Every January we hear the same mantra: ‘New Year, New Me’. Social media is alive with memes making fun of how the majority of us make wild life-changing resolutions at this time of year but then fail to stick to them. But it is true that January offers a great opportunity for us to reflect on the year gone by and take steps to achieve what we want from life.
So, what are you planning for 2018?
Regardless of the jokes about ‘New Year, New Me’ (I mean, are we really going to give up chocolate entirely or continue with such gusto at the gym come March?) we at ODARA believe in the betterment of women everywhere. We recognise that many of us need a boost, more opportunity and some support now and again. Life is better when we have a stronger foundation for ourselves and faith in a brighter future.
With this in mind, we held a workshop on 11 January to focus on just that, exploring the work of local groups such as Maandeeq and Lozell’s Women’s Advisory Group as well as sharing the work of ODARA. It was the perfect opportunity to meet with like-minded women from across the community and introduce them to each other. Many agreed that January could be put to good use as a fresh start and as an opportunity for women to connect to themselves and the world around them.
And it really can be. Vogue published a great article this month which focused not on fashion and hair products but how to make a real difference in the next twelve months.
‘You could find a charity, organisation, or campaign that speaks to something you feel especially strongly about,’ it suggests, ‘whether it’s homelessness, the environment, mental health, women’s shelters, period poverty, the NHS, or whatever else you feel invested in supporting, then learn more about how you could fundraise or otherwise get involved.’
The links above are to some incredible charities to get involved with, ranging from Greenpeace to Shelter to Young Minds to support for homeless women at Refuge. Many are national charities but some have a real impact in the Midlands, too.
In fact, 2018 might be a great year to get more involved in our local area. If you’re interested to find out more about Birmingham, for instance, then a new official tour has just been launched which runs all year called Curious About Birmingham?, it promises unusual and quirky adventures!
Looking after our environment is a hot topic as we start the new year, too. Our use of plastic is a focus of attention, and we should all refuse the straw and use less packaging and plastic bags. But litter is also a big problem. Hundreds of young people from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) launched a mass litter-picking initiative on New Year’s Day in London, Leicester, Cardiff, Manchester, and a number of other smaller towns and cities. Why not get involved – or organise – something similar in your community?
The list of what you can achieve this year is endless. If you want to focus on you, you could better your health, begin a new hobby, learn about financial wellbeing or even get a new job (the Library of Birmingham offers free daily advice for any person aged 19 or over, looking for guidance on learning and work opportunities).
If you’d like some inspiration, or just like the idea of meeting new people and achieving your goals in 2018, remember that here at ODARA, we offer a safe space for all women, irrespective of faith or background. We have a Women’s Support Group and Health and Wellbeing Days open to all women to get involved in. We understand the need for a welcoming and understanding environment that is exclusively for women.
Image: Florence Kiplagat (Ken), Tigist Tufa (Eth), Mare Dibaba (Eth) & Feyse Tadese (Eth) – London Marathon 2016
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