Mothers Grow Future Peacebuilders
April 30, 2021
Dear Peacebuilders,

I would like to share with you the story of Aiden and Esther.

Aiden is an Australian child in the second grade. One day he told his mother, Esther, that he decided to run for the Student Council in his school. Esther was surprised and anxious because Aiden is introverted and shy, but she encouraged him to try.

After two days, Aiden came back from school with a badge and a big smile on his face. “Mommy, I won the elections. Look at my badge.” Esther encouraged him to share how it happened. Aiden said, “I did a speech in front of my classmates.” Esther replied, “what did you say in your speech?” Aiden answered, “I promise if I win, I will be kind to everyone.”

As Esther put Aiden to sleep, often he would suddenly stop and with a voice full of joy, he would say, “Mommy, I can’t believe my entire class voted for me to win”.  A few months after Aiden’s win, his teacher told Esther that Aiden is fulfilling his promise to his friends and classmates.  As just one example, in one class game, each child asked Aiden to individually dance with them and he did not say no to any of them.

Aiden was indeed kind to everyone and exemplified the value of service above self. Aiden will one day make a wonderful Rotarian.

Aiden’s story is an example of a child nurtured by the love and support of his mother, friends, school, community, and environment. This foundation enabled him to have a healthy life and as a result, provide peace to those around him. However, according to UNICEF, this is not the story for 1 billion children around the world who lack necessities such as nutrition and clean water. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic plunged 150 million children into multi-dimensional poverty.

Children make up one-third of the global population. According to UNICEF, World Bank, and Rotary, this is the status of our children.

  • 1 in 6 children live in extreme poverty and are struggling to survive.
  • 50% of the extremely poor are children.
  • 6 million children under the age of 5 die each year because of malnutrition, inadequate health care, and poor sanitation.
  • 30 million children have been displaced by conflict. Many of them are being abused, exploited, trafficked, and enslaved.

How does the state of our children and mothers relate to peace? Queen Rania of Jordan’s words are the answer. “Peace means our children can sleep to a mother’s soft voice, not screaming sirens. Play with building blocks, not watch their homes destroyed. Make friends, not lose them. Dream of big plans for the future, not wonder if they would have one. Peace also means hope, and by raising your voices for peace, you’re giving hope to millions around the world.”

A mother shapes the future of her children and in so doing shapes the future of our world. A mother’s responsibility is to nurture her children to fulfill their potential and become positive contributors to their communities. Many mothers in economically poor and fragile communities face overwhelming challenges. In order to raise happy, healthy, and peaceful children, these mothers must overcome the obstacles that hinder their safety, health, economic stability, and peace.

Our duty as Rotarians, humanitarians, and peacebuilders is to empower the most vulnerable mothers to fulfill their noble job of nurturing their children and helping them grow into our future peacebuilders. We all can help these mothers and their children when we Serve above Self and when we Act for Peace.

Act for Peace,

Reem Ghunaim 

Executive Director 

Mothers Grow Future Peacebuilders

April is the Rotary Month of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and celebrates International Mother Earth Day. MCH, International Earth Day, and Peace have a strong correlation. Mothers provide for their families and children using the resources available to them.  Just like our own biological mothers, our shared Mother Earth takes care of all its children. Mother Earth provides us with food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe, and a shelter to live on. Mothers are essential to the cycle of life, which in turn makes them essential to peace.

When mothers are able to care for their young through a stable income, access to education and healthcare, and quality food, they are able to help their children grow up to be more resilient peacebuilders. 

In this month's newsletter, we will be exploring how MCH tie into peace. We will be highlighting some of the major obstacles to women and youth around the world, such as domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as demonstrate the power of empowering women with economic independence that improves the livelihoods of an entire community. 

Take action for Peace today by becoming a member of RAGFP. Join the network of thousands of peacebuilders around the world who are passionate about making peace an international reality. 

Become a Member of RAGFP
Women's Love for Mother Earth Provides Peace

If you've ever had the chance to visit Costa Rica, you probably visited their magical Cloud Forests. As the popularity of tourism grows in the nation, so does the concern for damage and pollution to the same forests that provide such a unique economic opportunity to the local mountain communities. 

Women in three mountain communities around Turrialba, Costa Rica wanted to take action against the damage done by unauthorized tours and untrained guides by developing sustainable tourism practices in the region. The women decided to become the local tour guides on their home and partnered with the Rotary Club of Denton Noon to develop a new kind of sustainable social enterprise called RETUS (in English, “Network of Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Development). 

