Over six hundred Afghan girls are learning to read and write in two primary schools in a refugee camp in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghan border. The schools were established eleven years ago — after 9/11 — and are supported and directed by a small group of volunteers from California. Three Ventura County members of the governing committee, Beth Farnbach, Nagma Gandhi and Percy Severn, will share information and experiences about this small project that provides basic education for girls in a place where the challenges are great. For more information: http://afghangirlsschool.org/
At our May meeting, we honor Julia Ward Howe’s original intention for Mothers’ Day.
In 1870, Julia Ward Howe took on a new issue and a new cause. Distressed
by her experience of the realities of war, determined that peace was
one of the two most important causes of the world (the other being
equality in its many forms) and seeing war arise again in the world
in the Franco-Prussian War, she called in 1870 for women to rise up
and oppose war in all its forms. She wanted women to come together
across national lines, to recognize what we hold in common above what
divides us, and commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts.
She issued a Declaration, hoping to gather together women in a
congress of action — Click “Read More” to read it in its entirety.
Mother’s Day Proclamation
by Julia Ward Howe
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.