International Women’s Day at Baytree

International Women’s Day is always an important celebration for everyone at Baytree. Each year, we like to put on events to reflect on the achievements and solidarity of women and girls everywhere.

This year was no exception, with plenty of fun, inspirational activities throughout the week.

On Wednesday March 4th, we took a trip to the theatre to see “Ride, The Musical” at the Vaults Festival in Waterloo. The all-female show retold the fascinating story of 24-year-old Annie Londonderry, a Latvian immigrant who in 1895 became the first woman to cycle around the world. The musical was written by Bottle Cap, a theatre company cofounded by Freya Smith who formerly volunteered at Baytree and invited us along to the production.

Thursday 5th marked two celebrations, as the day also fell on World Book Day. We held a lively interactive storytelling and craft workshop for our girls aged 6 to 11, with parents invited to join them. The session was led by Jeanelle Brew, the author of the children’s book series of the “Young Adventures.” As one of our fantastic volunteers at Baytree, Jeanelle runs homework and literacy clubs, with a special focus on leadership and women authors.

For our women at Baytree, on Tuesday, an employment lawyer from High Trees came in to Baytree to go over employment contracts, rights, and to give advice on what they should do if something goes wrong.

Then on Thursday, the women were given time out of their busy schedules to get creative. Textiles artist Samira Young encouraged us to think about “giving women a voice” and “what Baytree means to them” while working on their textile creations.

Our women also made their own tote bags using paint, textiles and stencils. Christina Christoffi, academic manager and ESOL tutor at Baytree spoke about the benefits of using art to relax and take stock: “Our women really enjoyed the session and found it very therapeutic. A lot of women at Baytree have very busy schedules and don’t always get a lot of time to themselves. One woman told me it was like getting to be child again! If you’ve got a lot of responsibilities, it’s so important to let go and have fun now and again, and workshops like these are a great way of doing that.”

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