Friday, November 29, 2013
On December 20, 1993 the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Following this declaration the General Assembly designated November 15th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The United Nations has always sought to bring light to gender equality and the violence perpetuated against women through the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). The Commission met for the fifty-seventh session in March 2013 and stated that though progress has been made since the founding of the organization in 1946 the Commission: “recognizes that women’s poverty and lack of empowerment, as well as their marginalization resulting from their exclusion from social and economic policies and from the benefits of education and sustainable development, can place them at increased risk of violence, and that violence against women impedes the social and economic development of communities and States.”
Alaffia has been working to alleviate poverty and empower women for the past ten years. We are encouraged in our mission when we read statements like these made by the UNCSW. We believe that working towards empowering women can also protect women from violence. We also whole heartily agree that marginalizing women in society damages social and economic development not just for women, but for the entire nation. By providing a fair wage, a safe work environment, and community projects to empower women in West Africa we know we are playing an active role in ending the cycle of violence against women. We will continue working towards a future free of not just violence against women, but any act that keeps women from being fully engaged both socially and economically.
To bring awareness to this grave issue, and to honor those who have suffered, Alaffia has donated hair and beauty products to Olympia’s Safe Place. Safe Place is an advocacy agency that offers a confidential shelter to those who have been a victim of domestic abuse. Over the next several days, Alaffia will observe the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence that leads up to Human Rights Day with stories highlighting how empowerment and fair trade are combating gender violence.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Maternal Health and Dr. Susan
|The Hospital that Dr. Susan Picotte founded.|
|Rose and Olowo-n'djo at a maternal health clinic|
founded by Alaffia
Friday, November 15, 2013
The Power of Dance
Across the world there are universal practices that bind communities and cultures together and remind us how similar we are. Dance is a universal practice that can be found in almost all cultures. From traditional tribal dance in Togo, to ballerinas of Paris, each culture has found a way to express emotions rhythmically.
Earlier this week, Alaffia honored former prima ballerina Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief. Not only was she the first prima ballerina of Native American descent, but also one of the first American prima ballerinas. Throughout her life she actively fought stereotypes and misconceptions of Native American people. She is a shining example of an individual who fought to break down stereotypes to pursue her passion.
In Togo dancing styles are as diverse as the people who call Togo home. Styles include Agbadza, Kamou, Soo, Tchimou, Djokoto, Kpehouhuon and many others. Dance becomes more than just movement of the body; it becomes emotional, social, and spiritual. Even though each different stylistically, they are tied together by power of movement and the joy it brings.
When Olowo-n’djo returns yearly to Togo, he is met with joyful singing and dancing. Members of Alaffia Co-operatives in Togo express the joy of having a living wage, and the positive impact our community projects have on their country. However, the joy isn’t just felt in Togo. During the Empowerment Tour Olowo-n’djo was moved and overjoyed with the positive energy he received from customers and stores, and he too was moved to dance. At Alaffia we hope to continue giving people reasons to dance and express joy through the power movement.