We were hot and tired from a day of travel, but as we arrived, you could see women gathering. They were walking quickly along the dusty path with the sound of the city far behind us.
For some reason, one of the starkest memories of that visit was the children playing in the field with tall electricity towers looming. There was an eery feeling as we drove through this manufactured community. One of displacement.
The women were coming together for their weekly sewing lesson. We walked through dark hallways until we found them sitting on the floor, bare foot and waiting.
Three women from Australia were sitting face to face with women in India, and we were equals.
She was learning a craft for her children; we were looking into their eyes wanting to discover story and camaraderie.
She was finding her voice in a season of transition; we were hoping to remind ourselves again after a season of in-between.
That trip to India has stayed present in my perspective, every time I think of womankind collectively.
I believe there is a sound of womanhood rising by empowering one another rather than competing. I love the work of Foxglove and the Birds Nest India project because its based on empowerment rather than handouts.
Watching the women walk to their program and find their voice collectively was a memory I cannot forget.
“And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full of fire and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” Mark Anthony
There is a collective sound of women rising, and it is in the hallways of encouragement rather than patronage. When one woman finds her voice in the developing world, she lifts her neighbour up as well. The direct result of empowering a woman in these Indian programs is an impact on families, villages and the future.
It was an absolute privilege to visit many programs throughout Chennai India. Each day when I think fondly of the women we encountered, I see a company of women smiling at their greater tomorrow.
The sound of women is rising, and beauty personified by the way we hold up each other’s arms.
Amanda has published five books and is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia. She is also the co-founder of Kinwomen; a network created to inspire women to start conversations that matter. Driven by a passion for social justice, loves supporting projects for women in developing countries. Teaching women to live creative lives, beyond the circumstances, is something she pursues daily. Wife of Charl and Mum of Maximus and Liberty, she lives a creative life, longing to see people live inspired.