Have you read Annie Lennox’s article in Good Housekeeping UK yet? She talks Global Feminism, activism and The Circle!
The Asian Circle are celebrating their 5th anniversary, an achievement that shows their devotion and dedication to fighting against the inequality of women and girls. Founded by Santosh Bhanot in 2013, The Asian Circle have become an established group of women who tirelessly fundraise for the projects close to their hearts.
Santosh describes The Asian Circle as “a passionate community of diverse women who want to support women and girls that haven’t been given the same opportunities in life in South Asia”.
Their 5th Anniversary celebration commemorates their efforts over the years which have been particularly impactful in rural areas of India. Violence against women is the most common form of human rights violation in India. It is such a deeply ingrained, socially accepted “right” for men to beat their wives, that women are trapped in a life of violence. Shame, stigma, and a lack of support from the police and the legal system prevent many women from reporting domestic violence and seeking help.
The Asian Circle have been supporting this project since the beginning and their dedication has helped it make massive strides. In Chhattisgarh, there has been a state-level consultation on the State Gender Equality Policy, a policy that had not been revisited in more than a decade. Women from across the state took part, reflecting their concerns and issues with the policy gaps. In Odisha, Gender Times sessions were organised at colleges, which increased engagement of adolescents and youth groups with gender issues.
“Our project in Chhattisgarh has been extremely successful with the programme recently receiving a State Government Award, ‘Nari Shakti Samman’ in recognition of outstanding improvement of the conditions of women at the margins of society. This Award will have a significantly positive impact on women in this State. International funders have stepped-up to adopt and expand our initial pilot programme with statewide deployment. By working in the community, the programme helps reduce violence, provides education, training and development of skills for jobs and helps reduce poverty.” – Santosh Bhanot
The Asian Circle also know how to add pizazz when bringing the harsh realities of their project to their well established and generous community. Their five-year celebration is no exception! With a high chai tea and drinks reception at the breath-taking LaLit Hotel, guests had the opportunity to support victims of domestic abuse with the chance to walk away with some amazing prizes through an online auction to mark this special occasion. However, the auction is not only available for guests and you can still support victims of gender-based violence by browsing the bespoke gift selection. The two featured items include a specically commissioned print and a signed copy of Eurythmics’ In the Garden. In the Garden was the debut studio album from Eurythmics originally released in 1981. This edition was produced as part of the one-off re-release, by Sony Records, in 2018, of all Eurythmics’ albums and is very much a collector’s item with both Annie and Dave having signed it. Annie donated the album to support The Asian Circle’s work and show her appreciation for all they do. All the funds will go to help victims of gender-based violence – a key issue that The Circle’s work focuses on and one that is at the centre of Chai Day. So she even surprised guests with a personal message via video.
The Asian Circle conceived Chai Day back in 2016 as an initiative to raise funds and awareness for the victims of gender-based violence. Since then it has grown from strength to strength. Their support for some of the most vulnerable women and girls and the impact that their work has had is truly a testament to The Circle’s manta: women empowering women. This innovative fundraising idea has become one of The Circle’s key foci and its development into a global campaign is a result of the success of The Asian Circle’s back in 2016.
In addition to Chai Day, looking back over the years, The Asian Circle have hosted a number of fundraising and networking events over the years in London and organised film screenings including The True Cost and Chalk ‘n’ Duster. Every summer, they have their popular Summer Party, which was attended by comedian Shazia Mirza in 2017. They created the concept of Chai Day and launched it in 2016. The Asian Circle and their supporters organised several Chai Days in 2017, including one at the British High Commission in New Delhi and the official The Asian Circle Chai Day at Montys, in Ealing, which was attended by The Great British Bake Off star Rav Bansal. All these events have raised huge contributions.
Thank you, to The Asian Circle, for all your incredible work and long may it continue! We can’t wait to see the pictures from their celebrations today.
#ChaiDay #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist #WomenEmpoweringWomen
“An activist is about being an impatient person, with a lot of patience,” Annie Lennox tells me over the phone. She sounds pleased at the end of the sentence, letting out a two syllable laugh – “ah ha” – because it’s such a good sentence. Of course it is, it’s Annie Lennox, widely regarded as one of the best songwriters of all time, winner of six Brit awards for Best Female Artist, four Grammys and an Oscar for Best Song.”
