Students of Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College spent their International Women’s Day supporting the Oxfam We Can campaign and standing up to violence against women. Hundreds of students gave up their time to give International Women’s Day 2013 a purpose. 

The day was spent learning about the violence related issues facing women on an everyday basis in Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Did you know…

  • In India, 1/3 of women ages 15-49 have experienced physical violence
  • In Bangladesh, in 2003, 315 women were victim of an acid attack
  • In Pakistan, in 2007, 636 women were killed in ‘honour’ crimes
  • In Sri Lanka, 56% of women who had suffered abuse were in poor mental health
  • In Afghanistan, 80% of Afghan women suffer domestic violence
  • In Nepal, despite a decade long struggle to pass a law on domestic violence, such a law has not come to be.

We Can is an Oxfam International six-year, six-country South Asian campaign to challenge and change deeply entrenched societal attitudes and practices that endorse gender discrimination and violence. The central force of the campaign is people who bring change – Change Makers. We Can encourages people to set an example and lead the way through speaking out about their experiences. 

There are over 2.7 million Change Makers who are actively committing to not perpetuating or supporting violence and influencing others to take a similar path. 

Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College saw many more change makers emerge as students took action to stand up and speak out about the importance of seeing a change in people’s attitudes and behaviours relating to women that can be instrumental in ending gender based violence. 

Supported by Oxfam and college staff, students demonstrated their respect, value and commitment to this important cause by leaving impactful messages on a creative banner petition. 

Messages of support included bold and thought provoking statements including: ‘women alone cannot achieve this’, ‘teach children to love women, make the difference from the beginning’, ‘can’t believe this is happening in this generation, no one deserves it, everyone matters’. Other students posed for photos of support and spent time raising awareness to others. 

The power of this event was relayed by one student who stated: ‘local events like this help to make a difference to women’s lives today, tomorrow and beyond…’ 

The passion and enthusiasm of those involved in the day was truly motivating. I was inspired to see so many young people join together and make their voices heard to show that We Can see an end to violence against women all over the world. 

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