Sixty women from different cultures and faiths came together to share in a coffee morning organised by Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network in collaboration with the Brahma Kumaris Women and Spirituality Group at their International Headquarters in North London. The theme of the morning was Compassion in Action. The morning provided an opportunity to hear practical examples from organisations and volunteers driven by compassion working locally and globally providing active life changing support to those in need.
Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, the Chair of UK Women of Faith Network gave a presentation on the formation, aims and proposed activities of the women of faith network. She spoke about the Share a Meal – Gift a Meal initiative. The initiative encourages women to share a meal/snack whilst discussing a topic relevant to them and raising awareness about Mary’s Meals. Mary’s Meals provides over 1.2 million meals per day to chronically hungry children in 15 different countries around the world in an educational establishment. Sitting and sharing food creates an atmosphere where women can build friendships, it also provides a time and a place for women to inspire, encourage and grow in each other’s company.
Following Ravinder’s presentation Hilary Wright, from Marys Meals, a Scottish based humanitarian organisation, gave a presentation on the initiative of providing one nutritious meal each day for children in 15 countries. The local communities in these countries are trained to assist in organising the planning of the meals and feeding the children.
She said that every £1 donated by individuals 93 pence goes to provide the meals. Other non-monetary donations include providing any old backpacks with simple items such as pencils, rubbers, crayons etc. for the school day.
Ravinder said that at the beginning of the week she had been given an £80 donation for Mary Meal’s from a woman who had knitted scarves and sold them to family and friends. It costs approximately 7p for one meal therefore the £80 would provide over 1000 meals.
Cindy Lass shared the second compassion in action project. She spoke of her project, All Hearts Beat as One. The project encourages people to come together and use their sewing skills to embroider a heart. Her desire is for people all over the world to join their hearts together as one family.
The final project was in the form of an interview by Georgina Long, the Interfaith Co-ordinator for the Brahma Kumaris, who interviewed Agya Oberai about her work with battered women and the homeless in her borough. After a lifetime in nursing she now selflessly gives of her time and energy to support the most disadvantaged. She expressed how, at the age of 73, she is able to serve her community with the support of her spiritual life.
The women then broke up into small groups, and discussed two questions:
Do I have enough resources of love and compassion to share, even when I feel I cannot take care of my own needs?
How willing am I to put compassion into action?
The feedback form the groups included:
• What you give to all, including yourself, is WHAT YOU GET.
• Natural compassion is within all of us more than we know!
• Compassion is the CARE of my being!
• Belief in myself comes with gratitude and faith.
• First have love for myself, then I am willing to share that love fully with others when I am non-judgemental.
Maureen Goodman, Programmes Director of the Brahma Kumaris finalised by leading everyone into a beautiful reflection of the morning session. The coffee morning was a very enjoyable session where women from diverse organisations enjoyed each other’s company, catching up with old friends, making new ones and hearing about the social community activities, not just locally, but globally.
Ravinder thanked the Brahma Kumaris particularly Georgina Long for organising and hosting the event, and for the scrumptious tea, cakes and fruit donated by them for everyone present.
Please email: rknijjar@UKWFN.org if you wish to participate in further UKWFN events.