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NEWS: 26 Jun 2018

3-PART SERIES ON CHERNOBYL LAUNCHES ON RTE 6.1 NEWS

26 Jun 2018

 

Over the next 3 days, tune in to the RTE 6.1 News and Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1 to see and hear the reality of Chernobyl 32 years later. 

In a series beginning today, Wednesday 27 June, RTE’s Science and Technology Correspondent, Will Goodbody, will share the story and the ongoing impact of Chernobyl on RTE 6.1 News and Morning Ireland. 

Last month, Will travelled to Chernobyl, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, where he was given exclusive access to the damaged and still disintegrating reactor control centre and the new  €1.8billion  sarcophagus which has been erected over it to control the leaking radiation.

He also visited several of the affected regions of Ukraine and Belarus where he saw first hand the harrowing plight of many of Chernobyl’s first, second and third generation victims.

In Belarus he met with Chernobyl Children International’s Voluntary CEO, Adi Roche and witnessed the life-changing impact that Irish volunteerism and generosity has had on the children and families affected by the 1986 disaster.

During his visit, which was supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund, Mr Goodbody and his crew visited CCI pioneered programmes across Belarus including Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum which Irish volunteers and donors have turned into a pioneering flagship.

Overseas supporters can tune in on the RTE Player over the next 3 days.

Thank you! 

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

This Liberian entrepreneur started her own pop-up shop

March 19 2018 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

SIGN THE PETITION

Tell Justin Trudeau: Enable every woman to unlock her own potential

 
  

Story by Monique John.

In 2013, Wilhelmina Myeonway Cooper did something few Liberian women manage to do – she launched her own business.

Passionate about fashion, Wilhelmina realized that she could work with local bag makers and artists to get them to customize bags for clients. She came up with the idea after observing bag sellers at Waterside Market in Liberia’s famous slum, West Point. And so Myeonway Designs was born.

Pop-Up-Shop-3-1024x683.jpg

Photo credit: Myeonway Designs

But there was one major problem: Wilhelmina couldn’t afford to have a shop where customers could buy her bags. So in 2015, she opened the Monrovia African Pop Up Shop. The “shop” is an ongoing exhibition at which small business owners gather to showcase and sell their merchandise at Monrovia’s entertainment hotspots.

“It started out as a social enterprise where I could get local market people and small business people to sell their products for free,” Wilhelmina says. The shop has continuously grown over time: Nine vendors took part in the first exhibition and 30 in the second. At the third, in December 2017, 50 businesses were there to sell their products.

Wilhelmina’s success as a woman leading her own businesses is remarkable considering the economic, educational, and reproductive health challenges that burden Liberia’s female population. The country’s workforce and education system were devastated by the compounded effects of 14 years of civil conflict, as well as the school shutdowns during the Ebola crisis. As a result, Liberia’s development was severely delayed and the country’s instability has only made it harder for women to get ahead.

Wilhelmina Myeonway Cooper is an entrepreneur in Liberia’s fashion industry. (Courtesy of Myeonway Designs.)

Wilhelmina Myeonway Cooper is an entrepreneur in Liberia’s fashion industry. (Photo credit: Monique John)

World Bank data shows that Liberia suffers from an almost 64% poverty rate overall. Only 54% of its women participated in the labor force in 2016. The data also shows a mere 9.2% secondary school completion rate for women, and that just 44% of young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are literate. Issues like early marriage and pregnancy also disproportionately affect Liberian women and girls in comparison to other female populations around the world. In 2016, UNICEF reported that 36% of Liberian girls were married before turning 18, and the United Nations Population Division reports that 107 out of every 1,000 teen girls in Liberia had a child in 2015.

Despite these factors around her, Wilhelmina has dreams of formalizing the Pop Up Shop into a larger business. Her goal is to expand the enterprise with the help of sponsors and banks. She also said she wants her enterprise to travel to other African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Still, finances are her biggest struggle, as banks deem her business as being too small and high risk to lend money to.

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Photo credit: Myeonway Designs

There are a host of other problems Wilhelmina is fighting against to keep her businesses thriving. She has trouble shipping her bags to international clients so she has to pay people who happen to be traveling from Liberia to carry the merchandise by plane and then post them in the respective countries. Wilhelmina also is unable to open a PayPal account from Liberia, so she doesn’t have a way for international customers to pay her online without the added costs that come along with services like Western Union. The Ebola crisis also dealt a major blow in Myeonway Designs’ early days, as she wasn’t able to make any sales during the outbreak.

But Wilhelmina has stayed committed. “I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by amazing women who are really impressive, who want the best for you, and the best for themselves and this country,” Wilhelmina says. “They’ll tell me about different grants, how to apply, what to do. I have people in my corner who are very strategic.”

Wilhelmina is creating a website to give a platform to young female entrepreneurs like Simone Witherspoon, CEO and founder of The Word, a t-shirt brand.

Simone Witherspoon, a T-shirt designer, credits Cooper with helping today’s young female entrepreneurs in Liberia grow as professionals through raising standards and providing constructive feedback. (Photo courtesy of Myeonway Designs)

Simone Witherspoon, a T-shirt designer, credits Cooper with helping today’s young female entrepreneurs in Liberia grow as professionals through raising standards and providing constructive feedback. (Photo credit: Monique John)

“She’s a very influential person,” Simone says of Wilhelmina. She said their collaboration has taught her to be more open-minded and made her demand more from herself as a leader. “She has so much work ethic…[W]orking with her requires you being punctual. It requires you being precise, and thinking beyond what a regular customer would want.”

Leah Seya Stubblefield, the owner of the African clothing line Stubbs Fabrics and Accessories, said she appreciated Wilhelmina for helping build her confidence. She also credits Wilhelmina for creating a space for Liberia’s entrepreneurs to demonstrate what they have to offer to the public.

“Seeing that she’s able to make things in Liberia, I see it’s an inspiration,” Leah says. “If we had more people like her, we’d go far in this country.”

Pop-Up-Shop-1024x683.jpg

Photo credit: Myeonway Designs

In the coming months, Wilhelmina will be working with Business Start-Up Center Monrovia (BSC Monrovia), a local NGO that supports Liberian startups through fostering job creation and poverty alleviation, to bolster her future business efforts. BSC was created as a partnership between a local association of Liberian universities and SPARK, an international organization that creates access to higher education and facilitates entrepreneurial ventures by promising, energetic youths in underdeveloped countries.

