Zonta Club of Blackall Range Inc decks out on celebrating International Women's Day and more

The Zonta Club of Blackall Range Inc, Australia, held its annual Dusk on Deck event to celebrate International Women's Day and organized a campaign with like-minded organizations to end domestic and family violence.

Dusk on Deck
At the event, the club had a chance to network with community leaders, celebrate women's achievements and raise awareness of Zonta and its mission. They also announce the winner of its Woman of Achievement award.

Despite the extravaganza, the club always ensures that Zonta's story is front and center. They leave their 'What is Zonta?' brochure, 'Request for an invitation to our club dinner' forms, and Zonta rose cards on a table.

Since its launch in 2016, the celebratory event has become a high-profile event in the community.

Speak Up Now
In collaboration with the local Rotary and Quota clubs, the club created its Speak Up Now movement to motivate everyone to speak more about domestic and family violence, encourage victims or witnesses to seek help and educate children about violence to end the cycle.

Although the clubs lacked resources to build shelters or homes for vulnerable women, and in any case, not appropriate as the community was too small for privacy, they decided that the 'transfer of information' was the best way to proceed.

The club previously placed permanent notices in all women's toilets throughout the area, giving phone numbers of organizations that provide help and refuge. From that initiative came the idea of devising similar notices for men to encourage them to seek help for inappropriate feelings. They were produced locally with a grant and are now in place. Similarly, with free professional advice, they built a recognizable logo that includes the emblems of Zonta, Rotary and the Neighbourhood Centre.

The clubs also held an initial public forum to explain their concept and included speakers from police and public support organizations. This was followed by a highly successful Seniors Forum that included a video produced by the community legal service, showcasing aspects of Powers of Attorney documents and the effects of coercive control on seniors, even by their own families.

Since then, there have been another two such forums, including lively Q&A sessions, always helpfully supported and encouraged by the local media. The group has promoted a program called Hairdressers with Hearts, devised by a local hairdresser because women traditionally confide in their hairdresser.

Members of the committee have written a Dating Handbook for teens and a pocket-sized safety card and are developing another handbook on Senior Safety. They also distribute simple leaflets giving contact details for help with Domestic and Family Violence and Elder abuse, and '10 things you can do to stop the violence.'

The clubs also initiated a kite flying program with local primary school children. The committee visits the class selected by the teachers. One of the committees gives an integrated talk on respect and how the children can stop bullying themselves and learn to speak up against it when they see it in the classroom or on the playground. Protocols are given as to how they can go about it. The committee then helps the children make the kites from a kit, and they are encouraged to 'decorate' them using words like 'respect,' 'kindness,' 'love' and 'support.' Then everyone goes out into the playground to fly them.