The launch of RETUS benefitted 600 rural families and has opened a pathway to economic development sustainable to both the local people and the environment. Their launch was successful through a Rotary Global Grant along with the partnership with Costa Rica’s land grant college (CATIE) and the University of North Texas. The universities created a joint master’s degree in International Sustainable Tourism to teach local and international students on the best strategies to bring in tourist income while preserving the tourist attractions. 

There were 3 main phases to the launch of RETUS. The first phase was a four-week course in business to the RETUS guides and visiting American women. This course taught essential sustainable business skills and provided a two-way conversation for business development between locals and prospective tourists. The second phase was the rehabilitation of a historic house on the CATIE campus. This house served as an eco-hotel for tourists as well as an office space for RETUS guides. The third phase was the construction of four aquaponics gardens around the participating mountain communities. These gardens serve as educational tourist attractions, provide healthy food, and will help create a sustainable income for the mountain communities. 

When women take the lead to improve their livelihoods, it is clear that women are capable of making the decisions to best sustain themselves, their families, and their local environments. These Costa Rican women are providing peace for their local community at the environmental and economic level in a way that is sustainable for their families for generations to come. 

Learn more about RETUS by reading the full article by our friends at ESRAG.
Support the Cycle of Life and the Cycle of Peace

We live on Mother Earth because of our Mothers. As we honor Rotary's Maternal and Child Health month and Mother Earth Day, we invite you to make a gift to RAGFP in honor of those who embody the creation and cycle of life. Mother figures give us life, provide support, and dedicated care to build loving communities.  Our children embody new beginnings, hope, and will eventually become our future peace leaders.
Continue to support the cycle of peace by giving a donation to RAGFP in honor of the mothers and children who give life and hope to our planet.
When you make a donation, tell us the name of the Mother or Child you are honoring so we can celebrate and honor them too. 
Support the Cycle of Life and Peace
Change a Child's Life in Two Months 

Clubfoot is a birth defect in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position. If left untreated, children with this deformity have limited mobility that hinders their ability to walk, play, and eventually work, leading to a higher risk of neglect, poverty, and abuse. Clubfoot is the most common skeletal deformity in newborn babies around the world, affecting 1 in every 750 live births, that's over 200,000 children every year. 

Dr. Ignacio Ponseti from the University of Iowa developed the Ponseti Method to treat children with clubfoot using a series of gentle manipulations with weekly plaster casts. In newborn infants, club foot can be corrected in as little as 4-6 weeks and would require a nightly foot brace until age 4. The technique is a highly effective, low-cost, low-risk alternative to surgical correction. The Ponseti Method is now the "gold-standard" treatment for correcting clubfoot around the world. 

Past District Governor, Herb Wilson (District 6000) was inspired by Rotary's efforts to combat Polio and decided to start the Rotary Action Group for Clubfoot (RAG4Clubfoot), an action group dedicated to spreading education and treatment of the Ponseti Method around the world. The RAG4Clubfoot has grown from District 6000 to Districts 5970, 5240, 5020, 9640, 5950, and 4420. The RAG works as a clearinghouse to facilitate links among Rotarians and their partner, Ponseti International Association to organize and plan Ponseti Method training grants to communities around the world that need it most. 

When doctors around the world are trained to provide the Ponseti Method to children in their community, fewer children will have to live with a physical disability that may prevent them from fulfilling their dreams. Just like Polio, clubfoot is a preventable health concern that when corrected, will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children each and every year.

Watch the video below or visit their website to learn more about RAG4Clubfoot.

Women's Health is Essential 
Women face gendered violence, domestic abuse, and sexual violence all over the world. According to the UN, nearly 1 in 3 women (aged 15 and older) have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their lifetimes. 

Rotarians can play a key role in providing education, awareness, and creative solutions to stop and prevent abuse against women. Read on to learn about how a  Peace Fellow uses technology to provide women with a safe space to speak up against violence or abuse, and how Rotarians around the world are taking a stand against human trafficking. 

Peace Fellow uses Tech to Combat Sexual Violence against Women

Violence against women and gendered violence worsened during the 2020 pandemic. When everyone was forced into their homes, those in unsafe situations at home were less able to leave or avoid violent oppressors. France's interior minister has reported that the number of cases of domestic violence had increased by 36%. In the United Kingdom, the National Domestic Abuse helpline had a 25% increase in calls and online requests. In India, the National Commission for Women started a WhatsApp helpline to support the surge of complaints during the lockdown. 

