Germany: International Women's Day 2018

Ute Lemme
April 6, 2018  


On March 11, 2018 WFWP Stuttgart and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) held an event to celebrate the UN International Women's Day. Twenty-eight participants, including guests and members of WFWP, gathered to celebrate the substantial contributions of women to society.

Ute Lemme, leader of the local WFWP group, opened the event by welcoming the guests and explaining that the 8th of March was first declared as International Women's Day and an official UNO day of celebration in 1977 and a bit about WFWP's history.

The program was focused on four women who have contributed to society in exceptional ways. Ilham Mandalawy shared how she was raised in a tolerant Muslim family in Iraq and encouraged to study by her father, later becoming a teacher as a result. After her husband was taken as a political prisoner, she and her three children fled to safety. The audience was moved by her struggle to establish a new life. She was unable to find work in Germany, so she founded a language school where she gave lessons to Muslim women and taught refugee children their native Arabic language.

Rosemarie Tijsterman told the audience how from very early on in her life, she was confronted with illness both in herself and her family. She trained as a nurse and worked for many years in a hospital. It became clear to her that many illnesses were not caused by physical factors and she prayed to find a way to help people to heal or prevent illness at the root. She now utilizes a method she heard about from the USA, the "Emotion Code," to offer alternative treatment to patients.

The third woman to be introduced was Irmgard Ingwersen. Although she was not able to personally be present, her photo was projected onto the screen and her report read out. The testimony shared how as a small child, she loved art and drawing, but was not able to make it her profession. When her husband became ill, she trained in therapeutic painting, developing the ability to paint "soul pictures" and discovered "Urban Sketching." She meets regularly with a group in Regensburg in order to paint chosen motives. Examples of her artwork were projected on the screen

Ursula Simminger, shared how she believes that the traditional family structure is collapsing in contemporary society; how old people are shunned and isolated, children are given to strangers to be raised and traditions are lost. She is currently working on different ways to revive valuable classic family structures by educating young parents.

Following their presentations, the four women were called up to the stag, including a representative for Irmgard Ingwersen, and presented with a certificate naming them as a UPF Ambassador of Peace. One of the guests, a woman from Kashmir, came forward from the audience and gave Ute Lemme a special sample of handiwork from Kashmir, a gift for WFWP Stuttgart.

The official part of the event came to a close after a group photo and was followed by an opportunity to exchange ideas over coffee and cake.