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Buddhist Temple Workers Can’t Afford Worship in Sri Lanka
Temple workers spend up to 12 hours a day selling flowers, oils and other items used for worship at a popular Buddhist temple here. But temple workers say they are excluded from the worshipping themselves because they can’t afford to take time off work, thanks to low wages and hefty rent paid to the temple.

KELANIYA, SRI LANKA – Nilantha Dias and his father operate a flower boutique in Kelaniya, a small town near Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. The shop, which specializes in flowers and other items used for worship, is one of 11 boutiques that belong to the much revered Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara temple here.

Said to have been made holy by a visit from Lord Buddha, the temple is one of the most ancient and sacred worshipping places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. It is situated along the Kelani River, six miles from Colombo. According to the Mahavamsa, a historical poem detailing Sri Lanka’s founding, Lord Buddha visited this ancient temple during his visit to Sri Lanka in 523 B.C.

While Buddhists used to worship at the temple every day of the year, today worshippers and pilgrims crowd the temple mostly on Saturdays, Sundays and Poya Days – Buddhist public holidays that occur during the full moon.

The 11 small boutiques that belong to the temple sell items used for worship – including flowers, coconut oil, oil lamps and sandalwood sticks – to worshippers and pilgrims. Ten boutiques are situated close to the temple parking lot, while one boutique stands near the temple’s front entrance. Eleven different businessmen run the boutiques, with each paying weekly rent to the temple.
Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/sri-lanka/buddhist-temple-workers-can’t-afford-worship-sri-lanka#ixzz1TqfmnPpP

Buddhist Temple Workers Can’t Afford Worship in Sri Lanka

Temple workers spend up to 12 hours a day selling flowers, oils and other items used for worship at a popular Buddhist temple here. But temple workers say they are excluded from the worshipping themselves because they can’t afford to take time off work, thanks to low wages and hefty rent paid to the temple.

KELANIYA, SRI LANKA – Nilantha Dias and his father operate a flower boutique in Kelaniya, a small town near Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. The shop, which specializes in flowers and other items used for worship, is one of 11 boutiques that belong to the much revered Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara temple here.


Said to have been made holy by a visit from Lord Buddha, the temple is one of the most ancient and sacred worshipping places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. It is situated along the Kelani River, six miles from Colombo. According to the Mahavamsa, a historical poem detailing Sri Lanka’s founding, Lord Buddha visited this ancient temple during his visit to Sri Lanka in 523 B.C.


While Buddhists used to worship at the temple every day of the year, today worshippers and pilgrims crowd the temple mostly on Saturdays, Sundays and Poya Days – Buddhist public holidays that occur during the full moon.


The 11 small boutiques that belong to the temple sell items used for worship – including flowers, coconut oil, oil lamps and sandalwood sticks – to worshippers and pilgrims. Ten boutiques are situated close to the temple parking lot, while one boutique stands near the temple’s front entrance. Eleven different businessmen run the boutiques, with each paying weekly rent to the temple.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/sri-lanka/buddhist-temple-workers-can’t-afford-worship-sri-lanka#ixzz1TqfmnPpP

Filed under Culture Economy Poverty Religion

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Sex Workers Advocate for Decriminalization of Their Profession
Sex workers in Nigeria are fighting for increased rights and the decriminalization of commercial sex work. Meanwhile, local organizations and the government focus on health, rehabilitation and the arts

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Patricia Okana, who is in her early 30s, is a commercial sex worker.

“It is just like every other thing you do,” she says. “There are challenges, but I thank God it puts food on my table.”

Okana, a widow, says that poverty is the main catalyst driving women into commercial sex work here. After her husband died, she struggled to support herself. Frustrated, she eventually listened to a friend’s advice to try sex work. 

“Everything that tastes bitter must first be sweet, and everything that must be sweet must first be bitter,” she says.

She says that although it pays the bills, she doesn’t encourage young girls to view commercial sex work as their first option.

“I don’t encourage young girls, especially underage,” she says.

Commercial sex workers in Nigeria are demanding more respect and more rights. Nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been promoting various rehabilitation and education initiatives. But prohibative costs for these programs lead some advocates to believe that the best option is to decriminalize commercial sex work. The Nigerian Criminal Code penalizes prostitution with imprisonment, but some say the law shouldn’t govern morality. The government has mentioned no plans to decriminalize sex work and instead promotes education and alternative employment.

Nearly 65 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD a day, according to UNICEF’s latest statistics. Some say this makes sex work an appealing option to earn a living. Official statistics on the number of sex workers in Nigeria are unavailable.
Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/nigeria/sex-workers-advocate-decriminalization-their-profession-nigeria#ixzz1RR5WiLy9

Sex Workers Advocate for Decriminalization of Their Profession

Sex workers in Nigeria are fighting for increased rights and the decriminalization of commercial sex work. Meanwhile, local organizations and the government focus on health, rehabilitation and the arts

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Patricia Okana, who is in her early 30s, is a commercial sex worker.

“It is just like every other thing you do,” she says. “There are challenges, but I thank God it puts food on my table.”

Okana, a widow, says that poverty is the main catalyst driving women into commercial sex work here. After her husband died, she struggled to support herself. Frustrated, she eventually listened to a friend’s advice to try sex work. 

“Everything that tastes bitter must first be sweet, and everything that must be sweet must first be bitter,” she says.

