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Summer 13/14

Your Act for Peace Supporter Magazine


What next after Typhoon Haiyan

FESTIVE FUNDRAISING Changing lives with the Christmas Bowl


and how it is helping girls get the education they deserve in Afghanistan


Taking action on the International Day of Peace

The international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia ABN 64 493 941 795


Contents 04 MY STORY

How one hardworking man is helping more girls get the education they deserve in Afghanistan.

“I have learnt the importance of education and investing in my children’s future, especially my daughters’” Amir, Parent Teacher Committee member, Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan.

06 Your global



Keeping people safe – with a piece of paper.

Together, we’re helping communities worldwide to build a better world. Find out how.


The Christmas Bowl went from strength to strength in 2013 – thanks to your amazing fundraising efforts.




The latest on how your donations are helping people to recover after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

On the International Day of Peace, you told our politicians to make change happen.

More effective

HELPING FAMILIES TO recover and rebuild

Three months on from one of the worst storms on record, your gifts are helping families recover their livelihoods and rebuild their communities (page 8). To give to the appeal today, please visit or free call 1800 025 101


You may notice that this magazine looks and feels a little different to previous communications you have received from us. It’s all part of work we have been doing to make our communications more effective and encourage more people to become Act for Peace supporters. In research, you told us it was time to update our style and approach so we can communicate more

clearly what we are all about. You also wanted us to look more contemporary and hard-hitting, and to be more outspoken about injustice – and that’s just what we’re doing. We have updated our logo, website and we’re being clearer about how people in Australia can work with others around the world to empower local communities to create change. We hope you like it. You can find out more at Summer 13/14 3


of a project Act for Peace is running in partnership with a local aid organisation, which focuses on building strong links with communities so they can get more and more girls in school.


for Everyone

Amir Khan is determined to get more girls in school in Afghanistan – so they can build a better future for their country.

For Amir, it means that his daughters – and many young girls like them – will be able to fulfil their enormous potential. Already, his elder daughter Nahal, 19, is a teacher at their local school, and is going to teacher training college. His other two daughters – Layla, 15, and Ashwa, 12 – are studying hard, and getting great grades. It won’t be long until they will find a profession, so they can help shape a better future for their war-weary country.

That means labouring every day in his local town of Jalalabad, in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan. It’s back-breaking work, but Amir just wants a better life for his family.

Sadly, in this part of Afghanistan, people like Amir are often the exception. Girls in particular struggle to get the education they deserve, mainly because many men hold damaging, out-dated views on women. Many families would feel shame if they sent their daughters to school. What’s more, girls that do go risk physical attacks from groups who strongly oppose girls’ education.


Through the scheme, communities like Amir’s are training more teachers, and giving them the skills to help girls develop and learn. They’re also introducing summer camps for girls, to encourage them to think about their rights and their place in society. And they’re buying basic school kits – bags and stationery – so children can make the most of their time in class. And it’s working. Already, 4,052 girls have enrolled at 16 schools across the region, and 201 teachers have received training, including 73 women.

Education is everything for Amir Khan. He’s not a wealthy man, but he does all he can to make sure all his children – three daughters and a son – can go to school.

“I work as a labourer and was never given an education growing up. I have learnt the importance of education and investing in my children’s future, especially my daughters’”

“My job on the parent teacher council is to visit families with children, especially daughters, who do not attend school and encourage them to attend. My eldest daughter is a teacher and my other children attend school so when I do these things others in the community see the benefits and are encouraged to do the same”

It’s a huge injustice, and it’s made worse by a lack of trained women teachers who can encourage girls to flourish in class and stay in school. The impact is devastating. Across rural areas of Afghanistan, 92% of women cannot read or write. For many fathers in Amir’s community, it means their daughters will never be able to work their way out of poverty. And it means his country will never truly recover from the darkness of war and violence. That’s why Amir is determined to change attitudes and do what he can to promote girls’

education in his town. He’s a passionate member of the parent teacher committee at his local girls’ school, and they meet regularly to discuss how to encourage more girls to enrol. As a result, he regularly visits families in his community, and talks to them about the benefits of sending their daughters to school. Amir also sits on the local Shura Council, a group which holds considerable influence here. Together, they urge parents to give young girls the education they deserve, so their town can begin to flourish. It’s all part

Amir is making a difference in his community through Act for Peace’s Girls’ Education Program, featured in the recent Christmas Bowl appeal. You may remember reading about Adela who, thanks to this program, now attends school and wants to become a doctor to help her country. It’s volunteers like Amir, supported by your gifts, who are giving girls like Adela a brighter future. Your response to the Christmas Bowl was overwhelming, and the appeal is on-track to raise an amazing $2.3 million. This will enable us to expand the Girls’ Education Program to reach 3,000 more girls and train over 300 teachers in 2014! It will also fund Act for Peace’s other critical programs around the world. Thank you!