“If I was being inspired by money, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Wilhelmina says. “Certain times I create so that something I create represents my country. I’m inspired by making things, my most favorite thing to do in the world.”

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CULTURE

6 incredible African languages – including one in ‘Black Panther’

February 8 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

JOIN

Join the fight against extreme poverty

 
  

Audiences around the world are getting ready to see Black Panther and dive into the film’s fictional kingdom of Wakanda. Though the film’s setting is a work of fantasy, the cultural influences behind it are entirely real.

South-African actor John Kani plays T’Chaka, the old king of Wakanda who is succeeded by the film’s protagonist, T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman. Kani brought the language of isiXhosa into Black Panther, and made it the official language of Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War.

When asked about the choice, Kani told Brand South Africa, “I asked the directors ‘Why am I speaking English to my son? We are supposed to be from Africa.’”

IsiXhosa is one of more than 1,500 languages spoken throughout Africa. Here are six African languages you should know about – including the one used in Black Panther and some spoken by the cast members.

1. IsiXhosa
The Xhosa people, who speak isiXhosa, make up the second largest cultural group in Africa. The language is one of eleven recognized in the South African Constitution and more than 7 million people claim it as their home language, including John Kani. Distinct clicking sounds make up the bulk of the language.

2. Swahili
The Bantu language of Swahili is spoken by more than 80 million people worldwide. Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all recognize Swahili as their official language, and the African Union uses it as one of their working languages. Swahili is one of four languages spoken by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia in Black Panther.


3. Oromo
Oromo, spoken mostly in Ethiopia and Kenya, has seen significant changes in the past forty-five years. Before the 1970s, Oromo was written in Ge’ez script, as well as the Latin alphabet. Writing in the language was forbidden in 1974 during military rule, but was again allowed in 1991 and was soon incorporated into schools. Today, close to 40 million people speak Oromo, making it the language with the fourth most speakers in Africa.

4. Shona
Native to the Shona people, the language of Shona is the official language of Zimbabwe. The language has a unique structure, utilizing consonants rarely used in other languages and ending each syllable in a vowel sound. More than 13 million people speak a dialect of Shona. Among its speakers are the parents of Black Panther’s Danai Gurira, who — in addition to being a major supporter of ONE — plays Okoye, head of Wakanda’s all-female special forces group.


5. Igbo
18 million people speak the language of Igbo in Nigeria alone. Many of its speakers are Igbo descendants living in Nigeria, making it a common language for trade and commerce in surrounding areas. Around 30 dialects currently exist, which has posed a challenge to standardizing the language. The Igbo people broke into popular culture with Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, which relies on Igbo oral tradition despite being published in English.

6. Yorùbá
Yorùbá has around 28 million speakers. Most of its speakers live in Nigeria or Benin, but communities across the world speak Yorùbá. There are three major geographical dialect families for the language and more than 20 different dialects altogether. Isaach de Bankolé, an Ivorian actor born to parents from Benin, is fluent in five languages, including Yorùbá. He will play the River Tribe Elder in Black Panther.

When Black Panther makes its debut, keep your ears open for isiXhosa — just one of the more than 1,500 diverse and beautiful languages spoken on the continent of Africa. Want to tell us about an African language that’s not on this list? Leave a comment!

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Download these exclusive #PovertyIsSexist wallpapers

March 20 2018 | By: SAMANTHA URBAN

 
  

There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty.

Poverty is sexist. And we won’t stand by while the poorest women are overlooked.

Want to take action? Sign our open letter to world leaders here.

Want to show your support? Download these free wallpapers created exclusively for the Poverty is Sexist campaign by talented female illustrators from around the world:

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MOBILE | DESKTOP

ONE_IWD2018_2_desktop_1920x1080-1024x576

MOBILE | DESKTOP

ONE_IWD2018_3_desktop_1920x1080-1024x576

MOBILE | DESKTOP

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JUNE 28, 2018

 

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Amsterdam Is About to Welcome Its First-Ever Female Mayor

The capital city has never been led by a woman before.

Amsterdam has chosen a woman mayor for the first time in its history, the BBC reported.

Femke Halsema, who led the country’s left-wing Greens party from 2002 to 2010, was nominated by the left-led city council and will succeed Eberhard van der Laan, who died last year. Her nomination must be ratified by the government and signed by the king before becoming official, but she is expected to be sworn in later this summer.

Take Action: Ask Governments and Corporations to Support Girls' Education

Take Action: Sign Petition

 
 
 
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In partnership with: CHIME FOR CHANGE

“It is a great privilege to be able to serve my fellow city dwellers in the coming years,” Halsema said in a post on her own website. “I will do everything within my power to be the mayor of all Amsterdammers.”

During her time in parliament, Halsema was known as a spokesperson for justice, asylum seekers, and home affairs, becoming widely known for her vocal opposition to tougher immigration law.

 

 

Congrats Amsterdam for choosing your first female mayor, Femke Halsema. This is very important to girls/women in NL to recognise ourself in a key position, this will inspire women in the Netherlands to enter politics where decisions are made about our bodies, maternity leave etc.

 
 

 

In the interim between her departure from front-line politics in 2011 and her nomination, Halsema “produced a television documentary series, worked as a writer, led several research projects, and has chaired a number of charitable foundations,” reported DutchNews.

Her appointment comes at a time when the city is faced with balancing the needs of longtime residents, high numbers of tourists, and an ongoing effort to court larger companies to boost the local economy, reported Fortune.

Read More: A 28-Year-Old Latina Activist Just Beat New York's Most Powerful Congressional Rep

Supporters say she is up to the task.

"Femke Halsema is definite and connecting,”Johnas van Lammeren (PvdD), head of the confidential committee in charge of selecting a candidate to be mayor, said in a report by Netherland Times. “She knows the city, the different layers of society, the problems and the challenges, through and through. She sees in an inspiring way the opportunities and possibilities in Amsterdam and also sees the vulnerability."

Global Citizen campaigns in support of gender equality and women’s rights. You can take action here to call on leaders to #LeveltheLaw and help empower girls and women around the world.

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

7 sencillos pasos para convertirte en un Global Citizen con conciencia ambiental

No tienes que ser un héroe para salvar el mundo.

El aire está peligrosamente cargado de smog.

La cobertura forestal es cada vez menor.

La escasez de agua es grave.

Este es solo el comienzo de una larga lista de formas en que nuestro medio ambiente está en peligro. Hay un conflicto constante entre el bienestar del planeta y el interés humano. Nuestras necesidades como especie son cada vez más insostenibles y causan más daños al planeta de lo que realmente podemos reparar.

