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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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November 29, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 5: Advent and the Role of Mindful Teachers

by Paul Olson

First Sunday of Advent Lectionary Readings: Jer 33:14-16, Ps. 25:1-10, 1 Thess. 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36

On the first Sunday of advent, and on day 5 of the 16 day campaign to of activism against gender-based violence, we are reminded and instructed on the importance of teachers. One factor contributing to the violence against girl students is teacher absenteeism. Harvard and World Bank researchers conducted unannounced visits to primary schools in rural India. Due to a number of factors, they found a quarter of the teachers absent and only half of those present were actually working. Education can only happen if we invest in recruiting, supporting and empowering teachers.  Without proper supervision and instruction, schools and students (especially female students) suffer.

Psalm 25:1-10 is a prayer that depicts God as an exemplary teacher:

Teachers are trustworthy (v2)

Teachers do not allow their students to be put to shame (v3)

Teachers are leaders in truth (v5)

Teachers are mindful of mercy (v6)

Teachers are forgiving (v7)

Teachers instruct the humble in what is right (v9)

Today we pray for the many teachers in the world. Their lessons prepare the eyes and ears of students to correctly perceive the seasons of life.  Their mindfulness reminds the unaware to be alert at all times. Their commitment to truth restores justice and righteousness in the land.

Learn more about Presbyterians at work to stop sexual violence and domestic violence.

Learn about the PC(USA)’s Educate a Child initiative that has an international and a domestic component. 


Categories: Human Rights, Justice, Women

Tags: educate a child, education, gender-based violence, intern, paul olson, rutgers, say no to violence, sustainable development, unite

November 28, 2015

Observe World AIDS Day - December 1

December 1 is World AIDS Day. Here are ways to plan observances for the day

Download the World AIDS Day packet by the Presbyterian AIDS Network

Study Becoming an HIV and AIDS Competent Church: Prophetic Witness and Compassionate Action - a report and study guide

Order The Changing Face of HIV/AIDS - a free video

Find ideas for World AIDS Day from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

Get Wrapped! (learn about the Wrap Project)

Check out other resources from the PC(USA) International AIDS Ministries

Learn more at UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day, December 1 ...

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November 28, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 4: Let’s dream: What if we educated all our girls?

by Paul Olson

Violence against girls in schools reduces the number of girls in school. Why is this important? Poverty, sickness, and sustainable development depends on education first.

The Global Education First Initiative reports that if we educated our girls…

·      12 million children would be saved from stunted growth.

·      64% fewer early marriages

·      59% fewer early pregnancies

·      10% increase in wage earnings for every 1 year of schooling

·      49% fewer child deaths if all women completed secondary school

·      66% decrease in maternal mortality if all women completed primary education

Spokesperson for girls’ education and Nobel peace prize winner, Malala Yousafza ...

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November 27, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 3: School Related Gender-Based Violence

by Paul Olson

While it is difficult to define the scale and scope of School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV), it is estimated that 246 million students experience SRGBV each year. Sexual violence against girls is extremely common and occurs while traveling to and from school, in the latrines, and during unsupervised play and results in:

-       low self-esteem
-       depression
-       school avoidance
-       low participation in class
-       inability to concentrate on work
-       drop out

Even more striking is the level of violence toward disabled girls aged 11-14 years. In Uganda, 24 percent of girls living with a disability reported experiencing sexual violence ...

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November 27, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 2: Thanksgiving

by Robert Arrington

appy Thanksgiving! As we collectively give thanks to God and our families around the dinner table, let us take a moment to reflect on the many ways in which our lives have been positively impacted by others. Thanksgiving is an expression of our gratitude for the gifts others have given us, gifts that have been freely given based on no merit of our own. In this reflection, we begin to realize the utter dependence we have on others who have done so much for us. Looking around the world in the wake of recent tragedies, we also ...

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