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Women's Ministries at the National Council of Churches
announces pilot fistula program for young women

By Meagan Manas

New York, September 15, 2009 -- The New York Times Magazine recently announced that women’s issues are the cause of our time.  Women’s Ministries at the National Council of Churches agrees, and is excited to announce a pilot program for young women exploring the connections between faith and action, through the lens of obstetric fistula, a birth injury affecting more than 2 million women worldwide. 

Sponsored by the UN Foundation, this project seeks to bring faith communities into the campaign to end fistula in this generation by connecting the issue to the New Testament story of the woman with a hemorrhage who is healed by touching Jesus’ cloak. 

The curriculum has four 90-minute sessions, and encourages the group to take some sort of action at the end of the study to continue to raise awareness and funds. 

The first session covers information about what obstetric fistula is, explored through the stories of women who are survivors. 

The next session explores the connections to our faith through Mark 5:21-43. 

The third session pushes the group to examine their role, as women living in America, in the global movement for women’s rights, and the fourth encourages the group to see their strengths and skills and brainstorm ways to use those in the campaign to end fistula in this generation. 

The curriculum is geared towards young women (18-30) and is intimately linked to interactive features on our website, www.fistulastories.org .  Our blog can be accessed there, featuring stories of folks affected by and advocating for and end to fistula, and the curriculum is available for download, along with other resources and action tools.  Suggested group size for the curriculum is 5 to 12 women.  We are asking all participants in this pilot program to complete evaluation forms by December 1, 2009 to help us improve the program. 

Please let Meagan Manas at the NCC know ASAP if you would like to participate in this pilot program.  We’d be so thankful for your help, and truly feel this would be an amazing learning opportunity for young women.  Contact Meagan at mmanas@ncccusa.org or 212-870-2516 no later than September 18, if you would like to participate.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 914-589-6948 (cell) , pjenks@ncccusa.org

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