Aug 21, 2007

Update on Earthquake Victims in Peru

Please help Afro-Peruvian and Indigenous families who lost everything in last week’s earthquake.

We posted an urgent request for support to Global Giving last week for our Peruvian partner LUNDU, which is working in Afro-Peruvian communities affected by the earthquake. People in the region are still digging through ashes in hopes of finding survivors.

LUNDU tell us that 90,000 people were affected and 16,000 houses destroyed. Whole families are sleeping on the streets and have no water or food. Other families remain under the debris from their houses. Roads are still blocked. There is no electricity or phone service in many areas.

We have already been able to send some funds to LUNDU to provide clothing, food, blankets, medicines, tents, stoves, and other necessities, and your support is enabling us to send more. LUNDU is working tirelessly to channel that aid to the most affected families.

This weekend, we received an urgent call from CHIRAPAQ, our partner that works with Indigenous women and families in Peru. In those communities, every last house was destroyed by the earthquake. The need is huge. Their plea is urgent. Please help MADRE help our Indigenous Peruvian partners.

Both LUNDU and CHIRAPAQ are looking to MADRE supporters for aid. If you have already given, thank you. If you haven’t, please take this opportunity to help Afro-Peruvian and Indigenous Quechua families affected by this devastating earthquake.

Any amount you can will give make a difference. Please donate today.

Apr 12, 2007

Darfur Crisis: A Report from Sudan April 2007

With the help of GlobalGiving supporters, MADRE and Zenab have been able to provide much-needed aid to hundreds of people in the refugee camps at Autach, Gereida, and El Sireaf and surrounding villages. We have constructed private latrines in two of the camps so far, and distributed sugar, dates, onions, oil, millet, and sorghum to hundreds of people. These items were especially important during Ramadan, in October of last year.

Women and young children who have been traumatized by displacement and war have benefited from the services of a local counselor, who travels to each camp to conduct day-long sessions. The sessions are not regarded as psychological counseling, which people in the camps are not familiar or comfortable with, but are offered in a way that encourages people to share their experiences and regain a sense of trust and community. Another activity that has been very successful in this regard is a new creative project, designed to empower women by supplying them with raw materials they can use to produce different types of artisanal products, to help generate income. The women we’re working with have found this to be a very useful type of support, and we were happy to hear how much they enjoyed it too. Together with four other local women’s organizations, we have formed the Darfur Network for Creative Women, in order to arrange cultural and musical events.

Our biggest success so far was participating at the Annual International Exhibition in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. We traveled with 30 women and a group of musicians from the camps, and rented a tent for them to display their art. The musical group performed every night in front of our tent, and we received many local and international visitors to what came to be known as the Darfurian Women’s Creativity Tent. In fact, ours became a famous venue at the exhibition, and we were able to sell many of the women’s wares.

Our plan is to continue our work in Darfur, and expand our distribution of food and aid to the south of Sudan. We understand that one of the latest reports states that food aid has decreased by 64%, and we see the tremendous need this has caused in the camps. Because of this, and so many other factors, the public health situation is also rapidly deteriorating, as the World Health Organization has documented.

In the coming months, we hope to buy milk and rice, in addition to other food items, to distribute to women and their children, and to particularly channel aid to pregnant women who are very vulnerable. Non-food aid will include clothing, sheets, blankets, and bed nets to prevent the transmission of malaria, one of our most pressing health concerns.

Thank you so much for supporting the women of Sudan with your resources and support. The relief and joy that comes from knowing that we are not alone, that we are not suffering in anonymity, is immeasurable. The world is full of injustice, and we can’t fix it all at once, but your gestures from the other side of the world make a big difference.

Apr 9, 2007

Safe Houses: A Report from Iraq

The situation of women in Iraq has become utterly shocking. I have said many times that it feels as if we are living in an upside-down world. And that world is increasingly dangerous. It is heartbreaking to me to see the return of extreme, anti-women practices that we had not seen for many decades. When I grew up in Iraq, women went to school. Educated, professional working women were a part of our society. Today, a woman risks her life simply by going to the grocery store.

Our lives have been ripped from us. In recent months, as the civil war has escalated, violence against women has grown to epidemic levels. Public executions of women are now common. A colleague of mine recently saw a young woman dragged from her house by members of a militia. She was dragged with a cable around her neck to the local football field, beaten, and hung from the goal post, and then machine-gunned many times. Her brother who tried to intervene was also shot.

In our estimation, no less than 30 women are executed monthly by militias in Baghdad and its suburbs. In the first ten days of November 2006, more than 150 unclaimed bodies of women, many of which were beheaded, disfigured, or bore signs of extreme torture, moved through the Baghdad morgue. I don't tell you this to shock you, but to show you the reality we are dealing with in my homeland. The Islamist militias, who are part of the US-supported government and police forces, are deciding what is right and wrong ... and who lives and dies. And women's lives are not of value to them.

OWFI's work in Iraq is more important now than ever. As the situation for women in Iraq worsens with increased sectarian violence, it's increasingly urgent that we stand strong. And we will! In the coming weeks and months, we will continue our vital programs to save lives and inspire hope.

Through our women's shelters in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Erbil, and Nasariyeh, we reach out to women and help them escape the threat of "honor killings" and domestic and sectarian violence. Recently, a woman came to the shelter because she is a Sunni married to a Shiite. One of her husband's brothers threatened to kill him unless he divorced her. So she was put out on the street. If she had not found her way to the shelter, she would more than likely have been killed. We must continue to do everything we can to keep our doors open to all who need us.

OWFI publishes a newspaper called Equality to spread the word about the situation in our country, and to let women know that they can turn to us for assistance. And with MADRE's help we've started an Underground Railroad for Iraqi Women—a network of safe places that are used to help women escape life-threatening situations and find safety.

I am incredibly grateful and deeply moved to know that there are people in the United States who are standing with us in this struggle. I hope you will continue to stand with us during these dark days. Please, do whatever you can to help. Share this report with others. Tell them what we are going through. Call on your government to end its war. And if at all possible, please continue to support our work with financial contributions.

Thank you, Yanar Mohammed


WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.