Gunfree South Africa
Adèle Kirsten, whom some readers will remember meeting at the WRI women's gatherings in Ireland and Thailand, has been appointed the National Co-ordinator of Gunfree South Africa. Gunfree South Africa is committed to reducing violence throughout the country by reducing the number of weapons, especially light firearms, now available. Adèle would appreciate information on the following subjects: gun control legislation in your country; material on whether the issue of 'the right to bear arms' is included, or about to be included, in your Constitution or Bill of Rights; organizations who are working on the control and reduction in the proliferation of light firearms. Contact: Gunfree South Africa, 195 Smit Street, Braamfontein 2001, South Africa. Tel. +27 (011) 403 4590; fax +27 (011) 403 4596.
R.K. Ruma, who was a participant at the WRI women's gathering in Thailand, has founded a new nongovernmental organization for rural women in Bangladesh. The organization, founded January 1995, is called BIKASH (Blossoming). BIKASH exists to empower marginalized women, and has already formed self-help groups for hundreds of Bangladeshi women. The groups provide village women a chance to discuss and share their experiences, and to organize income-generating projects so that they can improve their families standard of living. BIKASH also has a small library with books on women's development, health, and community organizing. Books on any of these issues, plus materials on organizing against violence against women, are welcomed. Contact: R.K. Ruma, Executive Director, BIKASH, P.O. Box No. 46, Faridpur-7800, Bangladesh.
Several women from the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), who are also members of the WRI Women's Working Group, will be attending the 4th UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. Hansa Mazgaonkar (India), Beena Sebastian (India) and Shelley Anderson (USA/Netherlands) will be participating in Peace Tent activities at the NGO Forum, and lobbying for reparations for ´comfort' women (women prostituted by the Japanese military during the Second World War) and for an end to violence against Tibetan women. The IFOR delegation will also include women from Japan, Bangladesh, Italy, Zambia and the USA. Contact: IFOR, Spoorstraat 38, NL-1815 BK Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Tel. +31 72 5123 014; fax +31 72 5151 102; email: firstname.lastname@example.org