Being a part of the annual Anawim awards 2017 was an honour, receiving a certificate and flowers in recognition for my voluntary work was an added bonus. I feel privileged to have witnessed and contributed slightly to some amazing work, outstanding triumph of woman who at one point may have described themselves as broken and to have listened to unarguable strength in the face of the most horrendous of situations.
The day was amazing. It gives a platform for women who use services within Anawin to share their stories, their battles, emotions and ultimately their journey of success and achievement. It also recognises the staff who go above and beyond their ‘job’ to support the women, with compassion, resilience and simply because they care. Not because their job pays the bills.
After the award ceremony, I returned back to the reception office to do the afternoon shift. It was there that I really paid attention to the poster right in front of my face, that I have seen numerous times. It says, ‘Anawin – Hewbrew term meaning The Forgotten and The Poor’. Knowing that listening to the stories of the women who benefit from Anawim, I wouldn’t be able to forget them, I started to think about the irony of the term. Anawim can be used to refer to those who are downtrodden because of their poverty. Voiceless people with no influence, no help or no power. The forgotten, poor, outcast and abandoned.
Today, through shaking hands, trembling voices and tears, I heard such powerful voices tell stories with inspiring content. Women who have undisputable strength and power to overcome such adverse circumstance. Their voices and stories help influence the services that Anawim provide to enable women to bring back their own power. A sentence that was used by several women in today’s event ‘I now feel empowered’.
The raw emotion in the room today was overwhelming. Thankfully, the tables were nicely decorated with tissues at the ready. I shed more than one tear and as I looked around the room I didn’t see many dry eyes. Staff sharing stories of women’s achievements, beeming with pride and teary eyed was an absolute pleasure to witness. Women, sharing their own stories, recognising their own success and thanking the Anawim staff in tears was also witnessed today. The woman thanking and assuring staff that it was down to their dedication for the success of today and the staff assuring the woman that it was all the women’s doing.
In any case, Anawim, a term used to refer to the downtrodden, the voiceless, the forgotten, the outcast and the abandoned was not what I witnessed today at the Anawim awards. The Anawim team treat everybody with respect, compassion and kindness. Nobody is an outcast at Anawim, every single person is valued. Anawim offer the tools needed for women to find their voice, regain their power and overcome feelings and situations of isolation.
I will end this blog, how I ended my speech….
‘Anawim brings hope in a hopeless world’