The start of the new year has been challenging for many of us. Whether you were directly or indirectly affected by fires, the effects have been devastating. At times like this, words can seem useless and actions all important. But ‘words’ and connecting through personal stories and experiences can help the recovery process.
This tenth issue of Network e-newsletter takes the theme: ‘Stories of courage and kindness’. It captures the often unrecognised role of rural women before, during and after disasters and acknowledges how they lead and support through tough times with skill, courage and compassion.
Take the story of Jemima Richards whose property was remarkably left standing after the Black Saturday fires ripped through Kinglake 11 years ago. In the days after the disaster, her home became a hub where people gathered to eat, connect and share experiences. It became clear that women’s needs in the aftermath were different to men’s. The social connection became a catalyst for many to begin their journey to recovery.
Jemima and her friend Kate Riddell co-founded the women’s support group Firefoxes to enable women to connect and support one another after disasters. As she says, “Women are the captain of the family ship…if those women are falling over, then the family tends to fall over.”
In this issue of Network, be inspired by remarkable stories of courage and kindness, find useful resources for bushfire recovery and practical tips on wellbeing and personal development. The Victorian Rural Women’s Network is here to connect, inform and resource rural women, their families and communities in good times and bad.
It’s a place where you can share your stories and experiences, feel heard and supported. I encourage you to reach out and make the most of the opportunities the Network has on offer this year, but most of all, be kind to yourself and others. Keep an eye on the events calendar and Facebook and Twitter feeds on how to get involved.
Cheers from Jasmine Glover, Rural Women’s Coordinator, on behalf of the Victorian Rural Women’s Network team.
We invite stories or ideas for future editions. Articles should be written by, about or for rural women. If you would like to add something to our April 2020 newsletter which takes a ‘community’ theme, please let us know by Thursday 27 February 2020, to VRWNetwork@agriculture.vic.gov.au.
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Pictured: Jasmine Glover, Rural Women’s Coordinator (Victorian Rural Women’s Network) and her dog Maisie