The Action Thread Part Two

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FAITH Joseph lost 17 family members to Ebola. But his faith and education are helping him help others.


March 21 2017  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
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Written by Arthur Rasco, director of the new documentary, ‘Facing Darkness.’ Photos courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.

It was 2:15 a.m. In the darkness, Joseph Gbembo ran as he pushed a wheelbarrow down the dirt roads of Foya, Liberia, to go get his brother, Prince, who had been vomiting all night. Prince had been at his pastor’s home, but had become too ill for his pastor to care for him. Something needed to be done. Joseph rushed to get to his brother before it was too late.

But Joseph feared the worst. It was spring 2014, and Ebola had been appearing in this small town that bordered Sierra Leone and Guinea where the virus was already spreading like wildfire. Cases were already in Liberia, and three of Joseph’s loved ones had died from the disease.

The deadly Ebola virus preyed on families. This virus turned a culture of family, love, and life upside down. This invisible adversary destroyed entire generations in a country where the notion of family is so highly esteemed. When loved ones tried to care for family members dying from Ebola, they unknowingly exposed themselves to this highly contagious, fatal disease.


Joseph visits the grave markers of the family members he lost during Liberia’s Ebola epidemic.

Funerals also played a huge role in spreading the virus as people would wash and groom the bodies of the deceased— which in our Western mindsets might seem largely inappropriate and unsanitary, but in Liberian culture is expected. In those early days of the epidemic, as many as thousands of people acquired the disease through funeral practices.

As the disease spread, however, so did denial. Many of Joseph’s family believed that Ebola wasn’t real. Some believed that if they took you to the hospital, they killed you there. As the youngest in his family, it was difficult for Joseph to argue with his older siblings and family members. But he had been working with Christian relief agency Samaritan’s Purse and they were doing public education about the virus, what it was, and how it spread.

Now under the cover of night, Joseph was facing the reality of Ebola, and he was running. Joseph knew he couldn’t carry his brother himself, nor should he should even touch him. A wheelbarrow was all that he could find to get to Prince as quickly as possible. Joseph covered his hands and got Prince into the wheelbarrow, ready to take him to the hospital. But a relative stopped Joseph and said not to take him to the hospital, that they must take him home. And that’s what they did. Fifteen hours later, Joseph’s beloved brother, Prince Gbembo, died.


Joseph sits in the home where his family used to live.

Joseph would go on to see seventeen members of his family pass away from Ebola: His mother, his aunt who helped raise him, four brothers, a sister, three nephews, two of his sisters-in -law, three other aunts, a brother-in-law, and his uncle.

I met Joseph in 2015 when I traveled to Liberia to shoot for a new film by Samaritan’s Purse called Facing Darkness, which tells the story of the ministry’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Joseph’s story was extreme, but it was also illustrative of the issues facing Liberia through that very difficult time. The epidemic seemed so far and distant from the Western world, and yet here was a young man in his twenties who is left to say to me that he faces “pain over pain, pain over pain.” He said in an interview for Facing Darkness, “It’s just better that God would take us all as one than for me to live alone in the family.” I have to confess I didn’t know how to comprehend his grief.

He took me around his home. It was a small, mud-brick apartment compound, where several of his family members used to live. He took me into one small room. No lights. No electricity that I could tell. Only daylight streaming in from the window. Speaking about Prince, Joseph pointed down at the floor and said, “At the hour of 7:35 p.m., he died right in the room here. I miss him so much.”

Later he took me to an Ebola cemetery outside of Foya where several of his relatives were buried. At the time, it was overgrown with grass, and the weeds were waist high. It was hard to see the hand-painted wooden burial markers. It was sobering. Later that year, Samaritan’s Purse took on the task of creating a formal cemetery at this site complete with engraved headstones, giving deference to those buried there.

Joseph Gbembo credits Samaritan’s Purse for saving his life and educating him about Ebola. He told me that God “didn’t make a mistake by sending Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. It’s really for the purpose to save life.” In Facing Darkness, I tried to subtly weave in the premise that fear leads to death, but courage leads to life. And I think that Joseph embodies that notion well: In the face of danger, because of the education he had, Joseph could be courageous, help people and stay alive.


Joseph with 12 of the 16 young relatives he now cares for.

The story of Joseph is tragic, but also has the most beautiful epilogue. As our team was interviewing him for the film, I could tell he was struggling with the conflicting emotions of sadness and hope. At one point he said, “I just take everything to God, let Him take control.” Joseph could see that God was using him, the youngest sibling in his family, to take care of all the children of his late family members who had died from Ebola.

We stopped the interview to ask him, “How many?”

“There are sixteen,” he told us.

This young man was now caring for sixteen of his nieces, nephews, and cousins who had nowhere to go because their parents had died. This is his new legacy: Sixteen faces that smile and laugh with joy now that the epidemic is over. Sixteen bundles of energy and happiness.

Ebola has transformed lives all across West Africa and continues to do so. I have often shared that the Ebola crisis wasn’t just three years ago. For people like Joseph who continue to live with the realities of the epidemic, it was yesterday.

Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian International Relief organization. (Learn more here.) Its documentary on Ebola, Facing Darkness, will be in select theaters on March 30.

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REFUGEES “Strong women cannot be shaken”: South Sudan’s refugee sisterhood


March 14 2017  | By: REFUGEES DEEPLY
JOIN Join the fight against extreme poverty

This piece, written by Angela Wells with photos by Rachel Reed, is part of a reporting partnership between ONE and Refugees Deeply.

BOROLI SETTLEMENT, UGANDA – Opia Joyce is raising 14 children, both her own and those of her dead brother. She is also the leader of a community group of three dozen women, all South Sudanese refugees in Uganda like herself.

She counsels them when they are in distress, advocates on their behalf to humanitarian groups working with refugees in Uganda and finds foster parents for abandoned children.

Joyce is a women’s affairs leader in Boroli, one of 18 refugee settlements in Uganda’s Adjumani district. She was born in South Sudan, but her father brought the family to Uganda shortly after she was born to prevent her from having a childhood overshadowed by war. She stayed in Uganda for 21 years before going home to South Sudan in 2011. But after two years, when peace did not last, Joyce returned to Uganda.

In January last year, Joyce was appointed by women in the camp to lead the community group. “They chose me because they’ve seen that I have so many children in the house and I’m able to take care of them,” Joyce said. “When I speak to them, it makes a lot of sense because of the responsibility I have at home.”


Politically motivated conflict that erupted in December 2013 caused the bulk of refugees to flee South Sudan in recent years. Such reports have been confirmed by the United Nations, with warnings of a Rwanda-type genocide in the making.

Nearly 700,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighboring Uganda in the past three years. The majority are women and children.

Most of them lost the men in their lives to war – the husbands, fathers or brothers who traditionally provide for families. The women are now joining together to build a different kind of support system, fighting for peace instead of power or resources.

Throughout Uganda’s refugee settlements, women leaders volunteer in makeshift schools, teaching children the alphabet under trees for free. They share food with their neighbors, care for each other’s children and lead focus groups to hear grievances and then bring them to NGOs.


