Empowerment

This beautiful new Barefoot Guide, published by JASS-ally The Barefoot Guide Connection, dedicates Chapter 1 to JASS’ movement building work with HIV+ women organizing for health justice in Malawi.
The fires we light are not fires to set alight police cars, they are small cooking fires we make in our township backyards to feed the children when there's no electricity. The fires we light are not fires to set alight our neighbor's small-time business, they are rare passions we ignite in each other to soldier on, set up vending stalls and make a living against all odds.
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In Seram Islands, Indonesia, women rise from poverty through Bina Masadah (Women, There is Hope), a women farmers’ cooperative that they formed in the coastal community of Nuruwe. Women lead the seaweed processing and run the cooperative themselves.
“Many of us women might say, I’ve been abused and believe that it’s just my husband without realising that it’s a system,” says activist Primrose Kavhumbura. Along with 19 other feminist activists, Primrose participated in a feminist movement builder’s school convened by JASS Southern Africa and Katswe Sistahood in Zimbabwe. It was a dynamic week of sharing and learning how women are challenging what it means to be a “good woman” and breaking the silence on sex, sexuality and violence in their communities.
For too many women, questioning whether they are beautiful is part of a daily routine. For women of color, the concept of “beauty” is even complex. One merely has to open a glossy magazine or walk down the aisles of a supermarket in Harare and look at the faces you see on certain kinds of body lotion or shower cream—to realize that “beauty” and ideas of beauty are political.
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It is hard to conceive the magnitude of what Malawian women activist leaders with whom JASS works and the hundreds of women they represent in their communities have accomplished through their organising and the Our Bodies, Our Lives Campaign for Better ARVs. Let's take a look at the story beyond the numbers.
In 2013, we lost a courageous leader in our community– Jamillah Katombo–an outspoken HIV+ Muslim grassroots activist. Jamillah dedicated her life to breaking the silence around HIV/AIDS in her community in Zambia, organizing scores of women to speak up about their status and demand access to quality treatment. We honor her by sharing her story.
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JASS is proud to announce that Nani Zulminarni, a key member of our network and founding Regional Director of JASS Southeast Asia was presented with The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Leadership Award on June 18, 2014. This award honors Nani's leadership of PEKKA, an extraordinary movement of women headed households organized since 2002.
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Julie Lun (Caing Ngaih Lwin), a woman activist from Myanmar, examines violence against women and gender inequality in Myanmar. Julie, who has worked in the humanitarian field, especially for the rights of women and children since 2008, is also one of the regional coordinating group (RCG) representatives of JASS Southeast Asia (JASS SEA).
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Niken Lestari relates the involvement of young Indonesian women of the JASS-inspired Forum Aktivis Perempuan Muda – Indonesia (FAMM-Indonesia) in the recent Indonesian legislative elections.

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