Famine Walk 2017: From Hunger and War…to a Home and a Welcome?

‘Bog Cotton’ by Choctaw artist Waylon (Gary) White Deer. The painting, among other things, features the Workhouse and the Direct Provision Centre.

From Hunger and War…to a Home and a Welcome?

Saturday 20th May, Doolough Co. Mayo

Registration from 12.45pm in Louisburgh Town hall

Beginning at 1.30pm

Walk Leaders: Donnah Vuma, Abjata Khalif, Danny Cusack

Music: Joe Black

***Register online here***

See also 2017 Famine Walk brochure

For 30 years Afri has walked the famine road through the Doolough Valley in County Mayo. It is a walk like no other, abounding in memory, music, history, solidarity and spectacular beauty; retracing the steps of the dispossessed of the past and forging solidarity with the banished and oppressed of today. 

Extraordinary people have walked this road over three decades and extraordinary stories have been told: stories of food and famine; of oppression and denial of human rights; of wars, violence and the impact of climate change; but also stories of courage and determination; of inspiration, illumination and motivation. And music, song and theatre from some of our greatest artists have been integral parts of every walk. Continue reading “Famine Walk 2017: From Hunger and War…to a Home and a Welcome?”

Let there be (Solar) Light…

sunrise
Sunrise in Kenya

 

Give a gift of light to a Kenyan family…

 

Children, families and midwives in Northern Kenya will benefit from your gift of a solar light…

 

Your Solar light gift will:

Improve health…by avoiding use of toxic kerosene;

Reduce poverty…by reducing cost of energy;

Increase income…by enabling people who do not have electricity to work after darkness;

Reduce global warming…by replacing use of fossil fuels

 

€15    buys one solar light for a midwife

€30    buys one solar light for a midwife and one for a family to enable children to study in the evenings 

€60    buys four solar lights which will benefit midwives, families, schoolchildren and the wider community.  Families can use solar lights to enable them to work after dark, to supplement their income.

 

When you buy your light(s) we will send you a gift card which you can retain or pass on to your chosen recipient.

 

Will you give a gift that brings light and hope?

 

Let’s show that after all there IS something new under the sun….

 

How to purchase your gift:

 

You can buy your gift in the following ways – you can pay online using our i-donate system – http://www.afri.ie/donate/

 

Alternatively, post a cheque/postal order made payable to “Afri” to 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7.

 

If you would prefer to pay by bank transfer please phone us for details.

 

In order to post out your gift card please include your name and address when you are buying your gift.

 

Continue reading “Let there be (Solar) Light…”

Afri Partner, Abjata Khalif and the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network

Abjata Khalif (right) presents a solar powered lamp to a midwife in Sankuri, Garissa, Kenya.
Abjata Khalif (right) presents a solar powered lamp to a midwife in Sankuri, Garissa, Kenya.

Afri supports the work of the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network, founded by Abjata Khalif, which promotes sustainable development, conflict resolution and protection of human rights. Afri particularly supports these communities through providing solar lamps to school going children and midwives.

These enable children to study after the hours of darkness and help midwives to deliver babies safely.  You can read about this work here: “Tapping Renewable Energy”;  “Traditional Birth Attendants in Garissa, Kenya, now using Solar Lamps“; “Northern Kenyans adopt nocturnal life to escape extreme heat

Abjata also visited Ireland a number of times as Afri’s guest, speaking at some of our events as well as to students involved in Afri’s educational programme.  He spoke at Sustaining Activism’s Fire in 2013  as well as at Féile Bríde in 2014.

Here is a short film about Abjata Khalif and the work he does (made by Dave Donnellan):-

Reflections on the 2015 Famine Walk

Walkers leaving Delphi Lodge.  Walk leaders this year included Maitet Ledesma from the Philippines as well as Sharon Staples, the aunt of imprisoned whistleblower and US soldier Chelsea Manning.  Abjata Khalif was unable to attend due to visa difficulties. Photo: Derek Speirs
Walkers leaving Delphi Lodge. Walk leaders this year included Maitet Ledesma from the Philippines as well as Sharon Staples, the aunt of imprisoned whistleblower and US soldier Chelsea Manning. Abjata Khalif was unable to attend due to visa difficulties. Photo: Derek Speirs

 

By Maitet Ledesma

They called it the GREAT IRISH FAMINE. But there was nothing great about the 1850s famine in Ireland. The famine was a man-made disaster. People died of starvation because the landlords owned the land. The local population who tilled the land did not own it, and therefore, had no access to it in order to grow food to feed themselves and their families.

