Humanitarian News Update

BIG CHEER FOR THESE LADIES, LET’S HELP THEM IN THEIR EFFORTS AT KICKING CANCER

About 136 former cheerleaders got together to do a dance routine to benefit “Susan G. Komen for the Cure” (Breast Cancer). Each time someone views the video, United Healthcare will make a $.10 donation to the Komen organization. Their goal is to get a million hits, which will lead to $100K raised.

Please can you take a moment to watch the video – and, just as important, pass this link onto your network of friends, family and colleagues? It benefits a very important cause!

Thanks for helping!

www.KomenPhiladelphia.org/Video

PRIOR HIGHLIGHTS:

Helping girls, after all, why not?

GlobalGiving

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ANNOUNCEMENT: JUNE 22ND

Ms. Shelley Seale to appear, The Weight of Silence

Do not miss this opportunity to be a part of the change.

________________________

WELCOME.  IT IS OCTOBER, 2008.  WE ASK YOU TO SUBMIT YOUR STORIES, VIA EMAIL OR POST, AND WE WILL BE HAPPY TO INCORPORATE SAME HERE, EITHER ON THIS PAGE OR ON THE MAIN POSTS.  DON’T BE SHY.


February 12, 2008

Tonight I look at what I call the “good news”. The news of others reaching out, not because they have to, but because they do. They simply “do”.

What’s the difference between those that do and those that don’t? (Never mind, it’s rhetorical).

Anyway, there is a blog I have been visiting, the woman’s name is Shelley Seale .

Here is just a piece, a slight excerpt:

“The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India

Amidst the growing prosperity of India, there is an entire generation of parentless children growing up. They are everywhere. They fill the streets, the railway stations, the shanty villages. Some scrounge through trash for newspapers, rags or anything they can sell at traffic intersections. Others, often as young as two or three years old, beg. Many are homeless, overflowing orphanages and other institutional homes to live on the streets where they are extremely vulnerable to being trafficked into child labor if they’re lucky, brothels if they’re not. These children are shunned by society and left to fend for themselves. They are a generation being denied its rights, hopes, and aspirations. Their plight goes virtually unnoticed; their voices silenced.

Little did I know how much they would change my life.”

(quoted materials taken from Shelley Seale’s site: The Weight of Silence).

See I go to this site and I read and I find silence enveloping me which is odd as she speaks of “the weight of silence”.

I tell you tonight, she is helping children on such a magnificant scale, I ask only that you take a moment when Life allows you and go look.

Namaste.

December 2007 Update:

Foster Mom cares for 100 Children

If you have ever had 5 – 7 children in your home for longer than a 24 hour period, you would throw your hat off to anyone that has provided a home, love and security to child after child after child.

I have no words to add to this great spirit.

August 21, 2007: Peruvian Hearts

CNN highlighted a story of a young girl who went back to Peru, eleven years after her adoption. What she saw there, inspired her to start an organization called Peruvian Hearts to assist the children.

I often think about how the world would be if we could continue to see through the eyes of children. I also wonder, what would happen if we all lived through our hearts like this young girl?

CNN reports:

(CNN) — Ana Dodson was 11 years old when she returned to her native Peru for the first time since she was adopted as an infant.


art.reading.jpg


According to the Dodsons, the girls at the orphanage are flourishing; they love to show off their favorite books and read aloud.

She and her mother, Judi Dodson, were overwhelmed by what they found at an orphanage near where Ana was born: tattered clothing, a lack of resources, bleak conditions — and the unexpected response of the girls they met.

“[They] streamed out smiling and laughing. Once we went inside, they sang and danced for us,” Judi Dodson said. “We thought they did this for all their visitors, but soon we discovered we were the only visitors the children ever had.”

In Peru, 3.8 million people live in extreme poverty, on less than $1 a day — 2.1 million of them children, according to UNICEF.

Worried that Ana would be upset by the poverty she saw, her mother took the advice of their tour guides and packed teddy bears and books to hand out when they arrived at orphanages they planned to visit. “I thought it would help her to have a job to do,” Dodson said.

Ana wanted to see an orphanage in the hills of Cuzco, her birthplace. There, she distributed the books and stuffed animals, hoping they might provide comfort. Video Watch Ana’s return to Peru »

“There was this one girl, Gloria, who came up to me, and she said, ‘Ana, I know that you’ll never forget me. And I know that one day you’ll help us.’

“Seeing the children that day and listening to what Gloria said really moved me,” Ana said. “I knew I had to do something to make her wish come true.”

Back in her home of Evergreen, Colorado, Ana began collecting school supplies and contacting the local Rotary Club for help in gathering bigger donations to send more items back to Peru.

