Since the launch of Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB) two years ago, it has developed as a movement of women seeking to resource and empower women and women's groups worldwide.
In an attempt to help reach the target of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals, MWiB has developed materials and resources for eight days of advocacy to change the world that will be held from 20 - 27 October.
The materials provided for each of the eight days include stories, images, bible reflections and prayers. The goals promote gender equality, the empowerment of women, t he eradication of poverty and hunger and combating HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases. The resources have all been written by women with direct experience of the issues involved, and are available on the MWiB website.
Jill Baker, Former President of MWiB, said: "We are not naive enough to think that the problems of the world can be eradicated in eight days, but we offer this material in the hope that the stories, prayers and images will inspire more and more of us – not only Methodists, not only women and not only in Britain – to realise that these goals are not vain dreams, but real targets and that each one of us can do something towards attaining them. In addition to the eight goal-specific resources, there is a page of general suggestions for holding an event in a local church, circuit or other organisation and so the ripples can continue to spread and can effect change."
MWiB has also committed to raising £50,000 during the three-year period of 2013-2016 for the Church of North India to use in their work supporting Dalits, and particularly for the education of Dalit girls and in the funding of self-help groups for adult women.
Dalits, who make up approximately 16.6 per cent of the Indian population, were once referred to as 'untouchables'. They have faced economic, cultural, religious, social exploitation and stigmatisation throughout history. Dalit women, in particular, are further marginalised and exploited due to poverty, caste discrimination and patriarchal traditions.
The MWiB Dalit Solidarity Task Group has developed a Dalit Solidarity resource pack offering a greater insight for groups and individuals into the situation of the Dalits in India. It includes personal stories, prayers and worship, wider information relating to food issues and discrimination as well as ways in which people can help to make a difference. The Dalit Solidarity resource pack is available for the purchase price of £5 from the MWiB Administrator, details are on their website.
Linda Crossley, President of Methodist Women in Britain, said: "Methodist Women in Britain are striving to bring about justice and transformation to the lives of those who are most in need around the world. We are focusing our efforts on the needs of the Dalits because they have experienced discrimination and oppression for centuries; we believe that through advocacy, awareness and solidarity we can help to bring about change."
Since the launch of Methodist Women in Britain on 1 July 2011, following the merger of the Women's Network in the Methodist Church and the British Unit of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, MWiB has enabled and empowered women around the world. Their work has helped projects such as the Methodist Women's Training Centre in Kumasi, Ghana and the Matthew Rusike Children's Home, Zimbabwe. MWiB has also granted funding to Social and Community Action projects in Britain.