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World Day of the African Child – 16 June 2024

The Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on 16 June since 1991. On this day we remember black high school students who participated in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in June 1976, when they began a series of demonstrations and protests against education injustice and inequality during the apartheid regime.  It is estimated that about 20,000 students took part in the protests. They were met with police brutality and many were shot and killed.  Thus 16 June every year is held in honour of the African child.

According to the African Union, the theme for the Day of the African Child in 2024 is Education for all Children in Africa: the Time is Now” aligning with the African Union’s Year of Education, which focuses on building resilient education systems to ensure increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa.

Many children in Africa have come a long way as some have gone through abuse and exploitation just because of the need to survive and because families were economically challenged.  Thus, many children did not attend school and had to work to help boost household incomes.  People took advantage of the families’ vulnerable situations and ended up employing both children and their parents.  Also, children were involved in the worst forms of child labour with meagre pay. They were also trafficked and sexually exploited.  Some years back ANPPCAN coined a slogan, “Adults to Work and Children to School.”  This was a campaign to withdraw children from child labour and enroll them back in schools. 

 

Source: Text:     Image: africanchildrenfund.org

World Population Day – 11 July 2023

 What women and girls want matters.

They make up 49.7 per cent of the global population, yet women and girls are often ignored in discussions on demographics, with their rights violated in population policies. The result is a world that excludes and marginalizes half the population of the planet – a problem that will prevent all of us from experiencing a more prosperous, peaceful and sustainable future.

At the root of this problem is gender inequality. 

This pervasive injustice keeps women and girls out of school, the workforce and leadership positions; limits their agency and ability to make decisions about their health and sexual and reproductive lives; and heightens their vulnerability to violence, harmful practices and preventable maternal death, with a woman dying every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth.

When women and girls are empowered by societies to exert autonomy over their lives and bodies, they and their families thrive, as the UNFPA 2023 State of World Population report illustrates. The knock-on effect is a better, more inclusive world, equipped to deal with whatever demographic changes and challenges the future holds.

UNFPA brings its data, experience and stories to support women and girls around the world, and World Population Day gives us an opportunity to highlight the need to advance gender equality to help realize the dreams of all 8 billion of us on our planet. 

This process starts by listening to the voices of women, girls and other marginalized people and introducing laws and policies that enable them to exert their rights and make meaningful choices.

We must advance gender equality to create a more just, resilient and sustainable world. The creativity, ingenuity, resources and power of women and girls are fundamental to addressing demographic and other challenges that threaten our future, including climate change and conflict. Women play a powerful role in advancing consensus and building peace at all levels. Yet just six countries have 50 per cent or more women in parliament.

Too often, gendered economic barriers and challenges to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, including lack of access to contraceptives, prevent women from creating the families they want – representing a violation of their bodily autonomy that threatens our global future. Governments must fortify the rights of women and girls  to ensure a more inclusive and resilient global population. 

The bottom line: Investing in gender equality today is an investment in our shared future. 

Source: Text: https://www.unfpa.org/events/world-population-day    Image: National Today

World Population Day reminds us that a truly inclusive Canada is one where persons with disabilities are embraced as integral members, enhancing the fabric of our diverse nation.

World Population Day, celebrated on July 11th, is an opportunity to recognize the diversity and value of every individual in society. This year, we shine a spotlight on persons with disabilities in Canada, highlighting their remarkable contributions and advocating for equal opportunities and inclusion. It is a time to celebrate their strengths, talents, and resilience, and to promote a society that embraces diversity and removes barriers that hinder their full participation.

Source: Text & Image: https://ccrw.org/event/world-population-day-2023/

33rd Sunday of Year A – 2020

The text of the 2nd reading of this Sunday could be addressed to us, and it is!
The words of Paul to the Thessalonians seem to take on a new meaning in this period of pandemic (1 Th.5:1-6).

“While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly.”

