Peace and Disarmament
SGI-Bolivia Women Promote Peace and Women's Empowerment
For almost a decade, SGI-Bolivia's Women's Peace Forum (WPF) has promoted community activities aimed at improving the status of Bolivian women and has regularly organized peace gatherings in cities throughout Bolivia.
On June 22, 2008, some 360 women gathered at the SGI-Bolivia Cultural Center in Santa Cruz for the first SGI-Bolivia Women's National Convention. Sarah Mejía Gonzales, president of the Association of Women's Civic Committees of Santa Cruz Department (CCFP) and CCFP Senior President Piedades Justiniano de Oliva attended. The event included a film screening and the SGI-Bolivia White Lily Chorus performed.
Following a message sent by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, CCFP President Mejía commented that in today's competitive world, envy and egotism are widespread. She echoed the message sent to the event by Mr. Ikeda, in which he praised women for their bravery and courage.
Established in 1992 CCFP, with a membership of one million women from Santa Cruz Department, strives to benefit society through community-related projects. For the past 14 years, CCFP and SGI-Bolivia have collaborated to further lasting peace and improve the status of women. In 1997, the association gave its full support to the SGI-Bolivia-sponsored symposia series "Children and Human Rights" and the two groups also cooperated in providing relief in the aftermath of a major forest fire near the city of Ascensión de Guarayos in 1999.
As a tribute to the efforts of SGI women, CCFP commended Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda for her contributions to society, women and world peace. The conferral took place on January 26, 2008, during CCFP's ninth annual congress in Cotoca. CCFP President Justiniano presented the commendation plaque to SGI-Bolivia Women's Leader Hiroko Sasaki, who received it on Mrs. Ikeda's behalf. Attendees at the conferral included Jonny Melgar, vice governor of Santa Cruz Department; Ana Maria Vaca Salvador, Cotoca City Council president; and former CCFP President Alicia Perogon.
Previous WPF activities include sponsoring the "Messages for Peace Exhibition" with Trinidad City in Beni Department (1999), and with Sucre City in Chuquisaca Province (2000). This exhibition was the culmination of a grassroots effort by the WPF to gather more than 110,000 "messages of peace" from adults and children throughout Bolivia. Former Bolivian Vice President Victor Hugo Cardenas Conde and Bolivian First Lady Yolanda Prada de Banzer sent congratulatory messages to the exhibition opening held in May 2000.
SGI-Bolivia WPF was also the main sponsor of events commemorating the 220th anniversary of the birth of the Bolivian champion of freedom Juana Azurduy de Padilla (1780-1862), which were held in May 2001, with cooperation and backing from the Chuquisaca Provincial Government, the Chuquisaca Department of Education, the Sucre City Council and San Francisco's Javier de Chuquisaca University.
In 2001, the WPF also planted 30 cherry tree saplings in a park adjacent to San Lorenzo city hall, Tarija Department, and hosted a women's summit in conjunction with Bolivia's Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. In the same year, the WPF donated educational supplies and books to an orphanage and educational institutes in Sucre City.
[Adapted from articles in the March and July, 2008 issues of the Sol de Felicidad, SGI-Bolivia]