In addition to raising 14 children, Opia Joyce is the women’s affairs leader in Boroli.

“Women bring peace among themselves. If you have a sick neighbor you take [her] to the hospital, or even if she is not sick, you go greet [her] and ask how [she] slept. If a group meeting is planned, then we all go together. If there’s a problem at your neighbor’s place, you must go and help resolve it. This is what brings peace among women,” said Susan Agull, a South Sudanese refugee who fled to northern Uganda.

Uganda is one of the most welcoming countries in the world for refugees, allowing refugees to settle on donated land and enjoy employment rights and freedom of movement.

“We see the human worth of refugees,” said a Ugandan official from the Office of the Prime Minister in Adjumani district. “Many of us were refugees ourselves [during Uganda’s civil war] so we will do whatever is humanly possible to help.”

But the large numbers arriving from South Sudan are testing the limits of what is possible. Uganda’s refugee policy is designed to help refugees become self-reliant, but in reality many are hungry and so are their children. Drought during the last growing season led to failed harvests, and food rations last year were cut in half for many refugees. More people keep arriving in Uganda while calls for funding from the international community go unanswered.

“Hunger is our biggest problem,” Fatuma Nasu, a South Sudanese refugee in her 50s, told a meeting of Joyce’s community group in Boroli last November. “If your family has 10 people, you will receive enough food for six. We received rations just three days ago and [mine] are already gone. Women are in the worst situation. We do not have any power.”

Women often now rely on each other more than they can on foreign aid or humanitarian support.

  • 10.-Dak-Nyabol-9-kids-Malakal-600x400.jpDak Nyabol from Malakal has nine children. “If women want to become good in this world, just like we are seated as neighbors, let us love each other. Even for example, a Ugandan woman is my neighbor, I would love her like my sister. And we respect each other. That is what brings peace.”
Alice Yangi from Eastern Equatoria has 12 children. "Women can bring peace in this world by educating those who are ignorant about peace. If you know what peace is, you go and tell others how peace can change someone’s life.". Susan Agull from Juba has six children. “Women bring peace among themselves.”.Current Slide Zaria Zubair is from South Kordofan. “Women can change the world through respect. If you have personal respect, the community respects you and it proceeds to the whole world. Then it’s also how we conduct ourselves in the community. Because once the community is positive about you, everything will be positive.”.Current Slide Mary Akwer from Jonglei has ten children. “If there’s no peace in your heart, it means you won’t stay in peace. There must be peace in your heart.”.Current Slide Akway from Jonglei has six children. “When women are seated together and you have something in your hand, you must divide it among yourselves. And then later when a sister of yours gets something she will also share with you like you shared with her. That is how peace comes among people who are staying in one place.”.Current Slide Dak Nyabol from Malakal has nine children. “If women want to become good in this world, just like we are seated as neighbors, let us love each other. Even for example, a Ugandan woman is my neighbor, I would love her like my sister. And we respect each other. That is what brings peace.”.Current SlideCurrent Slide Atior Sham from Jonglei has seven children. “What brings peace amongst women – when the children of your neighbor are hungry, you give them something to eat just as you give to your children. You take care of your neighbors’ children just like your own children, don’t differentiate … Good deeds are the ones that bring peace.”.Current Slide Rose Poni from Lowa has three children. "Women, they bring a lot of change in this world. Give back to your grandchildren so they also can bring peace to the family and the community. Take care of the sick, whether it’s a relative or not, and take her to the nearby health center to get treatment.”.Current Slide Awadia Julu from Jonglei has nine children. “A woman, if she is determined to bring peace, she will start it in the house, and once she goes outside she will spread peace to other people. If a woman lives with love, peace will come. You love your neighbor as yourself. You will love your other sister like you love yourself. If your sister does not have something and you have it, you take it and give it to your sister. This is how love and peace starts.”.Current SlidePrevious Slide◀︎Next Slide▶︎

“These women have energy. They’re the ones who take all responsibility of the house,” Joyce said. “They work together, which is good because it increases their knowledge. Even if you do not have experience in something, when you gather together [you learn] something that you didn’t know.”

Joyce is called on to support women coping with the harrowing fallout of the war and their subsequent displacement. She says one woman committed suicide in Boroli and another two women attempted to hang themselves in recent months. Some widows give in to pressure to marry again, but, according to Joyce, their new husbands do not treat them well and refuse to take care of their children.

“Sometimes women feel their only option is to go home to the war and die there because of the hardships here,” she added.

In late February, the U.N. declared a famine in parts of South Sudan, and refugee women and their families continue to travel to Uganda in an effort to survive.

Joyce’s work is to band the women together and help them persevere, despite food ration cuts and limited aid. “Women who are strong, cannot be shaken,” Joyce said. “The good thing is that God created me as a woman.”

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TECHNOLOGY Why we need to connect every classroom


April 6 2017  | By: KAAVYA RAMESH
ADD YOUR NAME Create an internet for everyone

Imagine trying to do homework without being able to access the information necessary to do it.

If a student in, say, the United States were asked to write a paper about the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, they would likely readily be able to access a wealth of information at their fingertips using the internet. They could go to Wikipedia for the basics, find in-depth articles using Google Scholar, collaborate with other students via Facebook Messenger, or watch demo videos on YouTube. And just think about the huge amount of resources available online for their teachers!

But for millions of students and teachers — including 75% of all people in Africa — readily available internet access is not a reality. In most of Sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than half of schools in each country have internet access, according to recent data from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Inclusive Internet Index (commissioned by Facebook). For example, in Senegal, only 5% of schools have internet access, and, in Ethiopia, that number is only 2%.


Students at Nsaba Diaspora Community Senior High School (NDCSHS) in the village of Obodan, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. (Photo credit: Morgana Wingard/ONE)

Internet access could be a game changer for education in the world’s poorest countries. Here are our top three reasons for why we need to connect every classroom:

1. Improving literacy: In many sub-Saharan African countries, more internet access is often tied to higher literacy rates. For example, in Mali, where 10.7% of schools have internet access, the adult literacy rate is only 33%. Conversely, in Seychelles, where 75.2% of schools have internet access, they boast a 95.3% adult literacy rate.

2. Closing the internet gender gap: Right now, women in poor countries are almost a third less likely to be connected than men, and the gap is growing. Connecting classrooms can help close that gap, because as the Inclusive Internet Index indicates, for some girls, school is the only place they’re able to get online. Check out the chart below, which shows the correlation between the gender gap and connected schools:


(Data from The Economist and Facebook Inclusive Internet Index)

3. Increasing educational attainment: The internet can open up a world of knowledge and opportunity, from ebooks and lesson plans to connecting with colleges and job opportunities. As a result, the Inclusive Internet Index suggests that where more schools are connected, students tend to stay in school longer. For example, in Angola, where only 31.1% of schools have internet access, people complete, on average, 4.7 years of school. Compare that to Algeria, where 53% of schools have internet access and students finish, on average, 7.6 years of school.

Internet access could unleash the potential of millions of students. Take action now to connect every classroom and achieve a connected world.

