MORE THAN 75 people gathered at Uppermill Methodist Church Hall for an International Women’s Day event paying tribute to and raising funds for women in Palestine.
The event, ‘Women of Palestine – the ongoing Nakba’, was organised by Saddleworth Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund and marked the 70th anniversary of the expulsion of Palestinians from their ancestral homes (known as the Nakba) in a series of films, presentations, exhibitions and poetry.
The event aims to raise awareness and funds to allow women in Palestine to get access to higher education.
The group were delighted to welcome actor Maxine Peake, who read two poems written by Palestinian poet, Fadwa Tugan.
At the heart of the event was a film, directed by Kholoud al Ajarma, from Aida refugee camp in Palestine’s occupied territories.
Kholoud’s film ‘On the Way Home’ was specially commissioned for International Women’s Day 2018. It highlights the story of her mother, sisters and her grandmother who was in her twenties when she was forced to flee her village and become a refugee.
Kholoud drew on memories of tear gas and shootings but says that she has been empowered by strong women who never gave up and, despite living in refugee camps, continue to ‘study and dream’.
Special guest at the event was MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Debbie Abrahams.
She said: “Around International Women’s day, it’s a fitting time to acknowledge the inspirational role women play in the ongoing situation in Palestine.
“The wonderful, warm welcome I have received reflects the true spirit of this event and its very worthy aims of raising awareness and helping women gain entry to higher education.”
The event also showcased a photographic exhibition and an interactive art installation created by artist, Hilly Fletcher, a campaigner for peace and justice in Palestine and member of the Northern Women for Palestine.
Donations, the sale of cakes and Palestinian goods went towards raising £670.26, with proceeds going to SPWSF.
The Saddleworth Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund group meets regularly and welcomes new members. If you are interested in joining email: firstname.lastname@example.org