelter for battered women, we have PASMO, we have the YWCA which also works with young women and they also do skills training. Today they are offering the pedicure and manicure and to do hair and they also make pillows so they have all of these things on display.”

According to Reynolds, today’s event was suitable for a first try but WinBelize intends expand and improve the expo in coming years.

Carolyn Reynolds

“I’m sure we would like to do it again especially like how it’s the first time and the support we have received. And so by us now seeing that we have this support, we can make it bigger next year and the years to come. And again for everyone to see that it’s an opportunity for you so that’s what we’re hoping to get from it.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

WIN-Belize also have an event called “Sheroes of the Mic” next Friday at the Mexican Institute. It will be a night of entertainment by female poets and entrance is only five dollars.

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