Tag Archives: East Africa Famine

Global Pride: Celebrating LGBT Activists Around the World

Originally published in Out Magazine.

Lesbian couple Pen Nol, left, and Chhon Nhoeng, live together on their farm in rural Cambodia. They are members of Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), a Phnom Phen-based LGBT advocacy organization supported by AJWS.

 

Nheap Pen, center left, and Yarn Mok, center right, live with their grandchildren in rural Cambodia. The couple has participated in LGBT advocacy trainings at RoCK. The couple first met in the 1980s, and they have slowly gained the acceptance of other people in their village—a rare phenomenon in Cambodia. “It’s kind of unique,” Mok said. “We do not have this so many other places.” Pen added: “We are genuinely in love. We care for each other. We help each other in times of trouble.”

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

A man who works with and AJWS-supported LGBT rights organization in Uganda shields his face with a local tabloid article. The piece incited public hatred and revealed the names and faces of LGBT advocates; many of them fear violence from homophobic extremists.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

Srun Srorn has worked with RoCK and other LGBT rights groups in Cambodia.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

Members of Transgender Equality Uganda (TEU) dance in drag at one of the few bars in Uganda that has accepted LGBT people. Many TEU members work as sex workers due to limited job opportunities; in particular, transgender women who sell sex in Uganda often face violence and abuse from their clients.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), a human rights organization devoted to equality for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. She is open about her lesbian identity, and she’s facing increased threats in her country because of intense hostility toward LGBT people.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

FARUG member “Sara” used a grant from AJWS to start a business selling shoes at a shopping center in downtown Kampala. Many FARUG members have lost jobs after employers discovered they were homosexual, bisexual or transgender.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

Dayanara Nicole Diaz Gonzalez is a transwoman whose life has completely turned around because of her involvement with Asociacion Nicaraguense de Transgeneras (Association for Transgender Nicaraguans, or ANIT). As a teenager, Dayanara suffered discrimination in school and alienation from her family because of her gender expression. She dropped out of school and became a sex worker in Managua to support herself. She developed a drug addiction and ended up in prison, where was raped repeatedly. After her release from prison, she learned she was HIV-positive, and then discovered ANIT’s transgender rights advocacy and started attending their meetings; now she is finishing school, living at home again, and working as the ANIT’s health outreach coordinator.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the remote town of Waspam in Nicaragua, LGBT activist Abimael Padilla, 22, suffered discrimination for many years at school. After receiving training and support from Movimiento de la Diversidad Sexual Costeña (Coastal Movement of Sexual Diversity, or MODISEC), he was able to improve the situation by engaging with fellow students, teachers and his own family.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

Activists from Minority Women in Action, an LGBT rights organization in Kenya.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

Activists from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), which works to advance LGBT rights.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

An activist from GALCK.

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Photography by Evan Abramson for American Jewish World Service.

 

 

 

 

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Human Rights in 2013: Our End-of-Year Top 10

As we get ready for the New Year, we’re also taking a moment to celebrate the joys and victories in human rights that took place in 2013—an exciting and tumultuous year for human rights around the globe. Read on for 10 human rights happenings that AJWS celebrated in 2013, listed in chronological order. Let’s celebrate the strides we’ve made together and take heart for the work still ahead of us!

10.  India: Supreme Court ruling upholds indigenous people’s rights over contested land (April 2013)

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Children from the Dongria Kondh community. Credit: Survival International

In a landmark ruling, India’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal that would have allowed a UK-based company, Vedanta Resources, to mine the Niyamgiri hills. The court recognized the indigenous community of Dongria Kondh‘s right to the land, which they make a living from and worship as part of their traditional beliefs. The ruling affirmed that people with religious and cultural rights to land must be involved in decisions about how to use it.

This marked a major win for the rights of indigenous people in India, and it shows the power of social action. Thousands of protesters rallied to protest the mining effort last December, and hundreds of Dongria pledged to stay in the Niyamgiri hills.

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Click to watch Survival International’s video story on the mine. A new window will open.

