RELAX BEGINS OPERATIONS
Global Grassroots is thrilled to inform you that we began the launch this new social venture, named Relax, in October. This team of 10 is working in the rural Mwendo sector, where up to 50 percent of women are victims of domestic violence, including denial of property rights, marital rape and physical abuse.
Relax plans to work closely with the police and local authorities to improve the legal protection of at least 815 women who experience violence. Relax will teach women about their rights and identify local representatives who will be given cell phones to report cases of domestic violence when they occur. When not in use for emergency purposes, the phones will act as village phone businesses to help support the project's operating expenses.
To date, the team has begun dialogue about their project with the local authorities and is currently drafting questions for a baseline issue survey that will assess their target population’s beliefs, problems, and needs concerning gender-based violence and property rights. We look forward to updating you on their progress as they move forward.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS YEAR-END UPDATE AND LOOKING AHEAD TO 2011
2010 has been a turning point for Global Grassroots. We have endured hardship with the economic downturn, but are emerging leaner, more creative and more strategic. We’ve evaluated our social impact, repositioned our training program as the Academy for Conscious Change and integrated new mind-body practices for trauma healing. We’ve brought these holistic practices to earthquake survivors in Haiti and, by request, to American relief workers serving in disaster zones. We’ve doubled the number of civil society organizations our Academy has helped launch in Rwanda, and are investing in technology and partnerships to expand our reach. Today, our 300 Rwandan change agents have established 16 non-profit organizations, which are working at the root level of a social issue facing women and girls, benefiting an estimated 10,000+ people each year.
As we move forward into 2011, we have over 100 women’s groups in 40 countries requesting our programs. In response, we are expanding our hands-on approach into Northern Uganda next and embarking upon a web-based eAcademy for Conscious Change to reach women worldwide through local internet cafes. We are developing new courses, based on our core curriculum, for a range of new audiences, including students, donors and practitioners. And we are preparing to package and license our program model for partner organizations to implement in regions we have yet to explore.
Global Grassroots needs engaged investors to join with us and our change agents in a three-part-partnership to actualize the possibilities in front of us. We invite you to read more about our progress in our 2010 Year-End Magazine (available for download on our home page: www.globalgrassroots.org) and consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports conscious social change for women in post-conflict societies. Our Academy for Conscious Change is a 12-18 month social venture incubator, offering non-profit management skills, leadership training, personal transformation practices, seed grants and high-engagement support that enables vulnerable women change agents to launch their own grassroots solutions benefiting women and girls. JOIN US.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS UPDATE
Global Grassroots US team recently returned from Rwanda where we visited our existing project teams and initiated our 2010 Academy for Conscious Change.This Academy cohort includes 37 participants representing 7 of the 30+ teams who applied. Having completed our intensive training, our teams will now embark upon the development of their own social ventures over the next 18 months. They are a highly motivated group working on a range of critical issues facing women:
Violence and discrimination against mothers of handicapped children
Lack of clean water access and associated violence, exploitation, and disease
Violence against and rejection of single mothers
Teenage mothers with unwanted pregnancies (age 12-14)
Education of girls, especially children of prostitutes
We anticipate great progress from these teams as we work with them over the next few months to develop sustainable ventures with a measurable social impact. We'd like to ask for your help in making that happen. Your financial contributions enable our efforts on the ground to improve the lives of the worlds most vulnerable women.
We are still seeking another $3700 in seed funding in order to launch Relax. The team is eager to get started working with police and local authorities to improve legal protection of victims, and leading community workshops on issues of domestic violence. They will use cell phones to report violence and generate project revenue as local pay phones, so once they are launched they should be self-sufficient. Please consider another donation today and ask your friends and family to help us launch this project!
BRINGING BREATH AND YOGA TO RWANDA
For the first time in Rwanda, Global Grassroots implemented the Breath~Body~Mind (BBM) program developed by Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg (www.haveaheathlymind.com). This program, integrating Qi Gong and Coherent Breathing, was introduced by Global Grassroots earlier this year in Haiti to support trauma relief for earthquake victims. We are conducting a program evaluation over the next year in Rwanda to assess how this group's symptoms of PTSD change with the continued practice of BBM.
We were also thrilled to have Yoga practitioner Jessica Spain join us to offer yoga each morning during the personal transformation practice portion of the program. On the first day she taught, yoga was met with a room full of nervous and embarrassed giggles, but the next day everyone told us that they wanted another session! It became a regular part of our morning and prompted Jessica to develop special series of poses she called "Yoga for Skirt Wearers".
Gretchen Wallace has coauthored an article with Dr. Gerbarg on the use of mind-body practices in post-disaster scenarios that will be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Gretchen will also be teaching a course at Kripalu September 6-10 for relief workers in Haiti on using breath for managing trauma exposure when working with traumatized populations. This offering is a collaboration with Suzanne Jones of YogaHope and David Emerson of the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Initiative.
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Thank you for your support!
In the 100 days of the Rwandan genocide, between 250,000 and 500,000 women and girls were raped, gang raped, or sexually mutilated and 68% of survivors contracted HIV. In a study conducted by the Rwandan National Institute of Statistics, 31% of women surveyed reported domestic abuse, 60% of these women did not report their abuse to authorities. There are no shelters for victims of violence in Rwanda.
Global Grassroots deeply appreciates your support of this anti-violence project. To date, we have raised $1658 of the necessary $3958.
Funds permitting, we will launch this and an additional seven social venture projects in Rwanda this year. In June, we will return to Rwanda to host our sixth Academy for Conscious Change and, in partnership with Jewish Helping Hands, offer training for our project teams in reproductive health, social-issue filmmaking, computer literacy, English, and trauma healing through yoga and breathwork.
We happily report the recent launch of Light in Our Home, a women-led project aimed at reducing gender-based violence and the stigma associated with reporting domestic violence in the Byimana sector of rural Rwanda. Additionally, we have been working in Haiti, offering the trauma healing portion of our program to women survivors of the earthquake.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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