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How refugee women are finding peace at this Nairobi shop


August 24 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Harriet Constable

On a Monday afternoon in a building in a busy part of Nairobi, there are women singing.


The garden and café at Amani Ya Juu.

Standing in the garden below, you can see them gathered in the second-floor chapel, smiling as their melodic tunes ripple out of the windows. They look happy and peaceful, coming together to give thanks. Yet many of these women are refugees, and they have suffered inconceivable pain and loss during their lifetimes.

The women are in this particular building because it’s the headquarters of Amani Ya Juu, a fair trade sewing and training programme that employs marginalized African women. They make handmade goods and accessories, which are sold at the on-site shop, as well as online and in stores around the world.


Right: Neophite Uwamutarambirwa, a Rwandan refugee working at Amani Ya Juu. The women are in the fabric room, cutting fabrics for garments and goods to be sewn.

The setting is idyllic: There’s an outdoor café set on a lush green lawn with scattered round tables, colourful table cloths, and dark green umbrellas providing shade from the Kenyan sun. At the back of a garden, there’s a large children’s playset with kids happily scrambling around it. In the shop, each room displays expertly handcrafted items from bags and purses to oven gloves, aprons, and bed quilts.  


Fabrics and baskets ready to be made into goods in the workroom at Amani Ya Juu.

Rwandan refugee Ingrid Ingabire is one of the women employed here. She fled her home country in 1994 during the Rwandan genocide, during which up to a million people are estimated to be have been killed.

“I was 12 years old when we fled,” she says. “Originally, we went to Congo, which was called Zaire at the time. We stayed in a refugee camp called Kashusha for two years, but in 1996, the camp was attacked and many more people died.”

So at 14, Ingrid faced the terrifying ordeal of trying to survive in the huge forest with her family— with little food, near constant rain, and no form of navigation.

“In the forest we could walk for more than a week and still end up where we started, but we had to keep moving. We were hunted like animals by men with poison arrows.”

During one attack, they all ran in different directions—Ingrid escaped with her sister, but she never saw her parents again. After recovering and gaining back her strength, she met the man who would become her husband. They married, had children, and tried to set up a home, but peace was still not part of their lives.

“By now it was 2010 and we were living in Goma, but it was still very dangerous,” Ingrid says. “One day my husband left to get food and he never came back. I think soldiers attacked him. I was so afraid and sad. I was pregnant with my baby girl at the time and I got so depressed I nearly lost her.”

Later that year, a kind neighbor gave Ingrid some money to leave the Congo, and she and her children escaped to Kenya. Upon arrival, she was reunited with her sister, who was already working at Amani Ya Juu and got Ingrid a job there, too.


Left: Ingrid Ingabire, a Rwandan refugee who fled during the genocide in 1994.

“Since I came to Amani, my life has changed very much. I have been trained to use a sewing machine and have been taught to make many products. I earn enough money to feed my family, pay rent, and pay bus fares for my children to go to school.”

Ingrid’s story is just one among nearly a hundred women working at Amani who have faced incredible hardships as refugees.

“These women are mourning,” says Amani Ya Juu director Becky Chinchen. “They’ve lost their lives, but peace can’t wait. [Amani] is about finding peace within and moving on with your life. We try to give these women hope. We’re teaching the women here that you can live life no matter what the circumstances. You can get up. You can heal.”


A worker at Amani Ya Juu making an item.

Ingrid’s coworker and Rwandan refugee Neophite Uwamutarambirwa explains that being surrounded by others who have suffered at Amani helps the healing process. “More than job security, at Amani we are able to forget the bad things together and comfort one another,” she says. “We care about one another.”

Tantine Mitamba, a Congolese refugee who fled her country in 2006 after multiple rebel attacks on her community, agrees: “I felt very alone [when I first arrived in Kenya], but working with others who have also struggled so much in life, you feel you are not the only one. We are able to share the burden together.”

Once women have reached Amani, they tend to stay for a long time according to procurement officer Judy Otalo, who has been with the company for 16 years.


A room in the on-site shop at Amani Ya Juu, filled with handmade goods to buy.

“Most women stay [at Amani] at least four years to become trained,” she says, adding that Amani also acts as a springboard for women who want to set up their own businesses. “One Rwandan woman came here to be trained and then eventually went back to Rwanda—she set up an Amani Ya Juu in Rwanda, so now we have a company there, too!”

It’s been 20 years since Amani first opened its doors to refugees and marginalized women from across Africa. Director Chinchen is as intent as ever on continuing to offer a peaceful haven to women and training them with skills that can set them up for the future. According to her, the business model is working: Customers come back again and again to support the Amani initiative.

“There’s something about being with women who have healed and found peace that draws people,” she says. “It’s hard to find a community where there’s trust, forgiveness, and love in this world, but you find that here.”

Sign the petition: Let’s make sure all refugee children get the education and future they deserve.



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Music Generation Wicklow launches a new Jazz Ensemble in partnership with Mermaid Arts Centre


Music Generation Wicklow is delighted to partner with Mermaid Arts Centre in the creation of a new Jazz Ensemble for young musicians. The ensemble will initially meet for 10 weeks to play Jazz and other genres of music, under the guidance of musicians Michael Nielsen and Paula McCarthy.

As part of the partnership with Mermaid Arts Centre, participants in the ensemble will also have the opportunity to avail of workshops from visiting musicians from time to time.

If you are a young musician age 12 to 18 with an interested in playing and learning Jazz and improvisation, Music Generation Wicklow would love to hear from you! An ability to read music and/or play a chromatic instrument would be an advantage. A drum kit and digital piano will be provided on site.