“When I can channel my distress into action, I feel better, I feel so inspired”, she tells me in relation to her humanitarian work, which is vast, earning her the Woman of Peace Award at the 2009 Nobel Peace Laureates summit and an OBE in 2011, a year after she became a goodwill ambassador for UNAIDS. Annie cites a 2003 trip to South Africa – where she spent time with Nelson Mandela, performed in the launch concert for his HIV/AIDS foundation and visited families and orphanages devastated by AIDS – as the point of no return. That was the moment she leapt up. “It was a life changing experience,” she writes on The Circle’s website. “My encounters woke me up to a multitude of stark realities regarding the contrasting way of life between Western nations and the so called developing world.” The stark contrast between life for women in these countries and life in the privileged West still plagues her – “every day,” she says. “I do become despairing from time to time because I think, ‘This is too big, there’s nothing I can do’. But there is something I can do. And I’m doing it. I’m dedicating my time, my passion and my platform to whatever I can do to make a contribution to the global women’s movement. That’s what I can do as an individual.”
‘It was and still is, profoundly distressing to know that the world at large didn’t seem to be aware, or particularly care about the scale of the appalling tragedy that was taking place in terms of girls and women’s health … Women are, after all, half the world’
Image credit: Rowan Powell ft. painting by Zadie Xa
Stay out of the cold and go along to some of these amazing events throughout November!
As part of the New Suns Feminist Literary Festival, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, gal-dem deputy editor, leads a panel discussion exploring the experiences and myths surrounding the Caribbean matriarch in the UK.
Many of the Windrush generation who came to Britain were promised to find a mythical land where the streets were paved with gold. When the Windrush docked on 22nd June 1948, its 498 Carribean passengers (plus stowaways) who had travelled arrived in the hope of finding better paid work and living prospects. Often it was the Carribean woman whose identity and experiences captured the experience of dislocation and struggle. In some instances, the history of their struggle has been erased and now in the aftermath of the Windrush scandal, second and third generation Carribean migrants want to change the narrative.
The panel discussion has been covered with gal-dem and features journalist Kemi Alemoru, lecturer Sharon Frazer-Carroll and make-up artist Kay Montano.
Do you have to think that prostitution is good to support sex worker rights? How do sex worker rights fit with feminist and anti-capitalist politics? Is criminalising clients progressive—and can the police deliver justice?
In conversation, sex workers Juno Mac and Molly Smith discuss their new book Revolting Prostitutes, which brings a fresh perspective to questions that have long been contentious. Speaking from a growing global sex worker rights movement, and situating their argument firmly within wider questions of migration, work, feminism, and resistance to white supremacy, they make clear that anyone committed to working towards justice and freedom should be in support of the sex worker rights movement. The conversation will be chaired by Layla-Roxanne Hill.
The Circle is proud to be teaming up with The Vavengers for this night of music and conversation to raise awareness about Chai Day, a campaign to eliminate gender-based violence. Short for ‘Vagina Avengers’, The Vavengers are a team of creatives based in London who organise events to tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Join us for a night of entertainment and inspiring music from Before Breakfast, Cecillia Knapp and Quiet Man. It is the perfect opportunity to learn more about Chai Day and be inspired to host your own Chai Day on November 25th!
Proceeds from ticket sales will be going to support La Fraternite, a grass-roots charity that campaigns to end FGM by organising workshops for the Guinean Community in and around London. There will also be opportunities to give donations on the night that will all go towards The Circle’s Chai Day grass-roots projects based in South Africa, India and the UK!
Join The Calgary Circle for a screening of The Sex Trade, by Canadian filmmaker Eve Lamont.
This feature documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the sex industry operating in Canada and investigates who benefits. A short question and answer period with representatives from The Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta (ACT) and the RCMP will follow the film.
A reception, with wine and beer, will be held before the screening. Doors open at 6:30 pm and film starts at 7:00 pm.
Come out and join us as we learn more about this challenging and important issue facing so many women and girls and help us raise funds in support of ACT’s work helping victims of human trafficking.
Come and join us to celebrate The Asian Circle’s 5th Anniversary, generously hosted by The LaLit Hotel London, where stunning Victorian grandeur meets Indian opulence.
Our VIPs and guests will meet just after midday at at a drinks reception on the heated terrace. This is followed by The Lalit’s famous exquisite High Chai in the Baluchi Great Hall with its breathtaking Hyderabadi blue chandeliers.
Hear about our successful project in rural communities in Chhattisgarh, India, to reduce domestic violence and empower women and girls. The award-winning project created in partnership with Oxfam India and local NGOs has been recently adopted for state wide deployment. All funds raised on the day will be donated to this project.
Come dressed for the occasion in your Maharani & Maharaja finery for High Chai.