She says that although it pays the bills, she doesn’t encourage young girls to view commercial sex work as their first option.

“I don’t encourage young girls, especially underage,” she says.

Commercial sex workers in Nigeria are demanding more respect and more rights. Nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been promoting various rehabilitation and education initiatives. But prohibative costs for these programs lead some advocates to believe that the best option is to decriminalize commercial sex work. The Nigerian Criminal Code penalizes prostitution with imprisonment, but some say the law shouldn’t govern morality. The government has mentioned no plans to decriminalize sex work and instead promotes education and alternative employment.

Nearly 65 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD a day, according to UNICEF’s latest statistics. Some say this makes sex work an appealing option to earn a living. Official statistics on the number of sex workers in Nigeria are unavailable.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/nigeria/sex-workers-advocate-decriminalization-their-profession-nigeria#ixzz1RR5WiLy9

Filed under Gender Justice Health Law and Society Poverty Women's Rights Nigeria Sex Worker Rights

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Despite Government Decree, Bonded Labor Tradition Continues in Nepal

                              

“Haliyas” are bonded laborers who work for little or no pay in order to pay off debts of ancestors, relatives and their own. While all haliyas here received their freedom in 2008 by order of the government, more than 20,000 people in Nepal continue to be enslaved as a result of the abject poverty they face. The average debt of a haliya is just $120 USD. For one family, more than 40 years of forced labor ensued after a wealthy neighbor lent a poor man money to buy a coat.
 

KATHMANDU, NEPAL – Kamala Bhul, 15, is in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital, for the first time. She is bewildered to see the lights that bedazzle the city, the streets and the stretch of vehicular traffic, which she had previously only heard of.


As she slips under a blanket on the second floor of Anand Guest House, her temporary shelter in central Kathmandu, the tall, slim, soft-spoken teenager says she came to the capital from Baitadi, a district on Nepal’s western border, for medical treatment.  


The daughter of a freed haliya, or bonded laborer, Kamala says she hasn’t been able to walk properly for eight years after she fell and hurt her right knee. She says her mother advised her to put a hot compress on it, which was ineffective but all her family could afford.


“I didn’t have any option when my mother told me she had no money for my treatment,” Kamala says.


Thanks to a nongovernmental organization, NGO, she is now in the capital city receiving treatment after almost a decade. But she says that when she returns home, the same financial woes will be waiting for her.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/nepal/despite-government-decree-bonded-labor-tradition-continues-nepal#ixzz1RFKphf5l

Filed under Modern Slavery Freedom Poverty Haliya Bonded Slavery

10 notes

Entrepreneurial Women in Seaside Villages Reclaim Lives, Rebuild Livelihoods in Chile
More than a year after the earthquake and tsunami in Chile, nongovernmental organizations have made the switch from emergency relief to reconstruction. While government projects are still delayed, women in seaside villages are taking the lead in rebuilding their communities one strand of seaweed at a time.

ENTE DE MAR, CHILE – Elizabeth Ramirez, 38, and her neighbors earn a meager living gathering and harvesting seaweed in Gente de Mar, or “People of the Sea,” an enclave of 30 fishing families in Penco, a city in southern Chile. Families have refused to leave their homes despite the damages from last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Along the shoreline here, partially repaired houses share the beach with a few wooden dinghies and a carpet of soggy seaweed. Ramirez says that frequent rain has caused the seaweed she recently harvested to rot.

Ramirez and her neighbors sell their seaweed crops to a local agent who ships them to Japan. But after the March earthquake in Japan, demand has withered.

“The police came to tell us that the ola japonesa [Japanese wave] was on its way and to leave our homes,” she says. 

She says the waters washed across the beach and up to her door. But the sea pulled back, and, undeterred, women ventured out to the rocks to hunt for shellfish.

Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/americas/chile/entrepreneurial-women-seaside-villages-reclaim-lives-rebuild-livelihoods-#ixzz1QfzQ1D9p

Entrepreneurial Women in Seaside Villages Reclaim Lives, Rebuild Livelihoods in Chile

More than a year after the earthquake and tsunami in Chile, nongovernmental organizations have made the switch from emergency relief to reconstruction. While government projects are still delayed, women in seaside villages are taking the lead in rebuilding their communities one strand of seaweed at a time.

ENTE DE MAR, CHILE – Elizabeth Ramirez, 38, and her neighbors earn a meager living gathering and harvesting seaweed in Gente de Mar, or “People of the Sea,” an enclave of 30 fishing families in Penco, a city in southern Chile. Families have refused to leave their homes despite the damages from last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Along the shoreline here, partially repaired houses share the beach with a few wooden dinghies and a carpet of soggy seaweed. Ramirez says that frequent rain has caused the seaweed she recently harvested to rot.

Ramirez and her neighbors sell their seaweed crops to a local agent who ships them to Japan. But after the March earthquake in Japan, demand has withered.

“The police came to tell us that the ola japonesa [Japanese wave] was on its way and to leave our homes,” she says. 

She says the waters washed across the beach and up to her door. But the sea pulled back, and, undeterred, women ventured out to the rocks to hunt for shellfish.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/americas/chile/entrepreneurial-women-seaside-villages-reclaim-lives-rebuild-livelihoods-#ixzz1QfzQ1D9p

Filed under Women Entrepreneurs Tsunami Earthquake Community Poverty Society