World Rural Women’s Day 2014

Posted November 13, 2014 by WI Staff in Event Reports

Pictured at WRWD (L-R) are: International Sub-Committee Chairman Elizabeth Warden, International Sub-Committee member and ACWW Finance Committee member Margaret McMillan, ACWW World President Ruth Shanks from Australia, ACWW Finance Committee member Heather Brennan from Australia and Federation Chairman Margaret Collinson.

The International Sub-Committee was delighted with the success of their World Rural Women’s Day held to celebrate the International Day of Rural Women at the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine on Saturday 18th October, the same day that the Autumn Council Meeting took place.  The International Sub-Committee used the event to celebrate the ACWW ‘Tea Time’ campaign launched by them in conjunction with Salt of the Earth (SOTE) to bring people all over the world together to drink tea and raise money to reduce the deprivation of women living in rural poverty. The meeting was chaired by International Sub-Committee Chairman Elizabeth Warden.  The guest speaker was the ACWW World President, Ruth Shanks AM, from Australia who took the opportunity of thanking the members of the Federation for their very generous support for ACWW and shared her vision for the future of the organization.

Details were given of the four projects which the Federation has adopted for £3,300 each this year in the Dominican Republic, India, Tonga and Fields of Life in Northern Uganda. Margaret McMillan, the WI’s representative on the ACWW Finance Committee, reported on the continuing need for Pennies For Friendship which goes towards the administration of all the six ACWW Committees and she thanked members for the £5,500 raised at the Women Walk the World event this year.  Margaret was awarded the Evelyn Lord Trophy for her work on the Finance Committee and in particular for organizing the Woolly Hat Competition at the European Area Conference in May. 

Margery Thompson is the WI’s representative on the Agriculture Committee whose present theme is ‘Grow Locally Benefit Globally’.  After research the Committee have identified that farmers are ‘price takers, not price makers” worldwide and that globally the average age of farmers is fifty plus.  They continue with their work to promote good child nutrition.  Tracey McIlwaine, Secretary of the International Sub-Committee, interviewed Beryl Boyd, Helen Robinson and Agnes Black and ask them why they considered it important to attend the European Area Conference in Bergen, Norway, this year. Hilda Stewart, Past World President of ACWW from 1998 to 2004, proposed the Vote of Thanks to the guests. 

Members were encouraged to start saving to attend the next World Conference in the University of Warwick between 18th and 24th August 2016 and expression of interest forms were circulated in connection with a Summer Break which the Committee plan to organize at An Grianán in association with the ICA between either 10th to 12th July or 13th to 17th July 2015.  Further details will appear in a future edition of the magazine.

Very generous ballot prizes had been supplied by the Lodge Hotel, Dale Farm, Creative Gardens at Galgorm, Harrisons of Greyabbey and many other businesses and individuals, and the ballot together with the ‘bring and buy’ sale table was very well supported. The meeting closed with the Chairman reading a poignant piece entitled ‘An Apology’ which had been read at the interfaith service at the European Area Conference. All present then united to sing the Song of Peace.


An Apology

(The following heartfelt piece entitled ‘An Apology’ was read at this year’s World Rural Women’s Day and the sentiments are very thought-provoking indeed)

Apology To My Brothers And Sisters In Developing Countries

To my brothers and sisters in developing countries,

While I was deciding which cereal to eat this morning, you were searching the ground for leftover grains from the passing wheat truck.

While I was jogging at the health centre, you were working in the wealthy landowner’s field under a scorching sun.

While I was choosing between diet coke and regular coke, your parched lips were yearning for a sip of clean water.

While I complained about the poor service in the gourmet restaurant, you were gratefully eating a bowl of rice.

While I poured my bio detergent into the washing machine, you stood in the river with your bundle of clothes.

While I watched the evening news on my wide, flat screen television set, you were being terrorized by a dictatorial government.

While I read my morning newspaper and drank my cup of steaming coffee, you walked the long, dusty miles to a crowded schoolroom to learn how to read.

While I searched the adverts for a bargain on an extra piece of designer clothing, you woke up and put on the same shirt and trousers that you have worn for many months.

While I built a seven room house for the two of us, your family of ten found shelter in a one room hut.

While I went to church last Sunday and felt more than slightly bored, you stood on the land with those around you and felt gratitude to God for being alive one more day.

My brothers and sisters, forgive me for my arrogance and my indifference.

Forgive me for my greed of always wanting newer, bigger and better things.

Forgive me for not doing my part to change the unjust systems that keep you suffering and impoverished.

I offer you my promise to become more aware of your situation and to change my lifestyle as I work for the transformation of the world.



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