In response to the surge in gendered and domestic violence during the pandemic, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, appealed for "peace at home." He stated, "For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes. And so I make a new appeal today for peace at home -- and in homes -- around the world. We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19. But they can trap women with abusive partners."

Rotary Peace Fellow alumni from Chulalongkorn University, Elsa Marie D'Silva, has been an advocate against gendered violence for many years. She started the Red Dot foundation 8 years ago to help prevent sexual violence against women using technology and data. Using a crowd-mapping platform, she created Safe City, an app where women are encouraged to document their experiences in public spaces, collecting data on sexual, domestic, and gendered violence in and around their communities. 

Through the data her foundation has collected, local authorities are able to better patrol areas where women feel unsafe in real-time. When women are provided a safe means to speak up against the violence they face, governments can provide a safe community for all.

As the world recovered from COVID-19, we as a global community need to ensure that we prevent future lockdowns from being enablers of domestic violence.

Learn more about Elsa's Red Dot Foundation on her website or by watching the short film below.

Rotarians against Human Trafficking. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have instilled restrictions on movement, closing borders, and increased police presence and controls in the streets seem to have led to a reduction of certain crimes but forced organized crime to evolve "underground."

Human trafficking is the exploitation of a person for commercial sex, forced labor, forced begging, and forced marriage, or removal of organs. Human Trafficking is the fasted growing and second-largest criminal enterprise in the world, bringing in $150 billion annually worldwide. There are between 25-42 million victims around the world, youth and women being the primary targets.  

Rotary Districts 5950, 5960, and 5580 have banded together to create a website of resources called Rotary End Human Trafficking. Their goal is to raise awareness, educate youth, reduce risk factors that make children vulnerable, and stop the demand for human trafficking. Take a look at their End Human Trafficking Toolkit for more information. 

RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs La Jolla Golden Triangle and
San Diego Coastal focus and the rest of District 5340's focus for the 2020-2021 Rotary year is Anti-Human Trafficking. Check out their site for online seminars on how their district is combatting Human Trafficking in their region.

The Rancho Santa Fe Rotarian, Don Meredith produced a 3-minute video entitled "The Signal" that may save lives in the fight against human trafficking by using a discreet hand signal to call for help. Watch and share this video to help stop and prevent human trafficking.  

Take Action for Maternal and Child Health
Take action for peace with Rotarians and Peacebuilders to help provide a high-quality life for women and children. 

Rotary Projects in search of support: 

MCH and peace are fundamentally connected. When pregnant women are given high-quality prenatal and post-partum care, they are better equipped with the tools, education, and health to provide for their children and not die from childbirth. 

When children have access to high-quality care, they are more resilient to preventable diseases or conditions that may hinder their economic and physical opportunties in childhood and adulthood. If women and children are less impaired by the cost or access to quality healthcare, they can spend more time living their dreams.

Peace requires our collaboration and participation.  Check out just some of the MAC projects  and Global Grants Rotarians are conducting around the globe. 

Equipping Larteh Health Center for Maternal and Child Delivery 
Help the Ghana Rotary Club raise $98,000 for a delivery center in Larteh, Ghana. This health center provides care to 145-160 pregnant women and their children every week from communities in Larteh-Akuapem, Akropong, and surrounding villages. With better equipment, the health center can help decrease the maternal mortality ratio, especially for more rural areas of Ghana. Learn more.

Addressing Fistula in Sierra Leone.
Rotary Clubs in Scotland, India, and Sierra Leone are working together with partner organization, Freedom From Fistula to support the delivery of obstetric fistula. Fistula is a childbirth injury sustained after obstructed labor with no access to medical intervention. The project will equip the Aberdeen Women's Centre in Freetown with educational resources for the public as well as provide high-quality training to 50 healthcare professionals. The health center cares for 25,000 impoverished and vulnerable women and children every year. This project will help provide high-quality maternal and child health care for this vulnerable population in Sierra Leone. Learn more. 

Gift of Life in New Dehli, India.
Nearly 20% of infant mortality is due to Congenital Heart Diseases (CDH). Children from impoverished families have little to no access to quality medical care and cannot afford the cost of the required surgery. Rotarians from the Gold Coast Rotary Club started the Gift of Life project in 2005 in New Delhi, and it has benefitted over 3,000 children all over the world. This is an ongoing project to help families gain access to heart surgery free of cost, and provide the children with the proper medicine, accommodation, food, and conveyance for free. Learn more. 

