peacemaking lesson at women's empowerment project
Writing a report on what we have done during the last 3 months a day after a major earthquake which has killed thousands, and effects millions (as being reported by the news) is not easy.
Right now I am working on our 2022 annual report and I want to give you sneak peak. I started the report two weeks ago with this sentence: “ … for the year 2022 – I want to borrow the title of the UNDP’s Human Development Report 21/22: ‘Uncertain times, unsettled lives, Shaping our future in a transforming world.’” As we see what is happening in Turkey and Syria, this became once more even more true in the last 36 hours …
We are in touch with our partners in the region – our nearest team is in Northern Iraq, and all of them are safe. Now we need to see how, where and with whom we can respond. Stay in touch as we will let you know soon how you can help.
But back to my original plan for this update … I want to give you sneak peak of our annual report …
Currently we are gathering stories, statistics and what has been learned from our Operation Mercy branch offices and partners. In our next update the report will be ready for you to download, but here is a taster for today.
One of our key priorities in Operation Mercy, is peacemaking. Here is a story from Kazakhstan on this topic:
Tools for peacemaking - Kazakhstan
“The shame that a community puts on a woman who is an impoverished, single mother feels like rocks that one must constantly carry in a backpack. The weight is so unbearably heavy that we take it out on our families by shouting at them, belittling them and sometimes physically punishing them.” This is how our Women’s Empowerment group leader explained the cycle of shame and abuse that many of the women in the group are experiencing.
One woman in the group shared about the shame she was carrying. The whole group responded not by putting her down as she was expecting, but rather they pulled her up by saying that they’ve been in the same situation. They encouraged her to speak words of affirmation and love to her family and in this way to break the cycle of shame that she had learnt from her own parents.
“Speak kind words, show love and appreciation to your children and value them. They grow through this love,” the women told her.
The women shared that they had not heard this before coming to the group, but now they understand the importance of appreciating others.
The women in this group are empowering one another to be peacemakers within their families and communities through sharing their stories and affirming positive change.
It is because of these glimpses of hope, community, growing trust, and capacity in our project participants that we don’t give up despite the many challenges that we face. It is these successes and the growth in everyday situations that gives us the strength to keep going….
…in Afghanistan where all our staff continue to work in the under 5 year old feeding project, which is classified as a medical project.
…in the international office, despite cuts from institutional donors and changes in the political climate in many of our supporting countries.
…in working with and equipping local partners despite differences in culture and understanding of time, deadlines and other tasks.
Thanks for standing with us in making a difference - one little step at a time – by bringing capacity and community to places and people who are marginalized and cut of from all hope.