Global abuse network

Head of the Professional Women’s Club Marrianne Burnham (left) speaking with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (right) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean when they stopped at their booth.

A domestic violence advocacy group for women here says the Barbados Network Consultations is opening doors for linkages with like-minded businesses and professionals in the Diaspora.

President of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados, Marrianne Burnham, said they were using their booth at the conference to showcase the work of the organisation, as well as to highlight issues of abuse against women and advocacy.

So far, she added that interest had been high.

“For us it has been really good because we have met some persons working in the same sort of area in terms of abuse, advocacy, empowerment, life-coaching, so people then want to make links with us, some teachers, some professionals just want to make links with us to see how they can assist women and girls in Barbados,” said Burnham.

She said as well that their showcasing of their crisis centre and shelter for abused women, had resulted in quite a few enquiries from delegates trying to find out how they could collaborate.

“We are trying to show the Diaspora some of the issues that we deal with and possibly ways in which they can help… In terms of those who have been maybe born here and have businesses overseas, or work in similar service organisations overseas, they can lend their experience, they can mentor, do exchanges. For those who really need to be empowered, victims of abuse, in terms of linking, giving back and mentoring, the Diaspora can help tremendously there.

“On a lighter side we are showcasing some of our [female-owned] businesses, things manufactured in Barbados and businesses owned and managed by women. That is the focus and showing the Diaspora how they can work with women empowerment organisations in Barbados,” she stated.

Often Barbadians in the Diaspora were looking in some way to assist their homeland, the president noted, seen in the numerous contributions of books and other items to numerous charities and organisations.

“People are offering and looking for ways to give back to Barbados and are wondering how they could. For children who are affected by violence, they could give back to them, donations. We see so much of the Diaspora come back and give books and educational materials, or it might be a women’s group within the Diaspora that just wants to link and do an exchange. So there are lots of opportunities for the Diaspora to help.

“In terms of business as well, for our business owners, there is the opportunity for trade. You might find a supplier now, within the Diaspora, that might be able to support businesses here. So that is all networking and Bajans supporting Bajans,” said Burnham. (LB)

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