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Sound the Bamboo
[CCA Hymnal]



16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women


3 December 2012

In Prayerful thought for:

The people of Aleppo and all affected in the “Syrian War from within”.......

Men, women and children who died in a war unleashed by their own kin;

The countless who are seriously injured and maimed,   

Children traumatized, orphaned and afraid;

Women in anguish and sorrow, helpless, widowed;

Women who weep, women who loved;

The horror of bombs that light the dark winter skies,

The screams that shatter the silence of the nights;

Their homes destroyed, their life stands still....

But the show goes on, and live they must!

Is there hope for tomorrow, can they rise from the dust?

Can you see their despair, can you hear them cry?

Is it nothing to you all you who pass by?

Susan Jacob

 photo credit: Media:photobucket

posted by communications on Monday, December 03, 2012  


16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women with special focus on WORLD AIDS DAY


World AIDS Day    

Getting to zero:
Zero new HIV infections.
Zero discrimination.
Zero AIDS related deaths

The Thumb Print

"I think, therefore I am. This is true. See me.

 Hear me.  Accept me.  Learn from me. 

 I refuse to give up.  I refuse to stay silent. 

 I refuse to hide.  I refuse to not make a difference.

 I refuse to act indifferent. 

 I refuse to get bogged down by fear. 

 I refuse to run away from prejudice. 

 I have hope.

 I can make a difference.

 I can share.  I can care. 

 I can change the world. 

 I will change the world. 

 I am Positive. "

Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+)
This was published in the Annual Report of INP+ 2002-03, 
when being positive was a challenge in all aspects - socially, mentally and physically. 
The thumbprint symbolizes the spirit of 'coming out in the open', 
so that real change can take place. 
It symbolizes that, as positive persons we refuse to stay faceless any longer. 
And that we are here to assert our individuality and 
be the harbinger of change for the better... for us... for every single individual.

Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the House of Judah. 
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; 
and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 
In those days Judah will be save and Jerusalem will live in safety. 
And this is the name by which it will be called:
"The Lord is our righteousness."


Branch of Righteousness,

Surprise the world with a purity
That allows being touched by a hemorrhaging woman,
Rather than a purity which protects itself from others.

Surprise the world with a holiness that can affirm
The prostitute who washed your feet with her hair,
Rather than a holiness which does not associate
with those who don’t follow the standards of the community.

Surprise the world with a goodness that is
Able to feed the hungry on a hillside,
Rather than the goodness that accuse others
of not taking care and judging their misdeeds.

Surprise the world with a spirituality which affirms
The praying penitent,
Rather than the religious leader thanking you for his favored status.

Surprise the world with a gesture
Which opens your table to all who would come,
Rather than a law which declares some unclean and unfit.

Branch of Righteousness, surprise your world.
Show us the leaves which tell us that your reign is at hand,
So all your people can stand tall, and raise their heads
Because your redemption is drawing near. Amen

(This prayer is part of a Liturgy Prepared by Rev. Terry MacArthur-
Translated by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance)

posted by communications on Saturday, December 01, 2012  




World AIDS Day     
I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  ~Edward Everett Hale

Getting to zero:             
Zero new HIV infections.
Zero discrimination.
Zero AIDS related deaths

Addressing Gender Perspectives in HIV Prevention

Why is Gender Critical for HIV Prevention?
Over 75% of HIV infections are transmitted through sexual relations between women and men.
In countries where young people account for a high proportion of all new infections, HIV-positive young women may outnumber their seropositive male peers by as much as six times (UNAIDS).

Therefore, addressing gender roles and power dynamics between women and men, and how they impact on sexual relations and decision-making, is critical for effective prevention to ultimately halt the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Socio-cultural norms, beliefs and practices that apply to and affect women and men differently have a direct effect on vulnerability to HIV infection.

Girls and women are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV. Their physiological susceptibility – at least 2 to 4 times greater than men’s - is compounded by social, cultural, economic and legal forms of discrimination
Poverty, low social status and lack of equal economic rights and opportunities makes girls and women susceptible to sexual trafficking and exploitation, to ‘sugar daddies’ and exchanging sexual favors for necessities and goods.

Girls and women also have lower levels of education and literacy - one of the strongest determinants of sexual and reproductive health status overall.
Early marriage and vulnerability associated with their age and norms may promote respect of men’s authority in sexual matters and contraceptive use, and dictate sex as a wife’s duty, regardless of risks to herself. Thus, marriage can be a major risk factor for women who are powerless to negotiate condom use or their husbands’ extramarital behavior. Studies indicate that in some regions, a high proportion of HIV-positive married women are most likely infected by their husbands, their only sexual partner 2.

Social values surrounding fertility and motherhood often prevent women from using condoms or HIV-positive mothers from using infant replacement formula.
Sexual violence and harmful traditional practices also expose women to HIV.

In high-prevalence countries, girls and women are bearing a disproportionate burden of care for the ill and orphaned, while struggling to maintain household income, productivity and food security, under conditions of increasing impoverishment.