Music Generation Wicklow Jazz Ensemble

Venue: Mermaid Arts Centre
Date: Saturday 21 January, 2017 (for 10 weeks)
Time: 11.30am – 1pm
Fee: €80

Booking: Mermaid Arts Centre Box Office
t: +353 1 272 4030

Contact Music Generation Wicklow for further information about how to get involved:

Ann Catherine Nolan, Manager Music Generation Wicklow
t: +353 404 60505
m: +353 86 790 9887
e: AnnCatherineNolan@kwetb.ie


Via Music Generation

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GIRLS AND WOMEN Meet the “Queen of Katwe:” Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigy from Uganda


September 8 2016  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

This week, Queen of Katwe will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga, the film is already garnering some buzz. But did you know that it’s about a ONE member?

That’s right: The film centers around the life of Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigy from Katwe, Uganda. Like many children in Africa, she comes from poverty—her father and her sister died from complications with AIDS, and her mother worked long hours just to put food on the table. Due to school fees, Phiona had to drop out when she was just 9—but she joined a chess program run by the Sports Outreach Institute. By 2012, she was a three-time junior girls’ champion of Uganda!

Her additional achievements include being selected to represent Africa at the World Chess Olympiad and earning the title of Woman Candidate Master.


Photo credit: Stephanie Sinclair

In 2014, Phiona helped us launch the ONE Girls and Women initiative, bringing issues of poverty and gender inequality to life through curated content. Now, at age 20, she’ll be able to see her story on the big screen!

Want more? Follow ONE on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook—and become a member today!



Edited by tan_lejos_tan_cerca

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Billboard of 2 Muslim Girls Celebrating Australia Day Taken Down Amid Backlash

By Marnie Cunningham| Jan. 18, 2017

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE



On Australia Day 2016 two young girls were celebrating in Melbourne with their families. The two friends had their picture taken and the photo was used for billboards to promote Australia Day celebrations for 2017.

The pair happen to be Muslim and are wearing hjabs in the image; their photo was chosen as a way to celebrate the diversity of Australia. However, sadly the billboard was met with a wave of islamophobia and threats of violence until it was taken down. On social media there were hateful outcries about how the photo was “un-Australian”.

Members of far-right social media groups posted things such as: “Those hijabs are offensive to me because of what they stand for.” Another commented: “They deserve abuse & threats.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


 Kim Vuga @Kimmaree13

#Australia Day Billboard pulled down! 


A win! 


Australia has spoken! 


This is Australia NOT Saudi Arabia!




3:39 AM - 17 Jan 2017

  107 107 Retweets   175 175 likes


 Big Bill @TenezLeDroit

9:55 AM - 18 Jan 2017

Photo published for Anti-racism campaigners want to put Australian Muslim girls back on a billboard for Australia Day

Anti-racism campaigners want to put Australian Muslim girls back on a billboard for Australia Day

An Australia Day billboard featuring two girls in hijab was removed after backlash, but campaigners are crowdfunding to get it back up.


  Retweets   likes

The families of the girls are now concerned about keeping their identity a secret and fear for their safety, reports The Guardian. The girls are very much aware of the fuss their photo has caused but can’t quite understand why it was taken down.

In response to the dismantlement of the billboards, advertising agency Campaign Edge have launched a crowdfunding campaign to #putthembackup.



 ABC News 24 ✔ @ABCNews24

Campaign to reinstate 'controversial' #AustraliaDay billboard featuring #Muslim girls in hijabs raises nearly $60,000 in 7 hours @deemadigan

8:24 AM - 18 Jan 2017

  182 182 Retweets   304 304 likes

The money raised will go to placing a full page press ad and a billboard. Although by the looks of things they may be able to purchase more than one billboard! The team behind the campaign are donating their time and any leftover funds will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.


 Richard Di Natale ✔ @RichardDiNatale

I'm disgusted by campaign to take down Australia Day sign featuring Muslim women. Racism has no place in our society https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/17/australia-day-billboard-featuring-women-in-hijabs-removed-after-threats

3:43 AM - 17 Jan 2017

Photo published for Australia Day billboard featuring women in hijabs removed after threats

Australia Day billboard featuring women in hijabs removed after threats

Digital sign in Melbourne showing two Muslim women in front of the Australian flag sparks furious social media debate and threats to company


  269 269 Retweets   425 425 likes


 Robin Scott @RobinScottMP

I support these ads. #OzDay is about celebrating not only our differences but the things we share: ie love for Aust! https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/17/australia-day-billboard-featuring-women-in-hijabs-removed-after-threats?CMP=share_btn_tw

2:54 AM - 17 Jan 2017

Photo published for Australia Day billboard featuring women in hijabs removed after threats

Australia Day billboard featuring women in hijabs removed after threats

Digital sign in Melbourne showing two Muslim women in front of the Australian flag sparks furious social media debate and threats to company


  6 6 Retweets   14 14 likes

A group in the local council where the billboard was first put up started a petition to have the billboards reinstated. The petition that states “Muslims are Australians too! We demand the reinstatement of the Cranbourne billboard featuring two girls wearing hijabs,” attracted over 4,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. A crowdfunding campaign hit its target of raising $50,000, blew through this goal in just 7 hours, and went on to raise more than $100,000, according to The Guardian.

For Australians to be true global citizens, Australia Day needs to be an inclusive celebration of the country’s diversity.

TOPICSMuslim, Diversity, Australia, #Girls and Women, Australia Day, #putthembackup, Hjab

Marnie Cunningham

Written by Marnie Cunningham

Marnie Cunningham is a content creator for Global Citizen. With a background in media, photography and international development she has worked in Tanzania, Vanuatu and her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Marnie is passionate about the environment and runs a sustainable business of her own - seasonal floral and botanical design for weddings and events.


Via Global Citizen

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Via Global Citizen

CITIZENSHIP Meet Flynn Coleman: Human Rights Lawyer and a Global Citizen of America

By Phineas Rueckert|

 Jan. 19, 2017

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE


Global Citizens of America is a new series that highlights Americans who dedicate their lives to helping people outside the borders of the US. At a time when some world leaders are encouraging people to look inward, Global Citizen knows that only if we look outward, beyond ourselves, can we make the world a better place.