 

Entonces, ¿qué puedes hacer para ayudar a salvar el mundo?

 

Si bien todos nos hemos hecho esta pregunta en algún momento de nuestras vidas, nunca es demasiado tarde para actuar en consecuencia.

 

Aquí hay una lista de algunas formas simples pero creativas en las que puedes ayudar a salvar nuestro planeta.

 

1. No tires la ropa vieja.

Clothes-Closet.jpgImage: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Todos somos conscientes del típico ciclo de vida de la indumentaria. Es por eso que reutilizar nuestra ropa vieja es una de las maneras más simples de reducir el desperdicio que generamos, así como también de ahorrar la energía y los recursos necesarios para la fabricación de ropa nueva.

 

2. Permite que las Naciones Unidas te ayuden a salvar el mundo.

United-Nations.jpgImage: Petty Officer Arron Hoare/Crown

Uno no tiene que ser un superhéroe para salvar el mundo. Podrías jugar un papel importante en esta lucha crucial contra la degradación ambiental y el cambio climático con pequeños cambios. La "Guía de personas perezosas" de la ONU es una forma de ayudarte a implementar los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible desde tu propia capacidad limitada y contribuir a la causa más grande. La guía tiene tres etapas a través de las cuales puedes pasar a la acción. ¡Hay una opción para cada tipo de persona!

 

Aquí puedes encontrar una guía:http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/

 

3. Se consciente de lo importante que es.

Car-Transportation.jpgImage: Ryoji Iwata/Unsplash

Todos contribuimos a la decadencia gradual de nuestro planeta, y la mayoría de nosotros ni siquiera nos damos cuenta. Ahora puedes calcular tu propia huella climática en cuatro categorías diferentes: transporte, residuos, energía y estilo de vida. Conocer tu huella puede ayudarte a realizar cambios relevantes para reducir su impacto y emisiones y ser un residente más responsable de este planeta.

 

Utiliza esta calculadora para conocer tu huella en el medio ambiente:http://climateneutralnow.org/Pages/calculator.aspx

 

4. Come menos carne.

Meat-Environment.jpgImage: Niklas Rhöse/Unsplash

Se ha confirmado científicamente que las emisiones del sector agrícola son uno de los mayores contribuyentes a las emisiones globales de gases de efecto invernadero. Desafortunadamente para los consumidores de carne, la mayoría proviene en gran parte del procesamiento de la carne. Aunque no estés dispuesto a realizar un cambio completo, incluso la reducción de la ingesta de carne puede ayudar a reducir las emisiones en una cantidad significativa.

 

 

Otra forma de reducir las emisiones agrícolas es apoyar e incorporar más productos locales de alimentos orgánicos en nuestras dietas. (¡Esto ahorra más del 13% de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero!)

 

5. Haz crecer un jardín en tus paredes.

Wall-Garden.jpgImage: Chris Barbalis/Unsplash

¿Te encantan los alrededores verdes y también te encanta el espacio en tu apartamento en el piso 11? La disminución de la superficie habitable promedio y la configuración de apartamentos de gran altura nos han puesto a todos en contra de la posibilidad de plantar nuestros propios jardines.

 

Pero los jardines verticales están aquí para rescatarlos. Los jardines domésticos verticales son bastante baratos y son una gran forma de decoración de tu hogar. También son una excelente manera de reducir tu consumo agrícola procesado, ya que te permiten cultivar algunas verduras básicas en tu propio balcón, orgánicamente. ¿Te apetece un poco de albahaca casera fresca sobre tu pasta este domingo? ¡Tu jardín vertical puede llevarlo directamente a tu plato!

 

6. Compra de manera inteligente

Mall-Shopping.jpgImage: Carl Raw/Unsplash

Es hora de que comencemos a comprar nuestras máquinas, dispositivos y electrodomésticos más conscientemente. Hay opciones en el mercado que son mucho más eficientes y usan muchos menos recursos, ya sea combustible o electricidad. Las calificaciones básicas de Energy Star son un excelente comienzo para elegir los electrodomésticos sabiamente.

 

Aquí hay una lista de los electrodomésticos más eficientes:https://www.energystar.gov/products/most_efficient

 

También puedes elegir opciones de energía alternativas, como automóviles híbridos o eléctricos y calentadores de energía solar.

 

7. Reduce el tamaño de la fuente cada vez que imprimes.

jeff-eaton-newspaper-flickr.jpgImage: Flickr/Jeff Eaton

Esta es probablemente una de las armas más infravaloradas en nuestro arsenal para luchar contra el cambio climático. Supongamos que tienes un artículo que necesitas imprimir que ocupa 23 páginas en su tamaño de fuente predeterminado de 18. Disminuir la fuente a 11 antes de imprimir y cambiar de los márgenes de página normales a márgenes estrechos puede permitirte imprimir la misma información en solo ocho páginas. Lo más importante: ¡salvarás a miles de árboles!

 

Salvar el planeta es una tarea gigantesca, pero cada uno de nosotros puede ayudar al completar pequeños pasos. Entonces ¿Qué estás esperando?

 

Global Citizen realiza campañas para alcanzar los Objetivos Globales de Desarrollo Sostenible de la ONU, lo que incluye tomar medidas para la creación de ciudades y comunidades sostenibles. Puedes unirte a nosotros tomando medidas sobre estos temas aquí.

 

Por Atharva Bhagwat.
Traducción: Erica Sánchez

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CITIZENSHIP

This 6-Year-Old Raised $13,000 for Separated Migrant Families by Selling Lemonade

The young boy was shocked to learn that kids like him were being detained without their parents.

lemonade stand children shannon gaggero.jpgImage: Courtesy of Shannon Gaggero

When Shannon Cofrin Gaggero, a mother in Atlanta, Georgia, told her 6-year-old son that children were being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, he was shocked, CNN reported.

Despite his young age, the boy immediately wanted to help and suggested they set up a lemonade stand to raise money for RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal and educational services for undocumented people based in Texas.

In addition to a physical lemonade stand, the boy and his mom launched a crowdfunding page on June 19 to reach more people and continue fundraising after the lemonade stand closed.

Take Action: Call On Your Representatives to #ReuniteFamiliesNow and Stop the Migrant Crisis with Targeted Foreign Aid

Take Action: Call Now

 
 
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They set a goal of $1,000 — which they met in less than three hours. Their stand’s success inspired three friends in Sherman Oaks, California, Madison, Wisconsin, and Decatur, Georgia, to open their own lemonade stands support the 6-year-old’s fundraising goal. And they ended up raising  $13,000.

