Migration at the Intersection with Racial Justice & Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
Clare Wilkins is an Anglican Physics graduate from the UK who works in HR. She enjoys reading and playing board games, as well as playing a variety of musical instruments.
I recently had the great opportunity of attending the 2016 WSCF Inter-Regional Leadership Advocacy Training Programme (IRLTP) as the representative for the European region. This year’s programme was focused on Migration at the Intersection with Racial Justice and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and many of our sessions looked at the local context in Asia and particularly within Bangladesh.
The programme began with a beautiful worship session led by our hosts at SCM Bangladesh and then we launched formally into the training. Rev Malcolm Damon from the Economic Justice Network challenged us to consider how the current world context might affect our need to support others through advocacy. He also introduced us to various platforms through which advocacy can be done.
In the evening we attended the tenth anniversary celebration of the SCM Bangladesh Senior Friends organisation and were welcomed as guests of honour, presented with beautiful marigold garlands and entertained wonderfully.
On our second day we started with a biblico-theological reflection on migration from Rev Dr Aruna Gnanadason, which focused our attention on the enduring nature of migration. This enabled us to better see the context when we were then hearing about the current issues WSCF is working on from Luciano Kovacs, regional secretary for North America and Advocacy and Solidarity programme lead. In the afternoon we looked further at specific migration-related issues being faced by individuals around the world, with sessions facilitated by Mervin Toquero of Churches Witnessing with Migrants. These sessions gave us as participants the tools to begin our own action planning and work out what we can do to support advocacy in our own contexts. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you once they have been developed more fully: look out in the WSCF-E newsletter for more soon.
We also had other incredible opportunities such as meeting migrants who had been tricked by ‘brokers’ into dangerous and frightening situations; spending time talking about the Bangladesh context with people from local churches; and talking to each other about our own contexts.
For me, the whole experience was a timely reminder of how as a global WSCF family we are able to come together to help make a difference to people’s lives all around the world. I will really treasure the time I had at the IRLTP and I’m sure the people I met there will be lifetime friends.
Note from the editor: IRLTP 2016 took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 1-6. To download the concept paper of this meeting, click here.