“It’s all the more important now that we maintain our sense of international solidarity” – Mary Waterford AM – APHEDA People
Mary Waterford has spent her whole life fighting for justice and equality. In her social work, unionism, and in her fundraising for international solidarity, Mary has been committed to helping disadvantaged people secure the rights that they others deny them.
That’s why she has been a long-time supporter of the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA. She says that:
“Being a union member myself, it makes so much sense that there is an organisation enabling the union movement to work on humanitarian programs overseas.”
Mary has been a powerful fundraiser for humanitarian projects in Timor Leste through the Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters Project, where she volunteers to support women take on new skills and education, secure financial independence, and live in safety from sexual abuse.
Asked why she supports Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Mary says:
“Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA brings together the cause of international social justice and the union movement, it brings together common values. In Australia we have a lot of wealth, so having an overseas arm that can bring the resources that the union movement has here to neighbouring countries that have so little resources makes a lot of sense. It makes sense to build an international community of workers who are all fighting together for just conditions, particularly for low paid workers.”
And as governments around the world become increasingly hostile to workers’ rights, Mary says that today “it’s all the more important that we maintain our sense of international solidarity, because it’s not just here in Australia that those struggles are happening, but it’s happening a lot in developing countries, those are the ones who are at the brunt of it, particularly with climate change.”
“In the period of globalisation, workers’ rights are being constantly eroded. The process of contracting out internationally means that we have to develop different strategies to protect basic rights and to ensure that people get a living wage. To have an international approach to that problem makes so much sense.”
Mary says that Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is a unique organisation that should be supported by Australian unionists and internationalists “because their projects are well-considered, because they’re working at the grass-roots, because they’re really empowering workers, farmers, and women to build their skills and have a say in the way their nation develops. That’s counter to the way a lot of development works.”
Mary Waterford has been awarded life membership of the ASU, and has been awarded the Australian Medal for her tireless efforts in the fight for “equity, human rights and dignity”.
Currently, Mary is the Chairperson of the Sydney Alliance.
Activate your solidarity!
With Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, you have the opportunity to connect with other internationalists, learn about issues around the world, and organise in your communities to raise awareness about the struggles for liberation and democracy around the world.