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Skylark Foundation empowers women during Cultural Fusion/Mother’s Day celebration

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Maria Smith
Maria Smith
Maria Smith is the former Chairperson of the Australian Filipino Community Services, a non-profit organisation based in Victoria.

Originally scheduled in March to celebrate International Womens’ Day, Skylark Foundation with the inspiring leadership of President Arlene Lucas pulled off another successful Cultural Fusion event while also celebrating Mother’s Day on May 7 at the Seaford Community Hall.

The combined celebration attended by over a hundred Skylark supporters, officers, members and volunteers commenced with a prayer (by Honorary Consul Ms Maina Walkley) focussed on embracing diversity and multiculturalism in our welcoming home Australia.

Skylark President Arlene Lucas | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

Unsurprisingly excited, Skylark President Lucas welcomed everyone reiterating her passion for championing and celebrating women with their inner strength and beauty as they thrive through various heartaches, struggles, unfair/unjust treatment while spearheading towards their goals.

Consul-General Maria Lourdes Salcedo expressed her admiration for President Lucas and her team for organising this uplifting event. Consul General Salcedo also provided an update on the upcoming three-day 125th Philippine Independence Day celebration in June and praising committees and volunteers for all their efforts to ensure the anticipated smooth and successful outcome for all.

Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo during welcome remarks | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

Guest speaker, highly accomplished author/philanthropist/edupreneur, Dr Sarifa Alonto Younes (recipient of the Women Changing the World and Women in Education awards for 2023 alongside the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson ) shared her experiences on the importance of a mother’s love, of education, of family connections and of giving opportunities for everyone to thrive and prosper.

Inspirational Women for 2023 awardees include (in alphabetical order) Yvonne Marie Bazjek, Lilian Bermudez, Cecilia Byrnes, Florence Macusi Dato, Corina Dutlow, Tess Tumang Gadaoni, Alice Nicolas, Atty. Alfe Ladao Roder, Maria Symes, Marisa Vedar, Melba Cabato Waugh and May Red Zapra who also co-emceed this event with Atty. Bernadette Cortes, 2022 Skylark Outstanding Young Achiever Awardee.

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Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo during the awarding | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr
Inspirational Women 2023 Awardees with ConGen Salcedo, Maina Walkley, Dr Sarifa Alonto Younes, Emcees May Red Zafra and Bernadette Cortez at the Skylark Cultural Fusion / Mother’s Day Celebration | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

Acceptance speeches from the awardees centred on the importance of being a mother, the stigma of single motherhood, the horrible experiences and emotional trauma of domestic violence, and lived experiences of “speaking up to be heard and valued, to be safe at home and in the community, embracing equity and diversity” in all its forms to empower others.

Pampangueno Club President Roy Carbungco provided some entertainment while auctioning and raffling out donated prizes (including an oil painting) from generous sponsors. The Dazzling Dancers Group certainly entertained with colours and vibrant dance moves while the Roxx Mixx Duo (Raul Roxas & Stifany Bacanti Chung) Band was unstoppable in their line-up of groove dance songs.

Roy Carbungco provides entertainment | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

Certainly, one fantastic highlight of the event (well-received by the enthusiastic and admiring audience) was the fashion parade showcasing Modista Designer Lilian Bermudez’ Filipiniana creations with amazing “Goodwill Ambassador” volunteers some of whom also received awards.

Skylark Goodwill Ambassadors with Lilian Bermudez | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr
The Lilian Bermudez Fashion Parade | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

We commend Skylark President Lucas, her officers and volunteers for giving women opportunities to celebrate, inspire and empower one another to “Be Brave, Be Heard, Be You!” and to embrace and contribute towards fostering an equitable future for all. Likewise, more power to Skylark Foundation in its mission to spread goodwill and make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged women and children particularly in the Philippines.

Arlene Lucas with guests at the Skylark Foundation Cultural Fusion / Mother’s Day Celebration | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr
Maria Smith
Maria Smith
Maria Smith is the former Chairperson of the Australian Filipino Community Services, a non-profit organisation based in Victoria.

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