Social Action Grants in 2019
In 2019, three organizations received social action grant funding from EUU. Below, we take a look at each of the organizations. And remember, this year’s call for proposals is now open, so if you have any ideas of worthy organizations that your fellowships are working with, please get in touch with Terri Michos at SocialAction@europeanuu.org!
International Convocation of UU Women (IWC)
As Beth O’Connell put it in her recent article about the IWC, this organization “works around the world to support grassroots women leaders and locally based, women-led initiative that can effect transformative change.” Many of these programs deal with the issue of domestic violence. The IWC has recently been granted special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and Beth has also been invited to join the board of directors, in recognition of the participation of UUers in Europe in IWC’s work.
More specifically, the grant money awarded in 2019 will go to the AWAKE violence prevention campaigns in the Philippines. The IWC raised funds for the program through Faithify last year, which helped implement AWAKE seminars in two UU communities. The goal is to now expand the program to other UU communities in the Philippines. For reports from two training sessions in Kalumboyan and Siapo, click here and here.
We have recently received a thank-you letter from IWC.
The Paris Fellowship requested and received funding for Mobil’douche, an organization that provides a mobile shower service for the homeless. This involves small RVs that travel around Paris and some of the suburbs, providing those living on the streets with a mobile shower and with hygiene products. Back in 2018, the Paris Fellowship donated one of their Sunday service collections to Mobil’douche, as you can see here.
The 2019 grant funding will go towards a new truck, which is required due to ecological standards in Paris. EUU’s donation will promote hygiene, clean clothing, and emotional support for the homeless and those in need of a shower, hot drink, clean clothing, and a chat. Members of the fellowship will also collect clothing to donate and continue to meet with the organizers.
Aliena / The Vagina Monologues
The Basel Fellowship received funding for a production of The Vagina Monologues. This is an initiative of vday.org, whose aim is to end violence against women and girls around the world through creative, inclusive, affirmative means. Every year, Eve Ensler, who wrote the original play in 1996 based on interviews with hundreds of women, makes a version of the script available royalty-free for amateur productions. The goal is to raise money for local organizations working to prevent or support victims of sexual and other violence against women and girls. Nobody working directly on the production from director to ushers is paid, and all proceeds after production costs must be donated.
This year, the TVM teams have nominated Aliena, an advice center for women working in the sex industry in Basel, as the chosen recipient of their donation. Aliena offers clients a drop-in service in 11 languages, from advice about registering their arrival in Basel through their rights and responsibilities while working there, as well as providing information on sexual health, general well-being, and much more. They offer counseling, workshops (for example, in self-defense), German lessons, and information on the role of the police in protecting them from harm. Among the most valued offerings is a small, quiet room where their clients can come simply to sit, have a coffee, a chat, eat something, or rest.
While February 2020 was supposed to be the 4th year in a row that the The Vagina Monologues was to be performed in Basel, with Sharon Marshall from the Basel Fellowship volunteering as producer, the performance has unfortunately had to be cancelled due to flooding at the venue. The EUU grant money will nonetheless be held over to next year’s performance, currently scheduled to take place on 4-6 March, 2021. In the meantime, the fellowship will continue to be involved with promoting the event through initiatives such as a series of Feminist Swearing Nights. Funds raised from these will go to Aliena. Sharon was also invited to participate, alongside Isabell Buttron, publicity manager for The Vagina Monologues, in a documentary created by this year’s winner of the Caritas journalist’s prize and that will air on German and Swiss television in April. The documentary features a Swiss Emeritus Professor’s project with aims similar to those of The Vagina Monologues, of demystifying and destigmatizing women’s sexuality.