Wonderful Women Interview #19 & #20 – Hildegarda and Bożena

Bristol Women’s Voice Wonderful Women Awards were presented as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations on the 3rd of March. We celebrated over 50 women from across Bristol  who had been nominated for their contribution to their communities.

Hildegarda Jakubczyk & Bożena Szulc

Hilda and Bożena received a Wonderful Women Awards for creating and running a weekly Polish speaking group for people who are over 50 and who want to have fun and make new friends. Hilda and Bozena create a friendly and welcoming place for people to share memories, jokes and culture. The club is completely self-organised and self-funded. Every week there are 20-30 members enjoying each other’s company, with many in their late 80s and 90s.

Bozena

Bozena told us a bit about the club…

My friend Hilda and I have been organising the seniors club for the last ten years. My role is to lead the group and Hilda organises. At the club, we play a little bit of bingo, we chat, we have tea and biscuits and we have a special polish lunch and cake. At the Seniors club everyone is always happy to see you.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Always help elderly and sick people. My grandmother always said to me, ‘don’t forget elders and don’t forget sick people.’

Which women have inspired you?

Mother Theresa inspires me because she helped the sick and the vulnerable. She was always finding a way to do things – there was nothing impossible for her. I am also inspired by Brigette Bardot, because she shared whatever she had rather than keeping it to herself. There is no point holding on to anything in this world because you can’t take it with you when you die. It is important to share.

What would you like to see change for women in Bristol?

That there are more groups like this where older women can support each other. It is important to share experiences and problems, to be together and have fun. Where I live, I stay in sheltered housing, we do bingo there, we socialise, we do lots of different things. We need to remind younger people that they will get old as well, we all get older and it comes very quickly – so they need to think how they can help.

Bozena receives her award at International Women's Day 2018
Bożena and Hilda

What hopes do you have for your local community in 2018?

I’m hoping to have more opportunities for the Polish seniors in this club to go out and see places, perhaps to go on some trips in a coach or a minibus. Many of the people who come here are on their own and might not be able to organise things themselves. Some of them are not able to drive anymore – so hopefully we can have some support to go on a trip.

Hilda

What advice would you give to your younger self?

 Don’t worry too much and just carry on – you have to, life is too short to worry about it. You have to carry on, enjoy yourself and feel happy.

 Which women have inspired you?

All my friends inspire me. I treasure them. Once a month we see each other, we have a cup of coffee and something to eat. We chat about our illnesses and how we feel. If I die or anything like that I am ready for it, if it comes it comes – and that’s it. I’m independent and I am happy as I am.

 What hopes do you have for your local community?

I hope we can all live longer, so we can stay together as long as we can. I hope that this club will keep going and never be closed. I do this from the heart. We are all like one happy family. It keeps me going.

Thanks to Magda from LinkAge Network for supporting this interview. 

Bristol Women’s Voice are marking 100 years since the first women in the UK were given the vote with ‘Deeds not Words’ a year-long programme of events across the city. Find out about Deeds not Words events in Bristol here

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