Scholarships for Women to Attend a Bolivian UU Gathering

Scholarships for Women Bolivian UU

Crowdfunding Completed: July 4, 2015

Amount Funded: $2550

Project Owner: International Women’s Convocation, a DBA of International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women

Short Description of Project

Financially support Latin American Unitarian Universalist and liberal religious women to attend a historic Gathering in Yungas, Bolivia, November 12 to 15, 2015: the first time that U*U women from diverse countries of South America and from around the world will meet, form personal friendships, share and learn from each other, and work together to create a more equitable world. Whether or not you can travel to the Gathering, you can be a part of this historic event by helping Latin American women attend.

How was this project connected to UU?

This is a project of the International Women’s Convocation (IWC). IWC is a membership organization of Unitarians and Universalists and other people of liberal religious faith, and part of the Coalition of UU International Organizations.
Our host, Bolivian Olga Flores Bedregal, is the founder of a UU community in La Paz. She and her group have been at the forefront of social justice work in Bolivia, from fighting for the declassification of military archives to defending the rights of the indigenous, from advancing the rights of women to raising awareness of climate change. This event is an opportunity to build and nurture intercultural exchanges about our shared UU values and beliefs of creating a more equitable world. The purpose of the Gathering fits these UUA principles: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Full Description of Project

International Unitarian Universalists are joining U*U and liberal religious women from South America for a 4-day historic Gathering in the Yungas region of Bolivia, November 12 to 15, 2015.

Background
Olga Flores Bedregal, human rights activist and leader of a UU community in La Paz, Bolivia is hosting this Gathering. Her brother disappeared at the hand of the military dictatorship in 1980, and she tirelessly pursued every avenue possible – including resorting to hunger strikes – to obtain information on her brother’s whereabouts. In February 2009, Olga attended the First International Convocation of U*U Women in Houston, where she shared her story with women from around the world. Convocation participants, inspired by her struggle for justice, wrote letters to the Bolivian government, international tribunals, and news agencies to urge the declassification of military archives in Bolivia. Four months later, she was the keynote speaker at the International Women’s Convocation’s Annual Meeting at the UUA General Assembly in Salt Lake City, where an Action of Immediate Witness was approved for that struggle. Olga’s brave campaign caused the Bolivian Legislature to pass a Resolution in June 2009 that called for military archives to be opened. She dared to make a difference, and the collective power of women and men who rallied behind her contributed to a positive change in the world.

When women get in a room and dream together, things happen. Even small groups of women with big dreams can change the world. As Olga says, “When we are together we generate a common global force that renews the spiritual part of women and we know the spirit animates us…. this is a meaning of hope for women of the entire planet.” Latin American women are ready to connect and work together to identify and create the tools and programs that will advance their human rights in the 21st century.

However, participation may be impossible for many UU women from Bolivia where 59% of the population lives in poverty, earning less than $1.25/day, or for our friends in Brazil, Colombia and Argentina who also have limited financial resources. They can only attend if we offer financial support.

We need YOUR financial support for these scholarships to make sure Latin American women have the opportunity to come together, share ideas, learn from each other, and be inspired to act. Let us give them the opportunity to network, build resources, and be the agents of positive change in their communities!

Who is organizing the Gathering?
The International Women’s Convocation (IWC) is the leading UU organization focused on global women’s rights and empowerment. A strategic activity of IWC is to establish a schedule of recurring international convocations and smaller gatherings for women. We sponsor and co-sponsor these events, always trying to collaborate with other international groups and with regional and local women’s and social justice groups as well. Our vital mission is to serve as an incubator for innovative projects that enhance the lives of women and their families worldwide. For more information, visit us at www.IntlWomensConvo.org.

What is the purpose of the Gathering?
Meet our sisters in faith, make personal bonds, discuss issues, and develop partnerships of support;
Build networks and relationships with organizations responsive to women and church;
Nurture intercultural exchanges about our shared values and goal of creating a more equitable world;
Identify needs consistent with the IWC mission and develop action plans to address these needs;
Celebrate and reflect on our common spiritual roots as we allow ourselves to be inspired and transformed while we share, learn, and grow together.
How will the money raised in Faithify be used?
IWC applied for a $2,500 grant from the Unitarian Universalist Funding Panel in support of scholarships for Latin American women, including a pledge to match this amount. The first $500 of the required match has already been contributed by U.S. women who are participating in the pilgrimage. We need your help to reach and exceed the match so we can provide these scholarships.