Women know: Water flows through world religions

Have you heard the news?
This month, women around the world are crossing cultural barriers to connect—through water. This makes a great deal of sense because patterns of poverty around the world unjustly fall on women, which means that finding clean water often falls on the shoulders of women. When daily life depends on something so basic—conflicts can arise over water rights or bridges can be built so everyone can reach fresh water. That’s one reason the life-giving symbol of water runs like a shining stream through the world’s great religions. Water is a universal part of life.
, we’re giving you another great idea to build cross-cultural friendships: Wherever you live around the world, organize a local program about women and water! That’s what we’re doing.
If you live in Michigan,
join us on the evening of March 17 for “Water, Women and WISDOM.”
(Like this idea? Another recent idea was a January story about getting together to discuss the angels that run through our religious traditions.)


JAN KATZ is our Jewish speaker on water. (We’ll also welcome Christian, Muslim and Hindu speakers on March 17.) Jan is a licensed water-treatment professional building an underground “green” home in northern Michigan for her seven grandchildren and two cats. “Water crosses all boundaries,” Jan writes. “Every living being requires clean, safe water to survive. I am looking forward to sharing the story of water and how perceptions about water affect the lives of women and children.” Looking for good information online? Jan recommends Clean Water Action “to stay on top of water issues.” She also frequently uses the Nature Conservancy website. Then the U.S. EPA site about water for kids “is interactive and has great resources for teachers, especially the ‘Water Cycle’ video.”

NAJAH BAZZY is our Muslim speaker. She’s a nationally known Transcultural Clinical Nurse Specialist and is founding chair of the non-profit Zaman International. “What propelled me to work on clean water is the realization that, in places like Africa, women and girls are the water fetchers and can spend entire days just collecting the family water,” Najah writes. “That means there’s no time left for education and opportunity. Plus, in many parts of the world, walking the long pathways to fresh water puts women at risk. The second big reason I’m working on water is that so many preventable deaths are caused by water-borne illness. I want to tell people about a program Zaman is co-sponsoring in Africa as part of our humanitarian outreach. We’re building an entire water system, including wells, sanitation and water recycling. As we build, we’re also educating villagers about water-borne illness.”

GAIL KATZ is WISDOM co-founder and president. She’s eager to hear women from four faiths share from so many different perspectives on water. “WISDOM’s mission involves both education and community service, so I hope our program gives people in metro Detroit more knowledge so they can take action and make our world a better place to live. The lack of clean water impacts women and children world wide.” Gail (who is not related to Jan Katz) also points out that men are welcome at this public event.

NUHA ALFAHHAM is coordinator of our interfaith panel on water. “I’m very interested in the issue of water not only for its necessity of every living thing, but also for its central role in many practices and religions,” Nuha writes. “In the Islamic faith, many verses throughout the Quran describe the importance and the functions of water, whether it is for purification, for it’s life giving characteristics, for spiritual significance or for mere beautification and contemplation. As stewards on earth, humans are required to protect this precious resource, and women have been instrumental in issues related to water, its availability and protection. This forum will demonstrate how local women of the different faiths are addressing water issues near and far.”

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(Originally published at www.FriendshipAndFaith.com)

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