Create an internet for everyone

I believe internet access is essential for achieving humanity’s potential.The internet is critical to sharing new ideas, fighting injustice, and helping create new jobs – with it people can achieve extraordinary things.But, over half the people on this planet don’t have access, especially women and girls.The internet belongs to everyone.It should be accessible by everyone. I call on leaders and innovators from all countries, industries and communities to make universal internet access a reality.



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FOOD AND NUTRITION More than 20 million people will endure famine in the coming months


April 4 2017  | By: GLOBAL CITIZEN
BUDGET ACTION TEAM The President's proposed budget cuts would drastically cut food aid in the middle of a famine.

Now more than ever, every senator and representative should hear from constituents like YOU about the importance of funding life-saving programs.


This story by James O’Hare was originally published on Global Citizen.

The world has three or four months to save millions of people in Somalia and Yemen from starvation, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Combined with the food crises in northeast Nigeria and South Sudan, more than 20 million people will endure famine in the coming months.


Women and children who arrived in Kenya from Somalia fleeing drought and conflict in 2011. (Photo credit: Oxfam East Africa/Wikimedia Commons)

“We have probably a window of three to four months to avoid a worst case scenario,” Dominik Stillhart, ICRC director of operations, said at a news conference in Geneva.

“We have a kind of perfect storm where protracted conflict is overlapped, exacerbated by natural hazard, drought in particular in the Horn of Africa that is leading to the situation we are facing now,” he said.

Somalia is facing its third famine in a quarter of a century. The last one, in 2011, claimed 260,000 lives. Drought has also caused crop failures while attacks from the militant group al-Shabaab keeps the nation in political turmoil. More than 6.2 million people urgently need humanitarian aid.

Civil war has ravaged Yemen since 2015. According to the United Nations, 3.3 million people, including 2.1 million children are acutely malnourished. Continued airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition, including the United States, has devastated the country’s infrastructure and displaced 3 million people from their homes.

The UN officially declared a famine in South Sudan which is experiencing its own civil war. In Nigeria, 120,000 people face famine in the Boko Haram-controlled northeast.

The ICRC has received $100 million to address the crises in all four countries but says it needs $400 million more.

Even if funding needs are met, the agency recognizes solutions will be short-term.


A landscape in Somalia. (Photo credit: Vladimir Lysenko/Wikimedia Commons)

“No amount of aid money will overcome political obstructionism and a failure to abide by the norms of warfare,” Stillhart said. “Ultimately, in these countries, famine is a by-product. […] It’s the conflict that renders agricultural land unusable, that forces people to flee their homes, and that destroys hospitals and other vital services.”

“Humanitarian access cannot be a bargaining chip,” added Robert Mardini, ICRC’s Middle East director. “To prevent famine, immediate action is needed.”



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GIRLS AND WOMEN Malala receives highest U.N. honour to promote girls education


11 April 2017 11:42AM UTC  | By: GUEST BLOGGER

130 million girls don’t have access to an education. So we’re asking the world to count them, one by one.


This story originally appeared on Thomson Reuters Foundation.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai a U.N. Messenger of Peace on Monday (April 10 2017) to promote girls education, more than four years after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on her school bus in 2012.

At 19, Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honour given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years. She was also the youngest person to win the Nobel peace prize in 2014 when she was 17.

“You are not only a hero, but you are a very committed and generous person,” Guterres told Yousafzai.

Other current Messengers of Peace include actor Leonardo di Caprio, for climate change, actor Charlize Theron, whose focus is prevention of HIV and elimination of violence against women, and actor Michael Douglas, whose focus is disarmament.

Yousafzai has become a regular speaker on the global stage and visited refugee camps in Rwanda and Kenya last July to highlight the plight of refugee girls from Burundi and Somalia.

The Pakistani education activist came to prominence when a Taliban gunman shot her in the head in 2012 as she was leaving school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, northwest of the country’s capital Islamabad. She was targeted for her campaign against efforts by the Taliban to deny women education.

“The extremists tried all their best to stop me, they tried to kill me and they didn’t succeed,” Yousafzai said on Monday. “Now this is a new life, this is a second life and it is for the purpose of education.”

She now lives in Britain, where she received medical treatment after she was shot. Yousafzai said that when she finishes secondary school in June, she would like to study philosophy, politics and economics at university.

If like Malala, you believe in the power of education, join our #GirlsCount campaign today!

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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MEMBERS IN ACTION Senators are back in their district offices today. Let’s make the phones ring off the hook.


April 11 2017  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN

Tell them your name, where you are calling from, and that you want the senator to oppose the President’s proposed budget cuts to foreign aid.


President Trump is trying to cut nearly one-third (!) of foreign aid funding. But he can’t do it alone; he needs Congress to approve the cuts. And with your senators back in your state today, we have a rare chance to throw a wrench in the President’s plans.

We need to make the district offices’ phones ring off the hook while the senators are back home. We’ll show our elected officials that the people they represent do NOT want these cuts. We’ll demonstrate that this pressure isn’t going away when they’re away from Capitol Hill.


Via Tenor.co

So will you call your local office today? Together we can make sure President Trump won’t have the votes to slash the foreign aid budget. It starts with a phone call. Here’s all you need to do:

1. Dial 1-888-869-8931 or click here
2. Tell the person that answers your name and where you’re from.
3. Tell them that you want the senator to protect the foreign assistance budget by rejecting President Trump’s suggested cuts.
4. Say thanks!

… and that’s it! It’s really that quick and that easy.


Via Tenor.co

These proposed budget cuts would drastically cut food aid for the most desperate people who are living in the middle of a famine, reduce the number of vulnerable children who will be able to access critical vaccination programs, and make life-saving HIV medications less available to those who need them most.

Each phone call will help stop President Trump’s dangerous proposed budget from being approved. We can make sure the life-saving programs that help lift people out of extreme poverty can keep running. So please call your senator while they’re back in town.


Via WiffleGif

ONE members are doing everything we can to make sure the budget doesn’t get approved — calling Congress weekly, writing our senators, tweeting representatives. It’s a mammoth effort, but it will be worth it when we protect foreign aid and save millions of lives.

Thanks for being part of it.



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The first in a series of stories we will share with you, in the run up to the inaugural United Nations "Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day', will be the story of Igor.

Igor, now 16, lives in Vesnova Children's Mental Asylum.

Igor is just one of thousands of children who were abandoned to bleak orphanages as babies. When CCI first found Igor, the conditions in which he lived where inhumane. His communications skills were almost non-existent and he was prone to biting, scratching and spitting. Igor has lived with huge physical impairment all his life.

Through CCI’s intervention Igor has been able to receive the love, care and attention he so desperately needed and deserved. A wheelchair specially adapted to Igor’s needs has given him mobility and freedom. Igor loves to listen to music - a DJ at heart!

Igor comes to Ireland twice a year as part of CCI’s Rest and Recuperation Programme to his host family Marie Cox in Castlebar. It’s Igor’s favourite time of the year and we are all looking forward to seeing his smiling face again this Summer.

#ChernobylForever #UNChernobylDay




Via Chernobyl Children International

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Wow - that is a lot of brass!

This afternoon at 3pm, the 100+ participants in BRASS OFF! will showcase their learning from the past three days at a free concert in CIT Cork School of Music. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis... Prepare to be blown away!

