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Potluck meets global discussion tonight

April 11, 2013

by Cari McKenzie

The monthly gathering of “Dining for Women”  where women talk about problems facing women and children in developing countries takes places again tonight at the Woman’s Club of Albany at 725 Madison Ave.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a half hour of socializing, followed by a potluck dinner at 7 p.m. The discussion starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tonight, CREATE! Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment, will focus on reducing poverty and improving opportunities for women and children in Tieneba, Senegal by promoting self-sufficiency and leadership skills.

Dining for Women is an international organization that has been around for 10 years and includes 400 chapters around the globe. The Albany chapter began in January 2012 and started in the homes of chapter leaders Rosemary Revoir and Sara Combes.

“If this gets big, there’s not going to be room,” said Combes, about the start of the Albany’s Dining for Women chapter. Last March, the chapter found a venue at the Woman’s Club of Albany. “We liked their philosophy, their accountability work with programs and people in the community,” said Combes.

“Their mission is very similar,” said Revoir, about the Woman’s Club of Albany. Both organizations are aimed at the growth and progress of women through charitable activities.

The monthly dinners raise awareness about issues faced by women and children in developing countries, and also raise funds to support projects to help them. Participants bring a dish to share with the group and donate the amount of money they would have spent on a night out at a restaurant. However, attendees are welcomed to “come to learn,” Revoir said, even if they “don’t have money to contribute.”

The Dining for Women meeting last month hosted a dozen women, but sometimes includes upward of 30. Some of the women in March were lively, while some were more reserved.

Rosemary Revoir and Sara Combes, Albany’s Dining for Women chapter leaders

Still, all had a passion for community involvement and charity work. Gail Butler, a retired database designer and program attendee, for instance, is active in community service such as the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels. Talking about the members of Dining for Women, they’re “not ones you meet in everyday life,” said Butler.

“We attract such interesting dynamics. It’s fascinating to hear their stories and backgrounds,” said Revoir about the Dining group.

The program’s dinner meetings make visible the commonalities between women in Albany and all across the globe.

“A little village in Nepal, here in New York…as women we want good education, good health care, a living to sustain our family on. Women a world away are no different,” said Revoir.

The organization’s motto is “Changing the World One Dinner at a Time.” Last month, participants discussed the Nepal Teacher Training Innovation’s “Her Turn – Girls Education and Empowerment Project.” The specific mission was to bring education, empowerment, and equality to girls of the Sindhupalchok District of Nepal.

Females of this Nepali region are subjected to gender and caste discrimination, child marriages, human trafficking, and an array of health problems resulting from young pregnancies. Her Turn will consist of 20 groups of 20 girls aged 10-14. The four week program will address issues of health; bullying, domestic violence, sexual abuse, child marriages, and human trafficking; leadership and future development; as well as implementing a collective project that will positively impact the girls’ community and school.

Tonight’s focus is on Tieneba, Senegal. And if the learning experience isn’t enough, “the food is up there,” said Revoir. “It really is fun.”

For more information on Dining for Women visit diningforwomen.org or for the Woman’s Club of Albany visit womansclubofalbany.com. -30-

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