November 4, 2019
Our first blog post is from San Francisco Electrician and Building Bridges organizer, Noreen Buckley. Noreen was also a member of the 2017 Tradeswomen Building Bridges Delegation. She writes:
I made it safely to India – it was a total of 25 hours of travel with a short layover in Singapore. I landed at 10:30 pm and finally arrived at the hotel around 1:00 am local time. The last part of the journey was such a blur!
I am in Kerala, India (south west area of the country). It is rural part of the country, very lush and humid. The region is the most progressive region of India in terms of women’s rights. It also has the highest literary rate, highest life expectancy, low infant mortality and lower birthrate in all of India. The area strives to base “success” on social factors as oppose to material factors.
Our time here will be spent with the organization, Archana Women Centre (AWC). It was started in 1995 by one social worker. She observed women construction workers only being allowed to do menial tasks, being paid very little. She started by training women how to be plumbers.
The women master the skills quickly, what took more effort was convincing the townspeople that they could use the toilet that the tradeswomen built without it falling apart!
Fast forward to 2019, AWC now has two locations and over 18 programs – ranging from the trades (carpentry, masonry, plumbing) to farming to taxi driving to gender equality and life skills. The tri–factor work of empowering women to want to learn, educating society on gender equality and teaching the skills to have a sustainable and independent life, is the work of AWC.
This is the space we enter, the powerful people that we will be learning and sharing with this next week and a half! We have much to earn and much to share!
We were met with a powerful drumming performance and a prosperity ceremony – to honor all of the good that this collaboration will bring for women in the Trades!
I am always in awe of the hosting practices of other countries…it makes me feel like a celebrity! This coupled with the number of “selfies” I was in because they “love my smile” has my cheeks hurting by the end of the night. Small price to pay to advance women working in the Trades!
The reverence and honor that is giving to these global meetings keeps me fueled to keep going and reassures me that this work is important and the world needs to see power and hear our voices!
Today we will go on work sites and see how the women of India execute their craft…more to come!
Thank you for all of your love and support!