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16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

A daily blog by Debbie Huxton - TCT’s Modern Slavery Campaigner, with Lichfield Diocese Mothers’ Union and the Clewer Initiative

**EVENT**

Orange the World!

On Tuesday 8th December we co-hosted a discussion on how we can continue to raise awareness of gender based violence throughout the year!

This event was a partnership between Black Country Near Neighbours, Transforming Communities Together, Jaikara, Roshni and Generation Equality.

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Orange the world international campaign 1

We have to care about the issue of violence against women in all its forms because we believe that every single person, whether child or adult, female or male, is made in God’s image and is, therefore, valuable and worthy of dignity.

Women are not objects nor commodities. They are precious and valued by God and that is His instruction to each of us to value one another. Our hope through our work with Lichfield Diocese Mothers Union and nationally is that we will see women all over the world oppressed, exploited and abused restored into the fullness of who God created them to be.

Day 1

Today is International Day Of Elimination of Violence Against Women

When it comes to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. 71% of victims exploited are women and sadly when it comes to sexual exploitation that figure increases to 99%

This has to stop, we have to do something.

In reading Genesis 1:27, 31 (NLT)

God created human beings in his own image.

In the image of God, he created them;

male and female, he created them.

Then God looked over all he had made,

and he saw that it was very good!

We have to care about the issue of violence against women in all its forms because we believe that every single person, whether child or adult, female or male, is made in God’s image and is, therefore, valuable and worthy of dignity. Women are not objects nor commodities. They are precious and valued by God and that is His instruction to each of us to value one another. Our hope through our work with Lichfield Diocese Mothers Union and nationally is that we will see women all over the world oppressed, exploited and abused restored into the fullness of who God created them to be.

Creator God, thank you that we are all made in your image, and equally loved by you. Open our eyes to see your face in those of our sisters and brothers. Amen.

Day 2

What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence is any act of violence or abuse which is directed at an individual or group on the basis of their gender.

It is important to note, therefore, that both women and men can be made targets of gender-based violence. However, it has been widely acknowledged that the majority of persons affected by gender-based violence are women and girls, as a result of unequal distribution of power in society between women and men. And female victims of violence suffer specific consequences as a result of gender discrimination.

Gender‐based violence against women is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately.

“Violence against women” is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women. It is all acts of gender‐based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Violence against women and girls is rooted in unequal power relations between men and women, and the underlying beliefs and values which accompany this, often manifesting as a means of control.

Gender-based violence occurs in every culture and context around the world. It can be carried out by a wide range of people, including: partners; family members; those in the community; strangers; friends; those in positions of authority; armed groups; and the state.

In reading Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

that the blind will see that the oppressed will be set free,

and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.

You and I are the Hope of those suffering we have been called to proclaim that captives will be rescued and released, so that blind eyes will open and that the oppressed, exploited and abused will be set free from their trauma and we have to act now.

Compassionate God may those experiencing all forms of violence be given courage, hope and practical help to break free from their abuse. Amen

Day 3

Day 3 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Will you join me take an attitude check. Ask yourself what is your attitude towards violence and domestic abuse? We believe it is important to take stock of our own position towards these sensitive issues.
We cannot afford to turn a blind eye? Do you perhaps think that the thought of violence and abuse is awful but "it doesn’t affect me directly so I don’t need to do anything?" Maybe you think "there is nothing I can do?" Or perhaps you think, "well it hasn’t happened to me so I have no right to have a say or speak out about this?" Or you think it is more powerful for those that have suffered and survived to speak out about this. Whilst survivors stories are powerful and their voice matters and should indeed be heard.You and I CAN do so much to promote the message that gender based violence, is NOT acceptable, and we will NOT tolerate any form of violence and abuse in society.
No one person can do everything but we can ALL do something.
A recent study by restored UK revealed 1:4 churchgoers had experienced abuse in a current relationship. You can go to their website to find out more www.restored-uk.org

And recent reports of the sad death of Lauren Mae Bloomer, aged 25, who was stabbed and then repeatedly run over and then dumped on a doorstep in Tamworth, Staffordshire, tell us we must speak out against gender based violence and let the world know it is not ok.