Flynn Coleman is a Global Citizen in every sense of the word — having lived in more than a dozen countries and traveled to many more in her roles as an international human rights attorney, teacher, and entrepreneur. 

As an international attorney she has worked with the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong and Cambodia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, and United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, to name just a few of her jobs. 

In 2015, she founded Malena, a socially conscious fashion line that focuses on empowering women artisans around the world. Along with selling fashion accessories from scarves to jewelry, Malena supports human rights and provides economic opportunities to local artisans. 

Born and raised in California, Flynn completed her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She has also studied Law at the University of California — Berkeley, and received her LLM at the London School of Economics. 

She gave a powerful TED talk on the nexus of technology and human rights, and taught a course called “Redefining Success: Mindfulness and the Law” at King’s College London. 

She spoke with Global Citizen about working in human rights, human innovation, and what it means to be a Global Citizen.

flynn_in_rwanda_photo_by_betty_krenek.jpImage: Betty Krenek

Global Citizen: You’re at a party — how do you describe what you do? 

Flynn Coleman: The short answer is I’m an international human rights lawyer. My life’s work is in social justice and human rights, but I’m also an educator, an author, a founder, and a CEO. I’m also a former competitive athlete and I teach creativity and mindfulness. But I would say I identify really strongly as an international human rights lawyer.

Global Citizen: What inspired you to start working in international human rights? 

Flynn Coleman: I believe and have learned along the way that every voice matters and everyone has a story to tell, and so that kind of underlies everything I do. 

The first time I lived abroad was when I was 13 years old. I moved to Italy for the summer to play soccer. I lived with a host family that spoke no English, and lived in the middle of a corn field. [The day] they showed up to pick me up [from the airport], we drove hours outside of Rome to this tiny, little cinderblock house. I remember seeing the cat, his name was Figaro, and I just thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ 

That night … we started hearing all these noises, and it was like music. It was coming from the night, and it started getting louder and louder. There were guitar sounds, and then suddenly the door opened and the entire town had come to welcome me home, and in that moment I realized — our diversity makes us beautiful, but we’re all the same. 

We did not speak the same language, but we communicated. [My host mother] had faced a lot of discrimination in her life, I later found out, and I think that was one of the moments where I realized this is our home, this is our planet, we’re all in this together.

ethiopia_open_arms_2.jpg__792x792_q85_crImage: Flynn Coleman

Global Citizen: Where else have you lived? 

Flynn Coleman: That was my first time living abroad — I had traveled and did some really fun trips with my family, but that was my first time on my own: pre-cellphone, way pre-internet, pre-social media. The next summer I lived in Fiji, doing some school building projects. I’ve lived in the UK, Dublin, France, Italy, Chile — I did my study abroad in college there — Senegal, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Cambodia, the Netherlands. There’s about 13.

Global Citizen: What are some of the issues that bridge all of these different experiences? 

Flynn Coleman: I often say that the most entrepreneurial and creative people in the world are people in the poorest places in the world, because you have to be. In Cuba, there’s a reason every lighter, every car, every machine still works, because they don’t have the option to replace it. You are creative when you don’t have the resources. When you can’t throw money at a problem, you get really innovative and creative because there’s so much to learn there. 

Ultimately, all growth, all politics, it’s all local. And that’s what’s so beautiful and fascinating about this idea of being a global citizen — to have that global world view, but to understand that it’s not about me coming in and helping you. It’s about me understanding, ‘How can I empower you to help yourself?’ And I think that’s what I’ve learned. No one saves anyone else. You can’t save someone, whether it’s near or whether it’s far across the globe — you can only say, ‘How can I help you, and be an ally and a partner?’ 

guatemala_2_photo_by_jorge_estuardo_de_lImage: Jorge Estuardo de Leon

Global Citizen: Are you concerned about an anti-globalization, anti-Global Citizen movement? Do you think that is happening? 

Flynn Coleman: What’s really important to always remember is that we’re human beings, and we are wired to survive. We are trained to be afraid of things and people that are different, because we needed, back in the day, to identify really quickly — ‘This is danger.’ So our bodies are trained to ‘otherize.’ 

For example, eyewitness testimony across race is traditionally very, very unreliable because our brain needs to make quick categorizations without filling in all the gaps — that’s our biology, that’s the mechanics of being a human being, that’s what makes us very flawed. And at the same time that survival mechanism keeps us safe, it keeps us away from fire, away from danger. 

So it’s not a good or a bad thing, it’s who we are. Everyone is born with those innate fears, but the journey is [about] always trying to be aware of those, to have conversations, and to always try to choose love instead of fear.  Because my core belief is that we are all equally, and intrinsically, valuable just because we exist.

Everything has a cause and effect. There’s always going to be a counterpoint — that’s how politics happens. In a time of great repression, you’ll also have a groundswell of great, great activism, and creativity. There’s always going to be a global worldview and then a pushback. The only thing we can try to do is have those open, courageous conversations and say, “I might not understand you, I might be different from you, but can you please help me understand your point of view?” 

Global Citizen: Why does it matter to be a Global Citizen? 

Flynn Coleman: Ultimately, we’re all human beings first. It’s so important to celebrate our diversity, but also to realize that we all bleed the same blood, and that we’re all the same underneath it all. 

We’re just one conversation, one smile, one laugh, one thank you, one ‘hello’ away from connecting with anybody else. It doesn’t mean being an international jetset, and understanding how everything works. No one can possibly have all the answers. But it’s taking that bird’s eye global view that, ‘We may disagree or there might be things that separate us but there’s so much more that connects us.’ 

We’re all in this together. It’s interesting — the connection between poverty and the environment and civil rights and human rights. They’re all connected. I can fight all my life for civil rights, but if I don’t have a planet to live on, what’s the point? I can fight for everyone else’s rights, but if i don’t fight for my own, my well will run dry. They’re all overlapping, and I think that’s what it means to be a Global Citizen. 