With the help of her parents, she turned her conviction into a nonprofit organization called Peruvian Hearts to support the small orphanage they had visited, Hogar de Mercedes de Jesus Molina.

“When we asked the orphanage who was aiding them financially, they said no one,” Judi Dodson said.

In three years, Peruvian Hearts has raised close to $40,000 to support the orphanage, sending vitamins, books and clothes, providing three meals a day and paying for a tutor.

The organization also sends a monthly stipend for fuel and wood, and is in the process of helping the orphanage build a new kitchen. It secured a guard and security dog to protect the girls, and sometimes sends money for chickens and cows.

According to the Dodsons, the girls at Hogar de Mercedes are flourishing. They love to show off their favorite books and read aloud. They are clean, well-fed and healthy.

One girl is expected to attend college next year with the help of a scholarship fund Ana set up with prize money she received for community service. Ana has named the fund Maria’s Gift, after her birth mother, who had no education.

“There are 19 children right now,” Ana said. “The change that I’ve seen in them is amazing. One girl said, ‘We are now getting fat because of the vitamins.’

“This orphanage is to the point where these girls can dream.” Watch Ana discuss Peruvian Hearts Video

When not packing up books and toys for shipment, Ana, now 15, travels to towns and cities across the United States, spreading the word about the status of orphanages in Peru.

She has been invited to speak at the United Nations in September as part of the Stop Child Poverty campaign, and Peruvian Hearts is looking for additional orphanages to support.

Grateful for her opportunities in the United States, Ana promises to keep working to gain opportunity and education for the Peruvian children most in need. How to help: Peruvian Hearts

“If my parents hadn’t adopted me, I would have probably either been on the streets or in an orphanage,” Ana said. “I could have been one of [those] girls. I am so lucky to be here.”

______________________________

August 2007:

Thanks to Ronnie over at Workcoach and OutofmyHead, I have learned of the organization called Global Angels.

What follows is a brief excerpt from the homepage. I encourage you to visit and read more. I have just begun to learn and am still checking out the organization but am amazed at the innovative ideas they have, ranging from sponsoring the smallest items for a very, very low donation, to hosting gatherings to help raise funds, etc. You really need to check out all of the different pages to understand how comprehensive this organization appears to be:

Global Angels is an innovative international children’s charity championing the needs of children around the world.

We have an ambitious vision to inspire millions of people from all walks of life and spheres of influence to put their compassion into action and
become ‘Angels’.

We will be hosting an on-going series of high
profile creative Global Angels concerts, events
and television programs. Funds raised will support established, long-term development projects that
are making a significant impact in the lives of children. Projects are being selected from the UK and every country across the globe.

Global Angels promises that for every pound that we receive directly from public donation, that pound will
go directly to support projects at a grass-roots level.”

_____________________________

June 25, 2007: Featuring: The Nest




Nest in the St. Louis Post Dispatch


Check out our recent press: St. Louis Post Dispatch

Nanny helps artisans in developing nations

WRITTEN BY DEBRA D. BASS — PD FASHION EDITOR


05/05/2007


The name has all the comfort and serenity of a security blanket, but the thriving social enterprise behind Nest marries commerce and social consciousness. Nest is an Internet venture found at buildanest.com. The worldwide small business loan program operated by a nanny in the Central West End is as ambitious as it is unlikely.

Rebecca Kousky graduated with a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in May 2006. Two weeks later, she founded a program to fund modest loans for women artisans in developing countries. She solicited female artists, fashion and graphic designers to sell their goods on her website and donate a portion of the proceeds to her loan program. The recipients of the loans can either make monetary repayments or pay with the goods they produce, which are then sold on buildanest.com. The proceeds are then recycled into more loans.

The site was launched on Aug. 31, and Kousky immediately began scouting loan candidates in far-flung countries. She has yet to draw a salary from Nest and has no plans of leaving her day job with the Siwak family. Stacy Siwak, the mother, is on her board of directors. Kousky has been with the family for about three years and tends to three children: Sam, 4; Ben, 2; and Molly, born in February.

For now, Nest is an avocation.

In addition to its online marketplace, Nest has a partner campaign called Shop to Save the World, modeled on the highly successful pink ribbon breast cancer campaign. Rather than design merchandise exclusively for the Nest line, artists and designers participating in Save the World designate a product in their existing line for Nest and donate 15 to 25 percent of the proceeds from the sale of that item for loans.

Who received your first loan?

A woman named Meral Tuncer, who lives in Izmit, Turkey. She received a Nest microfinance loan for her jewelry business. With a $500 loan, she was able to purchase higher-quality stones and beads that will allow her to reach a new clientele at the local bazaar. She eventually wants to open her
own store.

