Champion of the underdog
By Anesta Henry | Wed, July 25, 2012 - 12:03 AM
NEW PRESIDENT of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Paige Bryan has been involved with the association which through programmes and services, primarily works to empower women and girls by helping them to develop their potential – spiritually, intellectually and socially – for only two years.
Short period of affilation, some might say.
But she intends that when her tenure as president ends in June 2014, she will have left
a strategic plan for the association which has been in Barbados since 1950.
She took over from Marilyn Rice-Bowen who outlived three consecutive terms.
Speaking to the MIDWEEK NATION, this week’s WEDNESDAY WOMAN who calls herself a champion of the underdog by nature, said she has big plans for the “great association which is the voice for the voiceless”.
“I like the fact that it champions the causes of women and not just any woman but a woman who may need economic empowerment. She might be there not working, not have any skills and the YWCA has a rich history of teaching women skills that they could earn a living from.
“The association also speaks to advocacy. We advocate against violence against women. We also look out for children,” said the 47-year-old who took up her position earlier this month.
What are her big plans?
“I would like to see a home for the YWCA established,” she said, noting it was the biggest and most important one for the association which is located in a Government-owned Deacons Road facility.
“I know that that is a big goal, but I think that [it] is achievable. We already have the land in Barbarees Hill [St Michael], we have the plans drawn and we just got the final Governmental approval, so we have all the approvals needed in hand.
“I would really like to see the home become a reality while I am president. It will cost about $2 million to construct the home,” said Bryan, who heads the YWCA’s board of management which makes all decisions necessary to continue the association’s business.
“It is a matter now of obtaining funding. We have done some small fundraising but we are currently looking at sending out proposals. There is an organization that has said they would work with us and they said that they might not be able to fund all but they will assist us.”
The mother of two, who has been into volunteerism from her teenage years, holds on to the belief that she should give back to her country, and also has her eyes focused on growth.
“An increase in membership of young women; this is crucial for the continuity of our organization,” said the president, who is involved in the financial services industry.
“Right now, we don’t have a lot of young women in the organization, so I would like to see that membership dramatically increase. We are affiliated to World YWCA and they have written into their constitution that all boards should be comprised of 25 per cent young women, minimum, and they qualify a young woman [as] under age 30.
“We have been able to achieve that with this board, but we need to make sure that we increase our membership of young women because you don’t want that 10 to 15 years down the road the organization is dying.”
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