Brenda reports that in the Food Parcel Assistance for Glen Taylor School (GTS) during lockdown, in which much of the congregation was involved, a total of $2,370 was donated by us which meant many families in their local communities were helped. The principal of GTS and Clay put together a Sunday Zoom service on 17th May which was much enjoyed.
When asked how we could best help advocate for GTS, the principal suggested we could help ensure the promised upgrade to the school property actually occurs, support an increase in wages for Teacher Aids, and continue to press for an end to child poverty and a reduction in inequality.
In September, as a Duffy Sponsorship Partner with Glen Taylor School, we will be making the second, and last payment for the year, of approximately $1,600 to the Duffy Books in Homes organisation. Throughout NZ, DBiH helps over 100,000 students and since 1994 has supplied over 13 million books.
Dances of Universal Peace
Sally reports that over the past six months her Dances of Universal Peace has held three online singalong services on Zoom celebrating the Celtic seasonal festivals of the Autumn Equinox, Sah-win (Samhain) and the winter solstice (Matariki here in NZ). She had people joining from the US and Canada and all parts of New Zealand. Live dances of universal peace services begin on Saturday night, 1st August, at the season of Imbolc, marking the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. Also, West Auckland Dances resume in Henderson on Monday night, 10th August. Sally asks people to arrive by 7:20pm to settle in before the 7:30pm start. Contact Sally for more information.
Shirin has been busy in her human rights advocacy sending two letters in June.
The first was to the Secretary of Justice, Hong Kong, protesting the arrest of 15 prominent pro-democracy leaders who organised an assembly to protest the imminent violation of the Sino-British agreement. The charges failed to meet international human rights law and the standards on the right to peaceful protest.
The second letter was to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor regarding Human Rights defender Patrick Zaki George who has been detained and tortured. The letter asks that he be released from detention as he has been detained solely due to his human rights work and political opinions that he has expressed on social media. It also asks for an independent investigation into the allegations of torture and that he be guaranteed access to his lawyer and adequate health care, especially as he is vulnerable to Covid-19.
Pacific Dyslexia Aid
I can report that both Tonga and Samoa continue to be free of COVID-19 with both countries maintaining strict border controls.
In Samoa, our main news is the one primary school we have continued to work with since 2014 has developed an air conditioned computer lab and a volunteer parent runs the Steps dyslexia programme. Also, a mission school wants to join the programme and our contact with their Education Ministry is looking to install Steps and train the teachers. Having the Education Ministry take responsibility for implementing Steps was the plan back in 2014 when we began working with them and it would be great if it came to fruition.
In Tonga, our Steps dyslexia programme on the main island of Tongatapu continues to be off to a good start. The primary schools though are in desperate need of laptops. Good quality, lower end, refurbished laptops are currently hard to purchase for them so we encourage any of you who have company contacts to see if they will supply laptops coming off lease. A permanent arrangement would be superb.