January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day

An estimated 27 million people are trafficked globally on an annual basis, the largest percentage being women and children. Human trafficking is growing in the crime industry, second in scope only to the drug trade and equal to arms.  Revenue from human trafficking is estimated at more than $32 billion annually.” *

While awareness of human trafficking, also called modern slavery, has risen in recent years, the problem persists with unbelievable resilience.  The sheer scope of the trafficking industry–the amount of money, the huge number of people involved–as well as the way it’s deeply embedded in all of our lives (slave labor is a part of the clothing, textile, mining, and agricultural sectors,just to name a few) can cause us to turn away from this seemingly intractable problem.  But what difference could I make?  What could I do?  we ask ourselves, helplessly.

This Saturday, January 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  In fact, President Obama has declared the entire month of January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, to culminate in the celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1.  What can you do to combat modern slavery?  Quite a lot, actually.   From learning more, educating your community, organizing professional networks, advocating for legislation, and even examining the choices you make to buy certain things, you and your community can make a difference!  Check out resources from:

Another way to combat human trafficking is to support World Day of Prayer USA!  The service written by Malaysia in 2012 directly spoke to the need to end human trafficking, and as trafficking disproportionately affects women and girls, organizations that work to end trafficking are often WDP USA grant recipients.  Check out two recent organizations to receive WDP USA grants, NOMI Network and International Justice Mission, to learn more.

*http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/human-trafficking-awareness-day-events

Missed our webinar? Catch up online!

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We had such a great time with those of you who were able to connect to our first-ever webinars the week before Thanksgiving!  Many of you were not able to connect in real time, so we’re offering the following ways to catch what you missed!

1. If you have a PC, download the recording of our webinar, in .wmv format.

For Macs and other devices, download the recording in .mp4 format.

(Note: this link will send you to a dropbox site where you can download the file.  It is too big to link to from our website!)

2. Download this PDF file with the slides and notes for the presentation.

3. Download the Powerpoint presentation, including our notes.

We had such success with this webinar that we will be working on ways to offer them again in the future.  Stay tuned!

“Umulga” SHe-Space: women and men working together for gender justice

 Cross-posted from the World Council of Churches website.

01 November 2013

By J. Ayana McCalman

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The World Council of Churches (WCC) has devoted 60 years of active commitment to gender justice. The WCC  10th Assembly being held in Busan, Republic of Korea is continuing the campaign for advocacy for gender justice. The WCC, in partnership with Korean women, has designed an encounter space –Umulga SHe-Space in the Madang exhibition hall at the WCC assembly.

What is Umulga SHe-Space?

Umulga, a Korean word, means “the well”- a place where the essential can be found. The Umulga SHe-Space is an inclusive space for women and men (She and He) to exchange, rest, pray and reflect either individually or in groups on issues related to gender justice.

The space is designed in the style of Korean hospitality and reflects the various places that are part of the lives of women and men in community. There is a booth representing a market-place with various craft and cloth items for sale, designed by women in Korea. There is a courtyard style meeting space, a tea stand, couch benches to rest and relax and a quiet room to pray. On Thursday, several women and men were in conversation and relaxing in The Umulga SHe-Space.

An important feature of the Umulga SHe-Space is a prayer tree at the entrance of the space, representing traditional Zelkova trees at the entrance of Korean villages. Visitors to this space are invited to write their prayers on coloured ribbons. Their prayers are for gender justice and a world free of violence against women and girls. These ribbons hang as blossoms on the prayer tree.

Dr Fulata Mbano-Moyo, WCC programme executive for Women in Church and Society, spoke about the idea behind the space. She said that Umulga SHe-Space is a way “to make sure that the assembly promotes gender justice and encourages participants to include gender justice in their agenda for dialogue and perspectives shared at the assembly.”

What do men think?

Gleeson Vernon Jobis an active participant of the Umulga SHe-Space. So what does he think of the space? He sees the encounter space as an important multicultural approach to the journey of women and men for gender justice. He added “This is a personal journey for me. I decided at a young age that I don’t want to be a perpetrator of violence, and I will stand against violence against women. As a man, I believe gender equality is a step in the right direction. Women should not be seen as lesser.” He said men must be encouraged to become active in building a just community of women and men in a genuine way.