Why loans?

The choice of giving loans, as opposed to other forms of charitable giving, was intentional. By requiring that Meral be intimately involved in the process — from deciding how much to ask for (creating a business plan), what to use it for, the method and time frame for repayment, and actually being responsible for the repayment — Nest’s microcredit loans encourage active participation in each step of the process and encourage self-sustainability.

How many women have you helped so far?


We have made 45 loans to date (some as small as $50).

Tell us about some of the loans.

We assisted a collective of women in the Congo who make both traditional and contemporary clothing and sell it in their local markets. We have also enabled several women potters in Mexico to purchase new lead-free and fuel-efficient kilns. Traditional Mexican potters generally work in family groups, and there are clear distinctions between each family’s workshop, in style, technique and forms, which are passed down through the family. Nest is helping an organization, Barro Sin Plamo, grow family businesses so that these families can employ more members.

Why do you think impoverished women need this help more so than men?

It is not that I believe women deserve loans more than men. Rather, there were specific ideas, beliefs and research that led to our mission of working specifically with women. Women are more likely to both repay their loans and devote their earnings to assisting the family. Furthermore, when women are given the opportunity to earn an income, their life improves, resulting in more stable families and communities.

What inspired you to take on such an ambitious project?

In 2002, I worked with Mayan Indian women in Chiapas, Mexico, on agricultural techniques to help them become financially independent. In 2004, I traveled to Delhi, India, to volunteer with a program providing education and training to children and adults afflicted with polio. I saw firsthand the plight of women who face hardships complicated by lower levels of education, lower social status, and talents and abilities that do not always translate into productive employment. I created Nest to fill an unoccupied niche. Because our loan monies are repaid, Nest has created a revolving loan fund.”

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June 2007: Superheroes in Northern Ireland helping children

Six super heroes swept into Belfast today to help launch a unique new comic aimed at promoting and defending the rights of young children.

They joined Junior Ministers Gerry Kelly and Ian Paisley Jnr at the headquarters of the play agency, PlayBoard, to unveil the “Super Six” comic to a group of primary school children.

Herbie Healthy, Sophie Safe, Archie Achiever, Emer the Eco Girl, Donna Does-a-lot and Rory Rights will use their super powers to help in the fight to secure a better society for children and ensure their needs are kept at the heart of government and the community.

Speaking at the event, Mr Kelly said: “Launching this comic demonstrates that the welfare of our children is a key priority for the Executive. We want them to know we value them, we are listening to them, and we are doing all we can to improve not only their quality of life but their life experiences.

Junior Ministers, Ian Paisley Jnr and Gerry Kelly, were joined by pupils from Belfast schools, who were keen to meet the six superheroes unveiled at the launch of a children’s comic. The children from Hazelwood Integrated PS, Good Shepherd PS and Penrhyn PS heard about how the characters represent the Executive’s commitment to their welfare and rights.

“The comic, and its super heroes, is an excellent way of engaging with primary school-aged children and to let them know how government is working for them.”

The six super heroes, who were named by local children, were inspired by the six themes of the ten-year strategy for Children and Young People, which was launched last year. The themes are: health, learning, achievement and enjoyment, contributing positively to society and community, safety, economic and environmental well-being and respect for the rights of children and young people. The strategy has been specially translated into the comic with the help of local school children and international storyteller and children’s author Liz Weir.

Mr Paisley jnr said:”Our desire is to give our children the best possible start in life. To help them reach their full potential by growing into confident and capable young people who make a positive contribution to our society.

“We believe children will relate well to the comic and its super hero characters. It’s not always easy explaining these issues to younger children but I believe the comic will succeed in getting the messages across in a fun way.”

The event was attended by children from five local schools, some of whom had worked on the development of the comic. The comic will now be distributed to every primary school-aged child, including copies in Irish for Irish Medium schools. Liz Weir has recorded a voice-over for blind and partially sighted children for the web version of the comic which is available on the www.allchildrenni.gov.uk website.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The two junior Ministers have responsibility for the co-ordination of policy for children and young people.
  2. A teachers’ guide will be available to download on the website: www.allchildrenni.gov.uk. Comics will be delivered to schools before the end of the school year.
  3. Media enquiries to Joe Livingston, OFMDFM Press Office, 028 9037 8177, mobile 07920 187938.”

May – June 2007:

Imagine…first, how hard it is to come up with twenty thousand dollars. Then imagine, the pain you go through, the people around you, society, your family, your alleged friends…adopting a child from another culture…and then imagine..what the birth mother says: thank you for sharing my burden. Not that the children are a burden, but the futility of being a loving parent, rowing against the odds…that is the burden…and someone comes in and gives you a hand…and hopefully…rights the imbalance in the world for your kids.

