The Women in Public Service Project has been privileged to work with such an inspiring group of students during the Asian University for Women Summer Institute. They are all powerful change agents and will certainly be models of leadership in their own communities and in the world! We are thrilled to share their concluding thoughts on the impact of the Institute.
Thasomini Palaniyandy: WPSP’s AUW summer institute has strengthened my dreams and goals. I feel more confident to carry out any kind of developement initiative at the community level.I truly learned alot and it also shaped my leadership skills through all the activities and lessons which we had for the two weeks program.
Tran Thi Ngoc Bich: The Institute gave me a chance to “challenge myself and push me the limit” to know more about the world in which “women’s rights are human rights.” The Institute and Dr. Rangita inspired me, and let me know that I can be a positive changer.
Tausifa Tajali: “The Women in Public Service Project” has made us realize the fact that “women are not born; they are created by the society.” My traditional mother did not try to change the social stereotypes that insult my identity as a woman. As a result, I have been suffering for being born as a woman in this patriarchal society, but I will try my best to ensure a sanctuary in this world for my daughter and thousands of daughters in the future. I am really thankful to Dr. Rangita for making me realize my responsibility as a privileged woman to work for my community where thousands of women are suffering who need me as a pioneer to change their lives.
Fahria Kabir: Currently, I am studying Computer Science in the Asian University for Women. I have a strong passion in Information Technology, and I cherish a dream to establish an IT firm which will try to include the Bottom of Pyramid in IT besides IT professionals. I look forward to engage more women in the IT field through my IT firm, so that, fewer women will face the stereotypical view on gender specific job in STEM that I have faced and till now I am facing. To achieve my dream, I need to have the skills of advocacy, problem solving, and strong networking and in total leadership skills, however, I did not know how to integrate my knowledge with these leadership skills. When I came to know about this Institution, I took it as a platform to gain leadership training. Though I was confused before starting the course, in the opening ceremony after hearing Dr.Rangita’s inspirational speech I grew a strong belief that, this is what I was waiting for. After completing Women in Public Service Project, now I can try to integrate the concept of leadership with IT. Importantly, this is not the end of my journey; I have just started my journey of acquiring more knowledge and experience to fulfill my dream. I sincerely thank AUW, Dr.Rangita and WPSP to give me a platform to reshape my thoughts and plan.
Ganga Silva: WPSP built a home for my thoughts and actions by creating a family with like-minded sisters across my region who share the same passion as me, who believe in the power of change as me, who want to fight against the impediments for women in the society just like me, and most importantly who keep inspiring me to retain the change we all believe in despite of the fears and failures because now I know that I am NOT ALONE!
Savitri Kumari: Thank you very much Dr. de Silva for giving me an inspiration to make positive changes. After participating is WPSP, I feel like the seed of service inside me is going to be a form of a plant. I feel like I have courage to do something good for the world.
Mariam Khatun: After Summer Leadership Institute at AUW, I become much more experienced how a leader can bring social, political, and economical changes. I was well fortunate learning and sharing my ideas, thoughts, dreams, and fears via WPSP at AUW. At present, I become much stronger in fighting against violence and discriminations as I have now 43 students who also share the same goal as mine. I thank WPSP for giving a wonderful floor to us that combined womanhood at AUW.
Fariba Housaini: I am Fariba Housaini from Afghanistan. I am pleased to be at the Asian University for women that I had the opportunity to participate in leadership program with Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis who taught us in summer leadership institute. In leadership institute, I can learn through stories of students from diverse ethnicity how much they were faced with challenges as being a girl in their community? But, They are not frustrated and also worked hard to overcome of their challenges in their conservative society. The leadership institute reminds me why I came in Asian University for Women and what are my dreams and goals in my life? I remember how was bad from my neighbor’s perspective for a girl to go to school and learn but my parents were the strong supporter of me to don’t imitate the wrong idea of them and let me to study. My parents believe that one day I will be the person to change the wrong idea of my neighbors and I am sure I am that person. In leadership institute I believe in myself that I can bring changes in my community in order to develop their idea about women’s education and gender equality . Yes, the Leadership program inspired me to think about the women’s issue in my country and start to work and finding the solutions for them. I am so thankful of Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis to teach me the skill of leadership and inspired me to work for the empowerment of Afghan women through sustaining their education.
Anowara Begum: “Shake the history, make the history” was the inspiration that I got from this Summer Institute. From this institute I learned that no matter who I am and how do I look like, I can change the environment. I can shake my own history and as well as others. In addition, I also got to know many things in different way that I did not know before. I have experienced the procedures of real policy and law making and learned how to make action plans from experienced lawyers. The trip to One Stop Crisis Center (OCC) was really important to me where I was encouraged to raise my voice. Overall, the fifteen days institute was like a wind of spring that decorated my dreams and thoughts that can be achieved. I heartily thank our mentor Dr. Rangita de Silva without whom my dreams would be only dreams. I am also grateful to my university, Asian University for Women for giving me this extraordinary chance.
