Girls Brigade Ministries - Lives transformed & enriched

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Meet GB's inspiring advocates

10 Oct 2019

On International Day of the Girl, meet some of the Girls’ Brigade England & Wales advocates who’ve applied to be part of GB International’s Delegation of Hope to the United Nations next year.

Last month, GB International launched the process to appoint its Delegation of Hope to the UN. 9 GB leaders from Girls’ Brigade England & Wales have applied to be part of this trip and represent GB International at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York - the largest gathering of gender equality activists in the world. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for young women to gain experience at advocacy and campaigning at UN level as well as developing their team work, communication and organisational skills. You can find more info here: https://gbworldwide.org/%ef%bb%bfcould-you-represent-gb-at-the-united-nations-in-nyc-in-2020/

Girls’ Brigade England & Wales is blessed with so many young women who are passionate about transforming social injustices and turning up the volume of hope for God’s people. We’re so inspired by their example. We hope you are too.

Meet Hannah, 25, from 1st Windy Nook

‘In recent years in England there has been a surge in people being open about mental illness and seeking to break down the stigma however there is little to no progress in Christian representation in this conversation. As a mental health nurse, Christian and a person, like everyone else who has mental health I witness the conflict of the influence of faith and religion on mental illness. An alternative narrative can meet in the middle of a spiritual and a medical understanding, offering Christian people the best of both worlds and hopefully improve early access to mental health services by Christians and enable these people to receive support from the church pastorally. I personally have felt compelled to do something about this. Locally, I have ran a training day for GB leaders in the district my group is in to support leaders to understand young people’s mental health and also offer a space to think about the language we as Christians may use to talk about mental illness. I also took this as an opportunity to think with leaders about the Biblical perspectives on mental illness that are traditionally drawn upon and what may be more helpful passages to use when approaching mental illness in Christians.

‘Thanks to GB I’ve also had the opportunity to explore faith and mental illness in other cultures. When on a mission extension trip to North Macedonia with GB Europe I ran a workshop on soul care as part of an event for Christian women, giving them an opportunity to hear a message of hope but also of validation of their experiences. Women reflected that they’d never been told it’s okay to have a mental illness as a Christian and that this isn’t a reflection on their strength of faith.’

Meet Hayley, 23, from 4th Lincoln

‘During the Esther Generation Weekend in 2018, I developed a project challenging gender stereotypes. This sparked a real passion for myself and other attendees. As a part of my project I created a video, which broke down the phrases and associations with gender stereotypes. I used this in a talk at my local church.

‘Following the weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to represent Girls’ Brigade at an event exploring sexism in the Church in the House of Lords. After the event, I spoke in my church, ran a session on my GB night as well as spoke at our district network meeting. I’m passionate about equipping people to speak out about injustices and seek support. All the people who heard about the statistics and how this had impacted myself, spoke about how we can change or support people who are facing these barriers with gender stereotypes. This brought a higher awareness to my church and young people at Girls’ Brigade.

‘Last year, my n:spire section used the Trailblazers resource exploring inspirational women, advertised by GB. Working together, my GB group created profiles of inspiring women in our local area. This included women in the church, Girls’ Brigade leaders and other women in our community. This challenge encouraged GB members to continue to subvert the way society views women and their roles in life.

It has been fantastic to represent Girls’ Brigade on the Youth United Foundation Youth Panel for 2019. This year we completed a research project on loneliness and mental health in young people, where we focussed on developing an understanding of loneliness and mental health and how we can support young people more effectively.’

Meet Elizabeth, 22, from 10th Leeds

‘GB has given me the courage and confidence to speak out for what I believe and for what I know is right. I’m a keen campaigner for climate justice, and it’s so important that we advocate for gender equality in particular as climate changes means the most vulnerable are put more at risk. I’ve been blessed with an education and a voice and so I want to use these to advocate for those women who have no say in policy-making. Therefore, I’ve been involved with the Ecochurch campaign in Leeds which makes western churches responsible for its global resource use and helping spread understanding across all ages about how our actions here can impact others across the world and in the future.

‘As part of my university committee role in Envirosoc I ran workshops and seminars around the impact that habits like fast-fashion, plastic waste etc. can have on the planet and people. My drive to be involved with advocacy and activism started when I was involved with Mission Direct, where I went to the Dominican Republic. We built houses for those who live in slum conditions, so they have better surroundings that are sturdier, not prone to flooding, and earthquake resistant. Nowadays, I run workshops and talks to raise awareness about those surrounded by toxic water (from textile factories from our demand for the latest trends) and about the people I met in the Dominican Republic, where the shoreline was deep in plastic waste from the ocean. These aren’t the things you see on holiday or even in the news enough and so I’ve been trying to raise awareness through these workshops and seminars. Climate change when talked about is often very “doom and gloom” and so through my role in Envirosoc and through my conservation volunteering we try to bring hope. I often hear people saying “what’s the point”, “it’s too late”, “I can’t make a difference” and so a key thing I try to project is that there are things that people can do, that there is hope and people aren’t alone in trying to solve this.’

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