At the end of the day, we’re all essentially tiny ants floating on a ball in the dark. On the one hand it feels really scary, and on the other hand it’s so liberating, because when you think of the fact that one day all of us and everyone we know will be gone, it can be freeing. It liberates us to be who we want to be and to follow our passions. We are so small, yet so powerful all at once, and we have all of that vulnerability and fear, but we [also] have all of that potential for greatness and joy and heroic deeds, too. 

Learn more: flynncoleman.community

Twitter: @flynncoleman

Instagram: @flynncoleman

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 Phineas Rueckert


Phineas Rueckert is a writer at Global Citizen. He graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Political Science and International Studies, and spent the past year teaching English in Toulouse, France. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York.

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REFUGEES This refugee dad is determined to help kids continue learning


September 12 2016  | By: MERCY CORPS
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

This story by Alyssa Cogan is from Mercy Corps, a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. (Learn more here.) Photos by Corinna Robbins.


Ziad owned a restaurant and a market in Syria, but was forced to leave it behind when the war started and he was kidnapped, tortured, and ransomed back to his family. He and his family left for Lebanon, where they struggle with hunger, poverty and discrimination.

The heat is stifling between the plastic walls of the room where Ziad stands. A rotating fan provides little relief from the hot, dry air.

A half circle of children is seated before him, each waiting cross-legged on the thin rugs that cover the concrete floor, with a blue notebook and a pencil placed neatly on their lap.

One plant, the fan, a couple of teddy bears and a whiteboard procured especially for these lessons decorate the small, modest room.

Paying no mind to the warmth, when Ziad asks a question, a cluster of small, eager hands shoot into the air. Class is in session today — and the children are hungry to participate.

There is just one thing: Ziad isn’t a teacher. This isn’t even a school.

This class is taking place in the main room of Ziad’s tent in an informal settlement in eastern Lebanon, where a couple hundred Syrian refugee families are trying to eek out a living in a setting ripe with hunger, poverty, and discrimination.

As refugees, Ziad’s kids don’t have access to formal schooling. And, of all the challenges Ziad’s family is facing, this is the one he is most dogged to overcome.

“I just want one thing in this world,” he says, looking at his 7-year-old son, Simon, “only one thing. I don’t want anything else. That you and your siblings go to school and graduate and have a better life.”


In Lebanon, only around half of primary school-age the Syrian refugee children are enrolled in school.

Refugees face steep challenges in Lebanon

Over a million Syrians have flooded Lebanon since the start of the crisis in Syria, taking shelter in cities, neglected buildings, and informal settlements, wherever they can find cover of some sort to protect them. The settlement where Ziad lives lies at the end of a long, dusty, dirt road in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, the country’s agricultural epicenter.

Here, surrounded by farmland, hundreds of Syrian refugees fleeing war have occupied a compound of small, abandoned cinder block buildings. A tangle of makeshift tents like Ziad’s — concrete pads with tarps and blankets for walls — fill the spaces in between, housing the overflow of families seeking refuge.


Ziad is determined to ensure Syrian children in his camp continue to receive an education. He created a school out of his tent and leads lessons on reading, writing, and math.

Mercy Corps provides water and sanitation support, and is helping make rudimentary shelters safer and more livable. But, still, life here is difficult: hunger, unemployment and stress are constants for nearly everyone.

Only around half of primary school-age Syrian children in Lebanon are enrolled in formal education. And, in the Bekaa Valley, attendance is even lower: 36 percent.

Despite the government’s efforts to include Syrian children in the public education system, obstacles like transportation fees, safety concerns, language barriers and discrimination keep many children from enrolling.

Living in poverty, and without access to school or other safe spaces to grow and develop, countless young refugees are fated to sit idle in their shelters or work to support their families.

Too often, there simply isn’t anything else for them to do.

Why education is critical for refugee children

But as his settlement’s “shaweesh,” (its informal leader,) Ziad feels a great responsibility to care for the men, women, and children living here. It’s the Syrian way, he says.

And so, when the public school his bright and curious son Simon was attending in Lebanon ran out of space for him last year, Ziad didn’t waver. He decided to teach lessons himself.

And not just for his son, but for all the children in his settlement who were missing out on their education.

“The first thing I taught them was the alphabet, how to read, and how to write,” Ziad says. “Something very, very important so their generation is not completely lost.”

“I also teach them the seasons, all the basic things. And I try my best to revive their memories of what they have learned in Syria, so they don’t forget.”

In an environment without structure and opportunity, the school sessions Ziad hosts in his tent provide a small amount of hope and security.


Only 50 percent of refugee children are enrolled in primary education, while 25 percent are estimated to be in secondary school. And a dismal 1 percent have access to education beyond that.

But, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), education during displacement is vital. It can promote social cohesion, support emotional healing, offer safety and prepare young people to rebuild their communities and pursue productive lives.

It can also foster peace: Across society, every year of schooling decreases the chance of a young person engaging in violent conflict by 20 percent, according to the World Bank.

Ziad sees first-hand what is at stake and is desperate to instill in his children a different destiny.

“If they live in this depression, this darkness, this will reflect when they’re adults,” he says. “Right now, we are in a state of war. They might hear things, they might see things that would affect them negatively. They might become violent when they grow up.”

“So in giving them this hope, in telling them that life has its ups and downs … it’s going to give them an effort so they can do something in their future.”

Breeding hope, one lesson at a time

Since starting his school, Ziad can’t walk through the slapdash streets of the settlement without collecting a pack of kids, blue notebooks in hand and ready to learn, on his way.


Children in the settlement, armed with blue notebooks, follow Ziad, hungry to learn.

He has somehow managed to secure markers, pens and other basic supplies, and hosts class twice a week from the main room of his tent.

Traditional lessons range from Arabic and arithmetic, to the seasons, the nutritional value of oranges and the difference between a river and the sea.

“I don’t really have a curriculum, but I try my best to keep them learning, to keep teaching them something, so they are always learning something,” Ziad says.

