The Fund for Global Human Rights kicked off 2018 with excitement and a renewed sense of determination. Nowhere is this greater than in London, where we are creating new capacity and opportunities for the Fund in Europe. With a new office, a new vision, and new staff (including myself), we are ready to promote the voices of and mobilize support for frontline human activists like never before. I began as Director of the European Office at the end of 2017 and am thrilled to be taking on this role, at this moment in time, and with this set of colleagues.
“It’s clear that the government is using the post-election crackdowns to ramp up their attacks on grassroots groups that denounce the serious human rights violations they commit,” says Ana Paula Hernandez, Program Officer for Latin America at the Fund. The government wants to silence these groups, but as Fund grantees have demonstrated, it's not that easy.
At La Puya, I saw the tremendous impact Fund grantees have on people’s lives. Due to the corrupt nature of Guatemala’s government, the communities I met are still battling the mine. But the Fund has shown me that with sustained support, they can win—and I’m proud be a part of that victory.
“I feel that a weight has been lifted:” Migrants’ rights activists gain tools to help grieving families cope, in photos
Photo by Irish Defence Forces/ Flickr January 17, 2018 By Naima Allcock, Fund Staff In 2016, 5,000 migrants died or disappeared while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of a safe and better life in Europe. These men, women, and children fled home for their own reasons, most commonly to escape war, poverty, political persecution, […]
They fled discrimination and violence in hopes of a better future for their families. They embarked upon an arduous trek for an unfamiliar land and an unknown fate. They took an enormous chance because their opportunities at home were so limited, their safety so precarious, their freedoms so constrained. These words describe my family 100 years ago. They also describe millions of today’s migrants. But despite these similarities, their journeys and destinies look very different.
As the co-founder of Caminando Fronteras—a grassroots group supported by the Fund for Global Human Rights—Helena works to defend the dignity of some of the world’s most vulnerable people: migrants. Most of the people she works with have fled their homes in search of a better life, only to find themselves trapped in a kind of interminable limbo in North Africa, or nearly drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a commitment to humanity that can be traced back to Helena’s childhood in rural Spain, where she first encountered racism and discrimination, and was inspired to end it.
At first glance, the Behen Dooj festival in Rajasthan, India might look like some sort of women-only dance party. But a closer look reveals that behind the dancing, singing, and celebration lies some serious feminist activism—and seriously fierce activists. Last October, over 500 single women gathered in Rajasthan for the third annual Behen Dooj bash. The women created the festival as a safe space where they can express themselves freely and share their experiences—something they can’t do publicly because of the stigma associated with living by themselves.
When Sandra Wobusobozi visits rural communities in northwestern Uganda, she often goes alone—armed only with educational brochures and a beat-up motorbike. As a staff member of the Lake Albert Children Women Advocacy Development Organization (LACWADO), Sandra jets between remote areas, training and collaborating with community members to tackle issues ranging from domestic violence, to child marriage, to corporate land grabs. Despite her young age, Sandra’s presence in the communities LACWADO serves is vital to the group’s success.
Nevertheless, She Persists: How Burundian Activist Pamella Mubeza Overcomes Taboos to Improve Women’s Sexual Health
With its conservative gender norms, struggling economy, and limited social programs, Burundi is a difficult place to be a young, single mother. When an unmarried woman or girl becomes pregnant, she is often shunned by her family, cast out of her community, and told not to return to school. Cut off from social support systems, she faces daily challenges meeting her basic needs and those of her child. That’s the bad news. The good news is, thanks to people like Pamella Mubeza, the situation is changing. A pioneering local leader and women’s rights activist, Pamella has dedicated her life to shifting Burundi's cultural norms around sexual and reproductive health and single motherhood.
Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, Executive Director of PhilRights, a grantee of the Fund for Global Human Rights since 2008. Photo by Schwanke/Brot fuer die Welt December 11, 2017 By Carolyn Ziv, Fund Staff From the global women’s marches to the #MeToo movement, it’s been quite a year for women in activism. As we close out 2017, […]