International Women’s Day is a big success in Sedlescombe as supporters Press for Progress

Started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900's, the first International Women's Day was celebrated in 1911. This year there were events across the globe, including the forum held at the Pestalozzi International Village in Sedlescombe on Saturday.

International students and charity supporters vowed to Press for Progress on gender equality while celebrating the achievements of local women.

Supporters made dozens of individual pledges to support women in the world, to Press for Progress and to take bold actions to overcome barriers facing women and girls across the globe.

Susan Walton, chief executive, of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust, encouraged the students and supporters to take in the Desconocida Project, a creative artwork campaign focused on the issues of violence against women.

The names of dozens of women were stitched onto name tags to be added to an artwork started by the Norwegian artist Lise Bjørne Linnert, entitled DESCONOCIDA UNKNOWN UKJENT.

Mrs Walton said: "It was truly inspiring to see so many people come together to talk about the barriers faced by women and girls across the world and to listen to some impressive women who are making change happen.”

She added: "Pestalozzi International Village Trust is proud to be able to contribute to progress on gender parity and we know our students believe passionately that these are issues to be addressed.”

Samikshya Dhami, a student at Sussex Coast College, Hastings, described how she challenged a Nepalese official demanding a corrupt payment prompting others in a Post Office queue to challenge the abuse of power.

Geraldine Booker, of the Sussex-based charity The Quicken Trust, told how support to people living in Kabubbu, a village 20 miles to the north of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, helps reduce barriers to girls’ education. One practical step included the development of reusable sanitary pads which enabled girls from poor families to continue to attend school regularly instead of missing some lessons each month.

Nicola Green, of the Terrence Higgins Trust, highlighted how HIV and AIDS had a greater impact on women than men, and described the services and support available in Sussex.

Prabidhik KC, a Nepalese student studying at Claremont Senior School, Bodiam, talked about the trafficking of girls across the border into India and the work of charities seeking to rescue girls at risk.

Ruramai Chivasa, a student from Zimbabwe, urged the audience to challenge stereotypes and to support those who spoke out on sexual abuse.

Youdon Lhamo, a former Pestalozzi student and retired midwife talked of the need to reduce death and serious illness in childbirth among nomadic communities in the Himalayas and the reforms of domestic abuse laws in Scotland.

Inspiring young people to make a difference in the world.