Gordon Brown, Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ontario Leeds-Grenville region, visited the GEMS girls club meeting in Athens (Ontario) Christian Reformed Church in early December.
He was invited to receive a banner the girls had made to remind the government of the poor around the world.
The “hands for justice” banner included handprints from all the girls to remind the government that there are just five years left to meet the goals of the Millenium Declaration, according to Evelina Oosterhof, coordinator of the GEMS club (www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm).
In 2000, Canada and the United Nations signed the Millennium Declaration, which contains promises that include reducing extreme poverty by 50 percent, achieving universal education for boys and girls, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating communicable diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability. The signatory nations agreed to make these goals a reality by 2015.
The Millenium Declaration is part of the Micah Challenge, which can be seen at http://www.micahchallenge.org.
Brown said in his speech that he “. . . is really glad that girls are taking an interest in poverty.” He noted that they are really lucky to live in such a great and wealthy nation as Canada, and that it is good that people are talking about this issue. He promised to bring the message to Ottawa, and encouraged the girls to keep up their good work.
The Bible verse chosen by the Micah Challenge is also the GEMS theme verse: "He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).