 

Announcing #StandForKids, created by a coalition of Americans horrified by the treatment of immigrant children + families on the border.

Stand in solidarity this weekend by hosting a lemonade stand + collecting funds for orgs on the ground. Details here: https://standforkids.net 

 
 

Gaggero decided to end the campaign once they reached $13,000 so that RAICES could start receiving the benefits immediately.

"My kids are 6 and 3 so they don't quite understand the scope of how much money we raised," Gaggero told CNN. "They know it's a lot and they feel proud that so many people got involved to help."

shannon gaggero son sign familiesImage: Courtesy of Shannon Gaggero

Although Gaggero’s son may not fully understand the issue for which he fundraised, as a young boy, he related to the migrant children’s fear of losing their parents.

“It tugged at his heart strings,” Gaggero told Time of her son’s response to the news. “For kids, the concept of being separated from your parents is very real and very scary.”

The Gaggeros aren’t the only ones whose fundraising campaign to reunite migrant families has gone viral. RAICES has received millions of dollars from other viral Facebook fundraisers, too, and the nonprofit’s budget has now tripled because of these fundraisers. The organization plans to use the funds to pay bail bonds for detained immigrants and to provide legal support to immigrants facing deportation and criminal proceedings, according to Time.

Read More: Federal Judge Orders Trump to Reunite Migrant Families Within 30 Days

Children across the country will follow in the Gaggeros’ footsteps on June 30 by taking part in #StandForKids, a nationwide day of action to benefit 14 groups aiming to protect undocumented children. Gaggero’s friends are planning to open another lemonade stand in Georgia on June 30 and again in July.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of equal rights for all and the safe passage of migrants fleeing from violence. You can take action here to call governments to stop family separation.

Join Global Citizen on Saturday, June 30, in New York City to march to keep families together.

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FOOD & HUNGER

These 2 Men Helped 10 Million Children in a Phenomenal Effort Against Malnutrition

Stunting is caused by malnutrition in infancy.

By Thin Lei Win

ROME, June 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Malnutrition is the "challenge of our time," with diet-related disease afflicting almost every country in the world, the winners of a $250,000 prize dubbed the Nobel for agriculture said on Monday.

David Nabarro and Lawrence Haddad, who were jointly awarded this year's World Food Prize, are jointly credited with cutting the number of stunted children in the world by 10 million by lobbying governments and donors to improve nutrition.

Stunting is caused by malnutrition in infancy and hinders cognitive as well as physical growth. Experts say the effects are largely irreversible and stunted children generally complete fewer years of schooling and earn less as adults.

Take action: Children Are Starving and They Need Your Help

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Malnourished children also tended to become malnourished mothers, perpetuating the cycle, said Haddad, who heads the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.

Levels of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension were "skyrocketing in pretty much every country ... and the centre of all these things is diets," he said.

"People can't get enough nutritious food because it's too expensive or unavailable and the stuff that they shouldn't be eating a lot of, stuff that's high in sugar, salt and fat, is really cheap and available," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

"This is the big challenge of our time. It's not about how to feed our world. It's about how to nourish our world."

Read more: Here's How Stunted Kids Are Growing Again in Nepal

Haddad was joint winner of the award with Nabarro, a British doctor and former U.N. Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition.

Between them they have persuaded governments, donors, and others to set up policies and programmes that decreased the number of stunted children globally to 155 million in 2017 from 165 million in 2012, the World Food Prize organisers said.

Nabarro said good nutrition in the first 1,000 days from conception to a child's second birthday was "absolutely key."

"There is work still to be done to get a widespread understanding of the importance of the right kind of diet," he said.

Read more: Nearly Every African Country Has Made Progress in Fighting Hunger, Kofi Annan Announces

About 815 million of the world's 7.6 billion people go hungry daily while 2 billion are overweight or obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The winners were honoured in a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Past recipients of the annual prize, founded in 1986 by Nobel laureate Norman Bourlag, include John Kufuour, a former president of Ghana and Grameen Bank founder and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh.

(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Claire Cozens Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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Wood Quay Summer Sessions

14 June 2018

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Wood Quay Summer Sessions

Free lunchtime concerts at Dublin's Wood Quay Amphitheatre every Thursday throughout July


The Wood Quay Summer Sessions return for a third year of free concerts from 1pm to 2pm every Thursday throughout July. Every week, music fans will have the opportunity to see new and upcoming acts, as well as established acts, from across a wide range of genres performing in the wonderful setting of the outdoor Wood Quay Amphitheatre in Dublin's city centre.

Founded by Dublin City Council and presented in association with First Music Contact (FMC), Improvised Music Company (IMC), Music Network and Contemporary Music Centre (CMC), the Wood Quay Summer Sessions offers something for all music fans from trad to hip-hop, classical to contemporary and jazz to rock.

Throughout the four weeks, there will be food trucks for any hungry music fans as well as ticket giveaways to upcoming events and concerts.

July 5th presented with Music Network
13.00 | Niall O’ Sullivan (trumpet) & Dermot Dunne (accordion)
13.30 | Mark Redmond (uilleann pipes), Eilis Lavell (harp) & Paul
O'Driscoll (double bass)

July 12th presented with Improvised Music Company (IMC)
13.00 | Parallel Society
13.30 | Aoife Doyle Band

July 19th presented with Contemporary Music Centre (CMC)
13.00 | Kirkos Ensemble: Sebastian Adams (viola), Jane Hackett (violin) &
Siún Milne (violin)

July 26th presented with First Music Contact
13.00 | Super Silly
13.30 | Pillow Queens

The Wood Quay Summer Sessions is presented with the support of Dublin City FM, Near FM and 98FM's 'Totally Irish'

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Summer SING! is back! From 16-20 July, this week-long children’s singing festival in Cork City will welcome some 300 young people to experience the rich history and culture of Cork City while nurturing their natural singing ability. In partnership with Music Generation Cork City, summer SING! successfully encourages self expression, confidence and positive self esteem through artistic engagement, public performance and shared civic pride.

http://summersing.ie/

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#DontMissOut on getting the very best healthcare. 2b50.png?_nc_eui2=AeFOhGvvfWy312vtRf9WCY 2b50.png?_nc_eui2=AeFOhGvvfWy312vtRf9WCY 2b50.png?_nc_eui2=AeFOhGvvfWy312vtRf9WCY 2b50.png?_nc_eui2=AeFOhGvvfWy312vtRf9WCY 2b50.png?_nc_eui2=AeFOhGvvfWy312vtRf9WCY

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Find your letter template here: http://bit.ly/2Iqmm8e

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4.6k
TECHNOLOGY

Ensuring everyone has the right to read and learn

7 November 2016 3:47PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Join the fight against extreme poverty

 
  

Literacy skills are one of the most powerful tools that enable people to lift themselves out of poverty. But today, nearly 17% of the world’s adult population is still not literate; two thirds of them women, making gender equality even harder to achieve.

margaret1Reading is one of the best ways to help students improve these skills, but for families around the world living on less than $1 a day, books are an unaffordable luxury.