Congratulations to the teams at Music Generation MayoMusic Generation Carlow andMusic Generation Cork City, including the 15 professional musician-tutors involved, in bringing this multi-county big band together.






Via Music Generation

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Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Learn more








ADVOCACYCITIZENSHIP Sen. Chris Murphy Wants to Change How We Spend Foreign Aid


April 11, 2017

By Leanne Demery

screen_shot_2017-04-11_at_94033_am.png__Home gardens like this one are a key component in USAID-TAPP’s health and nutrition activities. The gardens give vulnerable households a chance to tackle malnutrition by introducing families to highly nutritious vegetables. Credit: USAID/Tanzania

Last week, President Trump launched a military strike in Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles — each costing $1.5 million.

President Trump’s skinny budget calls for a major increase of $54 billion in defense spending through major cuts in domestic spending, specifically in the state department and foreign aid.  

But Sen.Chris Murphy (D-CT) is proposing a radical alternative.

“President Trump’s medieval view of the world in which the US can protect itself with a big army and a bigger moat — it’s wrong and it’s dangerous…. Syria is just a big a mess today as it was Wednesday. The best investment in US national security isn’t another piece of military machinery… It’s making unstable places stable,” said Sen. Murphy at an event today.

Take Action: Sign the Petition to Stand for US Foreign Assistance

Murphy’s proposed new budget for international affairs seeks creative solutions to keep up with rising global instability and modern conflicts. The proposition essentially doubles foreign aid and is a present-day version of the Marshall Plan — the U.S. response to Europe recovering from WWII -— focusing on economic development in an attempt to prevent future conflict.

“A strong american military is still vital to guard against conventional security threats but the emerging threats to global stability exert influence that cannot be checked with military power alone,” he said while speaking at the Council for Foreign Relations.

Claiming that since 9/11 the U.S. international affairs strategy has been to beef up military assets (which doubled in the first decade of the 21st century), the “smart power” budget introduces three sustainable strategies for promoting global peace: economic development, greater diplomacy efforts and a robust humanitarian assistance.

Here’s a closer look at each:

Economic Development

Economic growth lifts people out of poverty, leads to more stable governments, promotes gender equality, and boosts employment and trade. It serves American national security, too. The 2016 Arab Youth Survey revealed that the main reason youth are attracted to join ISIS is due to lack of job opportunities. Investing in youth creates a pipeline for a productive workforce and good governance.

Read More: Why Cutting Foreign Aid Puts US National Security at Risk

But economic growth isn’t just about job creation. The budget also calls for an investment in global health programs. Health and economic development go hand in hand. Simply put, sicker communities work less. Exploited by poverty, health problems such as maternal mortality, neglected tropical diseases, and lack of vaccines pervade in too many countries.  Investing in health is key to breaking cycles of poverty.

The US has been a leader in health foreign assistance programs with President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) but Sen. Murphy’s budget increases funding for vaccines, treatment for neglected tropical diseases, and especially for family planning and reproductive health. This gives children opportunities to succeed from the beginning of life.

Boosts to family planning and reproductive health could decrease maternal mortality by a third. However, worldwide (and particularly in the Trump Administration) there is a lot of misconception about family planning — at its core, family planning  is having the right tools to raise a healthy family. It includes having a birth plan to get to a clinic for a woman in a rural village or appropriately spacing births, helping women plan how many children she has, and how frequently she has them. If a woman has too many children in a short amount of time, she is at a significantly higher risk of maternal mortality and complications during pregnancy. Proper family planning also relates to better nutrition outcomes and less economic strain. Investing in family planning is one of the “most successful and cost-effective paths to sustainable development.”

Greater Diplomacy Efforts

At the core of Sen. Murphy’s budget is a reaction to Trump’s proposed budget, which has too much emphasis on military spending which is an outdated strategy for global security. As an alternative, increasing cultural exchange programs, the number of Foreign Officers and the Peace Corps program will create more friends than adversaries.

Read More: Foreign Aid: Let’s Not Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater

Instead of showing American values through military presence, diplomacy highlights the best of what America has to offer such as smart economists, peaceful policymakers, and public health professionals. Peace Corps and USAID programs support education, economic development and health initiatives on the grassroots level. Foreign Officers work to develop relationships with other countries and build capacity of fragile states. By shifting increases in military personnel to increases in skilled peacemakers, the US invests in its own positive perceptions and influence.

Robust Humanitarian Assistance

As Global Citizens we know that we no longer live in an isolated world. Crises, whether they are natural or man-made, can have resounding detrimental consequences. In the past, emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak and the dramatic increase in refugees have been poorly planned for, so the Sen. Murphy budget proposes a savings account fund for a quick and effective emergency response. It also proposes that more funding be focused on the Syrian conflict with assistance for refugees. By addressing current conflicts and preparing for the future, it alleviates the burden of resource-poor countries taking on the brunt of current conflicts.

“Smart power” and strategic funding can have dramatic and long-lasting effects in the international community and for the world’s poor. Global Citizen supports the Sen. Murphy budget for its innovative approach to foreign affairs, instead of a heavy reliance on military actions. By doubling foreign aid through economic development, diplomacy and humanitarian assistance, these sustainable solutions for modern-day challenges make foreign aid #WorthThePenny. Join us in supporting Sen. Murphy’s budget by taking action to protect international funding.







Via Global Citizen

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Syrian astronaut turned refugee, the story of Muhammed Faris

By Megha Cherian | March 16, 2016

At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Muhammed Faris as just another one of the millions of Syrian refugees seeking asylum around the world. But there are a few distinctions that set him apart from most ordinary people.

Faris is the first, and only, Syrian astronaut and the second Arab to have been to space. Now living as a refugee in Turkey, he also happens to be the highest-ranking defector from the Assad regime.

Back in 1987, Faris, who is fluent in Russian, accompanied a Soviet crew on a trip to the Mir Space station, the largest satellite in orbit until 2001. He spent a week in space conducting experiments and taking photographs of Syria. 

Born of humble origins, Faris qualified as a pilot only two years before he beat out 60 other Syrian candidates at a training program in Moscow for allies of the Soviet Union.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter


 MR @cosmonau6

Crew of Interkosmos's fourth manned mission to Mir: Muhammad Faris, Aleksandr Viktorenko, and Aleksandr Aleksandrov

7:28 PM - 1 Mar 2016

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Faris’ days in space changed his perspective on life. “When you have seen the whole world through your window there is no us and them, no politics,” Faris told the Guardian.

Referred to as the “Neil Armstrong of the Arab world”, Faris became a national hero among Syrians when he returned to Earth. An airport, school, and streets were named after him.

Faris wanted to educate more Syrians in space and astronomy but the Syrian President at the time, Hafaz al-Assad (Bashar al-Assad's father), denied his request to create a national space science center to help other Syrians become astronauts.  Instead, he ended up training men to fly jet fighters at the Air Force college, rising to the rank of General.

After anti-government protests turned violent and the government started attacking civilians, Faris made the decision to flee the country 

Since then, nearly 500,000 Syrians have died in the conflict.