The Circle is proud to announce that we will be part of the third annual Women Of The World Festival in Bradford.
WOW Bradford promises to be a weekend of talks, discussions, music, activism, performance, mentoring and big ideas, and we’ll be hearing from women who are breaking the mold in science, entrepreneurship, the arts, sport, economics, health and business from Bradford, nationally and internationally. There are sessions on everything from personal lives though to global concerns, including race, body image, violence against women and girls, religion, the role of men in gender equality and even a special one-off set from Kate Tempest.
The Circle’s Relationship Manager, Peta Barrett, will be at our stall at the WOW Market Place all weekend sharing information about the important part we play in the global movement for gender equality. We hope to see you there!
If you are based in or around Braford and interested in becoming a member, or helping us to manage our stall, send your information through on our Contact Us page and we’ll be in touch!
Half day conference organised by the SSLH followed by AGM. This free event will include a number of academic speakers talking on a range of subjects to do with feminist activism, gender inequality and working women.
The Circle is proud to announce that we will be part of the WOW – Women Of The World Festival in Cardiff, on 24 and 25 November.
The WOW Festival will include a range of workshops, talks, debates, performances and art open to the public. Some highlights from the WOW Festival Cardiff programme include: Gwenno Saunders, Charlotte Church, Michael Sheen, Sian Evans, Lula Mehbratu (The Digital Migrant),Sahar Al-Faifi, Sian James former MP, Gemma Price (Boxing Pretty), Anna Hursey, Shahien Taj OBE, Lucy Owen (BBC Wales) and Layfullstop among others.
As part of the festival, The Cwtch Café is hosting a Chai Day event with The Circle and Henna Foundation from 10:30 to 12:30 on Sunday 25 November.
Chai Day is about gathering together friends, family or colleagues and using that time to raise awareness about violence against women and to raise money to support survivors and work towards ending gender-based violence.
Join us at The Cwtch Café from 10:30 – 12:30 to hear from our Relationship Manager, Peta Barrett, who will be sharing information about our grass-roots projects supported by Chai Day. We are thrilled to be sharing this important platform with The Henna Foundation’s Executive Director, Shahien Taj, who will be sharing more about the services they provide to muslim families and encouraging safer, stronger communities through raising awareness of key issues they may face.
In the climate of #MeToo, #YoTambien and #BalanceTonPorc, Reclaim the Night is as relevant as ever – if not more so. Violence against women continues to occur every minute of every day, but women everywhere are making a stand.
Join us for London Reclaim the Night! Close down central London for women, put your feet on the streets to shout a loud NO to rape and all forms of male violence against women.Join us and join millions across the globe who will be marking the annual United Nations Day to End Violence Against Women (25th November) with demonstrations and marches.
Reclaim the Night came to the UK 40 years ago, in 1977. One of the first marches took place in Leeds where women took to the streets to protest the police requesting women to stay at home after dark in response to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Placards read “No curfew on women – curfew on men”. It is hard to believe we are still marching 40 years later, yet the recent outpouring of #MeToo on social media only makes it clear why this is important. The statistics speak for themselves: two women a week are killed by their male partner or ex-partner. One in three women experience sexual abuse of some kind in their lifetime. This is unacceptable. This march is a show of strength and a collective demand for freedom from sexual violence and harassment.
Katie Rose is hosting a Chai Day which is open to all who want to raise awareness and funds to help end gender-based violence and support women and girls through The Circle’s Chai Day Projects.
Bring friends and cake to share – to suit your dietary requirements. People of all genders welcome!
The event will be collecting donations for The Circle (suggested donation £5) and sanitary products for local Period Poverty Charity We-STAP
Remembering the women killed by known men in the UK A peaceful creative ‘Murder March’ to remember and represent the women murdered in the UK by partners, ex-partners, family members i.e. domestic violence murders.
This #DeadWomenWalking walk is to raise awareness of the women behind the statistics of domestic violence murders. Raising awareness of domestic violence and fatal male violence against women to coincide with International day for the elimination of violence against women and the 16 days of action.
The walk will be a visual and respectful march of women wearing red ponchos – During the walk the names of all the women killed by known men in the last 12 months will be read out. This is an event for women – women representing women killed and women stewarding themselves. Men are welcome to donate if they’d like to support.
The Circle members are invited to our Chai Day, where we will discuss gender-based violence and what we can do to help end it. With guest speakers and the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for some of our amazing projects, this is not to be missed. Taking place within the 16 Days of Action, our Chai Day is a way to get your friends or colleagues together over a cup of tea, to raise awareness about gender-based violence and raise funds to support survivors and help end violence against women and girls.