For his students, he has become an anchor in an otherwise volatile existence, and the close attention he gives to them is just as valuable as the academic lessons he offers.

By encouraging the children to draw, Ziad is able to find out what they’re thinking about and how they’re feeling, making it a point to engage those who are reliving traumatic memories.


“I have children who draw their houses in war situations, like war planes and people dying,” he says. [The drawings] help me understand the person I am dealing with.”

If today is a bad day, he tells the kids, tomorrow will be better. Some days you will be happy, like when you go to a wedding, and some days you will be sad, like when you go to a funeral. You just have to trust that you will be OK in the end.

“The importance is not just teaching subjects, but teaching hope,” he says. “If you don’t give children hope, it’s the same as losing a whole generation, because this is all they have. The future is all they have.”

How we help send refugee kids to class

Mercy Corps strives to ensure young refugees don’t lose their futures to conflict. We build temporary learning spaces and distribute school supplies for kids who have been displaced from their schools and communities.

We work to ensure the most vulnerable children, like those with disabilities, have transportation and resources to continue their education.


“If you don’t give children hope, it’s the same as losing a whole generation, because this is all they have,” Ziad says. “The future is all they have.”

You can help: Sign Mercy Corps’ petition urging Congress to support humanitarian assistance that helps refugee children and their families—and add your name to the #EducationForRefugees petition, too.



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EDUCATION Pilgrim Africa’s Beacon of Hope in Uganda


September 29 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Dr. Dorothy Echodu, CEO of Pilgrim Africa

The release of the critically-acclaimed Disney movie Queen of Katwe illuminates the beauty, strength, and courage of Uganda’s people.

The movie, adapted from a best-selling book, tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a young woman from Katwe (one of Uganda’s poorest slums) who becomes an international chess champion.

Phiona’s story captures the soaring heart of Uganda, a country that has known disease, poverty, and war, yet overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles through sheer spirit, depth of heart, and unquantifiable courage.

The beauty of Uganda’s people will now be shared with the broader movie-going public. The nation’s hopes, personified through the incredible achievements of this young woman overcoming tremendous obstacles in her pursuit of greatness, are sure to inspire.

For us at Pilgrim Africa, a Seattle-based organization quietly building an innovative Ugandan NGO specializing in public health and education, the release of Queen of Katwe is a moment for reflection and celebration.


(Photo credit: Sean Dimond/Pilgrim Africa)

In 2006, our boarding school Beacon of Hope opened its doors in Soroti, Uganda. The first 260 students were all former abductees of the Lord’s Resistance Army or former LRA soldiers. We provided pastoral and trauma counseling, as well as music, dance, and drama therapies to help children forgive and heal. The last child soldiers graduated out of the school in 2014, but the school has continued to focus on assisting the most vulnerable youth in the community.

Phiona Mutesi did not attend Beacon of Hope, but she is representative of many of our students who aspire to a better life, remaining hopeful and persistent despite myriad temptations to apathy or despair.


(Photo credit: Ira Lippke/Pilgrim Africa)

Today, Beacon of Hope serves 698 students—of which 384 receive a full scholarship—with an ambitious state-of-the-art STEM-focused curriculum that challenges students to think and dream big. Beacon was built using Pilgrim’s approach to solving development problems: deep respect for local context, and what we call jasiri, or bold love—the insistence that even the poorest Ugandan youth can and must be part of building and strengthening our global community. Beacon graduates have gone on to university and are now health care professionals, government workers, and information technology experts.

Deborah Apio is a 19-year-old who completed her high school studies at Beacon of Hope. As the fifth of nine children in her family, Deborah jumped from school to school as money was available to pay for her school fees. Her father decided to take her to Soroti and enroll her at Beacon of Hope School, where she was provided with a sponsorship that allowed her to stay at Beacon.

“Pilgrim sponsored me for the rest of high school,” she says. “This was a breakthrough for me as I had faced a lot of hardship in my life.”

“I am so happy that Pilgrim exists today because many of my friends and colleagues have benefited through the project. I have always wanted to study medicine and I know I will pursue my dream.”

Deborah recently enrolled at Kenya Methodist University, where she was awarded a full scholarship to study medicine.


(Photo credit: Bren Phillips/Pilgrim Africa)

This year, at an international robotics and technology high school competition held in Uganda, the Beacon of Hope team built a remote-controlled robot and was awarded a gold medal for this pioneering project. Expanding upon this success, the Beacon of Hope robotics team is slated to enter a highly acclaimed competition in Israel next year.

At Beacon of Hope, we are teachers and parents, caregivers and mentors, doctors and nurses who believe that love, hope, and faith, with God’s help, can usher in a bright future for some of Uganda’s most vulnerable young people.


(Photo credit: Ira Lippke/Pilgrim Africa)

As audiences gather to watch Queen of Katwe, we at Pilgrim Africa can’t help but wonder, will multiple kings and queens of Uganda emerge from Beacon of Hope Secondary School? Will our students who are among the poorest of the poor be similarly celebrated on the world stage one day for their intellectual exploits and creative capabilities?

The early results are in, and the answer points to a resounding yes.

Dr. Dorothy Echodu is the CEO of Pilgrim Africa. An expert in public health, Dr. Echodu pioneered the NGO’s anti-malaria program in Uganda and leads the Beacon of Hope Secondary School along with her husband Calvin Echodu, the founder of Pilgrim Africa.

Join us in fighting poverty and preventable disease today.

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Trump Targets Women’s Healthcare in One of His First Actions as President

By Phineas Rueckert| Jan. 23, 2017


Flickr/Ollivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research

Less than two days after well over 1 million women worldwide marched in protest of President Donald Trump’s policies, the president has reinstated a federal ban that prevents the US government from funding international health organizations that perform or advocate for abortions. 


Image: Flickr/Mobilus in Mobili

The move is not a complete surprise. Called the “Global Gag Rule,” the policy began under President Ronald Reagan in 1984, was revoked by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and was reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001. 

Most recently, the ban was again revoked by President Barack Obama in 2009. 

It states that any Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that receives US family planning funding can neither advocate for, nor provide abortion services. 

Read more: Millions of Women March Around the Globe Day After Trump Inauguration

This is a move that could affect up to 27 million women and couples that receive contraceptive services from health organizations that receive US federal funds for family planning, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The US currently earmarks $600 million in funds for international family planning, none of which, The Huffington Post reports, goes specifically toward abortion. 

Tacked onto a spate of three executive actions — which also included an order to remove the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a federal hiring freeze — the move has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for American Progress, and Human Rights Watch. 


 ACLU National ✔ @ACLU

Trump's 3rd executive order today is assault on women's health. "Mexico City policy" strips US support from health clinics around the globe

5:57 PM - 23 Jan 2017

  2,138 2,138 Retweets   1,397 1,397 likes


 American Progress @amprog

It denies international family planning orgs the right to advocate for the legalization of abortion in their country


 American Progress @amprog

The Global Gag Rule infringes upon women’s fundamental right to make informed decisions about their bodies and their health.

6:04 PM - 23 Jan 2017

  92 92 Retweets   64 64 likes

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


 Human Rights Watch ✔ @hrw

HRW joins 130+ orgs opposing global gag rule. It undermines health & gender equity efforts worldwide http://bit.ly/2jUk3lC #WomensMarch

7:19 PM - 23 Jan 2017

  134 134 Retweets   137 137 likes

“Supporters of global health and development, women’s rights, gender equality, and free speech oppose the harmful global gag rule and reject efforts to undermine the health and rights of women around the world,” Planned Parenthood wrote in a statement, which was endorsed by over 130 national civil rights organizations. 

This move will disproportionately affect women living in poor countries, where access to family planning and contraceptive care is already severely limited. The United States, according to Planned Parenthood, is the largest international provider of family planning assistance to developing countries. By failing to fund organizations that advocate for abortion, this aid will be in jeopardy for those who need it most. 

Read more: Report Reveals Trump Wants the EPA to Stop Using Scientific Research

Furthermore, results from past experiments with the Global Gag Rule have proven ineffective. A 2011 study by Stanford University found that the policy has actually had the unintended consequence of increasing the amount of abortions in developing countries. The study found that when the Global Gag Rule was in place in Sub-Saharan Africa, “the induced abortion rate increased significantly,” from 10.4 abortions per 10,000 women to 14.5.  

The Center for Health and Gender Equality also noted that this policy can be deadly in humanitarian disasters. 

“Disqualifying certain foreign NGOs from receiving US funding will also have a negative impact on the speed and effectiveness of humanitarian aid, thereby increasing hardships for women and their families,” they wrote in a statement. 

The reinstatement of the Global Gag Act sets a dangerous precedent for the direction of US international aid, and jeopardizes millions of women and men who rely on international NGOs for their family planning services. This action should be seen as a direct attack on women’s rights, and could initiate a global health crisis. 

TOPICSGlobal Gag Act, Health, Women's Health, International Health, President Trump, International Aid

Phineas Rueckert

Written by Phineas Rueckert

Phineas Rueckert is a writer at Global Citizen. He graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Political Science and International Studies, and spent the past year teaching English in Toulouse, France. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York.


Via Global Citizen

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EDUCATION The READ Act Was Just Introduced in the House of Representatives!

By David Ambuel |

 Jan. 23, 2017

The United States House of Representatives is moving quickly in the new year to prioritize global education, introducing the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act, or READ Act (H.R. 601). The bill aims to help the 263 million out of school youth and adolescents around the world access quality education.

And, tomorrow, the READ Act is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives!

Global Citizens know that receiving quality education can lead to better health outcomes, greater earning potentials and more stable societies. It provides individuals with the tools to better their lives, as well as their community, helping to address the devastating threat of extreme poverty.


Specifically, the READ Act is intended to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of US assistance dollars, providing the most bang for our buck. It introduces an accountability and transparency framework so that the US Congress and public can see exactly where our assistance is directed, and how much it is helping. Additionally it provides a structure for the prioritization of our assistance directing our aid to the populations in the greatest need.

The bill was introduced hours ago by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), who teamed up last year to introduce a similar piece of legislation, the Education for All Act.

Not sparing any time, House leadership has also scheduled the bill for a vote in the House of Representatives under suspension of the rules.

Let’s let the US Congress know that Global Citizens overwhelmingly support this legislation. Our world’s future generations depend on it! 

Sign the petition today and support the passage of the READ Act!

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

Written by David Ambuel


David Ambuel is a U.S. Policy and Advocacy Associate at The Global Poverty Project. He is a new transplant to New York, and when he isn’t walking around exploring the city, he is planning his next travel adventure.


Via Global Citizen

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Via Global Citizen

ENVIRONMENT Report Reveals Trump Wants the EPA to Stop Using Scientific Research

By Joe McCarthy|

 Jan. 23, 2017

When it comes to fighting climate change, the US is arguably the most important country in the world. The US fights climate change through the Environmental Protection Agency, which means the EPA is one of the most important agencies in the world.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has made his contempt for the agency plain. Throughout his campaign to be president, he railed against environmental regulations, called climate change a hoax, and vowed to focus on policies that would undermine environmental sustainability.

And then he appointed one of the most outspoken opponents to the EPA in the country, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to lead the EPA.

Read More: Trump's EPA Pick Scott Pruitt May Be the Worst Thing Ever to Happen to Planet Earth

As soon as Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 19, the “Issues” page on the White House website was updated and all traces of climate change were removed.

In its page, the page on energy says, “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule...The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.”

Coal is the most environmentally destructive energy source in the world and the Climate Action Plan is at the heart of former president Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change.  

Read More: 7 Ways Obama Helped Protect the Planet From Climate Change

Recently, the Trump team’s EPA action plan was leaked and it outlines some key goals of the agenda.

Most consequentially, the “action plan” calls for the EPA to be prohibited from conducting scientific research because of the potential for bias (fortunately, scientific data from the Obama administration has been downloaded to secure servers). Since the EPA conducts exhaustive scientific research to support every regulatory decision it makes, this would essentially render the EPA unable to deal with any emerging environmental issues and to build upon the progress made on past issues.

The plan also calls for the EPA’s advisory board to be overhauled, which likely means that industry insiders aligned with the fossil fuel industry would be installed to approve or reject new proposals.

If the plan is enacted, other measures for thwarting environmental enforcement would be put in place, such as having independent researchers with potential conflicts of interest verify scientific conclusions, and forcing research teams to meet extremely high burdens of proof.

Read More: 2016 Was Hottest Year Ever as Earth Undergoes ‘Big Changes’

This action plan involves a lot of wishful thinking and is unlikely to be fully enacted.

Fortunately, the likelihood of these changes actually changing the direction of the EPA is unlikely, experts say.

“There are huge, entrenched bureaucracies at these agencies, and especially at EPA, which is filled with true believers on the environmental movement, climate change, clean water and air,” Jonathan Swan wrote for Axios. “These thousands of people will dig in and make it very difficult for the thin layer of political appointees atop these agencies to move quickly to undo their years of work to put these things in place.”


Written by Joe McCarthy


Joe McCarthy is a Content Creator at Global Citizen. He believes apathy is the biggest threat to creating a more just world and tries his hardest to stay open-minded and curious. Living in New York keeps him aware of how interconnected our world is, how every action has ripples.

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We love celebrating the importance of books in helping kids learn about the world around us. So here’s a collection of six great children’s books about some of the issues that we care about, like global health and caring for those affected by poverty. Hopefully, they inspire a few young readers to turn into young activists.


Little Feet, Big Steps by Brit Sharon

Little Feet, Big Steps is a coming of age story about a young girl who, with the help of her encouraging mother, takes on a project by signing up for the AIDS Walk in her city. She turns to her community to fundraise and is unstoppable on her journey to make a difference. Throughout the story, Gabby comes to terms with what AIDS is and why people come together to support causes that effect others. (See the rest of the review here)


Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story About Malaria by John Nunes and Monique Nunes

Little Things Make Big Differences is a story about Rehema, a young girl who lives in the African country of Tanzania. When she was a baby, Rehema was infected with malaria, but because her parents were able to get treatment for her, she survived. In the book, Rehema describes what children in the United States can do to help fight malaria. (See the rest of the review here)


Ithemba Means Hope by Gcina Mhlophe

In Ithemba Means Hope, Ithemba becomes more hopeful for his own parents with HIV when he commits to help his neighbor and best friend remember to take her ARVs regularly. The book models positive attitudes toward HIV/AIDS and commitment to making ARVs work. (See the rest of the review here)





Rachel and the Lion by Stephanie Lainez

An excellent tool for parents, this book helps to create a platform in which to discuss pressing life issues, such as sickness, death, honesty and respect. Rachel is a 7-year-old girl in a small town in Africa that is struck by malaria. As tragedy hits her household, her special relationship with the Lion helps her cope and find inner strength through understanding grief, conflict, and truth. (See the rest of the review here)


Brenda Has a Dragon in her Blood by Hiltje Vink

This true story of a little girl from Africa, written by her adoptive mother Hijltje Vink, deals with the day to day social and emotional challenges of a child and family living with HIV. Through Brenda’s story, children learn they are not alone living with HIV/Aids. The book addresses the stigma of living with HIV and the importance of the ARV medication regime to “keep the dragon sleeping” and remain healthy. (See the rest of the review here)


What Does It Mean To Be Global by Rana DiOrio 

In this whimsically drawn and thoughtfully told story, children learn what it means to be global by visiting the pyramids, eating sushi, celebrating Kwanzaa, and learning how to say “hello” in Swahili. The book is a conversation starter for parents and educators to teach children about the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children’s traditions, religions, and values the world over.

The next step in becoming an activist? Volunteer with ONE!



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Via Global Citizen

HEALTH Watch This Children’s Hospital Transform Into a Magical Spaceship


Jan. 23, 2017

Brought to you by: HP


Hospitals can be a scary place for a child. Sterile environments with strange noises and smells, doctors and nurses buzzing around, and seemingly endless corridors of rooms with closed doors. This is particularly true of the radiology department, with its large machines that whirr and clang. 

HP is working with several children’s hospitals to make visits more pleasant and less stressful for patients and family members. 

At Sant Joan de Déu-Barcelona Children’s Hospital in Spain, HP Latex Printing technology has been used to redecorate the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department. Cold, white walls and bare equipment in the CAT and MRI scan and preparation rooms have been transformed, casting children as astronauts embarking on an exciting adventure. 


Similarly in Denmark, HP partnered with H.C. Andersen Children’s Hospital to create a more appealing environment for the young patients, creating printed decorations that were installed on the walls and ceilings of an MRI room, as well as the scanner itself. 

The decorations help reduce the stress and anxiety often experienced by children, thereby decreasing the number of instances where children need to be sedated before a scan.


“As a largely pediatric hospital we want to make the environment child and family-friendly as much as possible,” explained Lola Crevillén, head of Hospital Services and Facilities, Sant Joan de Déu-Barcelona Children’s Hospital. “The CAT and MRI machines are absolutely painless but can create significant stress for children when they enter them. The decorations printed with HP Latex Inks and installed with minimal disruption to services, have allowed us to create unique, attractive designs that the kids love and that are compatible with our sensitive environment.”

HP Latex Printing technology has also been used for other children’s hospital projects. For example, at the Hospital Pequeno Príncipe in Brazil, HP has created an art wall that allows patients to color directly on a mural printed on PVC-free wallpaper. 


And at the White Memorial Hospital in the U.S., a pediatric examination room is now a friendlier place thanks to the addition of wall art. 

