The SWK is an initiative of State Secretary, Mrs. Ank Bijleveld and was started in 2007. The SWK consists of several women in influential positions from all the islands and countries of the Dutch Kingdom, primarily women who hold or have held political office. Since its inception, the SWK has undertaken several activities, and has commissioned a study into the aspects of Antillean women and families.
The SWK has also been seeking ways to encourage those who already labor in this field, both individuals and organizations, as these share the same objectives of helping especially young people and Antillean families.
Council lady Wescot has used her involvement in this SWK network to analyze how best such an initiative could be adapted to directly benefit families and young people of Sint Maarten. She has come up with a plan for "Strong Women" of St. Maarten (SWS) to take a young St. Maarten girl under their wing . Strong Women will use the lessons learned from strong women within the community to encourage young girls to become strong women themselves. "Strong" indicates having career achievement as well as moral or intellectual power. These girls will be selected in collaboration with the schools. The idea is comparable with the "big sister" and mentor programs known in other countries. In the case of the SWS however, the individual women are to determine how best they can executive the role of a Strong Woman" in the life of the young woman or girl. This will depend on the career, the time and the interest of the "Strong Woman" and the young girl.
These young girls will hopefully be stimulated to become strong women themselves for other young girls.
Strong Women Sint Maarten (SWS) will also provide workshops, conferences and retreats featuring topic areas such as leadership; communication; health and well-being, math; science and technology, economic literacy, personal safety, etiquette and representation; and more.
The meeting of the Strong Women of the Kingdom was held on June 22nd at the Marriot Hotel on Curacao.
Released by Sarah Wescot-Williams
June 23, 2009