Today, the world celebrates the legacy and progress of women’s rights and empowerment – and the continued fight for equality.
Bahrain has always been ahead of the pack in the region in terms of social progress, freedoms and female empowerment.
And in recent years we truly have made strides with new policies, amended legislation, and public engagement.
Today, as we honour the trailblazers, encourage the innovators and pave the path for the younger generation, I want to shine a spotlight on a group of inspiring women who work in the shadows; the volunteers of Shamsaha.
If you haven’t come across this non-profit organisation, it’s probably because it used to be called WCCI.
These remarkable and beautiful volunteers take time away from their loved ones to help women facing domestic or sexual violence, by operating two 24-hour helplines.
They accompany victims of abuse inside hospitals, police stations and courtrooms – to make sure someone is advocating for them.
More often than not these brave women offer vital information and listen as victims of violence tell of their struggles.
Working with these nearly 100 women up close and personal has shown me what true compassion, unconditional support and female empowerment really is.
How many of us can truly say we would instantly give up our time and energy to be emotionally and physically present for a complete stranger in distress? Not many!
These incredible volunteers do just that; answer a call at midnight from a woman who has nowhere else to turn to.
They take on this incredibly challenging mission because #ItsNotOk for one in three women around the world to have to experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
But it’s not just the volunteers who work tirelessly, the authorities involved have welcomed us with open arms in our goal to empower women.
In the last year, Shamsaha has supported and empowered women in more than 1,000 cases, as the first and only crisis response programme in the entire Middle East.
Shamsaha’s reach in under five years is testament to the laws that protect women and awareness of both Bahraini and expatriate communities – while its volunteers are a tribute to the interlacing and beautiful dynamics that make Bahrain unique; our cultural diversity, social progress and religious tolerance.
So, today, as we celebrate the many developments and triumphs in women’s empowerment around the world, let’s not forget all the people working to ensure those rights are maintained.
Join me in recognising their sacrifices, achievements, and contributions to society.
Noor Toorani is GDN Deputy Editor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org