And while the landlords enriched themselves and lived in the lap of luxury by exporting the food produced from their land by disenfranchised peasants, more than 1 million people were left to die of starvation or disease – to put that in today’s context, an equivalent loss of around 40 million people in the US.

The population at that time was further decimated as entire families, even whole villages left the country en masse because this was their only survival option. In 1847 alone 250,000 people left the country and over a six-year period, more than 2 million were forced to migrate.

The Great Irish Famine must be remembered as the ‘Genocide Famine’ and the keepers of this collective memory, the people of Ireland, must call on those historically responsible to render just retribution. Continue reading “Reflections on the 2015 Famine Walk”

Famine Walk 2015: Food Sovereignty, Global Warming and Resisting Militarism

Photo: Kerstin Hellman.
Photo: Kerstin Hellman. Photo shows famine memorial on grounds of Delphi Lodge.

 

Food Sovereignty, Global Warming and Resisting Militarism

Saturday, May 16th 2015

From  Delphi Lodge to Louisburgh, Co. Mayo.

Registration from 12.45pm; Walk beginning at 1.30pm

Walk Leaders: Abjata Khalif (Kenya), Maitet Ledesma (Philippines) and Sharon Staples (Wales)

Music: RoJ Whelan

 

 Please park cars in Louisburgh: no parking available at Delphi Lodge – a shuttle bus will be provided.

 

Many themes have been explored in the Famine Walk over the past 27 years. The Philippines was the focus of the first ever famine walk as Niall O’Brien, recently released from prison, outlined the experience of living under the Marcos military dictatorship. Significantly, the Philippines is again a focus of this year’s walk as Maitet Ledesma updates us on the current situation there, with particular reference to the devastating impacts of  militarism and global warming.

The issue of food and famine has always been a central theme of the walk, as it is this year.  As nations continue to turn to war as a first resort, in many cases, food security is further threatened, global warming is intensified and corporate control of food is extended, despite the fact that small-scale producers remain the mainstay of global food supplies. Food sovereignty is the common ground on which the realities and hopes of many of these small producers meet. Continue reading “Famine Walk 2015: Food Sovereignty, Global Warming and Resisting Militarism”

Northern Kenyans adopt nocturnal life to escape extreme heat

Asha Abdi, a woman in the northern Kenyan town of Atheley, sits outside a shelter designed to protect residents from stifling daytime heat. Photo: Abjata Khalif/Thomson Reuters Foundation
Asha Abdi, a woman in the northern Kenyan town of Atheley, sits outside a shelter designed to protect residents from stifling daytime heat. Photo: Abjata Khalif/Thomson Reuters Foundation

This report from our partner organisation, the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network, shows the harsh consequences of climate change and how solar power is helping people to adapt.

By Abjata Khalif

ATHELEY, Kenya – It is 6 pm in Atheley and as the sun sets, bringing with it a cool breeze, this village in northern Kenya breaks out in a flurry of activity.

People gather outside, schoolchildren shout and play, and the sound of ululating fills the air. But this isn’t a wedding or a festival. The residents of this drought-stricken village are celebrating nightfall, because it means they can finally emerge from the shelters that have been protecting them from the extreme heat of the day and carry on with their lives.

“The ‘day’ has started and people are out of their hideouts ready to attend to their daily chores,” says community elder Abdi Abey. “Don’t mistake the celebration for a traditional festival. It’s a celebration of the changing weather.”

Over the past decade, Atheley and other villages in northern Kenya have suffered through a series of every-worsening droughts that have made normal life increasingly difficult. This year, for the first time, temperatures hitting over 40 degrees Celsius during the day have made farming, schooling, healthcare and other daily activities a struggle. Continue reading “Northern Kenyans adopt nocturnal life to escape extreme heat”

Impressions from Féile Bríde 2014

This year’s Féile Bríde aimed to mark the issues of “Life: Source or Resource-Enslavement versus sovereignty.”  The day started with the beautiful music of harpist Fionnuala Gill as the Brigid flame was carried into the conference hall.  The event made connections across borders, nations and nationalities, attracting speakers and partners from East Africa to the West of Ireland, in order to tackle together the unequal distribution of resources and the threats to food sovereignty.