Unfortunately, there are still among us many people who refuse to acknowledge the danger of the virus that is threatening our health and our lives.
They like to believe that all the talk about the situation is only that: talk.
They pretend they are safe; they remain unaware that they might be the next victims…

Paul’s letter was not referring precisely to our own situation, it is true.
But it has a message that is valid for everyone of us.
I am not thinking especially of the Coronavirus, but of so many other threatening agents – threatening our life as Christians…

  • the virus of selfishness where all decisions are in view of ‘me, myself, and I’…
  • the virus of pride looking down on so many people judged not as good as one pretends to be…
  • the virus of injustice where decisions are taken in view of what will achieve one’s goals…
  • the virus of resentment which feeds a desire for revenge…
  • the virus of indifference to important issues thinking only of what is gratifying for oneself…
  • the virus of chronic dissatisfaction with life while forgetting all the blessings received from God…

And you may add a few of your own findings…
They are life-threatening, they jeopardize the fullness of living that Jesus wants for us.

We need to wake up and not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security.
Strange how ‘old’ parables can have a very ‘modern’ meaning!
 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/33e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image : Picuki.com

27th Sunday of Year C – 2019

Questions are very much part of our lives.
From day to day, we ask questions from one another.
We may be looking for information, or we may be asking for direction,
but questions are definitely a means of interaction that we often use among ourselves.

But questions are also part of the interaction of human beings with God
and it has been so for a very long time indeed.

The 1st reading of this 27th Sunday is a good example of this (Ha.1:2-3; 2:2-4).
Some may say a rather… shocking example!
The prophet Habakkuk is not asking God for information, direction, or even inspiration.
The many questions he addresses God express his desperation.

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?”

HOW LONG? WHY? Questions that many people nowadays would be tempted to address God as well.
Violence, injustice, wrongdoing, all these are still part of our world.
They are still part of the life experience of many –
the many who find themselves in a situation of crisis, feeling desperate and helpless.

“Then the Lord replied:
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it will certainly come and will not delay.

God has answered Habakkuk and his answer is still valid today.
We need to wait with the conviction that he hears and he will answer… in his own time.
Though it may linger, we need to wait for his reply…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/27e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Images: Pinterest   aboitebaptistchurch.org

 

 

World Day for Decent Work – 7 October

Workers from around the world will be holding activities to mark the 11th World Day for Decent Work on 7 October.

This year’s global theme, “Change the Rules”, highlights the deeply entrenched injustice of the global economic system alongside shrinking democratic space and deteriorating labour rights in many countries, documented in the ITUC Global Rights Index.

“The rules are stacked against working people, and that is why we have unprecedented and destructive levels of economic inequality and insecurity while a small number of global conglomerates like Amazon amass incalculable riches for a very few. There is enough wealth in the world to meet the challenges of our time – creating decent work for all, ensuring universal social protection, tackling climate change and all the other things that need to be done to ensure that people can live in dignity on a sustainable planet. But the rules need to change. And to achieve that, we need to build workers’ power. The World Day for Decent Work is an important milestone on the way to the ITUC World Congress in Copenhagen in December, where we will finalise an ambitious and comprehensive trade union agenda for change and economic renewal,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

“Since the inaugural World Day for Decent Work in 2008, tens of millions of people have taken part in activities in more than 100 countries to celebrate the achievements of trade unions, to pay homage to those who have sacrificed so much on the front lines of struggles for democratic rights and freedoms, and to advance the cause of social and economic progress which benefits all instead of the privileged elite. This year again, unions and other progressive movements will mobilise around 7 October to show our determination to reclaim democratic space and overhaul the rules of the global economy through organising, campaigning and advocating for a better world.”

With the presidential election in Brazil taking place on 7 October, unions will be stepping up the demand for former President Lula to be released from prison. Lula was unjustly sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence and, while he was by far the most popular candidate, prevented from standing in the election.                                                                                                                                                                 

Source: Text: www.ituc-csi.org Image: giortazei.græ

Journée Internationale des personnes disparues – 30 août

L’ONU s’inquiète de l’augmentation des cas de disparition forcée et le groupe de travail sur les disparitions involontaires de la commission des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies exprime son inquiétude sur le nombre croissant de cas de disparitions forcées dans le monde.

