Compassion, Courage and Hope: Creating Peace in the New Year

by Sarah McGowan
Features & Photo Editor, The WIP

I was called a prostitute, I was called a thief…I was called all sorts of names, but none of the newspapers came to call me defender of children’s rights. Very ironic in a country when 10 girls are being raped per day. – Betty Makoni

For this final post of 2009, The WIP editors would like to share a podcast from our December 3rd event, co-hosted with Amnesty International’s Ginetta Sagan Fund. This very special screening of the powerful new film Tapestries of Hope was followed by a conversation with Zimbabwean human rights activist Betty Makoni and Tapestries filmmaker Michealene Cristini Risley.

The WIP has published a number of articles on sexual violence against women and girls throughout the world and this event provided the unique opportunity to connect our readers with this critical issue in person. We invite you to listen to our podcast of this powerful conversation between one of Zimbabwe’s preeminent child and women’s rights activists and the filmmaker who documented her remarkable story by clicking the play button below. Please also visit the Tapestries of Hope website to find out where you can see the film and to make a donation to Betty Makoni’s Girl Child Network.

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In 2009, The WIP published 140 new exclusive stories, and welcomed 30 new contributors from around the world from countries such as Denmark, Malaysia and Colombia. They addressed the issues of water security, women with disabilities, technology and innovation, sustainability and responsible stewardship, healthcare, and domestic violence. They described the foreclosure crisis in the U.S., the peace movement in Turkey and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. They covered this year’s Bioneers Conference, Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference and the Copenhagen climate change meetings held recently in Denmark. And they interviewed women like Indian academic Veena Poonancha, actress Tilda Swinton and An Education’s director Lone Scherfig. In short, they brought their local voices to our global audience and connected our readers to the world.

From everyone at The WIP, we wish you a very happy holiday season. We’ll resume posting feature articles from our contributors in the New Year, when we return with a new radio show and podcast. Please continue to come to The WIP for your daily dose of international news headlines, to read and post your own Talk blogs, and to comment on the many original, thought-provoking feature articles we’ve published since our launch nearly three years ago.

We hope that the New Year inspires everyone to look outward and brings a renewed sense of urgency to address human rights issues worldwide. We hope more people are moved to support women agents of change like Betty Makoni, for as we learned from her earlier this month, “When you protect the one who is defending, she can defend more."

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