It was the first time many had seen each other since August 2016 in Houston, Texas. We were delighted that Janice Clark, their chaplain was able to join us and used a quiz to remind us all about the Sustainable Development Goals. The questions had been sent out in advance, including a version in Spanish, and Janice gave us the correct answers during the session.
After a welcome and prayer from the World President, Luiza, accompanied by her husband Luiz on the keyboard, led us in singing the first of two hymns.
Each person was invited to share news of an initiative that is working towards achieving one of the SDGs.
SDG 3 &5 Rachel (Britain) and Mbali (South Africa) have both been doing research on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and raising awareness about this practice that does such violence to young girls. We pray it will be recognised as unacceptable and unlawful in every nation.
SDGs 1-4 Ligia (Romania) described her work in the Dare to Care orphanage, Cornatel, Sibiu, Romania, that addresses poverty and hunger, encourages good health and well-being and offers quality education to disadvantaged children in her community.
SDG 12 Luiza (Brazil) spoke about the small personal changes in her life style that she believes are steps towards being a more responsible steward of creation. She described a women’s co-operative in Brazil that encourages recycling including 98% of aluminium cans. It was initiated by two women survivors of domestic violence and now is effective in supporting other women.
SDG 4&5 Wanda (Ireland) told us about a group in partnership with Days for Girls International that supplies sanitary products to girls so they do not have to miss school during their monthly menstruation period. http://www.daysforgirls.org
SDG 5 & 10 Helene (Norway) said that her Unit is focussing on modern slavery and campaigning against human trafficking for the sex industry. The government is also addressing pornography and Helene’s town is marking a global week of awareness-raising with an ecumenical service. https://lightup-movement.no/ – the website of the organisation working to enlighten people about modern slavery.
https://globaluke.no/om-global-uke/English – the website for the national week with focus on modern slavery. https://bistandsaktuelt.no/arkiv-kommentarer/2019/ulstein-helhetlig-norsk-innsats-mot-moderne-slaveri/ – an article by the Minister of Development in Norway, calling out to put an end to modern slavery and establishing a National Resource Group that will work with this politically.
SFG 2 Also from Helene, a small thing my husband and I are doing; an app called ShareTheMeal, where you can contribute to end hunger where the need is biggest. Check it out! 🙂
SDG 4 Ruth (Malaysia) spoke about education for underprivileged children especially refugees from Myanmar, offering skills training to raise their potential for generating income.
SDG 13 & 5 Karen (Peru) wrote ‘Well, I think it is a challenge to keep working for change. I work at a school where I have two work areas and one of them has allowed me to talk with my students about environmental problems and proposals to take care of the environment, the objective being that they can apply it at home such as closing the tap well, saving light, use cloth bags. And in the activities of the Perú women’s federation, we gave them their cups and cloth bags for use in the meeting to avoid using plastic. But we continue working for the empowerment of women in the face of machismo, which is very high in Peru. I think there is still a lot to do. But I believe that our small actions can help.’
All were encouraged by the World Officers’ video greeting for our 81st Anniversary which was shown at the conclusion of our time together before we said the grace together.