To overcome this barrier, Worldreader devised a mobile app that gives anyone with a phone, tablet, or e-reader access to over 40,000 free book titles in over 43 different languages. With many African schools equipped with few or no books, the availability of digital books has been transformational.

margaret4For women like Margaret in Kenya, attending school was not an option so she missed out on learning even the most basic literacy skills. Unable to read or write, Margaret took a job as a cleaner in a local nursery school and spent days watching the small children learn. This is what inspired her to become a teacher, but first she would have to start her learning too.  

margaret5She began classes at an Adult Learning Centre, quickly adopting the skills she would need to become a qualified teacher and achieving her dream. However, once Margaret was at the front of the classroom, she quickly realised the cost and lack of access to books were a barrier to her student’s education, so she turned to the Worldreader reading app. “Everything you want to learn, you can find it in the phone,” she said.

Margaret now uses her mobile phone to lead lessons and engage students in the classroom. Her students can access thousands of ebooks for free on their mobiles for just a few cents a week of data cost in an in environment where a single physical book can often cost $5 or more.

margaret3“They tell me, ‘Teacher, we want to know more, we want to know more!’,” Margaret says.

To learn more about Worldreader, visit worldreader.org. To read books on your mobile phone using Worldreader’s applications visit read.worldreader.org or download the app on the Google Play Store.

Call on leaders and innovators from all countries, industries and communities to make universal internet access a reality by adding your name now.

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984
TECHNOLOGY

How learning to code is helping girls in Zimbabwe

May 2 2018 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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Join the fight against extreme poverty

 
  

By Ray Mwareya, co-founder of Women Taboos Radio

To girls in Zimbabwe who have worries like accessing nutritious food or sanitary health, learning to code might seem like a low priority. But that isn’t deterring 30-year-old Anoziva Marindire from seeking out girls ages 14 to 24 and teaching them computer programming skills.

“We`re creating an army of women computer coders who spark social change across Zimbabwe – and help tackle problems,” she says.

The former Africa Union Youth Ambassador is not frightened by the vast task ahead of her. She says her movement, Girls Speak Out (GSO), is an initiative that aims to develop coding skills among young women in Zimbabwe’s under-served communities so technology moves beyond iPhones and laptops to become tools of change.

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“Zimbabwe has no single app that enables pregnant women access to antenatal data wirelessly, thus reducing clinic travel and money burden,” she says, providing an example of a technology that could change lives.

Anoziva is driven by the untapped potential of women and girls, which is why, in 2016, Anoziva and her friend Theresa Takafuma founded the Girls Speak Out as a follow-up to the Obama-era Young African Leaders Initiative’s (YALI) Africa4Her campaign.

By 2017, GSO’s community work had grown. “From a seed of just 25 girls in our pioneer class, we reached another 160 girls through the #Jumpstart Master-classes when we were invited to tour six cities in Zimbabwe teaching digital skills.”

This year, GSO has a new set of 30 girls coming from Mufakose, Mabvuku, and Dzivarasekwa — high-density, low-income suburbs in Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare.

“State schools in Zimbabwe´s townships are crippled, their budgets hollow,” Anoziva says. “Students increasingly graduate without basic computer know-how like Microsoft Word,” she says.

“Girls are hardest hit. With no tech literacy, girls can’t communicate effectively in a growing digital world. A majority of all jobs in Africa will soon require science, maths and technology skills.”

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Anoziva thinks local family attitudes are lopsided, too. “In Zimbabwe’s households, girls clean dishes and watch over pots each evening following schools breaks. In contrast, boys throng internet cafes to hone their skills in video literacy, email practices, or keyboard mastery,” she says.

Her organisation has brutal statistics: In Mufakose, Dzivarasekwa and Mabvuku, GSO found that – out of every 10 girls aged 14 – 24, only one knew what coding was, and only four could use Microsoft Word.

In comparison, five in every 10 boys knew what coding was; two could even write code.

Anoziva believes that the Girls Speak Out project can provide direct employment results for these girls.

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“Our coding girls from the 2017 class are now online content creators for publications in Zimbabwe focusing on community development,” she says. “In Victoria Falls, some of the girls we trained under Jumpstart ZWco-founded #LetsTalkVF, a platform that engages and connects community members and public officials on issues like education and public funds distribution.”

Some of the students have gone on to succeed in a country where jobs can be difficult to obtain.

“One graduate is now a news producer at a local video-production house,” Anoziva says. “One was snapped up by Plan International’s media department, another handles communications at a mining company, and one now works for the Zimbabwean parliament’s news section.”

Even with a lack of external non-profit finance, Girls Speak Out persists, driven by the will of its participants. Non-profit technology hubs that around Harare have helped out by donating physical space and computers for the GSO students to use.

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Recently, Girls Speak Out won the Shoko Festival UnHub Conference’s Women Rising Award, Zimbabwe’s award for projects or movements that amplify women’s rights using mobile technologies.

The award inspires Anoziva to keep encouraging local girls to make coding and computer literacy a priority, preparing them for the future and hopefully unlocking their potential.

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organizations highlighted.

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In Kenya, Access to Water Gives Women Time to Make Their Own Money

Having a clean water source close to home means women and girls no longer have to spend hours a day fetching water, and instead can focus on family, school and earning a decent income.

WRITTEN BYSophie Mbugua PUBLISHED ON May 16, 2018 READ TIMEApprox. 5 minutes
 
A-girl-quenches-her-thirst-at-a-borehole-after-filling-up-her-gallon-of-water.jpg?w=640&fit=max&q=60 Women and girls around the world spend 40 billion hours a year fetching water. When they have easy access to clean water, they can use that time to spend with their families and earn a decent income. Sophie Mbugua

KWALE COUNTY, KENYA – When a man moved onto the land next to Zeinab Juma’s home three years ago and drilled a borehole to earn some side income, she had no idea it would change her life.