Contributors to Féile Bríde 2014: (from left to right): Abjata Khalif (Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network); Mia De Faoite (Turn off the Red Light campaigner); Donal Dorr (author, theologian and Turn off the Red Light campaigner); Fergal Anderson (farmer and Food Sovereignty Ireland), and Pete Mullineaux (poet, dramatist and arts facilitator). Photo: Joe Murray

Speakers included Afri’s partner Abjata Khalif of the Kenyan pastoralist Journalist Network, Fergal Anderson a small farmer from the west of Ireland, veteran writer and campaigner on issues of human trafficking, Donal Dorr, and Mia De Faoite, a survivor of prostitution speaking from her experience. Continue reading “Impressions from Féile Bríde 2014”

Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2014

Féile Bríde 2014 will take place on Saturday 8th February in the Osborne Centre in Kildare town. The title of this year’s Féile Bríde is “Life: Source or Resource – Enslavement versus Sovereignty”.

Féile Bríde 2014 will look at issues of life, light and liberty with perspectives from our partner Abjata Khalif of the Kenya Pastoralist Journalists Network; from Fergal Anderson linking food sovereignty issues locally and globally, as a ‘small farmer’ from the West of Ireland; and Donal Dorr will be joined by a woman with personal knowledge of the issue of human trafficking to explore the meaning of slavery, sovereignty and sustenance. Continue reading “Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2014”

Impressions from Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating

Report by Andy Storey

The words of the Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam came to mind as I listened to the contributions here today:

Participants were invited to record their expectations of the event at the start of the day
Participants were invited to record their expectations of the event at the start of the day

‘I think despair has to be earned. If you were to say to me the world is damaged beyond repair, suitable only for the rubbish heap, I would want to see a record of what you did to change things, to repair it. You are not allowed to make that statement unless you have tried a hundred times to make things better — if you have failed again and again and again I might be willing to respect your opinion. I can’t take empty complaints seriously. The fact of the matter is that if you are the kind of person who has tried to alter things a hundred times, you would still say, “Let me try one more time.” You would never give up. Only the complacent ones, the bourgeoisie, the privileged ones, would say, “Throw this thing called life onto the rubbish heap.” ‘

Abjata
Abjata Khalif spoke about his campaigning work with the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network

I was also reminded of the words of a relative of mine who, upon hearing that I was spending much of yet another weekend doing campaigning work, asked: ‘why do you keep doing this, when it doesn’t change anything?’. Well, as we have heard here today, it does change things, sometimes at least. But even if it did not, the journey itself is often its own reward – for many of us here today this is where we enjoy being, where we feel at home. And we are here to, as Rose Kelly put it today, help find out how better to traverse that journey safe and well. We agree then with Abjata Khalif when he says that ’activism is a calling’, albeit few of us have been called to do anything that requires his courage and his ability (again using the words of Rose) to ‘live in right relation’ with his community and his environment. Continue reading “Impressions from Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating”

Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating

Sustaining Activism's Fire

Sustaining Activism’s Fire: Caring, Campaigning, Creating

Saturday 20th April, 10am – 6.15pm, Mount Druid, Castletown Geoghegan, County Westmeath.

This event is aimed at activists and those interested in the preservation of the planet and seeks to explore the elements that enable sustainable activism at a personal, group and movement level; and to promote an increased awareness of the global and justice dimensions of environmental issues.

It will take place in Castletown Geoghegan, County Westmeath, in a venue close to the Hill of Uisneach, traditionally believed to be the place where the four provinces of Ireland meet. There will be contributions from activists from previous campaigns – such as the Dunnes Stores Strike and the anti-nuclear campaign – together with an input from Abjata Khalif from Afri’s partner organisation, the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network. There will be space for participants to share their own stories and examine what helps to keep the fires of activism burning.

In order that we can arrange food and transport we are asking participants to book in advance. You can do this by booking online at uisneach.eventbrite.com or by downloading the brochure here and returning the booking form (last two pages) to Afri.