Thursdays in Black

Badges promoting the “Thursdays in Black” campaign were also available at the space. Assembly participants were actively supporting the campaign on Thursday by wearing black and the badges. The campaign was started by the WCC in the 1980’s as a form of peaceful protest against rape and violence – especially taking place during wars and conflicts. WCC supports zero tolerance of violence against women.

A series of dialogues will take place at the Umulga SHe-Space during the assembly. There will also be discussions held at the assembly on issues of gender titled “Community of women and men in the church: mutual recognition and transformative justice”.

*J. Ayana McCalman is a lawyer and missionary for the Council for World Mission (CWM). She works for the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa as communications and justice advocacy officer.

WCC’s 60-year journey for gender justice continues (WCC feature of 28 October)

Official website of the WCC 10th Assembly

Offerings in Action

A Door of Hope for Zimbabwe’s Most Courageous Women

Violence against women and children is a common phenomenon in Zimbabwe. It occurs, both in the private and public spheres, catalyzed by a number of factors that stem from the way in which society is structured. These factors include culture, tradition, religion, politics, and the economy. These factors contribute to shaping societal perceptions of why violence against women occurs, how society perceives the victim and the perpetrator, and how society responds to address cases of violence against women. Amidst all the other forms of violence against women such as wife battering and ritual killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence are becoming increasing social ills in Zimbabwean society.

In 2009 a group of courageous rape survivors organized The Doors of Hope Development Trust to address the psychological needs of women who underwent a series of human rights violations and to help them develop their own potential to handle post-traumatic events of rape or sexual abuse through Trauma Healing Workshops and group awareness discussions.

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Read about Tree of Life and Doors of Hope in National Geographic

The Tree of Life (ToL), a Zimbabwean non-profit that provides group based approaches to healing and empowering survivors of organized violence and torture, has supported Doors of Hope as they emerge into a more self-sustaining group. Tree of Life is facilitated by survivors themselves and uses the tree as a metaphor to provide a framework for understanding the trauma experience as well as strategies for empowerment.  During the last two years the ToL has been working carefully and cautiously with Doors of Hope and by the end of last year had trained four of their senior members in conducting healing workshops.  Currently the Doors of Hope is comprised of 5 volunteer staff and a membership of approximately 375 women from around Zimbabwe.

With WDP’s support, Doors of Hope will be one step closer to extending its outreach to other women survivors through trauma healing workshops, sensitization/advocacy meetings around the country and capacity-building/organization development training for Doors of Hope staff.

WDP Offerings at Work

Recently we received a report from 2012 WDP Grantee, Work Options for Women. WOW is a culinary job training program designed to help disadvantaged individuals move out of poverty by helping them obtain entry-level employment in the food service industry. They target disadvantaged women who have multiple barriers to employment: little to no work experience, homelessness, lack of education, mental health issues, substance abuse and often criminal histories. This program is open to both men and women – however the vast majority of clients are women.

Our grant, made possible by your offerings, covered the cost of culinary training and a support program for 20 students! Join us in prayer for the women who received the training this year, that they may find employment to support themselves and their families.

Announcing: 2014 Preparation Webinars!

This year, WDP USA will host a free planning and preparation webinar!

This webinar will provide basic information about World Day of Prayer and some specific information about planning for your 2014 service.

Webinars will be held at three times:
Wednesday, November 20 at 5pm Eastern
Thursday, November 21 at 10am Eastern
Thursday, November 21 at 3pm Eastern

The webinar will also be recorded and available to watch any time!  To join us, you will need a computer with working internet connection, and EITHER speakers and microphone on your computer OR a telephone to call in for audio connection.

If you’d like to join a webinar, please send an email to mmanas(at)wdp-usa(dot)org with the date and time you will call in.  Space is limited, so make plans now to join us!

Hope to see you in the virtual world soon!

Sept. 21 is International Day of Peace

This Saturday, celebrate the International Day of Peace!

In a ceremony on Wednesday, the United Nations observed this day of peace by emphasizing the importance of education for peace:

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“There are currently 57 million children that do not have access to education, and millions more that need better schooling. [UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon] recalled the words of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl and youth activist who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes, saying that ‘one teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world,’ and called on Governments to increase investment on education.”

You can read more about the UN celebration here.

As we prepare for World Day of Prayer 2014, something we will be thinking about is the importance of education, especially for undeserved populations.  In Egypt, the writer-country, this means migrant children, refugees, and girls.  Read more in our Take Action Guide.

What are your prayers on the International Day of Peace?