You can help by sharing these videos to help educate and encourage one another to say NO MORE, no more lives will be abused and even worse no more lives will be lost and help send a clear message to society that violent abusive behaviour, gender based violence is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

We must NOT give up. We need to create safe spaces for women to demonstrates Gods love for them. Steadfast God, give us resolve to work tirelessly to change attitudes that promote, accept and perpetuate all forms of violence and abuse. Amen

Day 4

Gender-based violence takes many forms. It can include (but is not limited to):

Intimate partner violence, which can include a range of sexual, psychological and physical coercive acts used against adult and adolescents (particularly women and girls) by a current or former intimate partner;

domestic violence;

mental abuse;

psychological violence, including threats, humiliation, mocking and controlling behaviours;

emotional abuse;

economic violence, such as denying access of the victim to financial resources, property, healthcare, education, or the labour market, and denying them participation in economic decision-making;

sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault and harassment in all public and private spheres of life;

physical violence;

crimes committed in the name of so-called ‘honour’;

institutional or structural violence, which includes any form of structural inequality or institutional discrimination that maintains a woman in an inferior position to other people within her family, household or community;

forced marriage

child marriage;

female genital mutilation;

female infanticide and sex-selective abortion;

human trafficking, slavery, and sexual exploitation;

stalking and harassment;

emerging forms of violations, such as online harassment and abuse, various forms of sexual abuse instigated or facilitated through the use of information and communication technologies, stalking, and bullying

In our reading today Micah 6:8 (CEV)

The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands:

“See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern,

and humbly obey your God.”

We must use our voices to speak out against injustice, it is not enough to agree something is wrong. Knowledge is only powerful if it is applied and action taken. There is much you and I can do to support raising awareness of the injustice of gender based violence.

You can share this series of videos across social media facebook, twitter, instagram and ask others to share too.

You could start a support group, for prayer or provision of a safe space where those affected any of the things mentioned above can come a talk. You could ask your church or community group to gather some resources around this subject and highlight the plight of those suffering and encourage conversations to take place about how you might get involved.

And so we say - Righteous God help those who administer justice for victims and survivors of gender-based violence to make decisions with integrity and compassion. Amen

Day 5

Day 5 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

For a moment I want you to imagine what it would be like to be a victim of gender based violence.

Martin Luther King once said:

"Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want."

The word choose is key. Decisions of faith, at least in the UK, are a decision that we take ourselves, and we also get to choose whether when it comes to issues such as gender based violence to be a part of the solution and speak out against these acts of violence and abuse or stay part of the problem, because sadly choosing to remain ignorant, silent, and to turn away fro, those suffering is to leave them trapped and we therefore are part of the problem, we have to care, we have to take ACTION.

In reading Hebrews 13:3

Remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Begin by asking today How might God want us to pray for victims?

How might God want us as His followers to bring freedom to those held in physical and psychological bondage?

How can we open our eyes to say ‘we see you’ to victims local to us?

And we pray righteous Saviour, who came to free the oppressed, use us to challenge social injustice with a clear voice, in a world where the vulnerable strive to be heard. Amen

Day 6

Day 6 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

My heart is for the poor, the vulnerable and speaking out against injustice. My role as Modern Slavery campaigner helps to empower, encourage and equip churches, charities, organisations and individuals to know when something is wrong and take action and speak out against injustice, creating safe spaces where we can live, work and do life together in communities that are thriving and flourishing.

EVERY SINGLE HUMAN LIFE HAS VALUE.

Our friends at RestoredUK.org also empower, encourage and equip those who have survived Domestic abuse, violence and exploitation to know there is Hope. They have a survivors handbook who provides crucial information about the practicalities of leaving an abuser, which you can find at www.restoreduk.org

In our reading today it says inJohn 10:10

The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy.

I have come in order that you might have life

— life in all its fullness.

Gods heart is for the poor, the vulnerable and for injustice.

He wants them rescued, renewed and reconciled to Him so that they can receive the fullness of all He has for them.

