Will you support our appeal and stand with the Women Environmental Defenders throughout southeast Asia?  

Cord’s Programme Development Manager, Rachel Mander, considers how this work reflects one of Cord’s guiding principles: 

One of Cord’s core values is ‘we are interdependent’ – if I’m being honest, I sometimes struggle to truly grasp the connection between my life here in the UK and what the human rights defenders we support are dealing with in the forests of Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam. 

One of these human rights defenders is San. She is 58 and is married with five children. She is from the Kouy Indigenous community in Cambodia. With Cord’s support, San was recently successful in preventing a company from illegally grabbing land from her community. She managed three environmental defender teams to patrol the area, prepare a petition letter, and communicate with other parties involved on both sides of the dispute.  

Rachel continues: 

It was watching the latest David Attenborough show about the rainforests recently that brought this back into sharp focus for me. The forests aren’t just a beautiful backdrop for making documentaries about animals, birds and flowers, they produce the very oxygen we breathe. It doesn’t get much more interdependent than that. 

He talked about how conservationists have been building bridges between the pockets of forest that remain, connecting two areas that have been cut off from one another, and in doing so enabling them to flourish and thrive again. I thought it was an interesting analogy for Cord’s work in connecting environment defenders across South East Asia who strengthen and support each other, helping them to thrive and ultimately be more effective in ensuring the forests themselves continue to flourish.” 

By protecting Women Environmental Defenders in southeast Asia, we are protecting our planet. We are not only helping them to connect with one another but we are also expressing our profound connection to them. We can support them as they preserve their precious environment and in doing so, we are enabling them to provide us with the life-giving air we breathe. 

Please stand with San: 

if we have women leading the patrols, then I hope more women, including younger women, will join us because they feel safe and motivated”. 

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