« Les victimes de disparition forcée, dont on ignore où elles se trouvent et quel est leur sort, ne devraient pas être rappelées à notre souvenir seulement une fois par an. Chaque jour devrait être une Journée des personnes disparues », a déclaré le groupe de travail.

De son coté, le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge basé à Genève déplore le manque de volonté politique de s’attaquer à ce problème.

Une tragédie oubliée
Dans un rapport intitulé: Personnes portées disparues – une tragédie oubliée, l’organisation attire l’attention sur le drame trop souvent ignoré que vivent des dizaines de milliers de familles, de la Bosnie au Népal, de la Géorgie au Sri Lanka.

« Il est impératif de faire face à cette tragédie et d’aider les familles de disparus à faire la lumière sur ce qu’il est advenu de leurs proches. Ne pas savoir si un être cher est mort ou vivant provoque une angoisse indicible, de la colère et un profond sentiment d’injustice, et empêche les proches de faire le deuil et de tourner la page », constate Pierre Krähenbühl, directeur du CICR.

Un site à visiter : www.un.org         Source : Texte : Journée mondiale  Image: epa european pressphoto agency

Journée mondiale de la Trisomie-21 – 21 mars

Une résolution de l’ONU en 2011 a institué la date du 21 mars comme Journée mondiale de la Trisomie-21. L’occasion se présente donc pour faire le point sur la situation actuelle de la Trisomie-21 au Québec.

Dans un premier temps, il est utile de se remémorer quelques-uns des grands titres de l’actualité en lien avec la Trisomie-21. «Saint Jude; un homme atteint de Trisomie-21 passe plusieurs jours avec le cadavre de son frère avant de mourir de faim et de soif (2010)», «Utilisation du Taser pour maîtriser un homme de 43 ans atteint de Trisomie-21 (2009)», «Un homme accusé d’avoir agressé sexuellement une dame trisomique de 47 ans (2008)», «Hôpital Sainte-Justine: un garçon de 9 ans trisomique n’est plus le bienvenu (2006)», «L’agresseur d’une jeune trisomique voit sa peine réduite (2004)», «Une fillette trisomique de 7 ans n’est pas la bienvenue dans sa classe (2004)», «Une femme trisomique de 41 ans morte de faim et de soif après le suicide de son frère aîné qui s’occupait d’elle (2004)».

Sans oublier l’actuel gouvernement du Québec qui a mis en place un programme de dépistage prénatal de la Trisomie-21, envoyant ainsi le message à la population que mieux vaut ne pas vivre du tout que de vivre avec une Trisomie-21. À l’égard de celles-ci, ce fut d’ailleurs la seule générosité dont s’est senti capable le gouvernement du Québec. Cette politique du «contentezvous» les a enfoncées brutalement, ainsi que leur famille, dans une situation de repli et dans un grand sentiment d’isolement et d’incompréhension.

Ce petit tour d’horizon nous fait constater à quel point rien n’est facile, même de nos jours, pour les personnes vivant avec une Trisomie-21. Il s’agit bien là d’une grave injustice à leur égard puisqu’elles méritent bien plus que l’abandon général à leur endroit.

En effet, les personnes vivant avec une Trisomie-21, bien qu’aux prises avec un retard sur le plan intellectuel, sont en avance sur nous tous quant à certaines qualités de coeur remarquables comme l’amour inconditionnel et leur capacité de vivre sans préjugés envers les autres. Elles nous invitent, par leur exemple, au dépassement de nos limites personnelles.

Par ailleurs, le rayonnement de la démocratie et de notre Assemblée nationale du Québec doit rejoindre l’ensemble des citoyennes et des citoyens du Québec, y compris les 10 500 Québécoises et Québécois vivant avec une Trisomie-21. Ce rayonnement doit être souligné concrètement et avec fierté à leur endroit. Ces personnes apportent par leur exemple d’aimer inconditionnellement une contribution unique, originale et majeure à la construction du Québec d’aujourd’hui et de demain. Cet exemple n’est maîtrisé que par ceux et celles qui sont sur un chemin trop peu fréquenté. Le rayonnement de la démocratie sait reconnaître l’égalité des chances et sait aussi reconnaître en chacun la capacité de fournir un apport positif à notre collectivité québécoise. Sur le plan humain, les personnes vivant avec une Trisomie-21 ont assurément beaucoup à nous apprendre.

