MARCH 5TH DIVINE FEMININE PEACE SPA
FROM SOUTH AFRICA - MRS. ELA GANDHI
Ela Gandhi takes up issues of prejudice, of oppression, of power and of ensuring that the voices of the oppressed are heard. When she tackled the bigger questions of how people can be mobilized to take up their own issues, she was placed under house arrest for 8 years.
She served in the Republic of South Africa Parliament for two terms and became Editor and Chairperson of the Board of management of “Satyagraha- In pursuit of Truth,” a Non Profit Organisation producing a newspaper promoting Gandhian ideals. She is Secretary of the Gandhi Development Trust and Chairperson of the Domestic Violence Help Line and the Mahatma Gandhi Handicraft Centre. She is a member on the Advisory Boards of Unilever Ethics Centre, International Advisory Board of the World Parliament of Religions. Mrs. Gandhi is Vice President of the South African Chapter of World Conference on Religion and Peace and on the ANC’s Commission on Religious Affairs.
MRS. GANDHI'S PERSONAL APPEAL
Ever since I resigned from parliament in 2003, I decided to devote my time to promoting Gandhian ideas of nonviolence of promoting basic human values and working to bridge the many divides that our world is plagued with e.g. gender, race, religion, ethnicity class etc. I am in receipt of a pension which is sufficient to meet my needs and so I do not work on a paid basis. All my work is voluntary. Any honorariums I receive I donate to the Trust. This is a registered not for profit Trust and since 2002 we have annual audits and public reports to indicate the work we do and how the funds are being spent. (PBO is a public benefit organisation)
In the course of our work we realised that there is need to work from the early childhood development phase. So we developed a programme to promote values at this stage of a childs life. We train trainers to take the programme forward into the community. We have a schools programme which is devoted to prevention of HIV- raising awareness at school level on what is HIV how it is contacted and how one can prevent it. Together with this we focus on conflict resolution and management skills with emphasis on nonviolent communication. We also have a programme to empower young people out of school seeking employment. We look at developing entrepreneurial skills and in helping them develop skills to set up their own businesses- self sufficiency. We have advocacy programmes that span across the community and are aimed at promoting Gandhian thought. At Phoenix Settlement we have a museum and a computer training centre.
We need funds to run the museum more efficiently, to run the computer centre, to run the ECD and education programmes. Our motto is to do more with less and so we keep our expenditure as low as is possible.