It’s been seven and an half good years. Those of you, who have been on this journey from Day 1, will understand how far we have come, what we have achieved along the way in the name of women’s rights.
To the new President, you are going to do well. We are on the right course, you are a capable pair of hands, and you have a very capable team with you.
To my outgoing Executive Committee, thank you for your commitment and for your ability to work independently and unsupervised. I would like to single out our Treasurer Priya, for having done remarkably well. If nothing else, rest assured Jewel’s accounts are in good order.
For the members, you do not need my advice. Whatever Jewel is today, however it is perceived by the world outside, is all a reflection of you. The people you are, your genuine desire to make this world a better place, to help those who need help, to facilitate, build trust and build relationships.
It is now time for a new chapter, to build on what we have achieved, a new narrative, a fresh perspective. Remember, it is all in our programmes. Our programmes have transformed the landscape of how things are done in Johor Bahru, from the charity mode to the human rights mode.
Hence, we move mountains to get a child a birth certificate, not as an act of charity on our part, but because it is the child’s right to have a registered identity. A child is readmitted to school, not as an act of charity, but because she has a right to an education. We pay for children to have a proper breakfast, not so that we can feel good about ourselves, but because a child has the right to expect that society will do for them what is in their best interests. Women have the right to be aware of their legal rights. To be educated about safety.To live lives free of violence.
That is what we do best. To carry on doing that well, requires adaptability. That will be our new challenge. Our ability to move with the times and changing circumstances, while not forgetting the core values that got us to where we are.
We still have work to do. And it is my wish and prayer that you will all continue on this journey with Jewel. I wish the new President and Executive Committee all the best. I am not too bothered about the differences among us. While it is important that we get along peacefully, we must bear in mind that you are not here to be mindless followers. You are all strong, opinionated, independent women of excellence who are committed to women’s rights and the rights of the child. And that is something to be celebrated.
ThanamVisvanathan-Suresh, Jewel President (2008-2016)