En cette Journée mondiale de la Trisomie-21, je vous invite tous à prendre contact avec une personne ayant une Trisomie-21 de votre entourage. Ce sera son plus grand bonheur. Offrez-lui d’aller prendre une marche, d’aller manger une crème glacée, de jouer au ballon, d’aller aux quilles, etc., puis regardez doucement et attentivement dans ses yeux. Vous y verrez de l’amour à perte de vue…

Source: Texte: Sylvain Fortin, président de la Société québécoise de la Trisomie-21 www.degaulle-trisomie21.org Le Soleil 21 mars 2012 Image : jolpress.com

Journée Internationale des personnes disparues – 30 août

L’ONU s’inquiète de l’augmentation des cas de disparition forcée et le groupe de travail sur les disparitions involontaires de la commission des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies exprime son inquiétude sur le nombre croissant de cas de disparitions forcées dans le monde.

« Les victimes de disparition forcée, dont on ignore où elles se trouvent et quel est leur sort, ne devraient pas être rappelées à notre souvenir seulement une fois par an. Chaque jour devrait être une Journée des personnes disparues », a déclaré le groupe de travail.

De son coté, le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge basé à Genève déplore le manque de volonté politique de s’attaquer à ce problème.

Une tragédie oubliée
Dans un rapport intitulé: Personnes portées disparues – une tragédie oubliée, l’organisation attire l’attention sur le drame trop souvent ignoré que vivent des dizaines de milliers de familles, de la Bosnie au Népal, de la Géorgie au Sri Lanka.

« Il est impératif de faire face à cette tragédie et d’aider les familles de disparus à faire la lumière sur ce qu’il est advenu de leurs proches. Ne pas savoir si un être cher est mort ou vivant provoque une angoisse indicible, de la colère et un profond sentiment d’injustice, et empêche les proches de faire le deuil et de tourner la page », constate Pierre Krähenbühl, directeur du CICR.

Un site à visiter : www.un.org   Source: Texte & Image: Journée Mondiale

16th Sunday of Year A

There is so much that is wrong in our world today, is it not so?
The powerful bring suffering to the weak.
The selfish – legions of them – grab all they can.
The rich keep adding to their share while the poor have to manage on what they can scrape together.

It seems that evil spreads far and wide, and goodness has a hard time existing at all.
Examples we see every day are only too many and too easy to find.

Poverty, sickness, injustice, suffering – evil under all its forms – everywhere we turn it seems that we see only more of that!
Some people mutter to themselves: “Not much sign of God in a world like this…”
Others get really angry, and yes, angry with God: Why does he not do something to right all that is wrong?
They whisper under their breath: “If I were God, things would be different!”

We have to admit it: we are troubled by the presence of evil in our world, in people…
Perhaps today’s gospel (16th Sunday of Year A – Mt.13:24-43) can bring light to this situation.
At first sight, some would think: ‘More of the same!’
Good seed has been planted and there comes an enemy who spoils the whole thing as the weeds in plenty show.
The workers question the owner of the field about it and they are ready to put things right.

The owner shows wisdom: removing the weeds may destroy the good plants as well.
So, his advice is… to wait.
WAIT – waiting… till the harvest, waiting till all has grown and then… then will be the time to sort out and to separate.

For many of us, this is not our preferred mode of operating.
Yet, surprisingly perhaps, this is the way… of God!
He waits, and waits… for us!
He waits that we change…

The 1st reading (Wis.12:13,16-19) says it beautifully:
“Your sovereignty makes you lenient to all…
You are mild in judgement,
You govern us with great leniency.”

He waits that we recognize him, accept his ways, see him as REAL – really present in our lives.
How much longer will he have to wait for this to happen?…

Source: Images: Wikipedia, Experimental Theology – blogger