We pray Lord of life, thank you that many women and girls are now free from abuse and violence. Thank you for your healing power which brings hope to survivors. Amen

Day 7

Day 7 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

We read in Mark 12:28-31

“And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognising that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." “

In Jesus' teachings, our relationship with our fellow men, women and children is inseparable from our relationship with God. Love of God and love of our neighbours are two aspects of the same calling:

In John 13:34-35 Jesus said "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

So who exactly Is our Neighbour? We commonly think of neighbours as the people who live near us, but Jesus meant it to include all mankind - even our enemies! Jesus told His famous parable of the Good Samaritan to make it clear that "love your neighbour" means to love all persons, everywhere - not just our family, friends and allies.

In Luke 10:25-37 - The man replied, "The one who showed him some pity." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

It is important to note the Jews and Samaritans had been enemies for hundreds of years. The Jews of Jesus' society considered the Samaritans to be ceremonially unclean, socially outcast, religious heretics (Mays, p. 1029). Yet, the Samaritan took pity on the poor man who had been robbed and beaten. He gave freely of both his time and his money to help this Jewish man who was not only a stranger, but also an enemy from a foreign country. In His parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus challenges us to "Go and do the same."

To reinforce that "love your neighbour" applies to everyone, Jesus extended the rule of love to even our enemies!

In reading todays passage Mark 12:30-31

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your mind and with all your strength

and love your neighbour as yourself.

There is no commandment greater than these.

Let is pray Loving Lord, you have called us to love our neighbour as ourselves. Help us to treat all with dignity and respect as we follow Christ’s example of selfless love. Amen

Day 8

Day 8 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

If you or a friend need help would you know where to go?

Here are some places you can turn to for free, 24 hour help

It could be someones lifeline, you could help save a life.

If someone is in immediate danger call 999

Free 24hr National Domestic Abuse helpline 0808 2000 247

OR search for local support services : Womens aid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory.

You never know who might need to use them, so why not share this video. Please share this video help us to help others, lets #orangetheworld together.

In todays reading Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear, for I am with you.

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

We pray God of righteousness, we pray against regimes that endorse violence against women and girls. Replace their evil influence with a rule of justice and decency. Amen

Day 9

Day 9 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Take this quiz with me.

Let's see how much we know about Domestic Abuse and what do already know and what do you still have learn?

We all have blind spots, we all have gaps in our knowledge, and we are all still learning.

www.restored-uk-org have put together a quiz to help us all learn more about domestic abuse.

Grab a pen and paper. Ready! Let's go:-

How many women in the UK experience domestic abuse?

1. How many women in the UK experience domestic abuse?

a) 1 in 3

b) 1 in 4

c) 1 in 7

2. How many UK churchgoers have experienced domestic abuse?

a) 1 in 4

b) 1 in 6

c) 1 in 12

3. Domestic abuse always includes physical violence. True or False?

a) True

b) False

4. In 2019, what proportion of defendants in domestic abuse prosecutions were men?

a) 79%

b) 85%

c) 92%

5. All men who abuse women are mentally unwell. True or False?

a) True

b) False

6. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (2017) found that the majority of survey respondents thought it was always unacceptable to hit or slap a partner.

What proportion of respondents said it was acceptable to hit or slap their partner in response to them flirting with other people?

a) 9%

b) 7%

c) 2%

7. What percentage of our survey told us they'd never heard domestic abuse mentioned in a sermon?

a) 57%

b) 68%

c) 42%

8. From our survey, what percentage of perpetrators were Christian?

a) 22%

b) 43%

c) 56%

Lets find out the answers:-

b) 1 in 4.

a) 1 in 4 churchgoers experience domestic abuse.

False, not all abuse is physical. It can include, but is not limited to: emotional, spiritual, financial, sexual, or psychological abuse.

92% of prosecutions were men.

False, not all abusers are mentally unwell.

2% thought slapping was acceptable in response to flirting.

57% had never heard a sermon mentioning or condemning abuse.

56% of abusers in our survey were Christian.

Is your church equipped to respond to perpetrators and journey alongside them?

https://www.restored-uk.org/ne...

Our reading today is Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

God will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

festive praise instead of despair.

We pray transforming God, we pray for all who live in fear of violence and despair that life will ever change. Bring to an end their suffering; restore their sense of worth. Amen

Day 10

Day 10 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

BBC Radio 4 drama ‘Bottled’ was aired on Monday October 19 2020 written by Hayley Wareham and directed by Anne Isger

you can listen here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programm...