92% of women

in Afghanistan cannot read or write, but together we are changing this!

4,052 girls

have enrolled in school and 201 teachers have received specialised training since the program began

3,000 more girls

will be given a brighter future in 2014, thanks to your gifts to the Christmas Bowl.

Summer 13/14 5


’re part of a global network of people Together with our local partners, you front torn apart by war and disaster to con es niti mu com g pin hel to ted mit com are at the heart of this community, injustice and build a better world. You . t makes change possible. Thank you and it’s your faith and passion tha



Helping refuge

es return home

PHILIPPINES You’re providing emergency aid and helping people to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan devastated whole communities (page 8).

Together with our partners in the ACT Alliance, you’ve helped to raise an incredible US$3,000,000 for Syria’s refugees. With your help, we’re providing food and hygiene kits, as well as emotional and social support.

AFGHANISTAN ge 4) an education

Healthcare for remote communities


You’re helping to provide urgently needed health care for communities hit by a chronic lack of medicines and trained health workers. With your support, health clinics are providing free care for up to 15,000 children and giving more than 23,000 people the medical care they need to stay healthy.

Giving girls


PACIFIC ISLANDS Preparing for natural disasters


AUSTRALIA A fair deal for indi

genous people


SOUTH SUDAN Reducing the risks from landmines

ZIMBABWE Helping farmers grow more crops



Promoting peace and reconciliation

Healthcare for refugees

As well as providing emergency food rations and shelter for nursery children like Mu Paw, who we wrote to you about in May, your generous gifts are helping Burmese refugees to grow and sell food so they can earn a living and feed their families. You’re also helping to strengthen community groups, so refugees can prepare for a time when they’re able to return home.

MYANMAR Safeguarding human rights


Confronting injustice through the ACT Alliancelition

of a coa Through Act for Peace you are part ted organisations of more than 140 churches and rela Alliance. across 130 countries called the ACT

itive and sustainable Together we are working to create pos by poverty, injustice and change in the lives of people affected humanitarian crises. alliance member organisations We are supported by 25,000 staff from for our work each year in three and together mobilise about $1.5 billion lopment; and advocacy. targeted areas: humanitarian aid; deve ities we serve. We have We are deeply rooted in the commun people long before large earned the trust and respect of local and remain steadfast in our international interventions scale up, rs after world attention has grassroots commitments for many yea shifted elsewhere. Summer 13/14 7


“God was looking over us” “We never expected this type of storm – the intensity was crazy. In all the years I’ve been here I’ve never seen anything like this.” Marilyn Monton was heavily pregnant when Typhoon Haiyan hit, destroying her home and damaging the fishing boats the family rely on to make a living. Thankfully, no one was hurt and Marilyn’s baby son, Renel Jr, was born safely two weeks later. “God was looking over us,” she smiles. “After the typhoon we were just thankful we were alive and had something to eat.”



and When Typhoon Haiyan stormed across the Philippines, it tore families tance, communities apart. Your support provided immediate, life-saving assis and is now helping people to rebuild their lives.

er, with winds of up to 300km per hour. It destroyed homes, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Eastern Samar in the early hours of 8 Novemb more than two million people in need of urgent assistance. schools and vital infrastructure, claimed the lives of over 6,000 people and left generous response, we were able to move quickly – So far, you have given more than $110,000 to our urgent appeal. Thanks to your vulnerable families. With your support our local ACT providing live-saving food, shelter and essential items to thousands of the most already helped more than 188,000 people. Alliance partner, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), has many more families, enabling them not only to cope in But there’s so much more to do. With your continuing support, we aim to reach livelihoods and better prepare for future emergencies. their the aftermath of the strongest typhoon ever recorded, but to help them rebuild

Your support in action Life-saving essentials In the days and weeks after the disaster – you provided 20,000 food packs, 5,500 hygiene kits, 1,000 family shelters, 5,000 kitchen kits and 5,000 bedding sets.

Rebuilding livelihoods You provided cash support for land clearance, enabled families to resume farming and fishing by supplying seeds and restoring damaged boats, and supported women to set up small businesses. We plan to reach 20,000 people in this way. Psychological support 10,000 people were helped to come to terms with the disaster and to cope with the loss of loved ones.


Your donations went even further thanks to local volunteers who worked around the clock to get essential items to families in need. Nurse Innah Abesamiss came straight off night shifts to spend her days making up relief packages at the NCCP centre in Manila. She says: “Nurses don’t earn much in the Philippines and we can’t help financially, but this is what we can give – our time and energy.”

