JASS Southeast Asia

This issue of Making Change Happen examines the threats, challenges, strategies and aspirations of indigenous and rural women within the greater JASS community. Why this focus? There is plenty of evidence to indicate that indigenous and rural women are facing increasing difficulties throughout the world.
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Women across Myanmar are coming together to campaign against a proposed bill restricting inter-faith marriage. Despite backlash, they have organized more than 160 women’s and human rights groups to sign a joint statement and more recently, with support from JASS and the Nobel Women’s Initiative, are mobilizing global solidarity and visibility.
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Paula Elina or Elin, as everyone calls her, is not new to JASS. She began working as part time finance staff in JASS Southeast Asia (JASS SEA) from 2009 to 2011 where she assisted Forum Aktivis Perempuan Muda or FAMM-Indonesia (then known as JASS Indonesia) regional activities. She joined JASS SEA as full time finance staff in January 2013.
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“As a Cambodian woman, everyday is a constant negotiation for me. After endless discussions, I was able to convince my mother to give me a chance to get a higher education. It almost seemed impossible, but I was able to do it,” says Chamnorng Som, member of the JASS-inspired organization CYWEN.
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Even with the government's crackdown on activists' plans to organize on International Women's Day, the young women of JASS-inspired network CYWEN plan to make their voices heard, and help advance the momentum for change that is looming on the horizon in Cambodia.
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In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, women activists and their organizations are at the forefront of organized efforts to help families meet their basic needs, regroup, and begin to recover. JASS Southeast Asia, together with its Filipina sisters and partners pooled their connections and resources to bring women together and lead the rebuilding process.
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How can you best support poor women in their struggles for a steadier livelihood when survival is a daily battle? In an interview with JASS Southeast Asia's Osang Langara, PEKKA's Oemi Faezathi explains how this process begins with organizing around women's practical needs.
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"I want to learn more on how to build a movement across the region as a young woman activist.”
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Freedom of expression. How do we understand this very essential element of a strong democracy through the eyes of women? What does it take to make freedom of expression real for women? Our work at JASS tells us that freedom of expression is an aspiration, a right and a perpetual project – one defined by big political forces, local contexts, and beliefs about whose voice counts.
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