Faris has refused support from Russia and NGOs, whom he claims want to use him for their own political gains.

The 69 year old now resides in Istanbul’s Fatih or “Little Syria” with his wife and three children. He hasn’t given up on his dream of returning to his home of Aleppo, Syria one day.

He regularly consults with the Turkish government on refugee rights to help the nearly 3 million refugees that reside in Turkey. He is also a member of the Syrian National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, an anti-violence, anti-Assad group that meets in Spain.

“My dream is to sit in my country with my garden and see children play outside without the fear of bombs" said Faris.

Faris knows firsthand that an “us and them” mentality perpetuates conflict in Syria and other countries throughout the world and how innocent civilians end up suffering the most. From Istanbul, he continues to advocate for democratic change in Syria using “words, not weapons” in the hopes that future generations can experience the Syria he once knew.

“From afar, when the Earth was so small, I really felt in my heart I could make a big difference in the world. It has not been easy,” he said. 

Although Faris has been to outer space and back, dealing with the conflict in Syria and supporting fellow refugees has been his hardest mission yet.

TOPICSProfile, Muhammed Faris, Syrian refugees, Syrian War, Syrian refugee crisis, Austronaut, Syria, Syrian astronaut helping refugees, Outer space, Turkey, Middle East, Citizenship

Megha Cherian 

Written by Megha Cherian

Megha is a Digital Content Intern at Global Citizen. Her passion for global issues led her to focus on health policy and international studies in college. After moving back to her hometown of New York City, she has continued to support both local community and international organizations in advocating for the most vulnerable populations. Megha also spends far too much of her time thinking about eating delicious things and sometimes gets paid to bake cakes.


Via Global Citizen

Edited by tan_lejos_tan_cerca

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An Interview With Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Mamalode’s founder Elke Govertsen had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Siebel Newsom at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit last November. They bonded over a passion for gutsy storytelling and their connections to Montana. Jennifer, who recently gave birth to her fourth child, is an actress, award-winning filmmaker and advocate. Her first film, Miss Representation, which exposed the ways mainstream media and culture contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence, premiered at the Sundance film festival in 2011. Public response to the film’s message became a catalyst for The Representation Project, an organization she cofounded later that year that serves to inspire individuals and communities to create a world where everyone can fulfill their human potential. During this month of stories about GIRLS, we are honored to feature our conversation with Jennifer about life, civic engagement and the power of media.    

Tell us the personal story behind Miss Representation. What inspired you to write and produce this film?

When I went into acting, my agent told me to lie about my age (I was 28) and take my Stanford MBA off of my resume. I didn’t do either but my confidence was really shaken as I realized that everything I had worked for and done in my life had no value in that town. It didn’t make sense to me that I should be devaluing my accomplishments to achieve “success.” And when I met my husband Gavin Newsom, then Mayor of San Francisco, I was still acting and producing in Hollywood. As Gavin introduced me to various women in politics, I saw a complete disconnect between these powerful women in the real world and how the media portrayed powerful women. So, I started doing research on the representation of women in positions of power and influence and the media’s misrepresentations of women.

When l I found out a few years later that I was pregnant with my first child – a girl – everything came into focus. Here I was, enmeshed in an entertainment industry where Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan were all tabloid fodder, and I couldn’t imagine how my daughter would grow up to be emotionally healthy and fulfilled given our culture’s disregard for, disrespect of, and extreme sexualization of women and girls. I realized then that I had the unique opportunity to combine my strengths as an artist and producer with my newfound determination to create a better world for her. In essence, we had to rewrite the story for women. So I made the documentary Miss Representation to expose the media’s limiting portrayals of women and girls and address how media contributed to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.


You are a mother of four. Talk about the intersections between parenting and your career.

What’s ironic is that for all of the talk about the challenges of working motherhood – all the questions around “can you have it all” – for me, being a mother is first and foremost what drives and influences my work. And I don’t believe I am alone in this. I am determined to make this world a better place for all of them. For all of us. But whether or not your career directly relates to children, so many of us are driven to work because of our children – to enrich their lives, to expand for them what is possible, to ensure they can fulfill their human potential. In my case, my work and my children are intrinsically connected and interdependent.

Of course, it’s challenging to “have it all” and it’s a true balancing act. With four young children, I am still trying to find the right rhythm. And, it’s not always successful nor pretty. Case in point, my kids haven’t had that many playdates this year. I even botched one today when I forgot to provide the mom who was picking my daughter up our address!!  It’s certainly exhausting and overwhelming – one of my kids is always going through something and needing that extra love and attention. But I am committed to being the best mom I can be and the most effective leader possible.

Let’s be honest, though, it takes a village. None of us can do this juggling act on our own. The only reason I have my career is because there are incredibly loving and kind people who support my children during work hours.

If I am struggling, so many other women are struggling even more!  And, most women don’t have the luxury of multiple options for taking care of their kids while pursuing careers.  Many women have to quit their careers and stay home because they cannot afford childcare. Or they have to work multiple jobs to pay the bills, put food on the table, and ensure their kids ride that escalator to opportunity. Or they have to get lucky and marry partners who commit to 50/50 parenting. What’s disturbing to me is that in the US, we still don’t have critical policies like paid parental leave and universal pre-K, which make it easier for parents in America to better balance parenting and work. So now more than ever, it’s important we make our voices heard by the 115th Congress and support policies that benefit all families.

As an advocate for girls and women and wife to former San Francisco Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, what are your thoughts on the nation’s current political climate?

I couldn’t have scripted a presidential race that more aptly illustrates the limiting gender dynamics that my documentaries Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In so clearly expose and that we at The Representation Project are trying to overcome. On the one hand, we were so close to shattering the highest glass ceiling in this country – though in the end we were held back by our society’s double standards for women in power – as revealed in Miss Representation. And, on the other hand, we saw the dark underbelly of misogyny, racism, and toxic masculinity rearing its ugly head – a cultural value system we expose in The Mask You Live In.

Now Trump’s value system is not limited to his version of “locker-room talk” – it’s very much who he is as a human being. From both his words and his actions, it’s clear he sees women as objects to be controlled and anything associated with the feminine – empathy and caregiving in particular – as soft and of lesser value. Underneath his claim that he “loves women,” is a lot of evidence that he sees women as subordinate to men and believes their role is to “perform” for men. Not only does he intend to gut federal funding for violence against women programs, but there are scores of other social programs primarily benefitting women and children – like healthcare and education – that he intends to cut.

To that end, if we’re going to right this course and change the direction our country is headed in, we need to address head on the shortcomings of this hyper-masculine value system which celebrates power, dominance, and aggression at the expense of empathy, care, and collaboration. And I think we really need to focus back on our common humanity. We must have empathy for those who are less fortunate than us, and we must remember that there is more that unites us than divides us. But despite the divisiveness we see in our current political culture, there are a couple of things that really give me hope for the future. The first is the amount of civic engagement we are seeing around the country, and the second is the record number of women that have expressed interest in running for office since the election!

Your next film project “The Great American Lie” sounds juicy. What can you tell us about it?

