NEARLY a hundred women from across Flintshire gathered at Theatr Clwyd on Sunday (March 8) for a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The ‘Women Hold Up Half of Heaven’ event was organised by Flintshire City of Sanctuary and saw international food, music and dance displayed to those who attended.

Delyn AM Hannah Blythyn was among those at the event alongside the Deputy Mayor of Mold, Theresa Carberry, and the High Sheriff of Clwyd, Stephanie Catherall.

Speaking at the event, the Assembly Member for Delyn said: “It was a privilege to be part of Flintshire City of Sanctuary’s International Women’s Event today at Theatr Clwyd.

“I met many amazing and inspiring women and heard about the wonderful work happening across communities.”

At the beginning of the event, which was made possible by a community cohesion grant from the Welsh Government, a ‘World Peace Flame’ was lit by a Syrian woman and her children and continued to burn throughout.

From this flame, each woman was invited to light their own candle from it and then join in a moment of quiet reflection to share the light of peace.

Gwennan Mair, Director of Creative Engagement at Theatr Clwyd, kicked off the event with a series of fun ice breakers before the children took part in a special drumming workshop which led to an energetic performance in front of the audience later in the day.

Attendees were then treated to the voice of the talented local musician and artist Elfin Bow, who afterwards said: “What a privilege to be performing at this wonderful event at Theatr Clwyd.

“Celebrating amazing women who are driving forward inclusive and empowering initiatives like Flintshire City of Sanctuary, business owners and politicians who have humanity and heart, and women who have been given sanctuary here in Wales and are not only contributing so much to the communities they now live in, but are thriving in every way.

“We need events like this to remind us of the hope, hard work, humility and open mindedness of many amazing people that do not see borders or barriers to opening their doors, their businesses and lives to others in need.”

In an action-packed event, there was also a Dru yoga session with piano accompaniment, a raffle, an Arabic dance show, and the presentation of home cooked Syrian food.

Afterwards, He`la Boujneh, a guest at the event, added: “I discovered a new skill in being able to simultaneously and spontaneously translate the English language into Arabic for some twenty Syrian women who have survived injustice.

“More than 90 women came to celebrate the International day of the woman. They were of different origins and different jobs, with the one common point of living in the country of Wales.

“I am proud to have participated in this event and proud to have felt and shared an immense solidarity with generous, bright and intelligent women who continue to fight for peace, love and social cohesion.”

More that £200 was donated by guests at the event, while Elfin Bow also donated all of the proceeds from the sales of her CDs to go to the Red Cross Syria Appeal and AberAid.

Raffle donations were provided by The Yarn Clock, Beauty by Design, Good Health Emporium, Serenity Office Services, Fur and Nails Pet Services, Members of Flintshire City of Sanctuary, and included a signed copy of Nadiya Hussain’s book ‘Finding My Voice’.

Flintshire City of Sanctuary is a cross community organisation whose vision is to make Flintshire a place of sanctuary and welcome for those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries.