Letter to My Country

Tamarack Verrall
Posted November 29, 2020 from Canada
Working locally, Connected globally
One of my journeys across Canada to meet women and let them know about World Pulse

This letter was written in hope that in an upcoming meeting of Global Affairs Canada, the funding for women doing grassroots work, the work being done by so many World Pulse sisters, will be considered a priority. It has never been more clear to me that women are doing most of the work in this world, with the least amount of money, usually with no money at all. It is time for this to change. 

To Global Affairs Canada/Feminist Foreign Policy

Thank you for this opportunity to submit a written contribution to be considered at your upcoming meeting. It is heartening to know that you are in discussion of how Canada can provide better support internationally, toward a world in which together we can bring feminist ideals of peace and security to the global community. Not many countries in the world recognize the need for feminist action.

I am writing to you, my Government Officials, as a Canadian citizen, and as a feminist who has been active since the 1960s, currently deep at work within the organization of World Pulse as one of its ambassadors. World Pulse is a global network of 70,000 from 190 countries working together to create change, an end to all forms of suppression of and violence toward women and girls in particular, and to bring the leadership of women forward, toward a peaceful world for all and for the survival of our planet. World Pulse is built on the stories of women: what is happening, what needs to change and what we are doing about it. As a feminist who has always volunteered my time, with extensive knowledge of what is needed and deep determination to end this violence towards women and girls globally, I am writing directly with a message that half a century has been a long time of promises from my Government, and I am writing with a global call for governments to pay attention to the fact that most of the unpaid work in this world, and most of the emergency work, is done by women with little or no money. It is time for the governments of the world and certainly for my Government of Canada, who I believe sincerely desires to be of assistance and is able to be of assistance, to together find a way to put in place the money that is needed to literally save the lives of women and girls, and to put into the hands of the grassroots women already doing this work, the money that is needed to create the societal changes that we have been talking about for a long time, with far too little action. 

Reports of extra levels of emergency have been called out from across Canada and from around the world, an unmistakeable increase in violence against women and girls, happening with the onset of COVID-19. The lack of government response here and around the world to the need for safe houses for women to run to, for the need to address poverty, for the need to heed the call of the Secretary General of the UN to end all of these wars that continue during this pandemic, all amount to Governments such as ours, who have numerous Members who I sincerely believe want to have a positive effect, being stuck in ineffectiveness when what we need is fast emergency action.

It is because of my belief that your Department does want to create effective change, and acknowledging the disadvantage that is still the lived experience of women, that I offer the following observations and suggestions. 

Heed the call for the Secretary General to end all wars, so that we can tend to all in need. Violence against women and girls is always increased in war, and from World Pulse women reporting from war zones, we are aware that this violence toward women and children is on the increase. The women in Cameroon, in the midst of a four-year war, have formed a peace group across the divisions of men fighting with each other, calling out for peace. They need support. Efforts to even get coverage in the Canadian news about this outstanding and courageous peace group and their need for international intervention to save lives, have been met with silence. We do trade of millions of dollars with Cameroon and we have diplomatic relations there with representatives both in Cameroon and Ottawa. The women in this peace group have been working without funding and picking up the pieces supporting the victims of this war for four years now, and calling out for international attention to this disaster. World Pulse women in the DRC have also been calling for an end to war, as have women in Yemen, Ethiopia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and so many other countries. The grassroots women in warring countries need support for their work keeping people alive, mourning those who have died, and for supporting women and girls who have been raped.

When Covid struck, there were many communities who were not helped by their governments. World Pulse women have been calling out for support to get food, water, masks and information to these communities. The small women’s centres that have been painstakingly built, have been safe havens for women to come to for help, for food and medicine, for emotional support, for whatever safe housing can be pieced together. These grassroots leaders need funding. Women have called out for support to women here who do not have access to significant money and some funding has been scraped together, but not what is needed.  These are the women who are holding their communities together while governments ignore the responsibility to their people, and while countries continue to do trade as usual, benefitting only a few. It is time for women to be paid for their work and for the resources of all countries to go to the social, educational and medical needs of the people, even more blatantly obvious with the effect of COVID-19. 

 

I have read through the intentions of your meeting and commend you on your recognition of the still subservient position that women all too often hold in so many ways in this world. I commend you on your determination to place funds in the hands of those who will use them well and effectively. In line with what you have described as your intentions, please allow me to suggest the following:

Support peace and security by getting money to the grassroots women who are working in the war zones.

Support the addressing of poverty and the achieving of developmental goals by getting money to the grassroots women who are running the small women centres, who are teaching skills that lead to economic independence, who are raising funds to get girls into schools, to support women widowed with life’s work stolen from them, and to the women who are travelling to communities that have been forgotten or ignored by the governments. This includes the women farmers who are growing food sustainably and for the protection of our planet. 

Send money to the women leaders who are offering support to people with disabilities, and in particular to women with disabilities, as by far they are the ones who are ignored.

Continue your initiatives to press the members of the UN in this call for a global cease fire and invite the women who are peacemakers in their own communities at this very moment, to the table. 