The story tells us about Katy a normal teenager wrapped up with school, friends and new boyfriend Bradley. But when Katy's new stepdad Brian comes on the scene, her life starts to fall apart, as Brian's hold over Katy's mum Sharon gets stronger.

Can Katy keep hold of her identity, and her fragile family?

Katy is a girl determined to keep her voice in the face of domestic abuse.

If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this programme, details of organisations offering information and support with domestic abuse are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 0800 888 809

BBC Action Line: Domestic Abuse

Information and Support for people affected by Domestic Abuse can be found here

Todays reading is Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’

And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’

We pray Holy Spirit fill us with new resolve to challenge unacceptable mindsets and actions and to champion the cause of righteousness in the name of Christ. Amen

Day 11

Day 11 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

To end domestic violence and sexual assault, we all need to be part of the solution. Educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up, and being an engaged bystander are all examples of things you can do to help.

Talking about these issues openly will help end the shame and stigma that domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are burdened with.

The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this:

1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.

1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.

1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence in their lives.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

https://nomore.org/learn/resou...

How to Offer Support

  • Get Resources
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Use these tools for guidance.
  • Supporting Friends and Family
  • What to say and how to help
  • Responding to Violence
  • Tips for how you can respond to violence when it’s occurring
  • Bystander Scenarios
  • Real-life examples to help prepare you to take action
  • Of course if you see, hear, or suspect that someone is in immediate danger, call 999 immediately.

https://nomore.org/learn/resources/#KnowMore

Our reading today Matthew 25:40 (ERV) “The truth is, anything you did for any of my people here, you also did for me.”

We pray Lord Jesus be with those who work with survivors of gender-based violence. May they be given the resources they need to offer long lasting support. Amen

Day 12

Day 12 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

'The book of Ruth might have been written by a man, but what shines through in this book is the commitment and determination of the women. It's not a story where women take a backseat; Naomi risks everything leaving her home to go to Moab, whilst Ruth risks leaving her family to go with Naomi. The strength of Naomi and Ruth’s relationship is at the heart of this story.’

The Bible is full of stories of women doing brave and bold things. Often things that were counter-cultural. The Bible is also full of stories of people travelling from one place to another. In fact, the whole narrative of the Bible is about place. God’s people, the Israelites, travel from one place to another time and time again. God promises a land for the people, a place to call their own. And place is crucial to the identity of those people. The story of Ruth and Naomi is remarkable precisely because it beautifully weaves together what it means to belong with the authentic voices of two courageous women.

Author Elaine Storkey confronts the argument that the Bible is really all by and about men in her book ‘Women in a Patriarchal World’: ‘I believe many stories are authentically those of women. I believe, too, that the original sources for the stories will have been women themselves.’ Ruth and Naomi’s story is not unique: there are other stories of women that are very much worth taking the time to discover.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16

The other remarkable thing about this story is that it’s a story of two refugees. Naomi’s family fled to Moab as refugees. Naomi and Ruth later leave what has become their home because they had no family to provide for them. It’s a story that demonstrates God’s heart for welcome, and shows us something of what it might look like for us to be people of welcome.

When Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, Ruth goes into the fields during the barley harvest to pick up leftover grains. Ruth works behind the harvesters in a field that belonged to a man named Boaz, a relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech. When Boaz hears that Naomi has returned with Ruth and that Ruth is gleaning the leftover grain, he goes to Ruth and tells her she can work safely in his fields and get a drink from his water jars when she is thirsty. Ruth questions his kindness and Boaz responds that God is looking kindly on them. Boaz makes sacrifices for both these women; he recognises that they have not fled through any fault of their own, and is kind.

Just as Naomi and Ruth had to make some difficult decisions as a result of facing famine, violence and suffering, many people today face difficult choices. Others have no choice at all, but simply leave their homes to save themselves. In danger, they do not have time to think about what they might need to claim asylum in the UK (passport, education or medical records etc.) For those facing domestic abuse, there is simply not the support they need in the courts.

