Rooted in the Church of the Brethren, GWP seeks to educate about wealth, power and oppression, encouraging one another to live more simply, being mindful of our luxuries, and join in empowerment with women around the world, sharing resources with women’s initiatives. Read more about GWP and our founding in 1978.
How do you help a former captive reclaim her life?
As a mental health therapist, I have asked myself this question over and over as the headlines chronicled the story of the girls captured by Boko Haram. It is the finite question that victims of all forms of trauma must enter into for healing.
What is trauma? Trauma is a medical term and it refers to an injury or wound. In Greek, trauma means wound, injury, and it comes from the verb “titrosko” – to pierce. Thus, the original meaning of trauma is the mark, the injury that is left as a result of the skin being pierced.
Data reports many instances of how those young girls kept hope alive. They maintained hope through social connections to one another. When they were released, many girls would call each other sister even though they weren’t sisters. They had helped each other through, given each other solace, looked out for each other’s safety, shared food.
Trauma is also experiencing the aftermath of earthquakes and the accounts of aftershocks in Nepal which have sent people running into the streets seeking safety.
How does reclaiming one’s life feel in a country devastated by the earth’s quaking?
How is reclaiming one’s life experienced in any situation of trauma, victimization, loss of economic capabilities?
Thousands of articles have been written about trauma survivors and data supports some core understandings:
Reclaiming opportunities for education
Reclaiming stability no matter the environment
Opportunity for sharing their stories
Opportunity to be with others who have a shared experience
The Offering of: Support/Care/Hope
No matter what the traumatic event, we are called to be a community of Support, Care and Hope!!!
Partnering together, Global Women’s Project offers hope in the reclaiming of lives.
Blessings in the journey together,
GWP Steering Committee
MOTHER’S DAY GRATITUDE PROJECT
Spring means Mother’s Day is coming soon! Again this year, GWP offers our annual Mother’s Day Gratitude Project, an opportunity for you to honor a woman you know and love by celebrating and supporting mothers around the world. Rather than buying more material gifts for your loved one, express your gratitude with a gift that helps other women around the world. Your donation allows us to fund projects focused on women’s health, education, and employment. In return, your chosen recipient(s) will receive a lovely, hand-written card indicating that a gift has been made in her honor, with a brief description of GWP.
To participate in the Mother’s Day Gratitude Project, send a donation to:
Global Women’s Project
c/o Emily Matteson
1405 Ashwood Dr.
Modesto, CA 95350
Remember to include your name(s) and recipient’s name and address. You may also make memorial donations, which will be honored on our website: www.globalwomensproject.org. Gratitude cards will be mailed in time for Mother’s Day if you send your request to Emily by May 1, 2015. After the 1st, she will mail them as soon as she receives them.
This Mother’s Day, share a gift in honor of a woman you know and in honor of women in Indiana, Rwanda, Uganda, Southern Sudan and India, who are improving the lives of women in their communities.
REFLECTING ON OUR LENTEN JOURNEYS
Easter culminated another annual Lenten journey. We hope that through your Lenten Calendar readings you have gained inspiration, insights and information about the realities for women and girls around the world, about the empowerment projects created in response to those realities, and about your opportunities for personal reflection and action. What inspired you? What surprised you? What did you discover from your own activities and “tax collections?” We invite you to share your stories via Facebook, email, letter, or whatever communication medium is important to you. Contributions from your Lenten calendar tally can be sent to:
Global Women’s Project
Church of the Brethren
1451 Dundee Ave.
Elgin, IL 60120
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETS IN MODESTO
March in Modesto! Steering Committee members from colder climes were grateful for a chance to warm up in Modesto, California, for our semi-annual meeting.
Our face-to-face gathering time is spent considering our connections with our partner projects, program planning, budgeting, and sharing and reporting from our work assignments. For 2015 we will continue our partnership with the sewing cooperative in South Sudan, Life is Expensive in Rwanda, Uganda’s SITEAW project, and Growing Grounds in Wabash, IN. We are excited about beginning a new partnership with Cultural Academy for Peace in Kerala, India; a second new project is under consideration.
Connecting with local congregations and communities is an important part of our semi-annual face-to-face gathering. Tina and Pearl visited with folks at the Empire Church of the Brethren during the Sunday School hour, and then we all participated in the worship service planned by Emily and Erin Matteson at the Modesto Church of the Brethren. In the afternoon, nearly 35 participants shared a “round-table” exploration of the question, “What is luxury?”
Special thanks to the Modesto and Empire congregations and to our hosts, the Matteson family, Emily, Erin, Hannah and Russ, for a rich and rewarding weekend!
Kim Hill Smith has completed two terms on the Steering Committee, so this was her final meeting with us. We will miss her wise and gentle presence and her very capable financial leadership! We are grateful, Kim!