Suddenly, Juma and the other residents of Magaoni in Kenya’s Kwale County no longer had to walk several miles every day in search of clean water, paying her neighbor $0.02 per 20 liters instead. “I used to spend three hours fetching water from a seasonal freshwater stream often used by wild animals and livestock. I would wake up very early in the morning, prepare the children for school, then set out in search of water,” Juma says.

During drought season, the streams would dry up, forcing her to spend up to five hours a day walking to streams further away and standing in line to get water for her family. “We had to wait our turn, as everyone depended on that water,” she says. Those who couldn’t wait often had to get water from the polluted river.

After Juma started using the borehole next door, her children got sick less often, and she suddenly found herself with some free time. She noticed a money-making opportunity in selling fabrics, handbags, hats and clothing to women in the town center, so she launched a business in 2016 with $200 seed money from her husband.

“As well as being more available for my children, I have all the time to run my business, which I didn’t before,” she says. Now she makes a monthly profit of 5,000-7,000 Kenyan shillings ($50-$70), adding some to the family coffers and saving the rest. “I can finally save with a micro-saving group and helping out with development activities at home, such as contributing to land that we hope to build our future home on,” she says.

All in the Family

Research by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) shows women and girls in low-income countries spend40 billion hours annually collecting water. Improving access to clean water not only helps reduce illness rates and gives girls more opportunity to attend school, it also dramatically reduces women’s workloads giving them more time for “productive endeavours” such as earning a decent income.

Mwanaisha-Mshimu-sells-fryied-potatoes-t

Working at a water kiosk gave Mwanaisha Mshimu the chance to re-open her fruit stall and make an extra income selling fries to the local residents and school children. (Sophie Mbugua)

Mwanaisha Mshimu has experienced that firsthand. Before the Kwale County government started supplying piped water to Mkwakwani village in 2015, she was a stay-at-home mother. She had previously run a fruit stall outside her house, but had to close it because it wasn’t making enough money.

When the pipes came, Mshimu volunteered to manage the water center outside the Mkwakwani primary school. She’s a member of a local women’s group, which, in cooperation with the water company, sells water to the villagers and uses the profits to lend money to group members. After a month, she saw potential in the steady flow of customers coming to get their water every day, so she reopened her fruit business next to the water kiosk.

She soon realized that being near a school offered her an even more lucrative business opportunity. “I started frying potatoes that attracted not just the children, but also the teachers and the neighborhood,” Mshimu says. Now she works from 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., earning around $20 per day and up to $30 during game days at the school.

“I AM JUST GRATEFUL THAT MY DAUGHTERS HAVE A SOURCE OF INCOME AND NOW WE CAN CONCENTRATE ON EDUCATING THE TWO STILL IN SCHOOL WITHOUT MUCH OF A STRUGGLE.”

She has now given the fruit and vegetable stall to her two daughters, who use the profits to take care of their own expenses instead of depending on her financially. Mshimu can supplement the little income her husband gets from fishing, while their daughters are earning money and learning financial management skills.

“I am just grateful that my daughters have a source of income and now we can concentrate on educating the two still in school without much of a struggle,” Mshimu says.

Obstacles to Water Access

As Juma and Mshimu enjoy the new freedoms that access to water has granted them, millions of other women are still trapped in the cycle of fetching water every day, limiting their chances for dignified work. And getting water to them is a challenge.

Joshua Gaya, area manager for the Kwale Water and Sewerage Company Limited, says power shortages and other obstacles prevent the company from supplying water to all of Kwale’s 650,000 residents.

“We pipe water to the communities from shallow wells at the shores of the Indian Ocean and boreholes,” he says. “High power bills, vandalism of water pipes and [unpaid] water bills make it hard for the company to manage its production costs.”

Zeinab-Juma-left-negotiates-with-custome

Zeinab Juma, left, was spending up to five hours a day fetching water until a neighbor let locals pay to use the borehole on his land. With the time that freed up, Juma opened a clothing business. (Sophie Mbugua)

More than 90 percent of residents in Msambweni – the constituency where Mkwakwani and Magaoni lie – are not yet connected to the county water supply. To help increase water access to those not on the piped supply, charities such as East African Care are drilling boreholes and putting community members in charge of their upkeep.

East African Care builds its water projects on land donated by communities. Each community selects three people for operation and maintenance training. “Once the project is handed over to the community, these trainees maintain and repair the boreholes,” says Idi Ali Masemo, a water expert who was formerly leading training sessions for East African Care and is now an independent water consultant. Those who give land to one of the water projects do not get financial compensation, but they can use the water free of charge to irrigate their own farms. Masemo says around 1,350 women are currently participating in the water project.

After years of spending hours fetching water, many women say that – whether through the pipes or out of a borehole – having clean water close to home has opened up opportunities they previously never dared imagine.

“It’s unbelievable how things can take a turn around,” says Juma about her now-thriving clothing and accessories business. “I never thought I would ever be financially independent or even help my husband buy us land for a future home.”

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MUSICIANS ARE BETTER MULTITASKERS

New research from Canada finds trained musicians more efficiently switch from one mental task to another.
TOM JACOBS
OCT 23, 2014
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(Photo: Furtseff/Shutterstock)

 

(Photo: Furtseff/Shutterstock)

We all call it "multitasking," but psychologists insist that's a misnomer. Since we can't actually focus on more than one thing at a time, the skill is really "task switching"—the ability to alternate smoothly and easily between two sets of mental tasks.

New research from Canada suggests one group of people is able to do that better than the rest of us: Trained musicians.

York University psychologists Linda Moradzadeh, Galit Blumenthal, and Melody Wiseheart report musicians appear to have "superior ability to maintain and manipulate competing information in memory, allowing for efficient global processing." To put it another way, their minds can efficiently process information from a holistic perspective.

THESE POSITIVE RESULTS ARE ANOTHER SIGN THAT MUSIC CAN IMPACT THE BRAIN IN POSITIVE WAYS THAT EXTEND FAR BEYOND THE PRACTICE ROOM.

The study, published in the journal Cognitive Science, explored whether two groups of people would perform better than average at task-switching: musicians, and bilingual individuals. Since members of the latter group can, and sometimes do, switch back and forth between languages, it seemed logical that they would also do well on other tasks involving quick mental transitions.

 

The participants—153 university students—were broken up into four groups: monolingual musicians; bilingual musicians; monolingual non-musicians; and bilingual non-musicians. The musicians had an average of 12 years of formal musical training; 88 percent of them were instrumentalists.

