A monthly news bulletin exploring development, global justice and the work of CWS. An alternative to mainstream media sources. Past issues can be read here
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"The world is a small place. We need to make sure we hear the voices of the people crying out for food, water and justice and respond in ways that give life and hope. In this way, we can help bring joy to the world."
2017 Christmas Appeal Kit
Thank you for your support and the many encouraging messages.
We close the office at noon on 22 December and reopen 3 January.
We wish you a happy Christmas and a new year filled with hope and connection.
Pauline, David, Gillian, Nadine, Pam and Trish
Sujatha (middle) is proud of her campaign team. With the help of her sister and daughter, she was elected to the presidency of the panchayat or local council of Poothur in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Already as president, she has won an award for implementing an effective health programme, something she could do because she knew her community so well.
When her husband the previous president died four years ago, she decided to run for office so her Dalit community would have a say in local affairs. Dalits (sometimes called untouchables) usually do the jobs no one else will do like rubbish collecting and are frequently exploited. Under the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 50% of presidencies are reserved for women. Election to the position does not necessarily come with any power. The government appointed administrator can withhold information or act in the interests of dominant landowners or men.
Each year the Christmas Appeal funds training for presidents run by the Human Rights Foundation in Tamil Nadu. Since it was established in 1996, HRF has trained over 2,000 presidents and advocated for their rights. The initial training covers responsibilities and powers as well as giving them the skills they need to assess local needs and navigate the legal system.
Sujatha takes her job seriously, providing advice to people eligible for government entitlements or needing access to justice. Making her voice heard can be hard she says, but she is determined. Other presidents have called in HRF for support when threatened by local landowners. Some have been killed. Remembering her meeting with Sujatha earlier this year, National Director Pauline McKay says women panchayat presidents can take action like installing street lighting or public water taps and protect land and other communal resources that benefit everyone in the village.
Christmas Appeal: Make Hope My Story
This year’s Christmas Appeal showcases five partners working in their local communities and beyond. Your donations to this appeal give them the funding they need to do what is most urgent. You can read their stories of hope and find information and resources.
Our Story is of Resilience
In 2013 Typhoon Haiyan was a wake up call, especially for residents on the Philippines’ northern Aklan coast. Our partner Developers Foundation has been working hard with local communities to recover homes and livelihoods lost in the high level storm. For the last four years, their story has been only of disaster, but a new one is emerging.
After Haiyan, residents realised they could replace what they had lost or work to a bigger vision. They chose the big step. All sectors in each of five villages are developing an economic plan for the future with contributions from farmers, children, women and fisherfolk.
First up they need funds to buy more fruit trees and root crops and learn new business skills so they can process the fruit into higher value products like banana chips. Those near the water want to replace mangroves cleared from the coasts to improve fish habitat and protect the foreshore from tidal surges. Always aware of possible disaster, they plan to brush up on first aid skills and community disaster planning. Your support for the Christmas Appeal will enable Developers and other CWS partners to change worry and anxiety into hope. Please give generously to make hope their story.
Uganda: Christmas Message
The Centre for Community Solidarity featured in the Christmas Appeal send their greetings:
”You have liberated us from painful, miserable water drudgery; Given us an opportunity to go to school and have created hope for a healthy and brilliant future. We orphans and vulnerable children are happy as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We wish CWS and all New Zealanders Merry Christmas season and prosperous New Year 2018.”
South Sudan: War continues
Four years ago fighting between South Sudanese soldiers triggered conflict that has torn the country to shreds. More than 2 million people have fled, 1.9 million are internally displaced and 4.8 million in need of food. Maridi Service Agency reports their programme to set up newly displaced women in small businesses is doing well. It has assessed the situation after fighting reached Olo where no help is available to people who are hungry and displaced. Director Wadalla Peter wonders if the world is tired of South Sudan or has more pressing issues. Please keep the people in your thoughts and prayers. Donations to the South Sudan Appeal will be matched by the New Zealand Government.
Bangladesh: Rohingya Need Aid
The need for food and other assistance for Rohingya refugees is acute. Diphtheria remains a real threat—6 deaths and 424 suspected cases. Within Bangladesh, our partner the National Garment Workers Federation is mobilising donations and campaigning for government and business to stop trading with or investing in Myanmar unless it immediately resolves the crisis. CWS has an appeal for ACT Alliance’s work.
Zimbabwe: What next?
Ahead of Robert Mugabe’s resignation, Zimbabwean churches asked for prayer.
Dr Bernard Sabella from our partner DSPR says President Trump's announcement on Jerusalem “drags all of us down into the abyss of a hopeless future with no peace prospects on the horizon.” WCC and ACT Alliance also expressed grave concern.
ACT Alliance CHS Accredited
ACT Alliance has received certification for meeting a high standard of quality and accountability to beneficiaries after a disaster through the Core Humanitarian Standard.
Give Presents of Hope
You could buy bees or the garden, send a child to school or improve their skills when disaster strikes. It’s as simple as buying from Gifted. Decide what you want, order online or on 0800 747372 and we send a card or e-card to give someone special. Christmas sorted.