How are you doing, Aga? (President of International Women's Club Eindhoven)

Every company or organization is dealing with the consequences of the Corona crisis. We asked the opinion of our relations/contacts on the present and the future. Today: Aga Dremza (President of International Women's Club Eindhoven)

What impact does Corona have on the activities of International Women's Club Eindhoven?

The beauty of IWCE lies in its members and the way in which so many different cultures connect, form friendships, give and take. The coronavirus has shown us how vulnerable we all are, and how essential and powerful the mutual support between people is. Thus, it’s more important than ever to stay together, and be aware of our sensitivities and needs. The goal of our Club is to provide our members with a social network and to make everyone feel at home in their new environment. As this time is very challenging for everyone, with some of us feeling very lonely, we put great emphasis on nurturing personal contact whenever possible, bearing in mind the safety measures recommended by the Government. That’s why we have decided to continue all our regular activities online. Most of our interest groups, one of our Club’s most unique features, are meeting now via Zoom, so the ladies can still share their hobbies and passions without being affected by the outside circumstances. Besides, we organize virtual meetings with Guest Speakers, which are very popular. Recently, we have started an online workshop programme within which our members share their skills with other Club ladies. Last year, our key events, the IWCE Winter Market and the Bake Sale, took place via facebook, enabling us to donate to charity as usual. We also surprised our members with small gifts to remind them that they are not alone. Currently, we are beginning cooperation with other expat organisations to expand our offer to the members. Despite what's going on in the world right now, we are trying to have fun because finding pleasure in even small things can bring so much joy. It’s difficult to pour out from an empty cup, therefore it’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves to feel good and to be able to be there for our families and friends. 

What changes through Corona have you experienced as positive?

In the Club, like everywhere else, we, too, had to learn to adjust to the new situation. The pandemic has cancelled many of our plans, however, it hasn’t been able to keep us from reinventing ourselves. It’s important to celebrate what we have achieved over the past months and avoid comparisons because comparison can really be the thief of joy. We have managed to stay in touch and support each other. Moreover, we have moved most of our activities online and continued regular functioning. It’s definitely something our members can be very proud of! It’s wonderful to know that we are strong enough to endure various obstacles, including the lack of the face-to-face meetings. This is the real sense of community!

Besides, I am really happy we have introduced virtual meetings because in the future they will be able to complement our regular Club offerings and help us even better address our members’ needs and interests.

What would you personally like to do first when everything "opens up" again?

These desires are universal. I would like to start enjoying social life again and meet people in person, especially the people I love who live far away. Besides, I long for adventure around the world, as travelling has always been a great part of my life and I miss it very much. I love getting to know other cultures and explore new places, hence I can’t wait to pack my bags and go into the unknown! 

What is your favorite personal memory of 2020?

The unity of the people and their kindness in these unusual times. On a very personal note, discovering the little pleasures of staying at home and taking up the hobbies I hadn’t had any interest in before.  Also amazing was observing the seasonal changes of nature and exploring the local national parks. But most of all, I remember the joy of savoring the taste of home-cooked delicacies induced by lockdowns; finally, I had time to cook and bake all the treats I had always dreamt of making and never had time for earlier.

Finally: which message do you want to give personally?

The pandemic has brought about many challenges, but we can still enjoy the freedom of deciding on our attitude in any set of circumstances, and finding our own way.  The things that make us special are the ability to connect with others, and also to endure difficult times. These are the most important factors that can help us overcome whatever future may bring. Crises like this also nurture the emergence of creativity, and improvisation, thus allowing us to explore things we might never have thought of otherwise. Given that changes are the only constant these days, I think it’s best to be open-minded and to focus on the aspects of everyday life that are life enhancing, not diminishing.

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