After completing surveys measuring intelligence and vocabulary, all participants took part in a series of test measuring task-switching ability. In one, they were "required to track a moving white dot (while) at the same time, they attended to single capitalized serif letters flashing one at a time in the center of the computer screen. Participants were required to click the mouse button whenever they saw the target letter X."

The researchers found musicians outperformed non-musicians on such tests, suggesting they have a stronger ability to "shift flexibly between mental sets." Somewhat surprisingly, they found being bilingual did not give the same advantage.

"Musicians' extensive training requires maintenance and manipulation of complex stimuli in memory, such as notes, melody, pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the emotional tone of a musical piece," the researchers write. This, they add, "may help them to develop superior control to respond efficiently to stimuli in an environment where both switching and non-switching components exist."

Meanwhile, in another new study, researchers from Queen's University Belfast report emotionally troubled children and adolescents who underwent three years of supplemental music therapy had significantly lower levels of depression than those who only received standard mental-health treatment. The paper, presented at a conference at the Northern Ireland university on Thursday, is "the largest study ever to be carried out looking at music therapy's ability to help this very vulnerable group," according to co-author Valerie Holmes.

Like the Canadian study, these positive results are another sign that music can impact the brain in positive ways that extend far beyond the practice room. Research is continuing on both these fronts, but one takeaway seems clear: If you need two things done at once, call a musician.

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29 DE JUNIO DE 2018

 

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

El cambio climático está convirtiendo el océano Ártico en el Atlántico

Este es solo el último ejemplo de la abrupta evolución del Ártico.

El Océano Ártico se está calentando tan rápidamente que pronto se lo podrá considerar parte del Atlántico, según un nuevo informe publicado en larevista Nature Climate Change .

 

Desde el 2000, las temperaturas han aumentado 2,7 grados Fahrenheit en toda la región, que es el doble de rápido que en el resto del mundo, según The Independent.

 

Y ahora las características definitorias del Océano Ártico están cambiando, particularmente en el Mar de Barents sobre Finlandia, según reveló el informe.

Los investigadores notaron cambios dramáticos ocurriendo tanto en la atmósfera como en las columnas de agua en el Mar de Barents, que es donde el Océano Atlántico se encuentra con el Océano Ártico.

 

El mar de Barents está dividido en dos mitades. La mitad sur, que es alimentada por las aguas del Atlántico, es más cálida y fomenta la biodiversidad similar a las aguas del sur, mientras que la mitad norte está cubierta por una capa de hielo que mantiene el área fresca.

 

Desde la década de 1970, esa capa de hielo se ha erosionado y la mitad del norte se ha asemejado a la mitad sur, con niveles de salinidad más altos y temperaturas más cálidas.

Y está creando un ciclo de retroalimentación de cálidas aguas atlánticas, causando una retirada anual de las capas de hielo. Pronto, temen los investigadores, la región podría comenzar a parecerse al Atlántico, homogeneizando los ambientes marinos y alterando innumerables ecosistemas.

 


"A menos que la entrada de agua dulce se recupere, toda la región pronto podría tener una estructura de columna de agua cálida y bien mezclada, y ser parte del dominio Atlántico", escribieron los científicos en el estudio, según publicó Live Science.

 

 

Esta "Atlantificación" sería un evento sin precedentes en la historia de la humanidad, según el informe, y podría tener un impacto significativo en los niveles mundiales del mar, los patrones climáticos y las especies marinas.

 

La evolución del Mar de Barents es solo el último ejemplo de los cambios abruptos que están ocurriendo en el Ártico, que ha perdido 1 millón de kilómetros cuadrados de hielo desde 1979 .

Actúa: Firma Ahora

 
 
 
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Global Citizen realiza campañas para proteger el Ártico. Puedes sumarte y tomar medidas al respecto aquí.

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CITIZENSHIP

This Immigrant Mother Is Still Waiting to See Her 3 Children

Yeni Gonzalez is still searching for her children after being released from a detention center.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Many of the immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border are fleeing rampant violence and extreme poverty, and they are seeking asylum in the hopes of finding safety and opportunity. You can join us by taking action to support the reunification of families here.

 

 

 

“I’m going to look for my children,” said Yeni Gonzalez, a mother of three from Guatemala whose children were taken from her at the US-Mexico border. “It has been very difficult, very hard for me. I felt that my heart broke into a thousand pieces. They snatched my children from my arms.”

Before reaching the US, Gonzalez had no prior knowledge of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration. If she had, she said she never would have brought her family to the US.

Take Action: Call On Your Representatives to #ReuniteFamiliesNow and Stop the Migrant Crisis with Targeted Foreign Aid

Take Action: Call Now

 
 
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United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyCanadaAustraliaAfghanistanÅland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBruneiBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCabo VerdeCambodiaCameroonCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo (the Democratic Republic of the)Cook IslandsCosta RicaCôte d'IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands  [Malvinas]Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambia (The)GeorgiaGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and McDonald IslandsHoly See  [Vatican City State]HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKuwaitKyrgyzstanLaosLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedoniaMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia (the Federated States of)MoldoviaMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorth KoreaNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestine, State ofPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarRéunionRomaniaRussiaRwandaSaint BarthélemySaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth KoreaSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanTajikistanTanzaniaThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaVietnamVirgin Islands (British)Virgin Islands (U.S.)Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe

 

 

Along with about 2,000 other families, Gonzalez was separated from her three children when she crossed the border because of the policy. While she was detained in Eloy, Arizona, her three children were brought to a detention facility in New York, nearly 1,800 miles away.

Gonzalez told her story in a new video published Sunday by Voice of America (VOA). The news organization is "following her quest to overcome legal barriers and get her kids back from distant detention centers."

While President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reunite families, it’s almost impossible to locate the children of parents because they were reclassified as “unaccompanied alien children.” 

When Gonzalez asked a US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) officer if she could call her children, she was told, “Do you know something? You will be deported back to Guatemala and your children will remain in the hands of this government.”

Read More:  The Long Painful Path to Reuniting Families

Under Trump’s new policy to reunite families, parents can only be brought together again with their children if they are no longer in a detention center, meaning they will need to make bail or wait out their legal proceedings. Although a family in New York City raised $7,500 to pay Gonzalez’s bail, she has not yet been reunited with her children.

But she remains hopeful that she will see them again soon.

