This saw 35 women from 14 countries coming together to share, learn and build lifelong connections and friendships. Partnerships may have also come out of this; I know love did.This strengthening activity was made possible because of effective coordination of the organizers: St. Lucian human rights organisation United and Strong Inc (U&S) and from Curacao, Fundashon Orguyo Korsou/Curacao Pride Foundation (FOKO). The theme was: “Strengthening the invisible woman and empowering her to leadership.” And that’s just what it did. The aim was to help build the advocacy strengths and help us to understand and deal with LBT women’s issues. For us to return home and advocate from a point of understanding of our rights, our strengths, our weaknesses and with the knowledge that there are others we can call on for help if we need it.
The CWSDC was funded by a combination of partners. The Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Arcus Foundation, ARC International, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Council for Global Equality, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice and Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights. Importantly to point out also is, the conference was tragically planned at the time of Curacao’s first week of LGBT pride celebrations to give support, and also a few activities were incorporated with the conference. One such activity was the award ceremony in recognision of persons who contributed to the LGBT movement over the years. Kenita Placide of United & Strong Inc, Mario Kleinmodig and Dudley Ferdinandus of FOKO and Faye Ferdinandus of CariFLAGS along with many others were recognised. Many of us celebrated in the pride events; for some of us, it was our first pride celebration.
Some of the women celebrating pride
Our facilitators were mostly women, women with gusts of inspiring strengths, which was very refreshing. They covered Self-Defense (our first activity in the mornings), Proposal Writing, Leadership, Violence in Same-Sex Relationships and recognising it, and much more. Many of our days were packed with group discussions, finding new ways to strengthen our capacities. For some, the night outs after each day’s session worked as an outlet to forge new friendships, and re-energize to return to the next day’s session with vigor. I also had the privilege of video recording the sessions of CWSDC. It all was a very edifying experience for me. Ulelli Verbeke :)