Gangodawila Nimanthi: Before I started the summer leadership institute, I was so sad because I could not go home. However, after I finished the institute, I was so happy since I learned many things and shaped my skills through this institute. Indeed, this summer formed me to spend my next summer vacation in an effective way by helping my community. During the institute, each day, Dr. Rangita brought the whole world to us; one story of Vietnam, one women movement from Arab world, other grass roots movements from India, another snapshot from Africa, and so on. These stories strengthen us. Not only them, but also she gave us a chance to learn from our peers. We were not comfortable or proud to share our personal stories before this course but at the end, we were so passionate of sharing them as Dr. Rangita illustrated “personal is political” through personal narrations. Though it was two weeks, we gained much knowledge which helped us to light our nation. It is time for us to utilize and spread this knowledge around our nation to send women into decision making table. Finally, I am so thankful to AUW, Dr. Rangita, and everyone in WPSP and Wilson Center for giving us this special opportunity to find ourselves to work for a better future.
Sharmin Akhter: The Women in Public Service Project’s Institute at the Asian University for Women is a unique seminar which helped me a lot to organize my thoughts and ideas and also introduces me with the powerful methods to share my story with other women. Moreover, this seminar prepares me to claim for all of the women rights and strongly encourages me to raise my voice against all unjust practices and laws existed in the family, community and all over the world. This seminar also gives me an opportunity to celebrate the collective efforts of women leadership with South-Asian future women leaders. Additionally, this seminar inspires me to join in public service and also work jointly with the private organizations. After completing the seminar, I strongly believe that women need to join in politics and in the higher positions to make policies and also to make decisions for the betterment of all human being.
Fatima Hashimi : “Your ideas must take shape and must fly”- Dr. Rangita de Silva
I had never thought of bringing changes in the constitution of Afghanistan especially raising age of marriage for girls from16 to 18. The reason behind was because truly I did not have the courage and potential though promoting girl’s education was my hidden aim and desire. The leadership program at AUW led by Dr. Rangita paved the way not only for me but for all of us turn our hidden goals and ideas come into reality. Each day of leadership program was women’s empowerment, women’s voice and women’s right. These powerful tools convinced and inspired us to let our ideas fly and take shape. Dr. Rangita, as an invigorating and effective women leader having the potential for change, actively and thoughtfully empowered us to think of bringing changes and making difference from grassroots levels to higher levels in our country and community. We are really thankful to Dr. Rangita.
Minnu Jose: Being in the institute exposed me to many people’s lives and sufferings. I heard the stories of sufferings from my Afghani friends and others. All these stories made me look into the lives of those people, who are striving hard to move forward in their lives and who are being kept back from their right of freedom. Even though I felt bad about those people who were deprived from their rights I could not do anything to change these situations. While attending the institute, my mind got prepared to act against these miseries and I have got the courage and confidence to make a substantial effort in changing the society of unfairness. Listening to Dr. Rangita, who has light and enthusiasm in her each sentence, empowered me with the power to act against the unfair world. I consider attending this institute as one of the best opportunities that I have got in my life. Apart from preparing my mind to fight against the world of inequality, I got an opportunity to listen to many great women and study from them. Also, doing many role plays made me think and find out ways to tackle many of the issues around us. Through this institute I got a chance to do a future project in my community to raise awareness among the youth about street harassment and the need to prevent that. This institute developed a personality in me that identifies the people who suffers and prepared me to raise my voice and action without fear.
Mursal Juya: I had one of the most wonderful and inspirational moments of my life in the two weeks of the WPSP program. I’d always been searching for ways by which I could contribute to my community, but I’d never been able to do so. However, this program made the way of reaching my goal clear. Moreover, the impression that it has put on me is so noticeable. Once I was afraid to dream big, but after attending WPSP, I can feel both the courage and the ability to dream big and try my best to fulfill it. Besides, throughout the stories that we shared during the institute, I realized how many unheard voices we have. I feel as if I have found my voice which I probably hadn’t heard it myself. Also, what I am really glad about is the fact that I‘ve already started thinking as a leader. Of course, all these wouldn’t have been possible without one of the most amazing and inspiring personalities, Dr. Rangita. I am so sure that she’s been an inspiration to all members of WPSP. I would like to heartily thank Dr. Rangita for helping us realize our voices, our abilities, and our personas as the future leaders of our communities. I heartily wish this program to be continued in the future so that more students will be able to benefit from this great opportunity.
Bushra Tanzila Ahmed: WPSP is a blessing for the global women community as it believes in and values the voice and dignity of womenhood. Being a part of this project, I feel privileged to join the dreams of future women leaders who aspire to take the lead of shaping a smart future for women when women’s voice will be equally heard. All the best WPSP. Special gratitude to Dr. Rangita for being an amazingly dynamic personality. It was a privilege to observe and learn from you. Thank you.
Maliha Khan: WPSP is a great example of what we women are capable of when we come together. It is also a sign that we will be the ones to bring about the greatest change, because we feel the burden of existing problems the most.
Raiya Kishwar Ashraf: Our class at WPSP was a microcosm of the world and everything we learned together only brought us closer; it made us more aware than ever that our futures are linked and so are our goals. Hopefully no matter which path we choose to follow, we’ll have a network of brilliant WPSP graduates to support us!