A Snapshot of the SCCA’s WILL Summit 2019, by Geeta Thakerar
We all gathered enthusiastically and with excitement at the Enabling Village, Lengkok Bahru in Singapore on a hot and humid afternoon on 7th March 2019 - the eve of International Women’s day.
A lavish buffet lunch of Middle Eastern delights awaited us upon arrival, before the event commenced.
Enabling Village is just such an atmospheric location. My first time to this place. It was the same for many attendees. So colourful and vibrant. Very apt for hosting the SCCA’s WILL Summit to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019. Showcasing a fully integrated community, catering for young, old, disabled and active members alike. The Village provides a wonderful “space” supporting a diverse community. It is set up in such a way that it facilitates the contribution of all members within the community. The whole innovative concept of the Village is focused on community building. Certainly, an excellent setting for SCCA’s WILL Summit 2019, DOITFORTHENEXTGIRL and the showing of the documentary/movie “Soufra” and subsequent workshops held thereafter.
What an inspiring, touching and endearing documentary/movie! Certainly…. puts things into perspective. It follows the brave and bold initiative of Miriam Al-Shaar - a generational refugee. She manages, against all odds staked against her and the group of refugee women within the camp, to set up and successfully launch a catering company. Both being stateless and without any identity whatsoever, Miriam has spent her entire life in a refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon and likely to remain there till she dies is a real eye opener. This is the same predicament of the other women and mothers within this group. The initiative, to form a catering company, gives them all a sense of purpose. It creates a sense of joy because they are finally able to contribute to something positive and meaningful in their lives within the walls of the refugee camp. The initiative also helps them financially to better support their families within the refugee camp. The” refugee allowance” received from the government, is often insufficient to make ends meet. The improved sense of wellbeing and uplifting feeling gives them hope for the future and for their children - born in the refugee camp - remain in the camp - generation after generation.
Debate about the documentary/movie
We had the wonderful opportunity to have a Q&A/ debate about the documentary/movie as a group together with Suraj Upadhiah of Rebelhouse Asia and Tiziana Tan of Brian Juice Collective respectively. Many stories were shared, including how the film was made within the refugee camp Burj El Barajneh itself, and, how long it took to make - over 2 years. The main reason being delays in Miriam acquiring the required licences and permits for the catering business and the truck she needed.
Time then spent inwardly reflecting
We then had a practical and hands on workshop. This was facilitated by Sabrina Ho, founder and CEO of HTS (half the sky) – a career platform for women. We spent time inwardly reflecting. Sabrina facilitated various simulations in small groups. We focused on real and often difficult conversations in the work place as well as some interview techniques.
Breaking the mould
Carolyn Chin-Parry, a senior executive and digital leader. Carolyn spoke of breaking the mould and in particular homed in on women in the role of being transformational leaders in the 21st century. We considered what transformational leadership included. Carolyn shared some hints and tips on being transformative, the benefits and what transformational leadership can indeed achieve when applied correctly.
The power of charisma
Rachel Tan took us on a journey looking at how to master the art of charisma through various simulations, group discussion and feedback. Rachel also shared some hints and tips on profiling the other side, how best to collect information, the various profile types self-prepping and approaches that can be deployed. The power of non-verbal skills and delivery.
Interacting with gladiolus flowers
The afternoon was wound up with a series of interactive sessions with guests from Gladiolus Place, a Christian residential refuge and haven for teenage girls. We had small group sessions and engaged in various activities with the girls.
The Gladiolus flower is representative of a bloom with strength and beauty. It was gratifying to interact freely with some of the girls attending the session. Again, a stark reminder of those less fortunate than ourselves, and how lucky we all really are.
The event finally closed with the customary networking session as the sun set over Lengkok Bahru………A great afternoon and very memorable. A big thank you to SCCA and the secretariat for making this happen!