On Monday, February 27, we will welcome several Anglican/Episcopal delegations to the 56th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to the Episcopal Church Center. Since 1956, the commission has met annually to promote women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields, and to make recommendations on urgent problems regarding women’s rights. This year’s priority theme is “the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.”
This week, we’ll introduce a delegate a day from the Anglican Women’s Empowerment delegation. During the UNCSW, you’ll have an opportunity to hear directly from many of the women participating in this year’s Commission and see photos from their ministries.
Our colleagues from the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries and the Office of Indigenous Ministries and their delegations will be blogging throughout the UNCSW as well. We hope that you’ll check in with them at episcopalleadershipinstitute.wordpress.com and anglicancouncilofindigenouswomen.wordpress.com. You’re also most welcome to attend the Facebook event we’ve set up called “Anglican/Episcopal Presence at UNCSW 56.”
Without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to today’s delegate: Pastor Kelly Bean.
Kelly Bean is a writer and pastor from the United States who has established a small mission program in Rwanda, East Africa. An informal connection between her community of US women leaders with a cooperative in a Rwanda led to the development of a 501c-3 organization called
African Road which partners with African leaders who are working for transformation in their own communities. “We recognize empowering women is the best way forward,” says Bean.
In Rwanda, African Road is partnering with a women’s cooperative in the rural area called Kabuga and with a collective community of 80 orphans in child-headed households. Kelly received a grant enabling the orphans to buy land, built a relationship with a Rwandan Rotary Club, which is now funding a business startup venture with the youth, and forged a partnership with a Rwandan doctor who provides health education to the communities. Kelly is also mentoring two young women from the United States who will attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) this year with her: Avery Loveridge and Sam Elie, both 16 years old.
Sam Elie has been to Rwanda and worked alongside Kelly with the communities of women and children in the African Road program. She has seen firsthand the limited options for women who are “running a community but still have no rights or respect by people outside their situation.” Sam is coming to UNCSW to increase her connections to the global family she perceives and to increase her understanding of the issues and challenges women face. In her own words, “Knowledge is the only way that things are going to change in the world; I figure the more people informed the better.”
More information about African Road can be found on the program’s website: www.africanroad.org