This past weekend, the Soroptomist and Sandigan Bazaar took place. Months long in the process, the Bazaar showcased the hard work, innovation, and dedication by the SKDWA and EDWA volunteers. The event took place at Art Studio in Fnaitees, a great venue to celebrate creativity and community – two themes that the evening was centered around.
If you weren’t able to make it, allow us to paint you a picture:
Though the event started at 8:30PM, volunteers were setting up the stalls early that day.
The empty venue was transformed in just a couple of hours, and by 12AM, it had been stripped to its bare white walls again. On your left, as you would enter, you’d see paintings on sale by none other than Ben – a Sandigan member, teacher and artist (among his many talents) based in Kuwait. His paintings reveal the complex feelings of being a migrant worker in Kuwait. Ben has worked closely with migrant domestic workers, through his activism in NGOs and charities, and has captured this in his artwork. As you walk past the installation, you arrive at Jinky and Mary Ann Joy’s booth, which had an assortment of masks with matching glass bead accessories (all handmade!) alongside other products. As you would walk down the table, you would find Ate Helen with hand sewn table-cloths and souvenirs. Next to Helen, was Marites, selling her handmade organic beauty products with scents of lavender and lemon – a scent that stays with you all evening. The chatter was loud and it was a very exciting atmosphere. How couldn’t it be with such a feeling of appreciation for the community that we have built! Right in the corner, Ethiopian coffee was being freshly toasted by Root and Maryam, which sparked conversations on Ethiopian heritage, and the cultural significance of making coffee. There were snacks, even more coffee and tea (we need the caffeine if we’re going to build more inclusive societies). Gerge’an sets were on display, each pouch packed with nostalgic childhood sweets. As you walk to the other side of the room, you’d find Eniy, Genet, and Nigist, hosting personalised products and jewellery with the Ethiopian tricolors of green, yellow, and red. Finally, the last stall on this descriptive-virtual tour, is Amelia and Lyncy’s stall. They were proudly representing the dara’a’s, clothing sets, shawls, ponchos, and many other clothing items made by the SKDWA and EDWA volunteer domestic workers. Lyncy’s own bags – ranging from different sizes and fabrics, were a great hit with customers because they were not only unique, but incredibly functional and durable. The clothing rack was refilled multiple times throughout the evening, but we still couldn’t display all the styles and items at once. Not all SKDWA and EDWA volunteers that contributed to making the products could attend the event, but their tremendous efforts in the past months was truly appreciated and felt throughout the evening.
Why are collaborations like this so important?
Soroptimist Kuwait and Sandigan Kuwait share the same vision of empowering women. Both organizations acknowledge that empowerment of one woman cannot be at the expense of another. Opportunities are not always distributed equally, and collaborations like this seek to bridge that gap. Inclusivity is key in discussing how we can better social, economic, and political circumstances for migrant workers, and in this case, migrant domestic workers. Soroptimist and Sandigan work together because a seat at a table is important, but building tables were access and opportunity are equal is even more effective.
How can you continue to support migrant domestic workers outside of events like the Bazaar?
You can follow us on social media, and keep up with our news, events, and progress. Sandigan has many avenues for teaching and raising awareness on the rights of migrant domestic workers. Do your research – understand that laws are put in place to protect workers, but they need to be effectively implemented. Reflect on your actions, your position in society, and how you can use your voice to make a difference. If you know a domestic worker, tell them about SKDWA and EDWA, let them know that there is a community catered to their needs, someone to lean on, which is the meaning behind Sandigan’s name. And don’t be shy to shoot us a message on how you can help raise awareness for the cause!
Thank You Notes
A thank you note is necessary, but at Sandigan, we know that the list can never be long enough.
We would like to thank the SKDWA and EDWA volunteers that made this evening a possibility, without their combined talents, creativity, and determination, this wouldn’t be possible. Ms. Mary Ann Abunda, Founding Chairperson of Sandigan Kuwait, dedicated her time and efforts into visualizing, planning, organizing, and rallying support for the cause. Thank you to Ayah and her family, Ben, and Lyncy, for going the extra mile in preparation. We would like to thank Eniy and Sisay, and the whole Ethiopian community whom made sure of displaying their generosity and dedication to the cause. Support from community leaders contributes to achieving new perspectives, understanding the intersectionality of experiences, and how we can work together to make sure that no one gets left behind in the conversation.
Soroptimist Kuwait welcomed this collaboration and proved their investment to the cause of women empowerment throughout the process, and for that, we thank you!
en.v Kuwait makes collaborations like this possible by providing safe, intersectional, and compassionate spaces for NGOs to materialize their visions of progress – thank you.
The political representatives that took time to attend the Bazaar and learn about what they can do better to provide for their communities – we see and appreciate you. Thank you to the Ethiopian ambassador, the Malay embassy representatives, and the U.S embassy representatives for discussing the impact of political and social organizational relationships.
We are looking forward to announcing another Bazaar to take place in June. Stay tuned for more updates, check out the gallery below, and email us if you’d like to find out how you can further support migrant domestic workers through Sandigan!