Thai Women Narratives: Powerful Link with Global Advocacy
It was recently that I uploaded a brief review of a bilingual Thai-English publication titled “Women Narrating Their Living at an Intersection of HIV and Violence against Women (VAW)” on my Facebook. This helped remind the timeline when I first encountered World Pulse, and came to a realization of power of women’s narratives once again.
Dating back when Ms.Sulaiporn Chonwilai (Num)-my research team member had traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to actively take part in the International Women’s Summit on Women’s Leadership and HIV and AIDS (IWS) during July 4-7, 2007 where 1,500 women and allies came together to develop strategies, skills and partnerships in response to the impact of AIDS on women and girls. The Women Rights Program of ActionAid International granted full scholarship in bringing the lived stories of Thai women living at an intersection of HIV and VAW to this world forum.
Prior the trip, I and our team members brainstormed ideas for our slide presentations which would best orchestrate the lived stories of women from all walks of life e.g. sex workers, young women, lesbians, middle-class women, Muslim women including indigenous women. It was agreed that the views, needs, and solutions to the problems facing these women had to be made distinctive in the presentation. Notably, the stories were to be based on their excerpts to allow the “women’s voices” be echoed.
Though we were deeply concerned that it would be difficult for Num to present in English. However, we continued to encourage Num that it would be empowered to have repeatedly heard stories of struggles, accomplishments, and calls for action to change societal mindset that permits an intersection of HIV and VAW from women worldwide.
Upon her return, an informal debriefing session was held for Num to share her experience with members of the Thai Women and HIV/AIDS Task Force, and with women research participants. Num came home with several stories, and retold her experiences at the women's summit with excitements.
Certainly, it was an eye-opening experience not just for Num, for individual member taking part at the post-conference forum, but also for the Thai Women and HIV/AIDS Task Force collectively.
Num ended her debriefing session by listing number of regional and international contacts, and walking us through resources on gender, HIV/AIDS and VAW.
Importantly, Num shared that she has already signed me up for World Pulse list serve.
Since then, I have been in the loop with World Pulse. As international focal point, I have connected with global movements simply by receiving global updates from World Pulse in my mail box, translating relevant news into Thai, and re-posting them via email group.
I would have not come into contact with PulseWire without women on the ground taking courage in narrating their daily struggles, and tireless effort to make change from their individual capacities.
To date I become an active part of PulseWire writing my journal, and getting it ready to be archived on Voices Rising of PulseWire shortly.