In 1995 a group of us in Waterford, accessed EU funding to set up two women’s projects in the South East of Ireland. One became Access 2000 in Wexford and the other became the Waterford Women’s Centre.
The Irish Government was the mainstream funder of the two projects in time. Through creative thinking and dedication both projects have thrived for 25 years.
The Waterford Women’s Centre works with; women who are living on low incomes, women who would not access mainstream education or training, women who may have additional support needs but are unable to access supports. Many of the women attending programmes left school early due to family circumstances or personal issues that were not supported at the time. There is a dedicated staff and a voluntary Board of Management making sure that the work is sustained into the future
Check out the amazing work with women that the Women’s Centre do! They have all come a long way. Here two women describe their personal experiences………
“I had begun some personal awareness work some years ago but it was brought to the forefront on the day that I walked through the doors of the Waterford Women’s Centre in September 2017. I was absolutely terrified and had no idea what to expect. I will never forget one of the first questions asked of me. “If there were no obstacles, what would you love to do with your life, what is your dream?”
My heart came right up into my throat and I held back tears. Where do we get asked such questions in life? This has been the tone of my entire experience in the centre. I was seen. I was heard. I was witnessed.
I was valued, and I was encouraged!”
“My experience in the Women’s Centre enabled my confidence and self-belief to grow. I love and enjoy the work I now do as a facilitator and feel I am well placed to do this work as I can identify with many of the multiple issues faced by the women I work with. I am also chairwoman of a national women’s organisation that supports women’s groups in Ireland.
Through the community education process I have been empowered to take on many leadership roles both in my personal life and in my community.”
So now here we are, 25 years later and I am back in the Waterford Women’s Centre as a proud volunteer. We are currently working on a project to raise some money for the future sustainability of this special home from home for 100s of women who will benefit way into the future.
Our main fundraising project is the “Well Girl” Walk. (By the way, “Well Girl” is the traditional Waterford greeting between women of any age!!) The Well Girl Walk will happen on International Women’s Day. You can register here or simply sign up to donate 10 euros. Every penny will go towards sustaining the project into the future. Thank you so much!!
This year, 2020, there will be another week of events to mark International Women’s Day. A festival of Women’s History, Circle Dancing, A Women’s History Exhibition and of course the Well Girl Walk. Hope to meet you there!!
In 2006 myself with support from Dyehouse Films and all the women involved, featured the stories of three women whose lives had been changed through working together in Waterford since the 1980s. It also follows the Women’s Centre as they celebrate International Women’s Day. They have continued to this day to celebrate International Women’s Day every year. Enjoy!