When we help to educate a girl, we help her whole family.
To improve the life of one woman is to change the life of an entire community.
This has been proven time and time again.
We already know that successful sustainable development depends on women. Economic and social development around the world, including in North America, depends directly on how we support and empower women.
Yet most women in the world still live on less than $1 a day. Girls are often expected to do manual labor and stay home to help take care of their families and are not given the chance to go to school. Women are not given the same opportunities to be educated and to be in charge of their own lives.
We can change this.
We can make a difference! Together, as Disciples women, we can come together to help change the status and lives of girls and women. We can contribute to their education, training, and empowerment. We can accompany them in a bold way!
Week of Compassion has established the Women’s Empowerment Fund to do just that.
This fund will educate, train, and empower women all over the world and here in North America.
The Women’s Empowerment Fund will honor our sisters in need. It will serve as a powerful vehicle for us as Disciples women to channel our joint resources specifically to improve the lives of women.
Individually, you may feel powerless. But coming together and rallying around our sisters, leveraging our resources, starting giving clubs, and committing to improving women’s lives means that every single one of us can have an impact.
The Women’s Empowerment Fund will benefit our partners through Global Ministries, including our efforts to support women in the Congo and the Middle East. It will also benefit our ecumenical partners like Church World Service and Foods Resource Bank, to support girls and women’s programs in the Republic of Georgia, Serbia, and India. Through all of our Disciples and ecumenical partners worldwide, Week of Compassion’s Women’s Empowerment Fund will change the lives of women.
For more information on the status and progress of women and how we can join the efforts of the nations of the world in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, please click here.
Stay tuned for more information on this powerful vehicle to improve the lives of our sisters.
Thank you for your courageous compassion and for joining our efforts to empower women.
I have been without internet access since my arrival to the Congo. Today we made our way across the mighty Congo River from Brazzaville to Kinshasa. We are staying at the Church of Christ in Congo guest house and have internet access, so I am taking advantage of it to post an update about my journey here.
I spent most of the day hearing about the situation of women here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. How is it possible -- how has the world allowed -- 1 million girls and women to be raped here? Women are used as weapons of war, their eyes gouged out, their limbs hacked off, their innocence violently taken from them as they are raped and tortured. I have seen this in Bosnia. I know the stories from Sierra Leone and Liberia. I remember Rwanda. And here I find myself - November 2009 - in the DRC, listening to yet more stories of horrific violence against women and girls. When will it end? What can we do?
Listening to Maman Nzeba of the Dept. of Women and Families at the Church of Christ in Congo tell the stories of the women the Church has assisted since the inception of this awful war in the Eastern region of the Congo, I could not hold back the tears. What is the fighting for? Over what? Why is this happening? As usual, we are fighting for natural resources. The DRC is full of natural resources: gold, diamonds, copper, oil, lumber, coltan. This is a rich country! And yet the people of the DRC do not benefit from their own resources. A woman living in the rural area of the DRC can go to the river to get gold but doesn't know the value of that gold. That woman can't even buy golden earrings from her own country; she couldn't afford them. And yet they are sold for how much in Europe? North America?
The laptop on which I'm writing this message; the cell phone that I can't seem to be without; any small appliance or PlayStation...all of these products function because of coltan. Coltan is found in the DRC. What is the role of the international community, then? What is the role of the US government? And what does that mean for us as individuals and consumers? How is it possible that I am in a country absolutely RICH in resources but most of what I see around me is poverty? Why am I again asking the question, WHY ARE SO MANY WITHOUT when THERE IS ENOUGH to go around on this planet? Why, O Lord, why?
I beg us to share.
I will go to bed this evening thinking of a 16 year old girl who was raped in the Eastern Congo. She was impregnated and came to full term. Upon giving birth, she saw the baby and was so overwhelmed -- so traumatized -- that she died. A 16 year old girl - raped. A baby -- the result of that rape -- now motherless.
The connection between that mother and her baby and my cell phone is almost too much for me to wrap my head around.
When I asked Maman Nzeba what more we can do, she first responded by saying, "Lobby the US Government!" Write your Congresspersons to stop the war over natural resources in the DRC. Second, to help her and the Church of Christ in Congo to continue to help these women war victims by offering trauma counseling, education and job training, literacy classes, and micro-credit opportunities. We can do those things!, I thought. We have done some of those things already and we must be even more intentional now.
I feel such a responsibility to advocate for these sisters of ours. I am proud that Week of Compassion has supported these programs of the Women's Dept. of the Church of Christ in Congo. I hope and pray that we continue to do so, thanks to your generosity and gifts.
We cannot ignore what is going on in the DRC. We simply cannot avoid our calling to love our neighbors as ourselves. For most of us, this may mean changing our lifestyle. This will certainly mean reaching out, giving generously, and raising the consciousness of our own churches so that we Disciples can respond to our sisters in the DRC.
I am signing off now, not knowing when or if I will have internet access again on this journey. But if this is the only message I send -- I can't think of a more important or urgent one to send to you, my sisters and brothers. Thanks for your courageous compassion. The DRC needs it desperately.
I can't believe I'm finally on my way. As a Disciple, I have grown up hearing about the Congo and our historic relationship with it. At last! I will be spending the next few weeks with my Global Ministries colleague, Sandra Gourdet; Susan Sanders from the UCC; and Eyamba Bokamba, a member of the WoC Advisory Committee. We will visit our churches and partners in the Republic of the Congo and also in the DRC. As I write, I am on board the plane in Paris, getting ready to leave for Brazzaville. Having spent the night in France, I can't help but think about colonialism...what has our role been in the ongoing violence and poverty in the Congos? How have we participated in what Dr. Bokamba calls "predatory economics"? How are we complicit? And what can we now do? I look forward to this journey and know that there will be many aspects of it that will not be easy.
Sent from my Android phone using TouchDown (www.nitrodesk.com)
Please read this important information from the Ecumenical Water Network. Peace, Amy
The World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee adopted a "Statement on eco-justice and ecological debt" on Wednesday, 2 September 2009. The statement proposes that Christians have a deep moral obligation to promote ecological justice by addressing our debts to peoples most affected by ecological destruction and to the earth itself.
The statement identifies the current unprecedented ecological crises as being created by humans, caused especially by the agro-industrial-economic complex and the culture of the North, characterized by the consumerist lifestyle and the view of development as commensurate with exploitation of the earth's so-called "natural resources". Churches are being called upon to oppose with their prophetic voices such labeling of the holy creation as mere "natural resources".