I See You.
You are loved.
You are precious.
You are thought of.
I See You
A campaign done by Open Doors, the international ministry that reaches out to persecuted Christians, particularly women who face sexual violence as well as the persecution for their faith, is the ‘I See You’ campaign. After a number of emails and some phone calls to the Open Doors Head Office in Oxford, I recieved multiple packs from them containing fabric, a booklet about the campaign, and a card with a painting of Esther, a Nigerian, Christian woman who has been rescued from Boko Haram by Open Doors.
After getting some cheap fabric, and all the fabric from the packs sent to me, I encouraged people to write ‘I See You’, and decorate them. They were all sent across to Open Doors, where they will be stitched together to create one huge banner, and will be presented to UK Government in November 2019 during the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI) Conference (1)
After meeting with the Parish Priest, Father Jonathan, at my church, who discussed the project with me in more detail and asked me questions, he advised that I attend different church groups to help me reach my target. He also encouraged me to do more work in church the helping Persecuted Christians. I showed him some examples of beautifully designed fabric, of which he loved. He gave me the go-ahead with the project, and kept a pack for himself and Father Tomas to do one too.
On 6th and 7th July, I had my own table at the back of church, and encouraged as many people as possible to sign and decorate some fabric. In an effort to reach my target and get 200 people involved, I also left some fabric and felt pens with one of the Parish Sisters who got several pieces of fabric designed from the local community after her meditation sessions. After getting approval from the Pastor of the local Christian Centre, he let me bring some sessions to the Food Bank where staff signed some fabric too. Following Father Jonathan’s advice, I attended the meeting of the Union of Catholic Mothers where I was warmly welcomed, and the ladies participated in the campaign, and even took some fabric home and encouraged their grandchildren to decorate some fabric too!
Over the weekend of 6th and 7th July, I was swept off my feet! On 6th, I ran the stall for the Acocks Green Food Bank at the local community carnival. After being placed next to Birmingham Churches Together, I got more fabric signed and designed there when I had a quiet moment. I attended my regular 5pm Mass, where I got my table for the weekend ready, and got more people signing fabric.
On Sunday 7th, I attended all 3 of the masses, where the campaign was enthusiastically announced at the end of each service. People rushed to the table to sign, and add some patterns to the pieces of fabric that were laid out on the table. Little children eagerly came over, ready to make some beautiful pictures on the fabric whilst carefully writing down their names. People queued at the table, eager to have their name on some fabric and to ask questions about the campaign.
It was a mad rush at times, and the love, support and enthusiasm shown by my parish was a truly heartwarming experience. Many gave their love and thanks for the work that was being done by Open Doors, and were grateful for the opportunity to participate in this campaign. People took the miniature booklet and card with extra information that was displayed in the table, and said their prayers for support.
At the end of it all, after the last 3 pieces of fabric had been signed, and all the counting of fabric had been sorted, it totaled an incredible 255!!! So much love and support demonstrated by the Christian Community of Acocks Green!
(Link to short instagram video of all the packs with the fabric ready to go: https://www.instagram.com/p/BzoRPnYHbI9/?igshid=x6y8mgnzo5bd)
All the fabric was neatly folded and put back into the reusable packs that they arrived in. Some packs had more fabric than others, to ensure that all the fabric that I had was sent over, and the quantity of the fabric in each pack was highlighted.
Let’s make change.
Let’s See Change.
I See You. My beloved sisters ❤
(1) Open Doors, ‘The Handmade Petition’ (2019) Available on-line at: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/act/see-change/handmade-petition/
(1) Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1979) Available online at: https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/ Accessed on 07/07/2019
(2) Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) Article 18 (1976) Available online at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx Accessed on 07/07/2019