International Womens’ Day was celebrated in Surrey BC on March 17th, 2023. It was organized by Happyness Wellness Community Resources Society (HWCRS) with local sponsors the Dhot Group, Huneybay Accessories and in partnership with not-for-profit community associations ATI Vancouver and Manasvini Hindi Cultural Society. The event was titled Unique You 2023, and it promoted the IWD 2023 theme of ‘Embrace Equity’. It was a family event bringing together community members from various cultures. Ms Tarana Kaur from HWCRS was the lead event planner. The event began with a traditional land acknowledgement by First Nations members. Event co-planners Asmita Lawrence and Deepa Sharma together with their co-emcees Joseph Lopez and Parmeet Kamra kept the audience engaged by hosting in the English, Punjabi, and Hindi sections of the program.
The programming of the event reiterated that every woman is unique and has the power in her to make change. It was an expression of women’s freedom and a recognition of their contributions. Seven women were recognized for their selfless contributions with a community spirit reward. Neelam Batra-Verma was given the community award for social activism for helping immigrant women who were victims of fraud marriages. Kamla Bajracharya, another awardee, established a small non-profit society named Jhigu Palaa after the massive 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Says she, “Jhigu Palaa focuses on supporting income generating projects in Nepal. We organize many fund-raising events in Canada and help support families and women’s collectives in Nepal.”
Speaking at the event, Jinny sims, MLA, Surrey-Panorama, said that though it was her father’s decision to send her away to university but when it came to sending her to a different city, away from home, her father became reluctant. However, it was her mother who eventually put her foot down and ensured that she could fly as high as she wanted to.
Participants in the cultural entertainment program were representing all ages. The evening kicked off with a beautiful Indian classical dance performance by little girls aged 3 years to 5 years from the Sudnya Dance Academy, there was a group dance ensemble by seniors, dance performances by teenagers on the beats of the Oscar winning Naatu Naatu song and a young comedian who sent the audiences in peels of laughter with his clean jokes. Another highlight of the event was a ramp walk. Participants were women of all ages who were given free training by Meenal Drockz, ravishing Miss India Seattle 2016. The showstopper was Prateek Kalra a proud member of the local LGBTQ community. Audiences also enjoyed the photobooth and 360 videobooth organized by HWCRS Society.
Another highlight of the event was a ramp walk. Participants were women of all ages who were given free training by Meenal Drockz, ravishing Miss India Seattle 2016. The showstopper was Prateek Kalra a proud member of the local LGBTQ community. Audiences also enjoyed the photobooth and 360 videobooth organized by HWCRS Society.
Manasvini Society sponsored the children’s craft activity stall and invited other business women from their membership adding another dimension to this exciting event for networking. When asked about their motivation for supporting this event, team Manasvini mentioned that “Tarana Kaur has taken an initiative to create this spectacular event and we supported her good work.”
The event was sold out with about 200 people participating in audience. There were door prizes as well as raffle prizes, the collection of which was to go for the welfare of seniors in Surrey BC. Tarana Kaur announced that the proceeds from these will go towards supporting seniors in Surrey BC by the Happyness Wellness Community Resources Center.
Contributions by Neelam Batra-Verma
Pictures Credit: Sheela Amudhanar