Women and girls at the 2017 One Billion Rising Event at USP’s Laucala Campus.
One Billion Rising Pacific in collaboration with The University of the South Pacific’s Faculty of Arts, Law and Education organised the One Billion Rising Pacific 2017 event at the Laucala Campus in Suva.
The 2017 campaign, which focused on RISE! DISRUPT! CONNECT!, as its theme saw women and girls sharing their stories, raising awareness on issues they are affected by and highlighting social issues with the audience by means of poetry and spoken words.
OBR, is a global campaign that began in 2013. This year the OBR Pacific campaign was coordinated by members of Advocacy (through) Creative Techniques (ACT) and Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA).
In opening the event, President of Graduate Women (Fiji) Ms Charlotte Taylor said, “This year, we are rising in solidarity against the exploitation of women, women in all fields and this is more so in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)”.
This she noted, is the focus of Graduate Women (Fiji) to providing opportunities to girls in pursuing their dreams of achieving higher quality education in STEM and to feel safe; emotionally socially and financially, in their choice.
“Any form of violence is unacceptable and there is no justification for it,” she stated.
Nevertheless women are still being ‘beaten’ up with discriminatory laws for instance Russia reducing punishment for domestic violence and Turkey’s law on statutory rape.
“But we celebrate that despite all this patriarchy nets casted over us, we rise in numbers, we rise in solidarity and we continue to fight using dance and songs.
“We are after all, women, if we do not stand up against injustice who will do it for us,” she added.
Ms Elisha Bano, Coordinator OBR Pacific, said OBR has been celebrated in Fiji since 2013 and she is honoured to have been a part of it since its inception.
“It is a platform for us, young women, to raise our voices and speak our minds. We have the opportunity to use this safe space and change minds. It is a powerful space.”
"Every year I look forward to it with much eagerness. I love how the number of young women using this space to share their issues has increased. We are truly using creative techniques to advocate on social issues," Ms Bano said.
“It was an amazing space where newcomers to spoken words felt comfortable enough to share their pieces, express themselves and inspire others,” said performer Sian Rolls.
“Such events empower women to share their honest feelings about various issues. We have recorded the performances and now we will upload them to our YouTube channel and share it with an even wider audience,” Aatika Patel, Media Liaison, ACT added.
“It was great to see a lot of new faces. The performances were powerful, emotional and epic which made it a lovely night and safe space,” said co-MC Chandra Fisiiahi of ELFA.
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