CTDC is delighted to announce its third annual conference titled Decolonising Knowledge around Gender and Sexuality, and organised in partnership with Kohl: Journal for Bodily and Gender Research, and UCL taking place on November 30, 2018 at UCL.
The conference will bring in a number of practitioners, students, artists, and academics from Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt, South Africa and Tunisia to discuss themes around decolonising discourses around gender and sexuality in academia and beyond, shedding light on feminist pedagogy, sexual liberation, reproductive justice and positionality. In addition to that, our speakers will also highlight the potential for arts-informed inquiry to decolonise methodology and will also demonstrate how imported forms of feminisms, particularly those relying on social media, are not the way forward for gender and sexual justice.
The conference will kick off with a keynote panel discussion by Kohl editors and CTDC directors, who will explore the importance of decolonising methodologies in research and practice and in relation to Global South knowledge production.
Annie Lennox talks to BBC Sounds about The Circle, how she got involved in activism, and what it means to be a ‘Global Feminist’.
“A few years ago, the word “feminist” seemed to make quite a few people feel uncomfortable. It carried a kind of stigma – a bad rap – and was often perceived as unmentionable and polarising.”
“Two years ago, I received a photograph from a fellow feminist advocate who had just walked past a London newsagent’s stand and noticed that every single women’s magazine had the previously unmentionable “f word” displayed on its front cover. Evidence, if we needed it, that awareness was rising and progress was moving towards the zeitgeist again.
The feminist movement is and has always been a broad church, with different interpretations, opinions and ideas. But today, thanks to #MeToo, Times Up and the women’s march movements, feminism has re-emerged from the closet and is gaining profile and popularity.
From my perspective, however, there is still work to do. Feminism needs to be understood and appreciated, not only in the west, but where women’s needs are greatest – in places and countries where women and girls are not even near the lowest rung of the human rights ladder….”
Photo: Ashley Kaimowtz at Nonceba.
On the International Day of the Girl, I’d like to commemorate a very special young woman called Ashley Kaimowitz.
A beautiful black and white photograph hangs in Nonceba’s entrance hall, made by local craftswomen in honour of an exceptional teenage girl called Ashley Kaimowitz.
In order to fully understand how the Nonceba Family Counselling Centre came into being, it’s important to know Ashley’s story.
In high school, Ashley was an active member of Rotary Interact —Rotary International’s service club for 12-18 year olds.
At the age of 16, she became secretary of her school’s chapter of the club, and she planned a trip to visit Nonceba with her executive committee in the township of Khayelitsha, where 1 in 3 children suffer serious sexual abuse by the age of 18.
Nonceba was originally founded in 2002 by a local resident called Nocawe Mankayi, who had become deeply distressed by how commonplace child rape was in the township, and how little support was available for victims. Nocawe offered children shelter in her own small brick house, feeding them with her meagre income. She dreamed of creating a larger, professionally-equipped, 24/7 safe haven for victims of sexual abuse. Nonceba received no assistance from the government and was being maintained solely by volunteers.
On her visit with Interact, Ashley met a little 4-year old girl who had been raped by her father the night before. Holding the child in her arms, Ashley was overcome with emotion. She felt destined to help manifest Nocawe’s vision —an idea to which she was about to wholeheartedly dedicate herself.
A high achiever, Ashley had long been passionate about filmmaking, something she planned to pursue as a career in the future. While she had never made a film, she conjectured that a documentary about rape in South Africa’s townships would be the perfect fundraising tool for Nonceba’s new centre.
Despite her inexperience, she resolved to script, direct, and produce her own film, underscoring the subject. She told her parents, “If I can’t bring the World to Khayelitsha, then I’m going to take Khayelitsha to the World!”.
In between school and her extracurricular activities, Ashley reached out to family members in the U.S. to help her fund the film, as she knew the dollar would go a long way in her native country. Her grandparents put her in touch with the Board of Directors at Rutgers University, where a couple named Jerry and Lorraine Aresty admired Ashley’s tenacity and idea so much that they offered to sponsor her project with a cheque for $1,000.
When a small film company in Cape Town learned of Ashley’s plan, they lent her all of the necessary film equipment, trained her in its application, and linked her to an editing company and film studio (both of which agreed to help with the documentary for free).
Ashley and a few friends spent their entire winter break filming in Khayelitsha alongside Nocawe.