Well I can’t say too much because it’s still in production, but the next film explores what we call the “gender hierarchy.” It unveils why we as a country spend so much more on activities that are associated with masculine attributes – defense, war, infrastructure spending, etc., and so little on activities associated with the feminine – education, healthcare, childcare, etc. Ultimately, it connects the dots between this hyper-masculine value system and the increasing inequality we see today. I’m really excited about how it is turning out, and think the subject matter is quite timely.

If we asked your kids to tell us anything they think we should know about their mother, what would they say?

I think they might say that I can be a little strict but that I am their favorite coach! Soccer, skiing, tennis, basketball, horseback riding, dance – you name it, I love it all! And, I just want to expose them to everything and see if anything sticks. smile.gif

Via ONE Girls and Women

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EDUCATION With the right education, girls can reach for the stars


April 12 2017  | By: LAUREN WORLEY
GIRLS COUNT Every girl counts.

130 million girls don’t have access to an education. So we’re asking the world to count them, one by one.


Today is the UN’s International Day of Human Space Flight — a day when the world comes together to celebrate the human achievement of sending humans beyond the confines of Earth.

Usually when you think of space research and discovery, you think of it happening off of our planet. But none of it would be possible without a good educational background here on Earth.


And astronauts—and the scientists, engineers, developers, and others who help them launch, land, and thrive in space—all are keenly aware of the importance of girls’ education.

Astronaut Cady Coleman had a unique vantage of our Earth from her two shuttle missions and her six-month stint aboard the International Space Station. Cady is an early supporter of ONE’s #GirlsCount initiative, highlighting the inextricable link between a good educational foundation and the ability to achieve one’s goals.

Cady joined our #GirlsCount action as “Number 10” — where every rocket countdown starts.

“An education is a launch pad,” Coleman said in her #GirlsCount video. “And when girls get an education, they leap off that launch pad and they become the engineers, scientists, and astronauts of our future.

“Every girl counts and every girl deserves to launch.”


Launch of the first U.S. Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, in 1981. (Photo credit: Public domain)

For four years, I was the Press Secretary at NASA, where I had a front-row seat to see how educational programs in space and science inspired young people to pursue their education— and in turn, these young people inspired me to be part of a global effort to make sure they have access to educational programs.

During my time at NASA, I visited Ethiopia with former NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charlie Bolden to talk to young people about the importance of education.

“The opportunities for Africa in space are vast and just as there are varying degrees of capability and interest throughout this vast continent, there are lots of ideas for the future. ” Bolden said in a speech to the Africa Policy Group in 2016. “[NASA] will be helping to build the next generation of explorers in Africa as throughout the world.”


During my visit to Addis Ababa, and a subsequent trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, with ONE, I was thrilled to meet many young girls with aspirations to be teachers, lawyers, politicians, scientists — and yes — even astronauts. These young women inspire me and our team at ONE, and they’re among the reasons why we’re fighting — because every girl deserves an education.

Space exploration is a true testament to what people can accomplish when we work together for a common good. But none of this is achievable without a foundation of a good education. That’s why #GirlsCount is so important every day, but especially today as we mark human achievement in spaceflight.

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"Hi, my daughter of 28 is due to have the interview to see if her benefits (ESA) should be reduced. Has anyone else had this experience with their son/daughter?"

Can you help this mum out and share your experiences? Join FamilyHub to add your story:https://www.community.mencap.org.uk/t/benefits-intervi…/1212





Via Mencap

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Today 400 babies will be born with HIV. Same thing tomorrow. And the next day.

This is where you come in. There's an end to AIDS. It's you.






Via (RED)

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Via Global Citizen

FINANCE & INNOVATION UK to Equip 6,000 Underprivileged With Digital Skills, For Free


April 12, 2017

Brought to you by: HP


It’s 2017, so you might imagine that in the United Kingdom, all citizens have access to technology. Sadly, that’s not the case, but the government is working to change that with a five-year plan.

The UK government has a little-known program with big impact called Digital Strategy. The program sets the vision and policy actions for the country’s digital economy for the next five years.

The mission behind the strategy aims to ensure everyone in the UK can develop the skills they need to thrive in a digital world.   

“We want everyone to have the skills and confidence they need to benefit from digital technology as we seek to make the most of the opportunities ahead and build a stronger, fairer Britain,” said Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport. “Improving digital skills is at the heart of the government's recent Digital Strategy, including this fantastic commitment by the HP Foundation to bring its free online learning platform to the UK. This will be vital in helping thousands of disadvantaged groups improve their business, IT and digital skills.”

As part of the strategy, the government has committed to provide access to a variety of free training opportunities for children and adults who lack relevant skills by working with the private sector through the Digital Skills Partnership.  

This year, HP LIFE, the HP Foundation’s free online learning program, has been selected as a resource in the Digital Strategy program.

Here is what HP’s support will entail.  

Those learning digital skills will have a choice of 27 free online courses in seven languages to build key business competencies with HP LIFE. It will be offered to disadvantaged groups in the UK to help them improve their business, IT and digital skills with the aim of reaching 6,000 new UK users over the next five years.

Users will include asylum seekers, refugees and underprivileged young people.

The UK government’s new Digital Strategy will help businesses and charities make greater strides towards narrowing the skills gap and gaining a competitive advantage,” said George Brasher, HP’s Managing Director of the UK and Ireland. “We believe we have a responsibility to partner with government, teachers, parents, pupils, and other industry leaders to enhance digital learning and close the knowledge gap. We are proud to support the new Strategy which will help build on the UK’s digital foundations and make it one of the most dynamic and supportive places to develop and grow a digital business.” 

This initiative further strengthens HP LIFE’s presence in the UK where the team is already working with new partner organizations to create opportunity through technology-related learning experiences.

In addition, HP has pledged to introduce its HP Graphics Education Program in the UK. This will empower the next generation of digital printing graduates with the skills they need to work in the rapidly changing digital printing space. HP will share content and knowledge with selected schools, institutions and partners and open HP’s demo and training centers to the most talented students through dedicated Summer Camps.

Finally, HP will expand its Learning Studios initiative to more schools across the country, equipping schools with the latest education technologies with appropriate support to teachers and help improve IT skills, expose students to innovative skills and concepts such as design thinking, three-dimensional design, and social entrepreneurship.

The program, and HP's support, is a huge step forward for innovation, and access to digital learning for disadvantaged adults and children in the UK.


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These Drawing by Syrian Children Will Break Your Heart

By Gabriella Canal| April 12, 2017


It’s safe to say that children are the Syrian war’s greatest victims. Simple pleasures like holding teddy bears, eating fruit, and playing outside are only distant memories from a time before crisis began.

Six years of drastic violence, torture, death, and starvation have uprooted the lives of more than 1.7 million Syrian children who are out of school. Places that were once safe for them — hospitals, playgrounds, homes — have become death traps. Many have lost their parents, many more have lost their childhood.

Read More: 7-Year-Old Bana Alabed Makes Another Plea to Trump for Help After Chemical Attack in Syria

At the end of 2016, in the midst of escalating violence, a UNICEF-supported psychological support program reached over 500,000 children, and encouraged them to engage in cathartic activities, like drawing, to help them process their experiences.

