Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

House of Sarah debuts resource

The House of Sarah, a faith-based organisation closely aligned to the Diocese of Polynesia, along with UN Women in Fiji, have developed a new resource that sets out how Fiji’s faith-based groups can end violence against women and girls.
• Watch the FijiOne News report on the launch
• Wailoku activist applauds House of Sarah

Julanne Clarke-Morris  |  02 Dec 2022  |

The House of Sarah and United Nations Women’s Fiji Multi Country Office(MCO) released a joint publication this week to help Fiji’s faith communities work for a society where women and girls are safe, equal and free from violence.

The new resource entitled ‘We Are All Created Equal: Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls in Fiji’s Faith Settings’ was launched on 28 November, during the UN Women’s 2022 annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. 

House of Sarah founder and a co-author of the new resource, Anglican priest Rev Sereima Lomaloma, says that when she began this work twenty years ago, family violence was not a common topic for churches. 

“Within the church, women were also facing the same reality that other women in Fiji were facing – violence in their homes from their partners. But in the church, it was not talked about openly.”

In Fiji two out of three women (around 64%) have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, which puts Fiji in the lowest ranks of global charts for women’s safety.

Rev Dr Jolami Lasawa launched ‘We Are All Created Equal’ on Monday. Dr Lasawa, who is principal of the Methodist Church in Fiji’s Davuilevu Theological College, underscored the core principles in the new resource. 

“Biblically and theologically, women and men are equal before God and each other.

“The Bible clearly affirms this in Genesis chapter 1: 26-27:

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our likeness,’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them.” 

The new resource outlines the House of Sarah’s origins and shows how its work has led to significant changes across the communities that have taken part.

‘We are all created equal’ outlines the positive roles of the:

– ‘Sasa! Faith’ programme adapted for Fiji from its origins at ‘Raising Voices’ in Uganda

– Anglican parish-based female ‘Sarah Carers’ who care for victims of violence

– ‘One Voice’ awareness and prevention campaigns

– Male and female ‘Community Activists’ who train communities in non-violence

– Dauveivukei Ecumenical Network of trained counsellors – and many other facets of the House of Sarah’s work.

‘We are all equal’ demonstrates how faith leaders can draw out the non-violent strands and interpretations of scripture, and actively promote a shift in attitudes that offer alternatives to exerting control and use of force.

One important factor highlighted is the positive influence of men who share their own attitudinal change – men who are prepared to stand up for stronger, more faithful, non-violent approaches to relationships. 

The House of Sarah has also produced a 2022 worship resource for ‘Break the Silence Sunday’ which provides materials for churches who want to set apart a special Sunday to pray and work for an end to family and intimate partner violence. 

The ‘We Are All Created Equal’ resource was co-developed by Rev Sereima Lomaloma and Alisi Qaiqaica of House of Sarah; Dr Sarah Homan and Loksee Leung of the Equality Institute (EQI); and Sonia Rastogi, Shabina Khan and Shazia Usman of UN Women Fiji MCO.

You can download the ‘We Are All Created Equal’ and ‘Break the Silence Sunday’ resources below.

English [PDF 4.2MB] We Are All Created Equal - Preventing EVAWG in Fiji Faith Settings - Digital

English [MS Word 21.4MB] We Are All Created Equal - Preventing EVAWG in Fiji Faith Settings Dr - accessible version