Writers for Women’s Rights 2008 – Applications Open

Thanks Dina:

Are you a young woman between the ages of 18 to 32? Are you interested in what’s happening around you? Do you have a passion for writing? Do you want your voice heard in the mass media? Have you been thinking of getting involved in activism but not sure where to start?

If you are, then the Writers for Women’s Rights Programme may be just what you have been looking for.

Organised by the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), the programme will help develop your understanding of gender and social justice issues, writing and analytical skills, and media relations.

If selected, you will attend a live-in workshop from the 13–16 November 2008, where you will receive training from experienced AWAM writers and trainers on those areas. You can look forward to connecting with a motley crew of inquisitive young women who are passionate about social justice and social  transformation.

Keen? Apply now!

Write or email a short statement (500 words) explaining why you are interested in the programme and what you hope to gain from it. Include a brief biodata or CV, write ‘WWRP’ as your subject heading and send it before 30th September to:

Snail mail: AWAM, 85 Jalan 21/1, 46300 Petaling Jaya (fax: 03-7874 3312)
Email: advocacy-programs@awam.org.my

Applicants may be asked to attend an interview. Selected applicants will be notified by 15 October 2008. Selected participants are required to pay a workshop registration fee:
Students or unemployed: RM 50
Others: RM 100

If you need a waiver or a reduction of the fee, please write to us explaining your circumstances with your application. Waivers or reductions may be granted based on the discretion of the organizers.

I did this program two years ago and it was fantastic. It introduced me to the idea of writing Letters to the Editor to create change, and the people that run it are passionate and knowledgable about feminism in Malaysia. Give this a go.
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Severn Cullis-Suzuki: Changing the World Since Age 9

If you think young people don’t have the capacity, interest, or drive to make the world a better place, watch this speech and think again:

That powerful speech (transcript here) is by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who started the Environmental Children’s Organization in Canada when she was nine, and at twelve delivered the above to world leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Her passion for environmental awareness still lives on today, with the creation of online think-tank The Skyfish Project and her current studies in ethnobotany.

I’ve heard from quite a few adults – some who should really know better – who lament the idea that young people are too apathetic to care about the world. However, as examples like Severn show, passionate socially-conscious young people are out there making a difference every day. Indeed, the Social Citizens project has published a paper detailing the efforts and consciousness of the Millenials (the current generation of 15-to-29 year-olds) and their important social change work. Severn is on the edge of this generation, but she is a great representative of the power young people hold.

Do you know of any other young people like Severn? Share your examples here.

VoteEd – Educating Malaysian Voters

Election season is soon to hit Malaysia, and this time around things are bound to get interesting. With the recent rallies by HINDRAF and BERSIH, as well as other political and social events related to human rights, democracy, and national unity, young Malaysians have noticed the need to be more politically aware and that they need to exercise their right to vote and choose.

However, most of these young Malaysians are not experienced with voting. Many have only just been eligible to vote. Many others have not bothered to vote in the past because they feel that their votes do not count. Due to various laws and regulations, as well as the state of media here, there isn’t any clear unbiased way to find out who each consistuency’s representatives are and what each party stands for and is willing to provide.

This is where VoteED comes into play.

VoteED was originally started by writer and activist Michelle Gunaselan, as well as a few other friends, to combat apathy amongst young Malaysians towards voting issues. Their activities center around educating young Malaysians on their rights as voters and on their choices for voting, encouraging young Malaysians to register to vote, and holding discussions and debates about voting, politics, and democracy in Malaysia.

Currently they have a vibrant Facebook group, where they are collecting information about what people want to know about voting. The questions are quite interesting – ranging from whether it’s wise to vote for a party you don’t necessarily like if your local representative is doing a good job, to what avenues and channels you have to air your grievances and concerns about the country. This information will be the basis of a Voter Education Party, to be held in early January.

Join their group and get informed about your options for voting. You have the right to vote (unlike me – I can’t vote in Malaysia despite being here all my life because I’m not a citizen) so make use of it!