MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

MADRE's mission is to advance women's human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. MADRE works towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights; in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably; in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and in which people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. MADRE's vision is enacted with an understanding of the inter-relationships between the various issues we address and by a commitment to working in partnership with women at the local, regional and international levels who share our go...
Oct 15, 2012

Summer Meeting of the Midwives for Peace

We’re our proud of our ongoing partnership with Midwives for Peace, an incredible project coordinated by Israeli and Palestinian midwives. Midwives for Peace is dedicated to ensuring a safe and beautiful birthing experience for Palestinian women despite the violence that surrounds them. We recently received an update on the project from Gomer Ben Moshe, our partner and an Israeli midwife:

After postponing the meeting twice, we finally got together sweating and happy, missing on some of our friends but ready to participate a neonatal resuscitation course with Lina Hury, a pediatric nurse who joined us for this purpose.
Lina gave the theoretical background for neonatal resuscitation and the new guidelines, and then we practiced with equipment and dolls which Lina brought along with her.

We all felt it was important and very useful to do this course in group of mainly midwives and nurses. We all thanked Lina very much for volunteering with us!

At the end of the meeting we gave our Palestinian sister Amina a fetal monitor which we purchased for Hala for the birthing center in Mitaloon. Amina will give it to Hala ASAP.

The next meeting will take place in October.

Oct 15, 2012

Despite Barriers, Palestinian and Israeli Midwives Join to Defend Women's Health

When MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind traveled to Palestine and met with our partner group Midwives for Peace, she conveyed your encouragement to this brave group of Palestinian and Israeli women who refuse to be enemies. Instead, this small, dedicated group is determined to work together to ensure that every woman has a safe, healthy and joyful experience of childbirth.

Yifat made a commitment from MADRE to support the efforts of the Midwives for Peace to bring together midwives and other women’s health advocates from both sides of the Israel-Palestine divide.

These gatherings offer the crucial opportunity for the midwives to share their expertise and to expand access to health care for women living under Israeli military occupation. Yet, the women who participate must overcome obstacles, including the military checkpoints and unpredictable road closures that prevent Palestinians and Israelis from gathering peacefully.

Thanks to your support of MADRE, the Midwives for Peace were successful in holding a midwifery exchange on June 13!  MADRE helped cover expenses for more than two dozen Palestinian and Israeli midwives – some traveling up to five hours – to meet in Beit Jala, a small town near Bethlehem in the West Bank. There, they discussed ways to improve the quality of care for pregnant women and infants. Their discussion highlighted the importance of mother-newborn bonding, breastfeeding and shared care of infants among family members. While the midwives shared technical tips and advice from their experiences, they also discussed potential cultural barriers that they might encounter during their work.

The meeting ended in good spirits, with members holding hands and reflecting on their mutual goal of safeguarding the right of every woman to a safe birth and of peace. With your ongoing support, the Midwives for Peace will meet again in September.

Links:

Sep 27, 2012

Reflections on my visit to Taller de Vida

MADRE staff member Cassandra Atlas reflects on her visit to Taller de Vida:

Our trip to visit sister organization Taller de Vida’s programs in Colombia was my first as a member of MADRE’s staff. If I could take away only one thing, it would be how amazing it was to see the tangible impact of the programs we have in place.

During our afternoon session on the first day of our trip, all of the children we met with had at one time been part of an illegal armed group. Some had only been demobilized for a week or two. Yet every one of them was actively participating in Taller de Vida’s programs, which are made possible in large part by the generous donations from our membership. Every child there was benefitting. Even at only a week out, the level at which these children are able to express what’s happened to them during their time in captivity is so inspiring.

There was one performance in the afternoon where a young girl, through drama and dance, without speaking, reenacted her abduction into an armed group. She played out every moment from her separation from her sister to abduction to her daily life and the abuse she suffered at the hands of other soldiers. It was extraordinarily powerful to watch. She couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old, and yet her ability to emote and communicate was astonishing. It was moving to everyone present – there was no denying that experience.

Things that are very basic – macramé, taking photos, performing plays and dancing– provide these children with emotional rehabilitation and a sense of responsibility, a way to achieve and strive for better. Much of what we heard during our discussions with Taller de Vida was about the way these programs equip children with life skills and coping mechanisms that they do not receive through government-sponsored reintegration and rehabilitation programs.

The government-sponsored programs do not provide these kinds of trainings and emotional recovery, but instead provide a small stipend and simply send kids back out into the world with no support system. In three months the stipend is gone, and the children are left on their own, without the tools, financial resources and life skills to become capable adults. The Taller de Vida programs supported by MADRE run parallel to these government programs and successfully find ways through dialogue, education and art to help these children go on and live incredibly fulfilling, responsible and productive lives.

I think what was most remarkable to me is the way a small group like Taller de Vida is able to provide the kind of social services these kids really need, in ways that have been, and continue to be, lost on the state. The government, rather than learning from the experiences and achievements of Taller de Vida, persists in its refusal to acknowledge that there might be better, more integrative ways for its social services to function.

Acknowledging that Taller de Vida’s programs are working would mean having to acknowledge that the state programs aren’t providing the social and emotional reintegration and rehabilitation its children require and crave. The state needs to learn from these experiences, to use this knowledge to help build alternative, healthy lifestyles for its children and its citizens, rather than continue to provide an inadequate and nominal financial solution. The future trajectory of Colombia as a whole rests on such acknowledgment and action.

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