Day 4 YWCA World Council

Let’s talk about Climate Justice. Climate change has an impact on all of us, it crosses borders and it cannot be stopped without working together with all. We talked about this topic on Wednesday morning together with Jennifer Lee Morgan (Executive Director Greenpeace), Lindlyn Moma (Programme Director Greenpeace Africa) and Ayakha Melithafa (Climate activist of South Africa). Ayakha is 17 years old and told us she became an activist, because she saw the effects of climate change at her own house. The water was so polluted that they ran out of drinkable water. Also it was discussed that Africa never has seen the benefit of sharing their resources and it now suffers the huge negative effects of climate change, such as droughts. I find it very important that we help the continent and we make sure that they don’t suffer.

After this, I (Dieke) received the results of the candidacy for the World Board. I competed for the European region. Unfortunately, I have not been elected for the board. I really wanted to serve the movement for the next four years in this role, so of course I am disappointed. But I am happy that I met so many inspiring women on this Council and I am also really impressed by the other candidates. I think all the selected Board members are a very good choice and I am grateful that I could compete.

In the afternoon, we went on an excursion to Constitutional Hill and the Nelson Mandela Memorial. We saw the women prison and the differences back in the day there used to be in the prison for white and non-white. It was really humiliating for non-white prisoners. For example, they were not allowed to have any underwear if they were in the prison for under three months. In the Nelson Mandela Memorial we had a look at the office of Nelson Mandela. In the office, Nelson also had a picture with our former queen Princes Beatrix. Also I was inspired by this quote: “It is not our diversity which divides us; it is not our ethnicity, or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.” In the end of the day, I find these words very inspiring, because of the inclusivity it preaches. We should focus on our common link, which is that we are human, and only let us be divides by injustice.

We had a lovely gala dinner with dancing, a lot of pictures and good food. Thank you YWCA USA to sponsor this.

Written by Dieke Hengelaar

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