“A time to rebuild” Noel (left) and Ma Ubaldo are starting to rebuild their lives after the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan. Their house was heavily damaged but Noel is determined to look towards the future. “I will work day and night to rebuild this home for my family. We need to rebuild our country together”


Water and sanitation facilities To help prevent the spread of disease, 88 wells, 88 water pumps, and 1,050 latrines, were installed supporting 27,000 people.

Community resilience Training centres were established to share knowledge and build skills on disaster risk reduction.

Helping hands in tough times

With your con tinuing suppo rt, we can help m ore families lik e Marilyn’s to re cover and rebu ild. If you would li ke to give today, ple ase visit www.actforpe hoon or free call 18 00 025 101

milies. the worst hit fa f packages to e tins lie fiv re d s, lie an pp be Your gifts su rice, a cup of of g 8k l, a d oi ne of ai cont uits, a bottle Each package packet of bisc a h, fis d ie dr of sardines, d salt cup of sugar an Summer 13/14 9


Keeping people safe with a piece of paper James Thomson is unwavering in his work to protect refugees and displaced people around the world. He says that one of the most effective tools for keeping people safe is, surprisingly, a small piece of paper – a birth certificate.

Having an identity document not only proves what rights you have within a country, but also what obligations the government has to protect your rights. In crisis situations, particularly when people are displaced by conflict or disasters, whether or not you have an identity document has a major effect on your ability to protect yourself and your family from violence, exploitation and abuse. Appallingly, people without identity documents are often deliberately targeted and abused because they are so vulnerable. Black market employers exploit them, sex traffickers prey on unregistered children, and unscrupulous business owners often steal people’s land. “To live without proof of identity or nationality is to live in fear of being exploited and abused,” says James Thomson, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Act for Peace. Millions of children each year are not registered at birth because of poverty and conflict. These children are particularly vulnerable to human traffickers, who can force them into unsafe labour, including sexual exploitation. They cannot access vital services, including healthcare and education, and as they grow into adulthood they will often not be able to


“In crisis situations, birth certificates are critical. Imagine being a refugee who can’t return home because you can’t prove who you are or that your children are actually yours. Imagine being denied access to medical care, a hospital, or a school or not being able to turn to the police or the courts.”

get a legal job, gain citizenship or exercise their democratic rights. That’s why James is determined to do what he can do to ensure people are able to get basic identity documents. Through his work at Act for Peace he promotes the importance of birth certificates and campaigns for the protection of stateless peoples. Together with local partners around the world, he trains grassroots aid organisations in how and why to provide identity documents to people in the communities they serve, along with other measures they can take to keep people safe in emergency situations. For Act for Peace, keeping people safe in conflict and disaster situations is as important as providing food, clean water or shelter. Whether it is helping people get birth certificates, installing lights around refugee camp latrines to prevent rape, or registering people entering evacuation centres to deter crimes, these ‘protection activities’ can have a marked impact. James isn’t alone in his mission. He is one of thousands of staff and volunteers in the ACT Alliance network working hard to protect vulnerable people. In refugee camps in India, for example, Act for Peace staff are working closely with the team from our local partner organisation to help Sri Lankan refugees

to obtain birth, death and marriage certificates, giving them the opportunity to return home, reclaim their land, take their children and spouses with them and access legal employment and rights on return. “A birth certificate is so much more than just a legal document. It gives a child the chance to go to school, a mother access to life-saving health care, a refugee the ability to return home and families the chance of a fresh start after the suffering caused by conflict or disaster” – James Thomson. Thanks to your support, and because of one small piece of paper, a new generation of children is going to school, accessing life-saving healthcare and exercising their legal rights.

A child is born WITH Enrol in and attend school

Can visit a doctor, a hospital and get vaccinated Able to request police protection and access courts

Can prove you own property Permitted to travel and receive a passport

WITHOUT Denied access to education

Cannot access health care including life-saving immunisations Not adequately protected by police and legal system

Cannot inherit property, vulnerable to land theft Unable to get a passport and prevented from travelling (stops many refugees returning home)

Allowed to vote and exercise democratic rights

Prevented from voting in local and national elections

Better protected against sex trafficking, child labour and early marriage

Vulnerable and targeted by sex traffickers, more likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage

Children and families that are registered are legally allowed to travel back to their homeland after conflicts subside. This allows them to re-build their lives and restores their sense of identity.

Without a birth certificate, children are more likely to be poorer than even the most disadvantaged of their peers, struggling to access healthcare, attend school, sit exams, or even get the vaccinations they need to survive.