These beautiful drawings illustrate their sorrow and hope for a better future.


Photo by Khudr Al-Issa/UNICEF

Khaled, 13, who was injured during heavy fighting in eastern Aleppo, holds up a picture he drew of a big house with a swimming pool, at a shelter for families displaced by the ongoing violence in eastern Aleppo city, in the Jibreen area on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syrian Arab Republic, on Dec. 9, 2016. “I love sport, especially swimming. I wish I learn how to swim and be a fast swimmer,” says Khaled. Living under siege, many children like Khaled spent months hiding in dark basements or in underground rooms, lacking the safety the needed to even play.


Photo by UNICEF

A drawing by a child who was internally displaced, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic December 2016. Around 100 children displaced by fighting in Syrian Arab Republic attend a UNICEF supported psychosocial support programme at centres in Damascus and rural Damascus. As part of the programme, the children produced drawings expressing their hopes and fears, as well as good and bad memories.


Photo by Ranim Al- Malek/UNICEF

“Syria is sad that her people are killing each other,” says Haneen, 11, holding up her drawing of a map of Syria crying, at the Bakri Kaddoura school, Damascus, the Syrian Arab Republic, Nov. 10, 2016. Haneen and her family lived under the harsh rule of ISIS for almost a year in Deir-ez-Zor, northeastern Syrian Arab Republic. Last year, her family made the dangerous journey to the capital Damascus. “One day we were at school when men with guns walked in and forced us out of school. They pointed the guns at us and told us to go home and never go back to school. That’s when my parents decided it’s time to leave” recounts Haneen. “I was so scared on the way that ISIS would not let us escape. We had to take a long road. I couldn’t believe it when I took off the black veil they made all girls and women wear” says Haneen.


Photo by UNICEF

A drawing by Aya, 11, who was displaced with her family from Al-Yarmouk camp, which was home to the largest Palestinian refugee population in Syria before the war, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, December 2016. Aya’s father left Syria for Egypt to work and provide for the family almost five years ago and Aya hasn’t seen him since. “I drew myself seeing my father off at the airport, it’s my saddest memory. I look at a photo of him every night so I don’t forget what he looks like,” says Aya.


Photo by Khudr Al-Issa/UNICEF

Shadi, 11, holds up a picture he drew at a shelter for families displaced by the ongoing violence in eastern Aleppo city, in the Jibreen area on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syrian Arab Republic, on Dec. 9, 2016. “I drew many types of fruits like bananas, oranges and mandarin. It has been a very long time since I ate fruit,” says Shadi describing his drawing. Shadi is one of the thousands of children who fled the recent waves of fighting in eastern Aleppo city. After months of living under siege with little food, hiding in basements too scared to go to school or play outside, many of the children are now just happy to be outside and play.


Photo by UNICEF

A drawing by Amar, 12, who was displaced with her family in 2012 from Al-Yarmouk camp, which was home to the largest Palestinian refugee population in Syrian Arab Republic before the war, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, December 2016. After Amar’s two brothers disappeared, her father suffered a stroke, rendering him unable to move or speak. “This drawing shows my mother pushing my father on his wheelchair and me crying besides them. It makes me so sad to see my father unable to do anything on his own. I miss him talking to me,” says Amar.


Photo by Ranim Al- Malek/UNICEF

Ghazal, 10, who attends grade 5, holds up a picture she drew of her life before the war began, at the Bakri Kaddoura school, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Nov. 10, 2016. Ghazal fled her home in Al- Tadamon, a neighbourhood south of the capital Damascus, when violence started almost four years ago. “I remember my room, it was all white and so big,” she said. “I miss this really big red teddy bear I received from my cousin on my birthday, I left it back home.” Ghazal and her family now live in Al- Mazzeh neighbourhood of Damascus.


Photo by UNICEF

A drawing by Myassar, 14, who was displaced with his family in 2012 from Al-Yarmouk camp, which was home to the largest Palestinian refugee population in the Syrian Arab Republic before the war, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, December 2016. “I drew myself and my sister crying when my father left us almost two years ago. We don’t know anything about him. This is my saddest memory,” says Myassar.




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TOPICSSyrian refugee crisis, #ChildrenUprooted, displacement, UNICEF, Syrian Civil War

Written by Gabriella Canal

Gabriella Canal studied Journalism and International Relations at the University of Miami. She has built a record of seeking out opportunities she feels strongly passionate about, and that require her to help inspire change. Social justice, writing, photography and videography are her passions. Sharing the stories of those affected by the world's biggest challenges in an effort to alleviate their conditions is her mission.


Via Global Citizen

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Via Global Citizen

GIRLS & WOMEN How One Truck Driver Saved a Woman From Sex Slavery

By James O'Hare|

 April 12, 2017

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE


Truck driver Kevin Kimmel was at a gas station in New Kent County, Virginia on the morning of January 6, 2015 when he noticed something odd about a nearby recreational vehicle.

“The thing that stuck out was that this was an old RV with black curtains which wasn’t very family-ish,” he told CNN.

After seeing a man knock before entering and a female, who he believed to be a minor, emerge from behind the curtain before suddenly disappearing, Kimmel contacted the local sheriff.  

Take Action: Shine a Light on the Horrors of Modern Slavery

The following August, Aldair Hodza and Laura Sorenson were sentenced to 42 and 40 years in prison, respectively, for kidnapping, forced prostitution, and torture of a young woman.

During the trial, the couple admitted to drugging their victim, sexually assaulting her, and pimping her out through advertisements on Craigslist. They also admitted to torturing her.

Thanks to Kimmel’s vigilant eye, the victim was saved from this hell and justice was served to the perpetrators. Nevertheless, most trafficking stories don’t have such a happy ending.

Read More: My Name Is Brooke Axtell and I Was Sex Trafficked at Age 7 in the US

A $32 billion per year industry, human trafficking is the third-largest international crime industry behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking.

There were more than 7,500 human trafficking cases reported in the US in 2016, according to the Human Trafficking Hotline.

A report from the United Nations last December found that 71% of trafficking victims are women and girls, and one-third are children. There are 1.2 million children trafficked every year, UNICEF estimates.

Boys are trafficked as well, typically for labor purposes as miners, soldiers, porters, and slaves. Women and girls are primarily trafficked for marriage and sex slavery, according to the report.  

Women in conflict zones are especially vulnerable to trafficking as militant groups often force them into sex slavery. Nadia Murad, a Iraqi Yazidi woman who was tortured and sexually abused by the Islamic State, implored the UN last March to take action against her captors.

“It is very hard to come here [to the UN] every time, and nothing tangible takes place,” she told Thompson Reuters Foundation. “It’s very hard for the victims as well to hear there is no progress.”

Though an international response may be necessary to shut down the global sex trade, individuals can help, too.

Read More: Native American Women Tell How They Survived Sex Trafficking

Last February, flight attendant Sheila Fedrick saved a trafficking victim mid-flight. Like Kimmel, she noticed something was wrong when an older, well-dressed man wouldn’t let a disheveled, adolescent girl, who was sitting with him, speak for herself. Fedrick placed a note on the plane’s restroom mirror asking if the girl was okay, to which the girl responded she needed help.