We want your Peace Projects!
Peace requires our collective action. Share your next peace project with RAGFP by using our Projects Page. Your peace project will be posted on our website and may have the opportunity to be shared on our social media and newsletter channels. 

If you're not a RAGFP member, join us today to share your Peace Project on our website.
Post your Peace Project
Inspiration and Resources to start your own Maternal & Child Health Peace Project

Partner with our friends from Destiny Rescue
Destiny Rescue is an organization that operates rescue, reintegration, and prevention programs for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in multiple countries around the world. Listen to Reem’s interview with Matt Christl on Together for Peace to learn more about how Destiny Rescue saves and supports victims of human trafficking. 

Learn from the End Human Trafficking Toolkit
Visit Rotary End Human Trafficking’s site to learn about the many ways you and your Rotary Club can help detect and prevent human trafficking in your region or around the world. Take a look at their toolkit and resources to get started.

Support the RAG for Clubfoot
The Rotary Action Group for Clubfoot's purpose is to mobilize Rotarians and provide global leadership to support timely Ponseti Method treatment and appropriate care for all children born with clubfoot. They are partnered with the Ponseti International Association headquartered at the University of Iowa. 

Team up with the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal, & Child Health.

The RAG for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH)'s aim is to "foster improvements in human well-being and dignity, women's empowerment, and a  sustainable balance between population and environment." Take a look at their recent reproductive health and access project in Nigeria and other projects on their website. 

Collaborate with Marsha Hunt and the Uganda Development Initiative 
Help Rotarian Marsha Hunt and the Uganda Development Initiative (UDI) with their mission to support the orphans and families in rural Uganda. Please help her raise funds to send the local health clinic a new Anesthesiology and Ultrasound machine to support Maternal health. You can also sponsor a Ugandan child to help clothe and pay for their education for a single year. Learn more about Marsha and UDI on her episode of Together for Peace

We are honored to host the inaugural 2021 Peace Dove Gala to celebrate you, our peacebuilders, and the impact of your global peace work. 

Please take this moment to RSVP and register for the Peace Dove Gala for free and share this invitation with your family, friends, and peace networks. If you are unable to attend on June 30, 2021, please join us as a contributing peacebuilder by becoming a sponsor or making a donation

Peace is only possible with a "flock" of Peacebuilders who spread peace and goodwill wherever the momentum for peace takes them. Join our momentum for peace on June 30th at the Peace Dove Gala. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021
5:00 pm PDT

Carolyn Jones - Peace Dove Gala MC!
We are excited to announce that our Mistress of Ceremonies for RAGFP's inaugural Peace Dove Gala will be the beloved Carolyn Jones. Carolyn became a Rotarian the very first year that women were allowed to join Rotary.  Through her powerful leadership skills and humanitarian heart, she became the first woman in the world to be a Rotary Foundation Trustee. Her dedication to service has earned her numerous awards within Rotary and the non-profit sector, including Rotary’s Service Above Self award. Learn more about Carolyn by listening to her inspiring interview on Together for Peace

Don't miss your chance to watch the RAGFP's first Peace Dove Gala with MC, Carolyn Jones. Register for free and donate today. 
Learn more about the Peace Dove Gala

We want to partner with your company for

For the Peace Dove Gala, RAGFP is looking to partner with corporations and small businesses that share our mission of peace. If your business believes in our peace mission, we want to work with you!

Peace Dove Gala Sponsors receive name recognition in event materials and communications and are invited to an exclusive after-party with the Peace Dove Award Winners and RAGFP Leadership. 

Partner with peace
Become a sponsor of the RAGFP Peace Dove Gala by clicking the link below, or contact Wendy Mitchell at [email protected] for customized sponsorship opportunities and benefits.
Sponsor Peace
RAGFP, Rotary, and Peace Event Calendar

May 3rd
World Press Freedom Day

May 16th
International Day of Living Together in Peace

May 20th
World Bee Day

May 22nd
International Day of Biological Diversity

May 29th
International Day of UN Peacekeepers

June 1st
Global Day of Parents

June 8th
World Oceans Day

June 12-16
Rotary International Virtual Convention

June 12th
World Day Against Child Labor

June 20th
World Refugee Day

June 30th
2021 RAGFP Peace Dove Gala
Mothers Grow Future Peacebuilders
Join and donate to Rotary Action Group for Peace to help us engage, empower and educate Rotarian peacebuilders around the world. Thank you for your support!
Happy International Day of Peace
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