In September of 2002, after months of steadfast effort on the documentary, “Uthando Labatwana — For the Love of Our Children” celebrated its premiere screening at Ashley’s high school. Her work received a standing ovation, but Ashley had no intentions of stopping there.
Schools in the area began showing Ashley’s documentary, and more individuals and organizations stepped forward with donations for Nonceba.
In 2004, after completing high school, Ashley moved to Japan for a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student Ambassador. Despite being far from home, her devotion to Nonceba never wavered. She continued campaigning for the cause by orchestrating film screenings in Japanese venues.
Soon, a professional film studio there offered to subtitle the film so that it would reach a broader audience. It was shown on national television and at film festivals across the country, and the Japanese population was startled into action by the content of Ashley’s work.
It wasn’t long before an entire organization was founded in Kyoto to create awareness about child rape, and raise additional funds for Nonceba.
When Ashley returned home, she set her sights on attending university in Australia, where she had arranged to study filmmaking.
While in the final stages of planning her move, she was tragically killed when a drunk driver hit her car.
Six months after Ashley’s death, Carte Blanche (a South African program similar to 60 Minutes) broadcast her story, and support poured in from people all over the country who were inspired by Ashley’s courage, empathy, and actions —virtues that were even more remarkable given her young age.
As a result of that segment, millions of South African rand were raised for Nonceba’s new centre, and a construction team was assembled.
In 2008, three years after Ashley’s death, Nocawe was able to open the doors of the new Nonceba. This location, unlike its predecessor, is equipped with medical facilities, a counselling clinic, a safe house for children and abused women’s shelter able to accommodate 45 women and children, a community hall, training facilities, multiple offices for doctors, lawyers, social workers and psychologists, an ample playground, and much more. The centre is open all day every day, with live-in staff and an entire team trained in crisis response.
While Ashley isn’t here to witness the fruits of her labour, the centre is dedicated to her memory and the relentless support of Nocawe’s mission.
Thanks to an extraordinary teenager who lost her life far too soon, there is a safe haven of hope in Kahyelitsha.
I’m so proud that The Circle is helping to support Ashley and Nocawe’s dream.
To find out more about the Nonceba Family Counselling Centre and donate, click here.
Annie Lennox, Founder of The Circle, on why she is a global feminist. Join the #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist movement on social media and tag Annie Lennox and @TheCircleNGO.
Like millions of women and men, I feel hugely inspired by the development of the #MeToo, Time’s Up and Women’s March movements.
I am proud to call myself a feminist and stand in solidarity with everyone who understands the vital need for change in attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls.
The feminist movement is a broad church with different interpretations, opinions and ideas. I identify myself as a ‘Global Feminist’ to describe where I’m coming from.
I believe in equality of rights, with empowerment and justice made available for every woman and girl in every corner of the world.
#OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist is a call to action bringing collective meaning and value to the term ‘Global Feminism’.
Prof Pamela Gillies, Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University
Feminism needs to be relevant, appreciated and respected where the needs are greatest —in countries where women and girls are not even near the lowest rung of the ladder in terms of human rights. I’m impatient to see the ‘glass ceiling’ being smashed in my lifetime, so I’m inviting you to join me and The Circle, to create a massive advocacy wave to establish the term ‘Global Feminism’ and raise a better understanding about the bigger picture of global inequality.
This call to action will only take 5 minutes of your time.
Have your picture taken holding a sheet of paper with one selected handwritten reason why you identify yourself as a Global Feminist.
Post your picture on social media, using #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist and tag Annie Lennox and @TheCircleNgo so we can see your support. Feel free to help grow the campaign by tagging other organisations you support who work for the rights of women and girls and ask your friends, family and colleagues to join in too.
You will then become part of a collective wave for positive change for women’s rights around the world!
Sarah Brown, President of Theirworld.
Here are some reasons to choose from, in case you don’t already know them:
1.There are 757 million adults who cannot read or write —2 out of 3 of these are women.
2.In Africa, 28 million girls are not in education and will never step inside a classroom.
3.Over 750 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.
4.Every minute of the day, one young girl (aged 15-24) contracts HIV.
5.Women and girls account for 71% of human trafficking victims.
6.Every day approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
7.Women make up only 22.8% of the worlds parliamentarian seats.
8. Across the world 39,000 girls under the age of 18 become child brides every day.
9. In developing countries,20,000 girls under the age of 18 give birth every day.
10. 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime.
11. 41 million girls living in developing countries around the world are denied a primary education.
12. 1 in 3 women and girls are impacted by physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.