Fedrick had been trained to spot signs of trafficking, instruction that millions of truckers like Kimmel may receive soon.

After TAT training, GM of Petro in WA spotted two young girls w/an older man & got police help. Girls were runaways & now safely home. WTG!


Ohio already offers training to identify human trafficking for truck drivers receiving a Commercial Driver’s License, mandatory for anyone taking part in the state’s professional truck driver training program.

Texas is considering legislation requiring anyone looking to attain a Commercial License to take part in a human trafficking awareness course, according to CNN.  

Because truck drivers operate on the same infrastructure that is vital to human trafficking, they are in a unique position to double as reporters.

“At any given time in the United States there are more truckers out on the road than there are law enforcement officers,” said Kendis Paris, Executive Director of the anti-trafficking charity Truckers Against Trafficking. “A lot of guys are not sure if they’re really looking at prostitution or trafficking and they just need to be helped.”

TAKE ACTION Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved

Written by James O'Hare


James is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. He believes education is the starting point in working for social justice and hopes to someday eliminate the spectacle in American politics. He habitually quotes Mitch Hedberg and believes there should be a national holiday in honor of whoever invented chicken-bacon-ranch pizza.

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GIRLS & WOMEN 'Fearless' Malala Is Now an Honorary Canadian Citizen


April 12, 2017

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE


Malala Yousafzai is already making her voice heard in the parliament of her new country.

After she was given honorary citizenship by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, a process begun by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, she addressed the members of parliament and asked them to continue leading the world in standing up for the rights of girls to get an education, as well as the rights and struggles of refugees worldwide.

“Dear Canada,” she said, “I’m asking you to lead once again. First, make girls’ education a central theme of your G7 presidency next year. Second, use your influence to fill the global education funding gap, when you host the upcoming replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, bring leaders together and raise new funding for girls to go to school.”

“If Canada leads, I know the world will follow,” she said.

She asked Canadian representatives to prioritize 12 years of schooling for refugees, urging the country to “take the lead” and remind the world that among those millions of refugee children are the leaders of the next generation who can help bring about peace.

Read More: Canada Just Gave $650M to Protect Women’s Reproductive Rights

“Our world has many problems, but we don’t need to look far for a solution. She is in a refugee camp in Kenya, she is in Somalia, she is every one of the girls out of school today. We know what to do,” she said.

Yousafzai, 19, received the honorary citizenship for her work as a global advocate for girls’ education and peace. In 2012, when she was on her way to school on a bus in Pakistan, Yousafzai survived an attack by the Taliban, drawing worldwide attention that she then used to become a leading voice for the right of girls to go to school.

In 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work, and has been honored with a slew of awards, including one on Monday when the United Nations made her one of only 13 Messengers of Peace in the world. She also authored the best-selling book “I Am Malala” and launched the Malala Fund, which works to ensure girls receive 12 years of schooling.

The Pakistani citizen had only been to Canada once before, in 2014, on the day of the terror attack on Canada’s parliament.

Read More: Malala Wants to Be Prime Minister of Pakistan Because of Course

“Canadian security officials advised us to reschedule our trip and we headed back to England, promising to return to Canada one day,” Yousafzai said. “The man called himself a Muslim but he did not share my faith, he did not share the faith of 1.5 billion Muslims living in peace around the world. He did not share our Islam, a religion of learning, compassion and mercy. I am a Muslim and I believe if you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill an innocent person, you are not Muslim anymore.”

Today, she became what Trudeau called the “newest and possibly one of the bravest citizens of Canada.

"Malala, your story is an inspiration to us all," Trudeau said at the ceremony today. "The violence you experienced at the hands of the Taliban didn't deter you, as it would have so many others. Rather you stood even stronger in face of oppression. Your passion for justice only intensified.”

Read More: Heartfelt Letter From Justin Trudeau Agrees 'Poverty Is Sexist'

"When you addressed the UN in 2013, you said, 'we realize the importance of light when we see darkness, we realize the importance of our voice when are silenced.' Malala Yousafzai, for bravely lending your voice to so many, we thank you, and from this day forward we are all proud to call you Canadian," he said.

Yousafzai lavished praise on Trudeau as well, saying she was “amazed” by his stance on refugees and girls’ education, though she also joked that ahead of the citizenship ceremony, all of her friends in the UK were very excited about her trip to Canada, mostly so that she could report back what it was like to meet the famous Trudeau.

“While I was coming here everyone was telling me, shake the prime minister’s hand and let us know what he looks like in reality. Everyone was excited about meeting Trudeau, I don’t think anyone cared about the honorary citizenship,” she said.

She urged Canadian girls to raise their voices and to fill more of the seats in Canada’s parliament, and urged the men to be “proud feminists” and ensure that girls receive equal opportunities. She even urged the leaders in the room to focus their energies on ensuring girls get an education, so as to solve critical economic and security problems around the world.

Read More: It Looks Like Malala Is Heading to Oxford University!

Yousafzai also asked Canada to continue accepting refugees and fighting for their wellbeing around the world.

“Your model, and your stand, ‘welcome to Canada,’ is more than a headline or a hashtag,” she said. “It is the spirit of humanity that every one of us would yearn for. I pray that you will continue to open your hearts to those around the world and I hope your neighbors will follow your example.”

Global Citizen supports Yousafzai's call asking Canada to be a champion for education and the Global Partnership for Education 2016 replenishment, and is asking supporters to encourage other world leaders to do the same.

Malala made sure to note that she was still a proud Pakistani and a proud Pashtun. She is currently living in the UK and has received an offer to go to university at Oxford next year, but has said that someday she dreams of becoming the prime minister of Pakistan. But she said she was humble to accept honorary citizenship.

“I’m proud to be part of your nation of heroes,” she said. “Though I still require a visa. But that’s another discussion.”


TAKE ACTIONSend petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved



Via Global Citizen

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Adler said he nodded to that rock ‘n’ roll history in his design for the suite. “I wanted to create a suite that was louche and luxurious and a little bit sybaritic... I want every space I design to have a sense of place and to make you feel like the most eccentric, glamorous version of yourself.”

Maryam Banikarim, who is Hyatt’s chief marketing officer, told HuffPost that Adler’s “eclectic” style was the “perfect” choice for the suite. We’ve had a long relationship with (RED) – there’s a lot of great history there and we’ve been looking for ways to collaborate for quite some time,” she said. Adler, she added, “was totally into the rock ‘n roll history of the hotel and was super passionate about getting involved.”

In the end, Adler said he’ll be proud if the suite reinvigorates guests’ fervor in the fight against HIV/AIDS, even in some small way. “The biggest misconception,” he said, “is that it’s over.”

Take a peek inside the Andaz (RED) suite below. 

    Andaz West Hollywood
    Andaz West Hollywood
    Andaz West Hollywood
    Andaz West Hollywood
    Andaz West Hollywood

For the latest in LGBTQ news, check out the Queer Voices newsletter.



Via (RED)

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Guess the 1f39e.png: This film stars a group of powerful, independent black French women growing up outside Paris.




Via Global Citizen

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