A powerful gift

By CARE Australia March 22, 2017 0 comments

Eve received training from CARE on conflict resolution in her new role as a magistrate. Image: Tom Greenwood/CARE.

When you leave a gift to CARE in your Will, you have an opportunity to make a powerful and long-lasting impact in line with your values and passion.

Elizabeth Stroud was motivated to leave a gift to CARE in her Will because she has an interest in justice and a concern for people who are doing it tough. She told us, “I’m interested in enabling women to become self-supportive and to grow their self-worth. As an individual, I feel helpless in some ways as to how to support the hundreds of millions of people who aren’t well off, and this is just one way to do that.”

Eve in Papua New Guinea also has a passion for justice.

With support from CARE and generous donors like Elizabeth, Eve has become one of the first female magistrates in her area. She is responsible for settling local disputes and, in a culture where retribution can quickly escalate to extreme violence, it is an important role and a community-elected position.

CARE helped Eve’s community in Simbari formally establish the village court system. As a magistrate, Eve received training on how to solve community issues and settle disputes fairly. She says the CARE-supported training she received helped her be a good leader in her community.

“My community chose me because I am a good speaker, I speak openly and I’m capable,” she says with a smile.

Eve is one of just five female magistrates in her area, among 55 male magistrates. The inclusion of female magistrates has helped improve access to the village court system for women, especially for domestic violence cases.

“I saw that when there were lots of male magistrates, females didn’t feel secure to come and openly discuss their issues in court. There were a lot of male perpetrators doing a lot of bad things to women, and I wanted to be part of something that helped to reduce that,” Eve said. “I want my community to be free from crime.”

The court hears disputes involving adultery, domestic violence, theft and land disputes, many of which would otherwise lead to violent retribution if they weren’t settled by the court.

The court brings two parties together for their case to be heard in front of five magistrates and peace officers, including Eve. Each party gets their turn to speak and call witnesses, then the magistrates deliberate and deliver their decision, often in the form of a fine.

Eve has noticed a decrease in crime since the village court began. “The court is important to help eliminate problems and keep things calm,” she says.

Eve’s involvement in making her village a safer place doesn’t stop at the court; she’s also a CARE-trained maternal health volunteer, giving prenatal advice and helping deliver babies.

When asked what motivates her to do so much for her community, she answers simply: “I don’t want people to die, I want them to live good lives and be happy.”

You can make a change like this possible by leaving a gift to CARE in your Will.

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