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27 Jun 2018

The Legacy of Chernobyl - The Children

 
By Will GoodbodyScience & Technology Correspondent
 
 

In Belarus the presence of a stork's nest close to your home is considered a sign of good luck.

When we visited the state-run Vesnova Children's Institution in that country recently, there was one very prominently at the top of a lamppost nearby.

It would be wrong to say that the children who call the orphanage home are lucky.

Most were abandoned by their parents - perhaps because the children either had a physical or intellectual disability.

Or perhaps because their parents had their own demons and couldn't cope with the challenges their child's disability presented.

Or may be because a disability is still considered an embarrassment in sections of society in the former Soviet state.

Either way, most of the children there have had a difficult start in life.

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Yet despite this, arguably the luck of the stork was with them the day Adi Roche and other volunteers from the Chernobyl Children International charity she founded came through the doors twenty one years ago.

At that time, Vesnova was quite simply hell on Earth for the children who existed there.

"The only way I could describe it was that it was a place of death and dying," Adi Roche recalls.

The second I remember coming in to the foyer being overwhelmed by the all pervasive smell actually of death and excrement and urine. Children didn't know their names, they didn't know their ages.

"There were more children dying than surviving. Children were in straight jackets. Children were tied to radiators."

"Children were in shocking appalling conditions...and to be honest we were so overwhelmed initially that we didn't know where to start."

But start they did, and two decades on, bit by hard won bit, Vesnova has been transformed into a very different place.

It is still home to 170 children, many with severe disabilities and health challenges.

Like, for example, 6-year-old Ilya who lives in the High Dependency Unit.

He was born with hydrocephalus, but it wasn't treated properly at birth.

The consequence is that his tiny frame is dwarfed by a disproportionately large swollen head that weighs some 15kg.

He is in effect receiving palliative care.

Image - Adi Roche feeding Ilya

Adi Roche feeding Ilya

So too are Vasa and Victor - 16 and 17 year old brothers who were born with a genetic condition that has left them in a near vegetative state.

In the bed next to them is smiling Marina, who makes regular respite trips to Ireland where despite her severe disabilities rides on a tractor on her host family's farm.

Image - Vasa and Victor

Vasa and Victor

But the difference for Marina, Ilya, Vasa and Victor and all Vesnova's other residents now though, compared to the children the Irish volunteers met on that fateful day 21 years ago, is two fold.

First, they have more of the medical support they require.

Chernobyl Children International funds extra nurses and carers in the High Dependency Unit and elsewhere in the institution to ensure the kids get the care they need.

The charity also sends a volunteer medical team out to Vesnova once every month to ensure there is continuity of care.

They bring suitcases full of medical supplies - basics like nappies, Sudocream, Calpol, dressings - simple and often inexpensive necessities which would otherwise be in short supply.

Image -

The second difference is the surroundings.

Over two decades, scores of Irish builders and volunteers have come to Vesnova to make it habitable again.

Painting, tiling, plumbing, heating, new construction, all done by volunteer tradesmen from Ireland, coordinated by Chernobyl Children International.

Image -

They also converted seven outbuildings into homes for boys who were reaching 18, and who would otherwise have had to move on to adult institutions - places which like the old Vesnova were generally considered to be devoid of hope.

Image - Sasha Levkin (left) and Sasha Goldaev (right)

Sasha Levkin (left) and Sasha Goldaev (right)

The new units, which had to be rebuilt a second time after they burned down when struck by lightning, allow the older lads to live with a degree of independence in the orphanage setting.

"I get everything what I want, so this is like home," Sasha Levkin tells me in broken but clear English he has learned from the visiting Irish builders and from his dozen or so respite trips to families in Ireland.

"I am very happy because I am safe."

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Upstairs in Vesnova are learning rooms, again kitted out by Irish volunteers, where the children receive basic education and life skills.

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Chernobyl Children International wants as many as possible to be deinstitutionalised - to move back into the community where they can live a normal life.

To do this though they must be able to integrate and where possible work.

We visit a house in a nearby village where a group of lads live side by side with the community.

One is proud to be working as a cobbler. Another has aspirations to become a mechanic.

For now though they live together, with a minder, as they learn how to care for themselves, each other and their surroundings.

The charity would also like to reduce the number of children that have to enter orphanages in the first place.

To do this, it has bought 30 homes across Belarus with the assistance of Irish donors.

Image -

Couples are then let live in them provided they foster up to 10 children who are coming from troubled homes and who may have been the victims of physical or even sexual abuse.

In return the Homes of Hope programme gifts the house to the couple after 15 years.

"It is an incredible feeling when you feel that you help these kids, kids who don't have anything," foster mother Svetlana Kondaratenya tells me.

Their own parents don't call, don't even know how they are. You realise that you are not wasting your life. Your life has a purpose.

It has already proven a success. Chernobyl Children International says it has led to dozens of children, once living in turmoil, growing instead into stable adults within a family setting.

It has also, in effect, resulted in the equivalent of two of the 300 Vesnova-like institutions that are dotted around Belarus being shut down.

The extent to which the health and societal challenges faced by the children of Vesnova and other projects Chernobyl Children International operates in Belarus can be directly blamed on the Chernobyl accident aren't clear from any official data.

Image - High Dependency Unit in Vesnova

High Dependency Unit in Vesnova

But Marie Cox, Medical Co-ordinator with Chernobyl Children International says there has to be a link.

"Per head of population here there would be a lot more illnesses," she says.

"That has a knock on effect on the whole system that is there and that the state can provide because there is just so many of them. They are overwhelmed."

It is hard not to be overwhelmed when you visit a place like Vesnova for the first time, especially when you see children the same age as your own.

CCI can only do so much, and it knows it.

Intervening in a state run system is fraught with challenges and the needs will always be greater that a group of volunteers from Ireland with limited resources can meet.

Image -

But either way, Adi Roche says the work will continue.

"While I suppose in a sense we can't undo the damage of what has happened, our engagement, our intervention is boundless actually," she claims.

"And that is what in a sense is what gives us great consolation. Because we can never prove, ever, how many victims there has been from Chernobyl or how many will be born in the future."

"These children are the third generation of Chernobyl, we call this Chernobyl legacy. It is not like it is a geometric proposition or a mathematical equation that can be resolved."

"And yet the tragedy is very very real. So in a sense we've stopped asking those question because this is what we see and this is what we experience."

And as long as there are children like Victor and Vasa and Marina and others, the people of Ireland will always be here. That generosity, that sense of that we have a responsibility to our fellow human beings really.

Image -

This report was supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

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