GWP Steering Committee
Women’s rights around the world are an important indicator to understand global well-being.
A major global women’s rights treaty was ratified by the majority of the world’s nations a few decades ago.
Yet, despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues still exist in all areas of life, ranging from the cultural, political to the economic. For example, women often work more than men, yet are paid less; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and women and girls are often are the ones that suffer the most poverty.
Many may think that women’s rights are only an issue in countries where religion is law, such as many Muslim countries. Or even worse, some may think this is no longer an issue at all. But reading this report about the United Nation’s Women’s Treaty and how an increasing number of countries are lodging reservations, will show otherwise.
Gender equality furthers the cause of child survival and development for all of society, so the importance of women’s rights and gender equality should not be underestimated.
Almost two decades ago, in Beijing, 189 countries made a commitment to achieve equality for women, in practice and in law, so that all women could at last fully enjoy their rights and freedoms as equal human beings.
They adopted a comprehensive and ambitious plan to guarantee women the same rights as men to be educated and develop their potential. The same rights as men to choose their profession. The same rights to lead communities and nations, and make choices about their own lives without fear of violence or reprisal. No longer would hundreds of thousands of women die every year in childbirth because of health care policies and systems that neglected their care. No longer would women earn considerably less than men. No longer would discriminatory laws govern marriage, land, property and inheritance.
In the years that followed, the world has witnessed tremendous progress: the number of women in the work force has increased; there is almost gender parity in schooling at the primary level; the maternal mortality ratio declined by almost 50%; and more women are in leadership positions. Importantly, governments talk about women’s rights as human rights and women’s rights and gender equality are acknowledged as legitimate and indispensable goals.
However, the world is still far from the vision articulated in Beijing. Approximately 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Less than a quarter of parliamentarians in the world are women. In over 50 countries there is no legal protection for women against domestic violence. Almost 300,000 women and girls died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately 1 in 3 married women aged 20 to 24 were child brides.
All of our societies remain affected by stereotypes based on the inferiority of women which often denigrate, humiliate and sexualize them.
Global Women’s Project invites all women to live in solidarity with women around the world seeking to empower women and girls in their own communities in living a life of dignity and respect. How might you work to empower women in your community this International Women’s Day?
GWP Steering Committee
I always find this time of year to be exciting for the work of the Global Women’s Project Steering Committee. As we move from winter into spring, we have the opportunity to share some of our inspiring educational resources with our supporters. Hearing about your experiences with these materials always energizes our committee as we come together for our March meeting (this year we’re coming for you, Modesto, CA!).
Ash Wednesday is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to order one of our free Lenten
Calendars! Filled with scripture, facts about our partner projects and the countries where they are based, beautiful pictures and artwork, and engaging activities, this calendar is sure to be a meaningful addition to your Lenten season. We’ve had several congregations decide to use the calendar this year and we can’t wait to hear their reflections on the experience. Prefer a “greener” method to participating in the calendar? Sign up to receive a page of the calendar each day by email throughout Lent. No more forgetting where you left the calendar, just check your inbox! If you are interested in either of these options, send an email to email@example.com with either your email address or mailing address.
Sunday March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we invite you, your women’s fellowship group, and your congregation to check out the Women’s Day Resources shared on our website. Click here to access several powerful pieces written by women around the country. There are litanies, prayers, reflections, hymn suggestions, and more – everything you need to put together a thought-provoking service that honors and empowers the women in our communities and around the world.
GWP Steering Committee
As we approach the holidays and the final weeks of Global Women‘s Project‘s fiscal year, I invite you to consider making an end-of-year tax deductible donation to help continue the work of GWP into 2015. With our relatively small budget, comprised solely of donations, we have been able to transform women‘s lives throughout the world. With your support, we have been able to give more grant money to our Partner Projects in Nepal, South Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda and the U.S. than we have in the past several years. In addition, we were able to give a timely grant to the Centre for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiatives in Nigeria due to the enormous need there. We have also engaged in efforts to educate as many people as we could about issues related to wealth and privilege and the impact of our choices on the lives of others.
I am excited about the work of GWP! In just a few weeks, you will have an opportunity to get a more extensive look into our activities through reading our newsletter, Globalinks. As we prepare for the printing and mailing of this “annual report,” I am reminded of the extent of outreach that can be done in a year with approximately $20,000, a dedicated Steering Committee, faithful and visionary women around the world, and willing volunteers who have helped us with everything from licking envelopes to transporting Lenten Calendars around the country. My heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have given to GWP, and to those of you who will yet give.
If you would like to make a contribution to GWP on behalf of yourself, in honor of a loved one, or as an alternative holiday gift, please send a check to:
Global Women‘s Project
1451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120
Thank you again, and Happy Holidays!
Kim Hill Smith