Feedback from Invited Guests
It was a great honour to be invited to speak at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir… and I wanted to thank you all for your very warm welcome. I can understand why the Mandir has been called the 8th Wonder of the World. It was an extraordinary setting for a memorable occasion.
Congratulations on organising a successful women’s conference into such a varied and stimulating programme. I was delighted to be able to contribute on the subject of inspirational women of the present and future.
Thank you for the commitment to the maternal mortality campaign. It was a great opportunity to have the White Ribbon Alliance information given to all the women delegates. Your support for this cause, to reduce maternal and infant deaths is greatly valued.
– Sarah Brown
From the moment I arrived, everyone has been so wonderfully kind and attentive and very helpful, and it seems like a very energetic area but also a place of peace and tranquillity.
The one thing that has impressed me the most about the event today is how unbelievably it has been organised… with the most care down to the last detail. I think someone has obviously got passion behind this and I think that really shows because everybody has had a sense of purpose.
– Kate Hall, Civil Engineer & Director, Arup, Olympic Park Design Team
BAPS is clearly a welcoming and inclusive organisation because we have all experienced that today by the depth of the welcome that we have all received.
What’s impressed me about this event is the professionalism; it’s been a very slick, smooth, efficient performance. But it’s also been clearly great fun for everyone. I think everyone that I have met seems to have enjoyed themselves. One does not get the impression that it is the end of a hard month, or a hard week, or a hard day but everyone seems to have had a wonderful time which has been extremely impressive.
– Prof. Neena Modi, Professor of Neonatal Medicine and Honorary Consultant, Imperial College London
I was pleased to be one of your speakers. It is an enormous amount of effort but all the hard work produced excellent results. Well done and many congratulations for putting on a very good women’s conference!
– Mei Sim Lai Peters OBE, Representative Deputy Lieutenant, London Borough of Brent
I am overwhelmed! This has been such an inspirational event to see so many hundreds of women all engaged in the topic of how to balance your life’s desires – your family, aspirational goals… The focus on that was just awesome. I am a firm believer as a Director of Diversity that more had to be done not only to assist minority groups with issues like employment, education, access to services, but equally communities have to do more to help themselves. And organisations such as BAPS are actually putting those principles into action. And I think that all too often minority groups, and in particular women, tend to be forgotten, so to be amongst the women and organisations such as BAPS who are doing it for themselves, it has to be commended and has to be the way forward.
Organisations such as this have a tremendous role to play ensuring that young people are focused and contributing well to society and to their communities. And events like this demonstrate on a really practical basis what can be done. So three cheers and thumbs up for encouraging not just you women but also your young people to be all that they can be.
– Denise Milani, Director of Diversity and Citizen Focus, Metropolitan Police Service
BAPS women are astonishingly organised and that is fundamental to the success of this organisation and it is astounding for me to see the level at which they are organised…. They are polished… and it’s so refreshing to see.
– Nishma Gosrani, Management Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers
This is my first [time attending a BAPS] event and I can’t tell you how interesting and how useful and how fascinating it has been for me. I have met some really motivational women. I have met women who are absolutely committed to doing seva here; thoroughly unselfish. And it is great to see that we have – events like this that allow women to network with each other.
It’s really interesting to see that women are so dedicated at BAPS. I’m not sure what it is. It has to come from inside. It has to be a belief that you are contributing to society in general. It has to be because you have to passionately believe that it’s the right thing to do, and not everybody can do it.
– Nina Amin, Tax Partner, KPMG
I was most impressed by the professionalism of the organizers and precision and commitment with which the volunteers worked. I was very proud of being a woman and in the company of thousands of others present there. I look forward to continuing the relationship.
– Mira Kaushik OBE, Director, Akademi, South Indian Dance UK
I am very fond of the mandir and I love it here; this is my second home as I have many friends here. I visit the mandir very often. I feel the volunteers here are very friendly, very helpful, and very supportive, and they pay full attention to the guests that come to the mandir. Many guests from our place [the Brahma Kumaris] that come to the mandir have always come back saying how much they have enjoyed it and that is because they have been given that special attention.
– Jaymini Patel, Director, Brahma Kumari Publications; and Coordinator, Brahma Kumari World Spiritual University
Events such as these are very important as they empower women and they are doing a very important job, contributing in a very significant manner, showing that career, faith and family all go hand in hand.
Pramukh Swami is an inspirational leader. I have his speeches and they are really inspiring and I have gone back feeling ‘up there’, and having the feeling that I can do more.
– WPC Purnima Raval, Metropolitan Police Service (currently based at the Palace of Westminster, dealing with anti-terrorism) and a committed member of the Sikh community
I was very impressed with what I saw today. It was just fantastic and was so professionally done. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
– Anjana Patel, Councillor (West Harrow, London)
What impressed me about today’s programme was actually [how] the whole event – the music, the dance, and the dramas – all tried to engage with all the people. But one of the most important things for me was the way that BAPS engaged with the young and all the different calibre of people here today.
– Kanta Mistry, Councillor (Queensbury, London)
What impressed me was the number of young girl volunteers organising the programme and taking part in the programme. We don’t see young girls taking part everywhere these days and that was very impressive.
The women and girls in BAPS are very dedicated because they have been provided with all the opportunities to take part in the daily life of what is happening in BAPS and also whatever they want to do and like to do. They are being very well supported by BAPS and by the men and the santos as well.