To reverse the trend, tailored responses that foster gender equality are critical for success: girls and women must be empowered, and boys and men enabled to become supportive, responsible partners.

This trend supports the strategic need to address the gender dimensions of the epidemic – especially in relation to the greater vulnerability of women and girls.

What Have We Learned So Far?

Mainstreaming gender concerns into HIV prevention programming - including addressing power dynamics and overcoming socio-cultural barriers - is essential.

This implies understanding and responding to the specific challenges faced by particular groups of girls and boys, women and men, in decision making and in negotiating safer and voluntary sex, as well as fostering open discussion on sexual health and challenging negative gender norms.

Empowerment strategies that enable girls and women to develop self-esteem, critical thinking, assertiveness, and gain access to increased opportunities and economic autonomy have proven effective for HIV prevention.

Enabling boys and young men to challenge negative masculine stereotypes supports them in resisting unwanted peer pressures and taking greater care of themselves and their partners.

Lack of respect for women’s reproductive rights can be significant deterrents to HIV prevention.
Younger or unmarried women often face discrimination in services based on age and marital status, and are more likely to suffer from disrespectful treatment.

HIV-positive pregnant women face extremely difficult choices given the strong social correlations of fertility and motherhood with social acceptance, marital harmony, and self-identify and fulfillment.

Lack of access to services along with fears of coercive HIV-related counseling or interventions resulting in lack of respect for reproductive choices, of blame and shame, and of their status being revealed may keep them away from timely care.

Instilling gender equity values as early as possible empowers young people to protect themselves from HIV infection.

Gender identities are solidified during adolescence and youth, which is also when the majority of the world’s population becomes sexually active, yet young people most often lack access to gender-sensitive sexual health education and services, including condoms for those sexually active.

Fostering norms and values of mutual care, respect and equality between the sexes at the earliest ages possible can enable girls and boys to develop a more positive, responsible outlook on sexuality and reproductive health issues and acquire preventive behaviors.

Gender-based violence renders girls and women directly and indirectly susceptible to HIV/AIDS.

Globally, an estimated 1 in 5 women suffers physical abuse from an intimate partner, and one-third to one half of abused women also report sexual violence. Girls are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse, incest, rape and trafficking, and are often targets of systematic rape and other forms of sexual abuse in times of war and emergency situations - directly exposing them to HIV.

Fears of abuse or abandonment can deter women from seeking HIV counseling and testing, as well as from informing their partners of test results.

What Should Be Our Guiding Principles?

HIV/AIDS prevention must be approached from a comprehensive, multi-sectoral development framework that promotes the empowerment and autonomy of girls and women and gender equality.

Programme support to women-specific initiatives, such as those that facilitate the empowerment process to identify and challenge the effects of gender-based disadvantages, can lead to assertiveness for self-care and protection from HIV/AIDS.

In certain instances this may require girl or women-only ‘safe spaces’ to build self-confidence, participate fully, and gain awareness about their rights.

Men-only groups can create opportunities for openly discussing concerns, pressures, and emotions that can lead to changes in attitudes and behaviors that place them and their female partners at risk of HIV/AIDS.

For both women and men, motivation for self-care and self-protection - including adoption of safer sexual behavior - is correlated with the perception of positive future prospects.

Protection of reproductive rights and women’s rights as human rights should be promoted throughout the life-cycle in all HIV prevention efforts.

Rights to confidentiality, voluntary and informed choice, information on the full range of options available, and to non-discrimination based on age, gender, marital, racial, HIV or other status should be emphasized as critical elements of effective prevention for both women and men.

All programmes should ensure the application and mainstreaming of relevant international instruments, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the UN guidelines on HIV/ AIDS and human rights.

Participation of intended beneficiaries is fundamental for programme relevance and effectiveness - especially women’s and youth groups and of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Their participation at all levels of national and local policy-making and programming on HIV prevention - better ensures user- sensitive responses that address the different and diverse realities, needs and perspectives of women and men throughout the life-cycle, in addition to promoting their rights to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Inputs from UNFPA

(Please see more on World AIDS Day on our FMU and CCA NEWS pages)


posted by communications on Saturday, December 01, 2012  


16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women


30 November 2012

Speaking Peace

I declare that these lips of mine, O God,
Will be used to speak peace in my home, community,
Church and world_______
Help me to respect other’s preferences,
Habits, feelings, expectations and personalities.
May my words bring healing into relationships
That  have been broken by
Misunderstanding, conflict, backbiting, and anger.
Through the Prince of Peace I pray. Amen

Cynthia E. Cowen

Go into the world with Peace

Go into the world with peace_________
And take Peace to a world that needs it.
Go into the world with Hope__________
With human dreams to carry you and
God’s presence before you .
Go into the world with Love____
Serving those in need, making amends,
And reconciling all that is broken!  Amen

Barbara Raschke

 photo credit: Media:photobucket

posted by communications on Friday, November 30, 2012  

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