There is much to say about adoption…for or against…I prefer to believe only in the non-boundaries of true love of humanity.

Check out this New York Times Article: Ethiopia

April 15, 2007

Many times we hear, if the world were run by women, there would be no wars.

This morning we came across a site, and lo and behold, the tag reads:

Mothers Fighting For Others

“Just Imagine What An Army Of Inspired Mother’s Could Do”

Looks like the author is doing more than just imagining and is taking action. I captured just a few of her words, I could not have expressed that emotion any better, the one that grabs you and you don’t know what to do, but know you must do something. Read her words:

“I cannot just sit back and do nothing. These are our children, our mothers and fathers, our sisters, and our brothers going through this. Just because they live on the other side of the world, does not mean they are not one of us. Like I said, they are our children, our mothers and fathers, our sisters, and our brothers. I know that I cannot save the world all by myself. But if I can make a difference in one life, a family, or even a village I have done something.

I will not be a person that does nothing. Will You?”

Head Mutha Signature

*******

Week of March 12, 2007: The Fight for rights of Women and young girls in Pakistan & Angelina Jolie on Refuees and Fame

Pakistan’s Women and Girls…
We have featured on this blog a link to Three Cups of Tea.

Three Cups of Tea, simply put, is one man’s, Greg Mortenson’s, conception of an idea to bring schools to the children of Pakistan in remote regions. Our conception of remote does not begin to explain the areas he travelled, but you should read the book to fully understand. The idea was to empower the people of Pakistan, the children, from the ground up, in an effort to provide them choices in the years ahead, a grass-roots fight against the planting of militancy.

This morning, on NPR, an edition of BBC World News, aired a report about women in Pakistan and rape. By women I mean young girls.

Traded, bartered, sold, to the victor goes the spoils. Since when does “spoils” mean the greatest untapped resource of humanity, innocent children?

We sit here, day after day, parallel worlds, there is no need to read science fiction or Toltec learnings to believe that parallel worlds exist. They do. I am safe at my laptop in America. Maybe down the road there is someone in pain or need and I don’t know. Worse yet, if I did know, would I do anything, would I even know what to do?

At a minimum, we can educate ourselves as to what is going on, filter through different news accounts, and arrive at our own truth. If the most we can give is a penny, even that can help as is demonstrated by Pennies For Peace.

In a world where a Muslim cleric can ask in the case of rape who is at fault, the cat or the uncovered meat, many of us will feel outrage and disgust, but worse, we may feel defeated, that there is nothing that can be done. How do you change that mindset, that fundamental belief on the nature of women? Of women and girls as disposable property? Where to begin?

Selected articles:
BBC WorldNews

BBC World News on Rape Victim’s Blog

Reuters Alert Net
Christian Science Monitor

CBC News

Angelina Jolie on Refugees and the Impact of Fame……….

What is Charity?

Is Charity giving to help yourself, assauge an ego?

Is Charity taking away from the one you help because you rob them of hope to improve life and instead give them a substitute?

Can charity remain undefined and occur anyway? Does it matter?

We ask this question a lot, does it truly matter the main motivation of charity is so long as damage does not result from that charitable act?

Actress/humanitarian Angelina Jolie is featured (again) on MSNBC online/Newsweek World News.. A link to the MSNBC articles and photos may be found below.

We have read news in the past or shall we say gossip, where she is knocked, her actions are interpreted by armchair generals, every negative word may be attributed to her possible motivation to travel the world and attempt to help others on a global scale.

Does it matter what her motivation is, if the result is the same?

Suppose the motivation is as simple as an open heart?

Do we then really need to define anything or instead find ways ourselves to help?

It would be nice to get the formula right, the one that would rid the need for humanitarian efforts, the realization of enlightenment, until then……………

Source: MSNBC & Ms. Jolie

See also this week’s feature on “Get Out of the Box!”…featuring a “new” approach to fighting famine

I invite you all to visit our commercial site, http://SurfaceEarth.com , where we share our space on the web with creative thinkers across the surface of the earth.

16 thoughts on “Humanitarian News Update

  1. Pingback: Ethiopia & Children « Surface Earth: expansion of humanity via the virtual earth

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  6. Thank you so much for featuring my blog and so many other inspiring stories. The stories on my blog do not belong to me, and it’s not about my voice. It is the forum for the strong voices and stories of many courageous, beautiful and inspiring children of India.
    Thank you, peace, and many blessings!
    Namaste,
    Shelley Seale

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  16. Pingback: Kick it out, watch these women rock it to help others! « Surface Earth

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