The Asian Women’s Association of Paris (AWAP) aims to enhance the lives of Asian women living in the Paris area by serving as a social and support network, acting as an information resource and providing a diverse range of activities which encourage cross-cultural awareness.
Our group of volunteers strive to:
– Create opportunities for Asian women living in and around Paris to meet other Asian women in a social atmosphere
– Provide support and serve as an information resource for Asian women who are new to Paris
– Develop activities which celebrate the diverse Asian cultures represented by our members, and help to keep Asian traditions alive while living in France
– Create fun and informative events which help our members learn more about the French culture and traditions
– Reach out to the wider Parisien community through events and activities which educate and inform non-Asians about various Asian cultures and traditions
It all began at the Women of the American Church’s “Bloom Where You Are Planted” program in October 2006. Six women who were Asian, either by ethnicity or by nationality who were attendees, plus two other Asian women who were volunteering at the event, found themselves somehow drawn together.
We were lured to one another because we could relate (due to some common cultural background) and also because we were all new to Paris at that time. After the Bloom seminar, we decided to stay in contact on a regular basis, so that we could continue to share our experiences and information, provide support as we each built new lives in a foreign land. By sheer word of mouth, the group began to grow.
Discovering new restaurants was always at the top of our list of activities. We also met at each other’s homes for pot-luck lunches. We organized shopping trips — mostly hunting for Asian ingredients — but also exciting splurges at La Vallée Village. We organized trips together to Lille, visited museums (such as the Museum of Wine), parks, and various other Parisian attractions. We attended and organized talks; we supported our own Laura Lam when she launched her book “Late Blossoms,” for example. We conquered our gastronomic pursuits by organizing wine tasting sessions and cooking classes — including a Cordon Bleu evening that included our spouses!
Having common interests and a familiar background was fundamental to the group. We naturally existed as a great support network for one another as we shared our struggles, adjusting to living in a new city. We welcomed Asian newcomers to Paris, offered them selfless help when needed, knowing how we once were newbies too.
Since then, and till now, we have formed lifelong friendships which now goes beyond Paris as people have come and gone. They remain to be friendships that were borne because of a natural bond of sharing a common culture.
~ by Paulyn Woodburn