James Thomson, Policy and Adv ocacy Director at Act for Peace’ Summer 13/14 11


BOWLED over In 2013 the Christmas Bowl appeal went from strength to strength, bringing together around 100,000 people from 2,000 churches and 19 denominations across Australia to assist people in some of the world’s most conflict-affected countries. Thanks to your generosity, we are on track to raise an incredible $2.3 million, which will help girls in Afghanistan get the education they deserve, and support life-saving projects around the world. Here’s just a snapshot of some of the fantastic Christmas Bowl events you organised nationwide. For great pictures from many more events, take a look at

Christmas Creativity in Willunga. More than 450 people came to the Willunga Uniting Church for its annual Christmas Tree Festival. They enjoyed classic cream teas, Christmas craft stalls and festive music, as well as a competition for the best decorated tree. Together, they raised more than $3,750 for the appeal. “The Tree Festival is a great way to support the Christmas Bowl, engage with the community and share the Christmas spirit,” said organiser Jenny Esots.

Dine like a refugee. Williamstown locals raised money for the Christmas Bowl by hosting a refugee dinner.

Taking to the streets in Adelaide. Across Adelaide and the surrounding regions more than 150 volunteers took to the streets, collecting over $6,000 in donations from the public. “It was wonderful to see so many fantastic volunteers out in force,” said Virginia Macaspac, Act for Peace Development Officer in South Australia.

Carols in Coffs. Congregations from the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran and Uniting Churches came together for Christmas carols and festivities in Coffs Harbour, NSW, and raised $1,500. “I am very proud of the Coffs Coast for rallying behind the Christmas Bowl,” said Rev. Jan McLeod, of St Nicholas Anglican Church, Sawtell.


How your money is helping You can read about our Girls’ Education Program in Afghanistan, one of the inspiring programs your gifts to the Christmas Bowl will be making possible this year, on page 4.

Do you want to

change the world? Act for Peace is looking for people to go the extra mile and raise vital funds, run great events and get others involved by spreading the word. People like you make a huge difference to lives across the world. All you need is enthusiasm! To find out more and apply, visit

Summer 13/14 13



You told our politicians to make change happen on the International Day of Peace. On 21 September 2013, thousands of people across Australia and millions around the world came together for the International Day of Peace. Here in Australia, we sent a clear message to our politicians that they must invest in peace-building projects worldwide and spend more on overseas aid. Thousands of you signed the Act for Peace petition for change, and wrote messages of peace on paper doves which were hung up in churches and community centres nationwide.

“On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world… Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might.” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

Peace Day ac

tion at Donca

ster in Victor ia

There was also a big noise on social media, as your Facebook messages and Tweets for action reached tens of thousands of people.

Office in Canberra. The government acknowledged your actions in our meeting, and they heard your message loud and clear.

Hundreds of churches voiced their support, marking the International Day of Peace in their Sunday services and collecting petition signatures in their local shopping centres. There were also a number of church-led inter-faith forums, with Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish speakers sharing how their faith strengthens their commitment to global peace.

Tragically, since then the federal government have pressed ahead with foreign aid cuts, last month announcing that over $650 million in life saving aid would be slashed from this year’s budget; putting lives at risk in vulnerable communities around the world.

In November, we took your petition signatures and messages of peace straight to the Foreign Minister’s

were Peace protests

e world

held around th

Don’t cut aid! Th e message being sent out by the community at M orialta

It is vital that we continue to show our leaders that we won’t let these shameful cuts go unchallenged. We will be in touch soon with more ways to keep the pressure on in 2014. The Ree

dy Creek

g Church

orialta Unitin

at M e day actions Signing Peac

Peace day signatures calling

Don’t cut aid! Mes sages of peace in

the Prime minister to not cut aid


Taylor’s Square, Sydney

A Syrian boy gives the peace

sign in Za’atari refugee camp

Commun it

y suppo

rter peac e


er of Syria

in Northern Jordan on the bord

Act for Peace’s Executive Dire ctor Alistair Ge Advocacy coor e and Campa dinator Corinne igns and Roberts hand petition at Parli ing over the Pe ament House ace Day in Canberra. Do n’t cut aid! Summer 13/14 15

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”- Desmond Tutu


Locked Bag Q199, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230 T: 1800 025 101 F: 02 9262 4514 E:

The Link | Summer 2014  

Your Act for Peace Supporter Magazine. Act for Peace is confronting injustice together through the ACT Alliance. The international aid ag...

The Link | Summer 2014  

Your Act for Peace Supporter Magazine. Act for Peace is confronting injustice together through the ACT Alliance. The international aid ag...