Sophie, Ben and Judith are three of ActionAid’s Local Organisers – campaigners who give their time to fight locally for global change. This weekend, they’ve been at the COP21 UN climate talks in Paris, standing up for the world’s most vulnerable women and children. They tell us how it went:
Goats. Well known for producing milk and cheese - not so well known for producing Christmas albums. But that's exactly what our friends at ActionAid Sweden have done, to raise awareness of how buying a goat as a Christmas gift can have a life-changing impact on women and girls in poverty.
When ActionAid’s emergency response team called, seeking Arabic-speaking women to help refugees in Lesvos, I knew I had to go. I am Palestinian and we know what it means to have to abandon your home. My best friend is a refugee and I felt a connection, so I was instantly motivated to help. I had prepared myself for what I might see, but no one could prepare me for the scale and intensity of the tragedy.
In Nebbi, Uganda, if a woman becomes widowed, she will often face land grab challenges from her husband’s relatives. This is because only men are viewed as rightful land-owners here, even though the law in Uganda says otherwise. I recently met a lady called Anyiese, 67, from Nebbi, who lost her land to her in-laws, after her husband died in 2012.
Without her land or an income, Anyiese could not provide for her sons, both of whom have severe learning disabilities, and two of her grandchildren that she lives with. But thanks to support through child sponsorship, ActionAid has helped her win back her land and earn an income so that she can care for her family and support her grandchildren through school.
If you glance at ActionAid’s Twitter feed in the next few days, you might spot something a bit different. That’s because this weekend marks the end of the COP21 climate talks – a big chance to make a difference for the communities worst hit by climate change. We’re taking three supporters to Paris to join the campaign – and putting them in charge of our Twitter account to report back.
So what is COP21, and why does it matter?
She was the TV award-winning villain we loved to hate as Kirsty in Coronation Street, wowed us with her nimble moves on Strictly Come Dancing, and she's blowing our socks off as the physically and mentally tough Bella in Jekyll and Hyde.
We’re big fans of the way Natalie Gumede has made a name for herself playing strong, complex female characters on our TV screens. Now we love Natalie even more, because she’s supporting our Christmas appeal to help protect homeless children all over the world. In this exclusive interview Natalie tells us about her own childhood hopes and dreams, reveals some pet (social media) hates and worries, drops some hints about her future plans and talks movingly about the human rights crisis that’s unfolding on Europe’s shores.