INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day campaigns often revolve around issues like reducing domestic violence or encouraging women to take a stand and make their voices heard, but this year the worldwide feel is a little different.

The theme for 2012, Connecting Girls: Inspiring Futures, resonated with the organisers of local campaign called Women: Girls, who are planning a “mentor-mentee” programme in conjunction with this year’s IWD celebrations.

Campaign spokesperson Low Ngai Yuen, former host of popular youth programme 3R is working with organisers Capri Communications Sdn Bhd on the 10-day campaign, which kicks off on March 8 and includes various ground activities in the Klang Valley.

The mentor programme aims at encourages younger women and girls (as young as 15) to look for inspiration in the form of a person they can look up too.

“We want to target women to view themselves as role models because you can’t run away from being one, and most of the time we forget that we are supposed to inspire,” explained Yuen.

“We also want to urge the younger girls to look for inspiration. A lot of people don’t really have an idea of what they want to do in life, you need to be able to see a good example, a person.”

“We want to encourage them to actively search for this person to inspire them,” she added.

Low Ngai Yuen

Among the personalities who will be playing mentor to the selected candidates are host and radio announcer Asha Gill, KL Krashpad head of fundraising and advocacy Dr Hartini Zainudin and designer and entrepreneur Melinda Looi.

Just last night, the organisers launched, where you can read up on the mentors and their backgrounds and submit your application for the programme.

In 80 words, write to them with a few details about yourself and include an explanation on why you want to sign up and who is on your mentor ‘wish list’.

Whether it’s because you’ve always admired their work, or perhaps you were moved by some of the challenges these women have faced on the road to achieving their goals or even for the simple fact that you are from a similar background, let the organisers know why your mentor of choice inspires you.

Although the organisers have already selected mentors for the campaign, they are not closing the panel just yet, depending on the responses they get from applicants.

“We are selecting five young persons to be paired up with a mentor and we will supplement their expenditure for the time they will spend with their mentor, a minimum of 20 hours a month,” explained Yuen.

Fifty “mentee” candidates will be revealed on March 17 and from that number, five will be selected for the month-long programme.

“Maybe this experience will be able to open up her (a candidate’s) mind , even if its just to say ‘maybe its not impossible’, something that they didn’t think they could do, even if its just to let them know the possibilities that are out there for them,” said Yuen.

“It will be an opportunity to see how it’s like to be with these people and to learn from them,” she added.

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