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FOR YOUR DIARY
HAPPY NEW YEAR
27 January World Day for the Commemoration of Victims of the Holocaust
13 February Ash Wednesday - International Fast for Life
14 February V Day — an international day demanding an end to violence against women (see India story)
20 February World Day of Social Justice
Samoa and Fiji: More Help Needed
Cyclone Evan delivered Samoa an unwelcome early Christmas present on December 13 and moved on to Fiji hitting landfall four days later. CWS made an initial $20,000 grant to the Family Centre, which deployed vital supplies and assistance in badly affected areas. The CWS grant helped provide blankets, sheets, clothing and food for families sheltering in a Caritas evacuation centre. Government run evacuation centres are now closed and people are staying with relatives or neighbours while the clean-up operation continues.
The Family Centre organized teams to work in the most severely affected zone between Lelata and Magiagi, Apia. One group of builders and carpenters experienced in both Samoan traditional and more westernized housing are repairing and rebuilding homes. The second are local young men who are clearing damaged trees with chainsaws. CWS funds are also helping to buy the timber and equipment necessary to rebuild homes lost in the cyclone.
Heavy flooding in January is making the clean up more difficult. Mud mountains and other debris are proving a challenge. Almost one month after the Cyclone a four person pastoral team began house to house visiting in the affected area in Apia. Families visited were grateful for this traditional form of support. Reporting after the first day and a half the team described the situation of 42 aiga/households as dire. Ten of the aiga had no homes and all were in need of clothing. Access was difficult because of the accumulation of mud and debris.
Donate to the Pacific Cyclone Appeal to help the recovery in Samoa and Fiji.
India: No More Violence
The death of the young Delhi woman after a gang rape received international attention. Violence and discrimination against women are issues which hinder development anywhere. Groups like CWS partner EKTA in the state of Tamil Nadu are wondering if neo-liberal economic policies are one of the causes of increasing violence against women.
EKTA runs gender training and empowerment workshops for women, men, girls and boys amongst other activities. Giving women the skills they need as local government representatives is one area of work. More recently they have trained women college students to survey Madurai for unsafe public areas like bus shelters or those with poor lighting. Once identified they will campaign for improvements as part of a global Safe Cities for Women campaign.
EKTA is part of the One Billion Rising movement, a global effort demanding the end of violence using dance as a medium. EKTA is preparing to participate in the February 14 event, V Day.
Haiti: Three Years On
Three years after Haiti was rocked with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, there is good news to report. CWS partner Institute Cultural Karl Lévêque (ICKL) has worked hard to improve local living conditions for people displaced by the earthquake and two hurricanes in 2012. Their deep involvement in the local context means that
ICKL’s achievements work. They have helped peasant associations set up two small bakeries and a grain mill in order to fund local schools in the long term. ICKL equipped the new schools and trained the teachers in an area where the government provides no support.
Training and a microcredit scheme for peasant farmers are helping families improve their income. 41 new houses have been built. Education for local community workers is another key strategy they use to make sure the people benefit from good development. Read more.
Blessings to Share
Flourishing gardens and stacks of produce are traditionally celebrated at Harvest Festivals. CWS is preparing worship and other resources for February 13. John Bluck has written a reflection and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance’s resources for an international Fast for Life looking at food waste and injustice will be included along with ideas for hosting a community harvest market.
Help Out at Ellerslie Show
CWS is seeking volunteers to work on our plant minding service in Christchurch from 6 – 10 March . If you can help for a 5 hour shift with breaks and a free ticket, please contact Kathy.
WCC Study Resource
In preparation for the 10th Assembly, the World Council of Churches has prepared a six unit study resource: Pilgrimage to Busan: A Journey in Ecumenical Christianity, The units focus on a particular situation, for example the experience of Dalit Christians in India and on a specific theme including prayer and discipleship.
Update provides news, information and stories. Reproduction of items is encouraged with attribution from CWS. The current and back issues are available.