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Posted in Food Justice, Human Rights, Jewish Justice, LGBTI Rights, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s Happening to Women and Girls in East Africa

There’s been considerable coverage of the East Africa famine over the past two weeks. In his NY Times op-ed last Sunday, Nick Kristof wrote about a famine-related subject that, for many people, is an afterthought: the unspeakable violence against women and girls that escalates in the face of food insecurity. Kristof writes:

“At the very moment when you think you’re secure, you encounter a nightmare broached only in whispers: an epidemic of violence and rape. As Somalis stream across the border into Kenya, at a rate of about 1,000 a day, they are frequently prey to armed bandits who rob men and rape women in the 50-mile stretch before they reach Dadaab, now the world’s largest refugee camp. It is difficult to know how many women are raped because the subject is taboo. But more than half of the newly arrived Somalis I interviewed, mostly with the help of CARE, said they had been attacked by bandits, sometimes in Somalia but very often on Kenyan soil. Some had been attacked two or three times.” Read More »

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Providing Food, Preventing Violence: The Impact of Drought Relief in Northeastern Kenya

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping you updated on our response to the famine in East Africa. The situation remains dire, but we’re beginning to see the positive impact of some of our partners.

Take, for example, AJWS’s long-time partner Northern Aid (NAID)—an organization that has been implementing relief, rehabilitation and development initiatives in northeastern Kenya since 1995. Through an innovative, locally-sourced food distribution program, (NAID) is providing direct assistance to marginalized pastoralist communities and vulnerable female-headed households in northern Kenya. NAID is buying goats and cows that will not survive the drought, slaughtering the animals, and distributing the meat to over 10,000 vulnerable households. This is providing a livelihood to pastoralists whose entire herds will likely be wiped out by the drought, preventing livestock prices from completely bottoming out, and supplying much-needed income to pastoralists so they can support their families. NAID’s efforts are also delivering food to women and children and supporting at least 800 female headed households with animal feed to ensure that their remaining animals do not die from the drought and can provide a steady supply of milk.

Read More »

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Video Update on the Famine in East Africa

Originally posted on the Global Circle blog.

[iframe_loader width=”560″ height=”349″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Qx9P1RDpgeE” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

Posted in Food Justice, Human Rights, Sustainable Solutions | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kenyans 4 Kenya: Charity Starts at Home

Last week, I wrote about the horrors of the ongoing drought and famine crisis in East Africa and what AJWS is doing to respond. As the crisis continues to unfold, we are hearing more and more about the perils faced by Somalis and Kenyans fleeing the famine. Today, however, instead of writing about the number of children who have died from the crisis or stories of women who have been raped, I want to share a story of hope.

Shortly after the crisis began, several Kenyan corporations joined forces to form the Kenyans 4 Kenya campaign. In addition to raising over $3.5 million from Kenyan companies, the initiative has also managed to raise nearly $2.5 million from Kenyan citizens. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the campaign will be given to the Kenya Red Cross to support drought-affected communities in north eastern Kenya.

Read More »

Posted in Giving, Human Rights | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

What’s Happening in East Africa and How You Can Help

There is no denying the severity of the crisis in East Africa right now. We’ve read the headlines and seen horrifying photos of starving children. The situation is getting worse every day. Two days ago, the United Nations declared a famine in three more areas of Somalia. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that nearly 30,000 children under the age of five have died because of the crisis. By September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that the whole of Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will be under famine conditions. Read More »

Posted in Food Justice, Giving, Human Rights, Sustainable Solutions | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Tell Congress That East Africa Needs Our Help!

The current famine in East Africa demonstrates, more than ever, the importance of U.S. food aid in a time of crisis. But did you know that Congress is trying to cut this vital humanitarian aid? It’s true, and it’s dangerous. Fiscal responsibility is important, but when human lives are at stake, we cannot make trade-offs. Stand with AJWS and tell your member of Congress to preserve funding for international food aid.

Posted in Food Justice, Human Rights | Tagged , , | 7 Comments