Friday, June 24, 2011

Building Peace Through Volunteer Work, 1955

By Mrs. H.M. Guyot, Davie Home Demonstration Club, Halifax County
September 1, 1955
“We, the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war….” “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.
These memorable words in the preamble to the United Nations charter and UNESCO’s Constitution aroused in North Carolina Home Demonstration Club women the desire to help build peace through groups of volunteers learning and working together.
Miss Ruth Current, State Home Demonstration Agent, firm in her belief that “rural women can play a definite part in building among the nations of the world, understanding, right attitudes, and a spirit of cooperation” conceived the idea of conducting study tours for Home Demonstration leaders, of the United Nations headquarters in New York and the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
The purpose of these tours as outlined by Miss Current “is to give North Carolina Home Demonstration Citizenship and Education Leaders a wholesome understanding of the role they are to take toward citizenship participation in democracy, roles they must assume as leaders in their homes, counties, nations, and world.”
The first tour was conducted in 1953, with 108 club women attending. One hundred and four club women made the tour in 1954. A third tour is being arranged for October, 1955.
Dr. Frank P. Graham, U.N. representative for India and Pakistan, compared these tours being made by North Carolina Home Demonstration Club women “to a pebble tossed into a pool of water, starting waves which grew in an ever widening circle.”
We feel that through our united efforts in the observance of United Nations Day that we are contributing to the “defenses of peace.”
The State Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs has grown since its organization in 1920 to a membership of 45,732 women, representing 1,840 clubs. The major objective of the club “was to help farm families develop useful and satisfying lives.” We have been taught the importance of nutrition, medical care, education, home management, interior decorating, preservation of home-grown foods, and family relations. We realize that we are the “peace makers” in the home and home is where we find our peace or there is no peace. Our Home Demonstration Clubs have opened a new field of endeavor—that of citizenship. “Being a good citizen is being a well-informed one.”
North Carolina Home Demonstration Club women, self-appointed ambassadors of peace, have opened their homes and their hearts to the International Farm Youth Exchanges. This plan was launched in 1948 by the Extension Division of the United States Department of Agriculture. These young people are learning the real truth about our country at a period in their lives when impressions mean lessons, and association, ideas.
Exchange students representing the following countries have visited in North Carolina: France, Norway, Scotland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Germany, Luxumbourg, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Chile.
We welcome this opportunity for service in helping train these young agriculturists “so that hunger may be banished from the earth and that a stable world agriculture may be established.”
During National Home Demonstration Club Week, 100 foreign students were entertained in club members’ homes; many spent the weekends and attended church services in the communities. Foreign visitors studied our State Health Department and saw improved living on farm and home tours. They also visited Extension offices and activities. Fifteen representatives from 10 countries were entertained at dinner in one county. One club entertained 25 foreign students at dinner. Short talks were given at club meetings by 16 foreign visitors representing eight countries.
Another “Bridge of Friendship,” which North Carolina women are crossing to reach a better world understanding, is the Letter Friend Program. 964 women in 1954 exchanged letters with women in Africa, Australia, British West-Indies, Canada, Denmark, Eire, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Philippine Islands, Scotland, Sweden, and Wales.
In 1954, North Carolina Home Demonstration Club women contributed $579.92 to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. Home Demonstration Club women realize that this is another channel through which we can make our “voice” heard, for hunger, illness, and nakedness know no language barrier.
Our contribution for 1954 to “Pennies for Friendship” was $581.53. 420 Friendship parcels were sent. One County gave 400 pounds of clothing and a carload of milk to CROP. Other counties contributed clothing to CROP and Korea. $10 was given to the Holland Flood Relief. Seventeen woolen afghans were made and sent to Korea.
Transportation and communication have abolished the geographical boundaries of the world. We are a community of Nations with two-way needs. We recall Lincoln’s question, “Why should we not have a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the People? Is there any better or equal hope on earth?” The key words are Patient, Ultimate and Hope. If we work with Patience and Hope, we will reach the Ultimate goal: a world in which “Peace on earth, good will to men, can become a reality instead of a dream.”

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