For Ruth and Naomi, all of the trauma and stress, loss, and struggle they face leads to the birth of the father of David; Ruth gets a mention in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Women's struggles, strength and resilience in the midst of deep trauma is celebrated as that which brings about the birth of a King.

These challenges birth hope.

Our reading Matthew 18:3-5 Jesus said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Heavenly Father protect children who witness violence in the home. May they be given support to enable them to lead positive lives, in freedom from fear. Amen

Day 13

Day 13 of 16 days of activism against gender based violence

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign is marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2020) under the global theme, “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!".

UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign is amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls. The campaign is part of UN Women’s efforts for Beijing+25 and building up to launch bold new actions and commitments to end violence against women at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and France in 2021.

This year is like no other. Even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. Globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Meanwhile, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report it or seek help.

As countries implemented lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, especially domestic violence, intensified – in some countries, calls to helplines have increased five-fold.

In others, formal reports of domestic violence have decreased as survivors find it harder to seek help and access support through the regular channels. School closures and economic strains left women and girls poorer, out of school and out of jobs, and more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, forced marriage, and harassment.

In April 2020, as the pandemic spread across the world, the UN Secretary-General called for “peace at home”, and 146 Member States responded with their strong statement of commitment. In recent months 135 countries have strengthened actions and resources to address violence against women as part of the response to COVID-19. Yet, much more is needed.

Today, although the voices of activists and survivors have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored, ending violence against women will require more investment, leadership and action. It cannot be sidelined; it must be part of every country’s national response, especially during the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

For the 16 Days of Activism, UN Women handed over the mic to survivors, activists and UN partners on the ground, to tell the story of what happened after COVID-19 hit. Read and share stories, get inspired by activists who are making a difference every single day, and find out how you can take action.

Our reading Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Lets pray All-powerful God break the patterns of abuse committed down the generations. Transform attitudes and behaviour for current and future relationships. Amen

#OrangeTheWorld

Mothers' Union

Day 14

Day 14 of 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Todays message is an invitation to join together tonight Tuesday 8th December at 6pm UK time to discuss how we can continue to raise awareness of gender based violence throughout the year! This event will be a national webinar with professional bodies speaking at the event.

There will be opportunity for Q & A and contributions too.

The event will start at 6pm and may end with a quiz, which will take place between 7-8pm.

We hope that you can join us.

This event is brought to you by Black Country Near Neighbours, Transforming Communities Together, Jaikara, Roshni and Generation Equality. https://orange-the-world.event...

Our reading to day Psalm 72:1-2

Endow the king with your justice, O God,

the royal son with your righteousness.

May he judge your people in righteousness,

your afflicted ones with justice.

Let us pray Lord of the nations, we pray for governments as they deal with gender-based violence. May they make policy and law with wisdom and discernment. Amen

Day 15

Day 15 of 16 days of activism against gender based violence

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a fundamental human rights violation, affecting around one in three women and girls around the world.

Women and girls experience violence and discrimination in every society, simply because of their gender.

Millions of women and girls face many forms of violence throughout their lives, including rape, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation and child marriage.

Survivors of violence often experience a range of problems, from psychological distress and depression to injury, HIV and unwanted pregnancy.

In the longer term, violence and the threat of violence can stop girls from going to school, from being able to choose if and who they marry, and from reaching their full potential.

That's why at ActionAid we are ending violence against women and girls around the world. We work with communities to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls and create sustainable, long-term change.

Stand with Women this Christmas

This Christmas, millions of women and girls around the world are fighting for their freedom, their futures and even their lives, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.   Covid-19 has made a bad situation worse, deepening inequalities and exposing a hidden pandemic: of escalating violence against women.

But in communities large and small, away from the spotlight, women and girls are also leading the change.  

 With the support of ActionAid and our partners, women are building a new  world – one  that’s  safe and equal. A world in which no woman lives in fear of violence.

ActionAid stands with women and this Christmas, will you stand with women too?

Our reading today is Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Let us pray Lord of heaven and earth, we pray for all to follow Christ’s example of treating women with equality and respect. We pray for the dawn of a better world where justice and peace may flourish. Amen

For more information click here https://www.actionaid.org.uk/s...

Published 25th Nov 2020

Updated 10th December 2020