By Agnes van de Beek-Pavia | 11 March 2023

Good afternoon everyone.

To start, let me tell each one of you here… that you’re amazing and that will never change, no matter what happens today.

The very core value of Stichting Bayanihan is to empower women. We envision a society where every woman and every girl recognizes the power of her voice, her rights and her ability to achieve her dreams and define her purpose.

We all have our own definition of how it is to be empowered. Some of us may have fully realized the very essence of being strong and totally confident in controlling our lives and claiming our rights; while some might still be in the process of knowing their personal strengths. Some might even be in the process of rediscovering and redefining their full potentials.
Was there ever a time that we doubted ourselves? Was there ever a moment that we doubted our own abilities? In some cases we fear the consequences of trying and so we settle for nothing?

Have we ever realized that doubting our own abilities whenever we are about to take action would feel like getting into a self-imposed cage — a cage with no bars yet powerful enough to keep us from reaching any significant progress.
In this fast changing world where we are now – the expectations and demands on women and girls around the world are high. Oftentimes seem unachievable. For some of us the thought of failing is a step backward. Not realizing that failure is rather a step forward, a step forward in the right direction.

The fear of failure is one of the hardest lessons for us to learn to overcome.

When we learn to accept failure we experience breakthrough moments of self-acceptance, self-confidence and self-love – we overcome the expectations of others and we decide to live the lives we choose. When we can freely make our own choices, we get back that control over our lives. Understanding this is the essence of self- empowerment.

Knowing our true self is actually liberating. When we are able to address our weaknesses and our strengths, we embrace all possibilities of improving ourselves. Listing all of the things that you’re good at – and that you could be great at – can be hugely empowering in itself. Building on those strengths, and knowing how to deal with our limitations, can give us an even bigger boost.
Identifying our goals is empowering as well. Goals are meant to be a source of motivation and direction to happiness and success. Define what makes you happy. Discover the source of your motivation. Redefine your worth. When you set goals that are truly important to you, you will be more successful in achieving them. As you recognize the true value of each goal – they become non-negotiable.

We all have our own stories of courage, sacrifice, honor as well as frustrations, disappointments, resentments and challenges. All of these are stories of inspiration and can change someone else’s life. Our pains, our failures can be somebody’s else source of strength and inspiration. But we have go through the process of revealing our ugliness in order to bring out the best and the beauty in other people.

When we crave in promoting women’s sense of self-worth, when we speak for our ability to determine our own choices, and when we advocate the right to influence social change for ourselves and others – then be proud of yourself – because you belong to a strong community of men and women empowering each other.

On behalf of Stichting bayanihan, I wish you an empowering International Women’s Day!