– Indira Patel OBE, Representative, National Council of Women of Great Britain; and Member, The NGO Committee on the Status of Women at the United Nations, New York
The lectures were stimulating, the discussions encouraging, and the food delicious; but most off all, I appreciated the way in which you made each of us feel so welcome that we were unaware that about 2,000 other women were there too.
The whole day was organised seamlessly with quiet efficiency. Everyone – the organisers, the speakers and the audience – was smiling from the time we munched breakfast to the light-heartedly graceful communal dancing at the close of the day.
I now realise that the unique atmosphere pervading the whole day stemmed from your belief that ‘in the joy of others lies our own,’ for you made that day the most joyful I have ever known. Many, many thanks for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful experience.
– Rochelle D Shapiro
It really motivated me to keep going and made me more determined to achieve my goal professionally.
– MP (23), Leeds
Time just flew by. Each performance and each presentation was different and relevant to all. The hard work put in definitely shined through in every aspect. It was a flawless two day event.
– JP (29), Loughborough
It was an exceptionally good programme. Can't describe it in words, but your planning and arrangement on such a big scale was fantastic. We all really enjoyed the programme and the choreography was excellent.
– AC, Coventry
I truly feel inspired by these women’s (from the past and the present) passion, resilience and determination. I feel that the whole IWD event has helped me discover my inner strength and that will help me stay strong in hard times by remaining morally sound.
– DY (17), Leeds
Saturday’s programme was fantastic! I didn’t want to blink, in case I missed something. Sunday’s event was just as good, and was very inspiring.
– AN (59), Loughborough
I feel humbled by the level of creativity, initiative and tireless effort that was put into these two perfect days. Whether a member of the audience or part of the team, it seems all women of the BAPS forum have been fuelled with a new level of inspiration.
– NP (22), Hitchin
[The] variety of sessions all with one clear message to women of all ages “you can do it” was very empowering and inspiring.
– AS (12), Leeds
It was great to see my children build and bond with their fellow balikas. It is these important friendships that will last them a long time.
– RP (36), London
What a lovely weekend! It was so good to celebrate this weekend with everyone. I really was amazed with all the performances of Saturday and the speeches of Sunday. There are some really inspirational women out there.
– BM (40), Leeds
The guidance that was given to us was very useful and I feel that I can speak for all women when I say we definitely learnt something new throughout the two days. The motivational speakers who inspired women to reach their goals in life and to only achieve the best in their life, am sure made a huge impact on everyone. There was something valuable to take away for everyone. The benefit of listening to the experiences of these women was that we don’t have an excuse to say ‘we can't do it’ or ‘it’s too hard’ because it’s proven that women are successful and can do anything they put their mind to.
– NT (19), Loughborough
I went to the Education and Careers Seminar. This was absolutely amazing! To understand how someone got to where they are and the dreams and determination they had was truly inspiring! The audience asked really good questions, some of which were in my mind. It made you think about balance and prioritising work and home.
– BP (26), London
As a student I found the careers and education seminar particularly useful. I really appreciated the advice and tips that were given as they tackled many of the challenges we as women face in getting to the top of the ladder. Overall, I found the seminar interesting and motivating.
– DP (17), East London
The Education and career seminar was fantastic as it was full of helpful information, and provided an insight as to how important getting an education is today. The seminar was motivational, and encouraged many people to persevere.
– BP (19), Harrow
It touched me that the speaker told us the story of her life and in that when she had to make a choice between family and her career, she choose her family and was happy, so success doesn't mean to be powerful or make money but to find happiness within yourself that is success.
Also, one masi [senior lady] in the audience got up to ask a question, told her story and she said that once her children had grown up and gone to university then there was nothing for her to do. Rather than sitting in front of a TV, she decided to join a graduate course showing there is no age limit for education. This also touched me.
– KS (27), Milton Keynes
The education and careers seminar gave us insightful information, as not only were we provided with practical tips, but we were shown that despite hardships you can still follow the career of your dreams if you have strong motivation and drive.
– KG (18), East London
I attended the family bonds and education seminars. I found the Education seminar particularly motivating and informative. She encouraged the younger generation to have a dream and to pursue whatever they wanted to. She also reassured those who did not have dream saying that this was ok. The most important message that I took away from this session was that everyone has a right to education and we should make use of this right, it is important to follow your dream whatever it may be, there may be ups and downs but stick at it. Overall, it was a very motivational and inspiring session and one which all students and parents should have attended.
– NP (21), South London
This is the first time that I have attended such an event. However I enjoyed it and felt that I achieved something from it. I think that the presenter spoke very well on how to achieve in any career and balance family life with it. It was not just about getting a high position but about what is right for you and where your priorities lie.
– NA (46), London
I thought it was a brilliant seminar, covering all aspects of finance which women of today’s generation need to consider. From insurances, banking to will writing – all areas were thoroughly evaluated and excellent advise was given on how we as women need to ensure we are also financially sound and covered in how we invest our money. Fantastic.
– EA (23), South London
The presentation was very good and in very understandable simple language. We learnt the importance of making a Will. The general approach and the way she spoke was simple and understandable.
– DP (45), London
The financial one provided a good balance with serious content but with an essence of humour.
– DP (42), Northamptonshire
The family bonding seminar was useful, as it made you introspect and question yourself: ‘What am I doing to keep the family united and together?’ The useful tips were also a plus point.
– KG (18), East London