Stories of Hope & Resistance: Meet Activists Making a Change and Watching it Grow

“Change ripples outward.”

Those are the words of Felipe Fortines Yen, an activist from, an AJWS grantee fighting for human rights in the Dominican Republic. Speaking with AJWS earlier this summer, he said: “We understand that our lives are all connected. So we start with the change we want to see in ourselves. And then our families, then communities, then our country and the world.”

We’re reminded of the ripple effect of activism every time we send you Stories of Hope — stories of the brave activists AJWS supports and how their impact expands to touch millions of lives. Each of these activists and AJWS partner organizations work in their own communities — from LGBTQI+ people and women and girls to Indigenous families and religious minorities — with the belief that the change they create will make waves. Ending social stigmas. Saving endangered ecosystems. Overturning oppressive laws. They’re fighting for their communities, but also for a better world for all of us.

In this edition of Stories of Hope, you’ll read about individuals and organizations fighting for change in Kenya, El Salvador and Thailand, and you’ll have an opportunity to join them by taking action below.

With the High Holidays around the corner, would you make your own ripples of change? You can multiply your impact this New Year by creating a personal fundraising page or creating a Facebook fundraiser to engage your friends and community to give tzedakah for justice with you.

Read on, get inspired — and help us change the world today.

— From your friends at AJWS

Around the World


Meet the Kenyan LGBTQI+ Activists Fighting Fear with Joy

The LGBTQI+ rights movement in Kenya is fighting to stop the harassment, stigma and criminalization that destroys lives. On the front lines are the lawyers, social workers, psychologists and activists of National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), an AJWS partner organization whose work touches every facet of LGBTQI+ life. From advocating against discriminatory laws to defending people abused by police, NGLHRC is there. And as they fight, they are also building a joyous, inclusive and caring community. Meet four of the activists fighting fear with joy.

Defending El Salvador’s Mangroves and Building Environmental Consciousness

Along El Salvador’s coast, fishing communities rely on mangrove ecosystems for their livelihood, and to protect local communities from being pummeled by annual hurricanes. So when this critical ecosystem came under attack by the sugarcane industry, AJWS grantee Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña (UNES) stood up to say: “No more.” Read about this ongoing fight for the rights of local fishing communities and the survival of an essential ecosystem.

Village vs. Coal Mine: Defending a Sacred Forest in Thailand

This piece will transport you to Kaboe Din, a small village in Northern Thailand where, with the support of AJWS grantee Center for Protection and Revival of Local Community Rights (CPCR), villagers are bravely fighting against the construction of a coal mine in their backyard. You’ll learn how CPCR is learning from the Kaboe Din case to educate other communities to stand up for their rights, building an Indigenous movement that will not give up their fight.

Take Action with AJWS

Around the world, LGBTQI+ communities face violence, discrimination and even jail time or the death penalty simply because of who they are or whom they love. With the Global Respect Act, the United States can send a powerful message to world leaders who violate human rights that LGBTQI+ discrimination will not be tolerated — and that they’ll be held accountable for their atrocities. The bill would prevent those who violate the human rights of LGBTQI+ people from entry into the U.S., impose sanctions against them and do more to track attacks on LGBTQI+ rights. Take a moment to sign AJWS’s open letter urging the Senate to introduce and pass this important bill.

Take Action