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February 20 is World Day of Social Justice – a day marked by the United Nations to celebrate developments in social justice, and plan for the journey that must still be taken to achieve a just, fair, and equitable society for all. The United Nations recognises that ‘social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations’. If we are to be a part of bringing about the world that we long for – one where every person’s potential can be fulfilled – then social justice must be a key part of our toolkit.
Covid-19 has, undoubtedly, slowed progress towards achieving social justice for all. Back in June 2020, my colleague Veronica blogged about the development setbacks already impacting the communities All We Can serves. In the eight months that have elapsed since she reflected on the impact of Covid-19, the situation has worsened – as those living in vulnerable communities continue to face lockdowns, interruptions to education, and disruption to income-generating and livelihoods activities. Indeed, in September 2020, the Gates Foundation suggested that some areas of development progress had been set back by as much as 25 years.
Covid-19 has made life more difficult for each and every one of us – but it has compounded the challenges faced by vulnerable communities the most. That is why, this World Day of Social Justice, I think of families like Beth’s.
Beth and her six children live in Butagaya, Uganda. Life presents many challenges for the family. Medical issues mean that Beth cannot walk very far, and as a lone parent, she struggles to provide for her children. The family collects water for others in their village in rural Uganda, and sell banana leaves and pancakes for the equivalent of a few pence to help make a small income.
But with the support of one of All We Can’s local partners, Beth and her family are looking towards a better future. Her daughter Mwaiduma has been able to access a bicycle – enabling her to travel quickly, easily, and safely to school and focus on her education. A good education has the power to transform the lives of girls like Mwaiduma – enabling them to embrace their God-given potential. Like many other children across the world, Mwaiduma’s schooling has been interrupted – but once she is able to go to class regularly again, her bicycle will enable her to make the most of that opportunity.
‘I have so many hopes for my daughter’ says Beth, ‘because if she persists in school, I believe we can change as a family.’
As children across the globe, like Mwaiduma, deal with the interruption to their education, it is our duty to look afresh at how we might ensure social justice is prioritised as we recover from this pandemic. Together, we must continue to stand alongside our global neighbours in love, solidarity, and support – in order to realise a world where social justice is a reality for us all.
You can learn more about how change begins for families like Beth’s this Lent by ordering or downloading All We Can’s 2021 Lent Devotional. Find out more here.
Aimee is All We Can’s Communications and PR Manager. Having worked in the charity sector across fundraising, communications and campaigning, Aimee is excited about the impact communities can have in driving genuine change and transformation. She lives in Reading, and is an avid lover of houseplants and cats.