Find ways to support the women's organizations who are pressing for the freedom of all of the women sitting in jails in various countries, for their work toward the liberation of women. 

Support the grassroots women who are working for the health, economic and social freedom of women and to keep girls from being forced into marriages, to assist women without medical help in giving birth, or for medical needs being ignored because they are women, for women needing contraception. Support the women working to end breast ironing and FGM.

Bring these grass roots, dedicated, hard-working women to the negotiating tables. 

Prioritize those who need support the most, addressing poverty, disability, violence, war zones, refugee camps. 

Pay close attention to the women who are building alliances with grassroots work. Support the women who are doing this work. 

Be in close touch with women's organizations such as ours, because we know who's doing the work, and we know what needs to be done. 

Speak with the grassroots feminists here in Canada about the shelters that have lost funding during this emergency, and with those of us who are working globally, either virtually or in person. We have the answers to what is needed, who is working on it, and who is being held back because of the lack of support, the support that you and your organization want to offer effectively.

Thank you for this opportunity to send in suggestions. I believe that with closer connections made between Government Departments such as yours, and the women doing such urgent grassroots work, we will find a way together to bring the changes we are all working toward, long before another half century. We are here together to make this happen. I wish you well with your work and would welcome further discussion.

Sincerely,

Tamarack Verrall

Ambassador

Word Pulse

 

 

 

 

Comments 21

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Andrace
Nov 29, 2020
Nov 29, 2020

Wow! This is really passionate. I am saving this letter for reuse someday pretty soon. Thank you very much for deeply crying out on behalf of women all over the world. Thank you for your love and empathy. We appreciate you lots, Maama Tam. Keep doing all you do as posterity would never forget your contribution to 'womankind'.

Love always,
E. J.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 01, 2020
Dec 01, 2020

Dear Andrace,
Thank you so much for your message, it means a lot to know that you see this as the deep cry out that it is. There are so many layers to get through to, to reach the people in well paid positions who are able to make the decisions of where Government money can go. In the end, we are all just people, and it is Wold Pulse that has emboldened me to bring the issues to this Government table.
Sisterhood love to you,
Tam

Katrina Maria
Dec 10, 2020
Dec 10, 2020

Dear Tamarack
I read your letter and see me and my team in the situation 2018 we were struck by Hepatitis B and again now by Covid-19 many children in the Informal settlements was again affected but this time The only income we have tourism and Domestic workers, cleaners could not go out and feed their families. we in ERongo Region(Atlantic Coast) was in 6 months Lockdown. Struggling for food, water masks sanitizers, and disinfections was now a new unknown challenge.
When ever saw offers Namibia most of the times are not on or part of the Countries who can apply.Please think of simetime inform me if you have any way how we can get help.
I learn many things on this page and reading your stories.I believe one day I will be able towrite as beautifull as you also.
thank you.
Today we have Heroes day celebrating our paifull past of apartheid,remember the people who stand up bravely and fight for this Country Namibia,

jomarieb.earth
Nov 30, 2020
Nov 30, 2020

Dearest Tamarack,
Please wiggle your way into that meeting and read the letter out loud to the attendees. Please reach out to someone attending the meeting to read the letter out loud. Easier said than done. But this powerful letter must grow legs. Bravo to you for giving it a soul.
Hugs...JoMarie

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 01, 2020
Dec 01, 2020

Dear JoMarie,
I wish I could wiggle in, and I hope that they will be in touch to have me meet them in person. A sister feminist sent me the notice calling for input, and I got it in before the deadline, so in a way, what I have written will be at that meeting, as there is a commitment to reading all that is sent in time. Thank you for the support. Wind beneath my wings.
Sisterhood hugs back!
TAm

Nini Mappo
Dec 01, 2020
Dec 01, 2020

Hello Tamarack,
I have been contemplating the difference between courage and integrity lately, and wondering whether one needs courage at all if one has integrity. Two weeks ago, I would have said that you are so courageous to write a letter to your country. But I see your work, I see the work of the grassroots women whom you advocate for with such feeling and depth of awareness, and I see integrity--doing what needs to be done because it is your calling, and your passion for it creates no room for excuses, or fear, or the need to hide, whether behind self-importance or feeling intimidated to the point of dismissing your voice as something that others will dismiss too.
I see integrity spelt in every suggestion, every issue raised, every hope spelled in this beautifully written appeal.
And I say thank you, for writing this, and adding value to the work of others and appealing to the powers that be to channel resources and encourage the enactment of policies that support the collective freedom and empowerment of women.
Thank you, sis Tam, for your love and integrity spanning more than half a century, and still shining as sparkly to warm our hearts and influence our tomorrows for the better:-)
Much love in sisterhood,
Nini

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 01, 2020
Dec 01, 2020

Dear Nini,
Oh my dear sister, how your words fill my heart. You understand me with such depth, just as you do every sister you respond to here. It is such a gift from World Pulse that those of us determined to create change have the chance to be in touch through these "pages". There is so much of the heavy lifting of critical work being done by women, and it is disgusting to me that there is so little money in women's hands, in a global economy that depends on money. I am empowered by knowing I work alongside sisters like you.
Deep love in sisterhood,
Tam

Adanna
Dec 01, 2020
Dec 01, 2020

Oh dear Tam, you are simply amazing!

