2022 Assembly


Report from the World Conference of Women’s Shelters in the Netherlands


At the request of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS), the Foundation of Women’s Shelters in the Netherlands and its partners organised from 3-6 November 2015 in Conference Center World Forum in The Hague, the 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters.
I was privileged to attend such an event where women and men, all around the world came to share their experiences and ideas with the ultimate objective of achieving an international approach to the prevention of violence against women and children. In total around a thousand people from over a hundred countries took part in the conference in The Hague.
The event was even more interesting and attractive by the presence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima. On the morning of November 4, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands held a keynote speech under the theme, Economic Independence of Women Survivors focused on the economic independence for women who face domestic violence which is the basis for building a new and independent life.
After the plenary session, Queen Máxima attended part of the ‘Effective social and economic reintegration of women survivors’ workshop.
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark also attended the conference on Thursday, the 5th of November. The crown princess gave a keynote speech during the plenary session entitled, Continents: What is Going On? Strengthening Global and Regional Networks.  Through The Mary Foundation she works to help women and children who are victims of violence.

3rd World Conference of Women's Shelters, Hague, November 2015
3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters, Hague, November 2015

Read more here: Connect & Act_report from the 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters, November 2015

Sr. Adina Balan, CJ

The 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters, 3rd-6th November, 2015


Conference Centre World Forum, The Hague, The Netherlands
Advocates for women’s shelters, health care workers, women social workers and NGOs are amongst the participants from more than 95 countries currently attending the World Forum Conference. RENATE member Adina Balan, CJ will present on the RENATE Network at the Conference.
The Conference is an initiative arising from the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS), the Dutch Foundation of Women’s Shelters and its partners. The aim is with a view to connecting and acting together in order to end violence against women.
The following themes are being addressed each day:

  • The economic independence of women survivors
  • Sustainable financing and advocacy
  • Transboundary Violence against women: International exchange and cooperation
  • Continents: What is going on? Strengthening Global and regional networks
  • Innovative approaches to eliminating violence against women and supporting survivors
  • “Time to Act!”

The week has been action-packed so far, with pre-conferences by the Asian network and WAVE (European Network), side-workshops, plenary sessions, roundtables, creative performances, poster sessions as well as lounge greetings which assist the sharing of information and networking.
Her Majesty, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark presented keynote addresses, followed by key speakers from both national and international governmental departments.
Throughout the week, delegates hear presentations from the UN, WHO, UAF and the Council of Europe, and most importantly, the voices of survivors who share their stories.
Global Companies such as Facebook, Google, Rabobank are playing an active role in the Conference. Present as keynote speakers and panellists are:  the Head of Global Safety at Facebook, Google representative on Public Policy Strategy and the Director of Human Resources at Rabobank.
Ashley Judd, actress, activist and author, will share her personal studies and discuss how they reflect the themes of the conference on the closing day. Judd has been engaging in global feminist social justice work since 2002, and has visited slums, brothels and schools in Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nicaragua, Rwanda and South Africa to meet with survivors.
“Violence against girls and women has grave consequences for the survivor. There is also a cascade effect into her neighbourhood, her town, and her country,” Judd says. “If we can provide safe places to care for and support survivors of gender-based violence, we offer them a crucial portal to dignity, while creating healthier outcomes for entire populations.”
You can follow the Conference on YouTube:
Full Conference information is available at
Adapted and prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Light Dispelling the Darkness of Human Trafficking


The First International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Trafficking,

8th February 2015

Individuals, friends, families and communities were united in prayer on the 8th of February, in response to Pope Francis’ invitation to the world, to honour the first international Day of Awareness and Prayer against Trafficking, on the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Here are samples of events that took place, throughout the RENATE Network.
In Albania, Bishop Frendo, OP presided over a very special Liturgy which was prepared in honour of St. Bakhita. The theme of ‘’Light Dispelling the Darkness of Trafficking’’ communicated a very hopeful message to all who attended. Prayer cards were distributed and people joined in prayer together. After the ceremony, there were conversations about how to be more proactive in working against human trafficking.
Press releases with resources have been circulated in countries worldwide, by numerous organisations working to combat human trafficking.
These resources, inter-faith prayer services, prayers, songs and intercessions are readily accessible to all who wish to avail of them, on the public domain of the RENATE website: Resources in Various Languages.
In the UK, members of RENATE marked the day by submitting writing on the life and story of Saint Bakhita that featured in parish newsletters. Prayer cards for the victims of human trafficking were distributed at Churches. Silent vigils were observed and prayer groups convened.
Morning Mass, broadcast from Brentwood Cathedral gave special mention to the day in which Fr. Martin Boland gave his homily on Bakhita’s life: Sunday Worship in Brentwood Cathedral, 8th February 2015 (the text  is available on screen, beneath the recording).
Caritas Slovakia organised a prayer service on the occasion of the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.This prayer service took place at the Jesuit Church in Bratislava on Sunday, 8th February 2015.
Caritas Slovakia has been helping the victims of human trafficking for seven years and took this opportunity to join the world in prayer for more than 21 million women, men and children who suffer from modern slavery.
The prayer service, broadcast live on the national radio, was accompanied by the songs of Taize, performed by the professional church choir Chorus Salvatoris. Initial introductory words and opening prayers were followed by Psalms and stories of trafficked Slovak victims. Candles of hope were placed on each continent of the world map symbolizing the global extent of human trafficking. Then intercession prayers were read for particular and all victims, but also for traffickers, pimps, government and church representatives as well as for all of us to be able to face the globalisation of indifference with globalisation of solidarity. All participants then lit candles for freedom and dignity. Images of St. Josephine Bakhita printed on a prayer card, were distributed to all participants.
Together with the Dutch Conference of Religious, the SRTV in the Netherlands, devised inter-faith prayer services, comprising prayers, hymns and intercessions to share with the churches and congregations throughout the Netherlands and also Belgium. The national broadcasting station also featured these services, in the Netherlands.
In Romania, the opportunity was taken on the 1st of February, at the official opening day for the Year of Consecrated Life, to share fliers, prayer cards and information in preparation for the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking, with representatives from all the religious orders present at the official opening. These were then distributed at the parish Masses or prayer services  dedicated to the victims of human trafficking in and from Romania.
The award winning Ten Ten Theatre Company in London, premièred a specially commissioned film of the Saint Bakhita story and human trafficking, which was screened in London on her feast day, 8th February. The twenty-six minute documentary film follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of modern slavery and what they can do to stop it. A two minute preview of the film is available on the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
The Ten Ten Theatre Company have worked with The Medaille Trust as well as TRAC UK for the past eighteen months, in the making of this documentary film. Previously, the theatre group produced a one-woman play on human trafficking entitled, This is my Body, written by Martin O’Brien, founding member of the Company.
The Fundación Amaranta in Majorca, Spain, recorded the testimonies of the women they are supporting to recover from trafficking. Through their testimony, their voices will be heard and no-one can turn a deaf ear to their stories.
There are many, many more special events which have taken place and we will feature according as people share their news.

Enjoy the photo gallery shared with RENATE!

phot0 gallery world day of prayer

Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person