I shed tears of joy reading this. World Pulse is blessed to have you.

You don't just say it, you show it and you do it!

I glad I met you. Thank you!

Love,
Adanna

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 01, 2020
Dec 01, 2020

Dear Adanna,
My sister of many years now, I share tears of joy with you that we have this chance to stay connected. Your words give me strength to continue.
Much love,
Tam

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 03, 2020

Hello, dearest Tam,

I shed tears while reading your letter. It is a kind act to be listening to our sisters' stories, but it is another level of compassion to compel you to do something about the stories you heard. It is my prayer that just as you listened to our World Pulse sisters, your government, which is rich in resources (compared to ours) and who practice sending financial support to nations, would also listen to you.

You brought the fight to a higher level. To you, we are grateful. Thank you for seeing us. Thank you for hearing us. Thank you for valuing this sisterhood. You are one true World Pulse Ambassador. You set this bar so high. Thank you for leading through example. We appreciate you, Mama Tam. We love you!

We are grateful for every single thing you do for women and girls. May God bless you beyond what you can think or imagine for caring for women and making this world a better place with the resource, time, and energy you have. You have given so much. I hope you know how proud we are to call you our sister. <3

Love all the way from the Philippines,

Karen

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 03, 2020

Dear Karen,
Your words touch me deeply. I am determined to do all I can for real action and response from Governments and News Media, to be aware of and amplify the work we are doing, and to have the perspective and work of women lead the way to the world we know is not only possible, but urgently necessary.Your support buoys my spirit.
Love back across the ocean,
Tam

Busayo Obisakin
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020

Dear Tam
Thank you so much for this wonderful letter expressing a great need of people working at the grassroot. You have represent our voices and I hope there will be positive response to this call. Once again my deep appreciation for the great work you are doing
Love
Busayo

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 20, 2020
Dec 20, 2020

Busayo my dear Sister,
Thank you for your message and for the support I feel from you along the way. If there is one thing obvious in the set up of this global economy, it is that so very little money is accessible to women, and in so many ways. I will stay on this form of discrimination until it changes.
Love,
Tam

valem
Dec 06, 2020
Dec 06, 2020

Hello sister Tamarack how are you.
I have read your letter three times because there is a good and important message for everyone. This letter is a seed sown there is light coming in the future be blessed all the time.
Thank you for thinking of others first.
valem

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 20, 2020
Dec 20, 2020

My dear sister Valem,
Your message touches me deeply. I will stay on this issue until women have all we need for our lives and for the changes we are working to see happen.
Much love to you in all you are doing. It gives me joy to know strong young women like you are here, and we can walk this path together.
Tam

Caroline Bokwe
Dec 09, 2020
Dec 09, 2020

Hello aunty Tamarack,
Reading through your write up was so emotional, as I could picture the many women out there breaking their backs to ensure that every other woman is treated with respect and love. Truly, the world's governments need strong and passionate women like you to remind them that we (women) do exist, and I hope that they give a listening ear to your plea. We stand in this together, thank you so much ma'am

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 20, 2020
Dec 20, 2020

Dear Caroline,
I am so grateful to be able to be in contact with and walking forward with you and our World Pulse sisters. It is time that our voices are taken seriously, and that this money that is purposefully kept from us gets into the hands of women who are working for the good of all. That we have so little of government funds and so little paid work is disgusting to me as it is so many years that we have been pointing this out. Now we are so much stronger, working and raising our voices together.

Anum Shakeel
Dec 16, 2020
Dec 16, 2020

Dearest Ms. Tamarack, I am so glad that I know you via this WP Community. I really feel inspired by your comments and what you write is simply amazing.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 20, 2020
Dec 20, 2020

Dear Anum,
Thank you for your words of support and encouragement. They help me continue on to insist that this withholding of money from women who know where it is needed, changes. There is no excuse, and even more so as we women are reporting violence against women and girls skyrocketing with covid 19, making escape so much more difficult. It gives me strength to know we are working together.

ikirimat
Dec 21, 2020
Dec 21, 2020

Wow. This is a very very strong letter that brings out audibly the real concerns and challenges of women world over. Your passion for changing the world through women is very surely well articulated through your continuous struggle of over half a century. I pray that more resources be channelled to those areas you mention esp. women with disabilities. Thank you Tam for your work which continuously has ripple effect in my country

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 21, 2020
Dec 21, 2020

Dear Grace,
I live to see the change to the world we know is possible and I am so encouraged to read your words of support. This message was submitted to my Government formally and I will keep pressing whether for not I get a response. Too many false promises, over too much time. I am emboldened that we are all walking this journey together now.
In sisterhood,
Tam