Hospitals put strict environmental and safety demands on the products that are used within their buildings—and the materials that hang on the walls are no exception. The use of HP Latex Printing technology guarantees that the wallpaper is ideal for a sensitive hospital setting.


Because solvent-free HP Latex inks were used in these projects, the wallpaper provides no risk of contamination and no damage to the health and safety of patients. The technology—anti-mold, anti-mildew, and water-based—is perfectly safe for a hospital environment. The wallpaper is also odorless, washable, and scratch resistant, which is important since hospitals use special cleaning products that make durability a big issue.

Thanks to this printing technology, HP is helping improve the hospital experience—and lives—of the youngest of patients. 


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Tough Mudder
29 April 2017

Get muddy for Mencap and change the lives of people with a learning disability



Designed to be a challenge that emphasises teamwork and camaraderie, and dubbed 'the toughest event on the planet', Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile assault course with 20 world-class obstacles that include fire, ice and electricity!

If you don't think you're quite cut out for that, why not sign up for Half Mudder – a 5-mile, 13-obstacle course that's free of fire, ice and electricity, but with a double-dose of mud!

Take on one of these gruelling obstacle courses for Mencap, and in return you will receive:

  • excellent training and fundraising support
  • an invite to the private Team Mencap Facebook group
  • a Mencap running vest
  • regular updates from the Mencap events team.

It's £20 per person to register, and we ask that you raise £300 to support our work with people with a learning disability.

Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Half takes place at various locations across the country and on various dates. These are as follows:

29 April, London West – Tough Mudder Half

6 & 7 May, London West – Tough Mudder

13 May, Midlands – Tough Mudder Half

20 & 21 May, Midlands – Tough Mudder

29 & 30 July, Yorkshire – Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Half

19 & 20 August, South West – Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Half

9 & 10 September, North West – Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Half

16 September, London South – Tough Mudder Half

23 & 24 September, London South – Tough Mudder

Please select the location and date (either the Saturday or the Sunday) of your choice from the drop-down menu on the registration form.


For more information, or to register your interest in future events, please contact Rachel Croshaw:

T: 020 7696 6946
E: rachel.croshaw@mencap.org.uk


Via Mencap

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Female Only Ride-Sharing Service to Launch in Australia

By Marnie Cunningham| Jan. 25, 2017


Flickr - static416

Introducing women’s new best friend. Her name is Shebah and she’s coming to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Geelong, and Melbourne in February. Shebah is the female-only alternative to Uber. It’s a ride-sharing service employing only female drivers and accepting only female passengers The service also includes trans women.

The app that announces “Ladies Let’s Roll” was launched by Georgina McEncroe. After looking into becoming an Uber driver, the single mum felt intimidated and scared by the possibility of being a female driver and having unknown passengers, especially male passengers who could potentially be rowdy and intoxicated.

Read More: A Free Ride For Women and Girls in PNG

As a passenger herself she had experienced occasions where she and her daughter had felt unsafe in a taxi due to personal inappropriate comments made by drivers.

"We realised there were a lot of women who wanted to be driven by women, or female drivers who were anxious about driving men," McEncroe told 612 ABC Brisbane's Rebecca Levingston.

In 2015 women made up only 12% of Australia’s 20,000 Uber drivers. Shebah has already attracted 1,470 to register before the official launch.

Although Uber’s rating system is meant to prevent bad behaviour, there have sadly still been reports of harassment.

As stated in a Buzzfeed report: “Uber and taxi driver related assaults aren’t uncommon in Australia; last year nine male drivers were charged with assaulting their female passengers.”

When Deirdre Fidge from ABC News put a call out on social media asking for women to tell her their bad experiences riding in taxis and Ubers, she was overwhelmed by the response. Many chose to walk home alone rather than ride in a taxi or Uber.

Read more: Air India to Designate 'Women-Only' Seating on Domestic Flights

In response to criticism that the service promoted victim-blaming, Shebah founder McEncroe responded in a Mashable article "We know that what causes rape is rapists, and providing people with an option where they feel more comfortable does not cause anything except comfort."

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


 Mashable Business ✔ @mashbusiness

Shebah is the women-only ride sharing app you may not have been waiting for http://on.mash.to/2jkh4l5 

3:48 AM - 24 Jan 2017

  3 3 Retweets   3 3 likes

Plan International Australia and Our Watch commissioned a survey called A Right to the Night, which surveyed 600 women aged 15-19 across Australia and found that a third of them did not feel safe at night in public places.

Another female ride-sharing service SheSafe is set to also launch soon in Victoria. The service advertises itself as providing a “Safe Journey for Women and Children.”


 Australian Women @WhosWhoWomen

A new female-only ride sharing initiative will launch this month in Melbourne. #womensissues http://ow.ly/ZQa9308fo4t 

6:30 AM - 24 Jan 2017

Photo published for Female-only ride-sharing hits Australia - motoring.com.au

Female-only ride-sharing hits Australia - motoring.com.au

Ride-sharing start-up SheSafe will launch in Melbourne in January, filling a theoretical gap left by industry leaders such as Uber – women-only ride-sharing. Thanks to the likes of Uber, the ride-s...


  Retweets   likes

The idea seems to be a popular one. And to those who label a female only service as discriminatory, reporter Deirdre Fidge had the perfect response: “There is a big difference between discrimination that keeps women out of positions of power, from being equal members of society, and discrimination that aims to help women feel safe.”

Let’s hope these new ride-sharing services are a step closer to helping women feel safe.

TOPICSWomen and Girls, Ride-sharing, Uber, Women's safety, Australia, Taxi

Marnie Cunningham

Written by Marnie Cunningham

Marnie Cunningham is a content creator for Global Citizen. With a background in media, photography and international development she has worked in Tanzania, Vanuatu and her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Marnie is passionate about the environment and runs a sustainable business of her own - seasonal floral and botanical design for weddings and events.


Via Global Citizen

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A brand new year and a lot of resolutions to go!
24 January 2017

When January arrives, it’s a good time to think about the year ahead and make a few New Year’s resolutions. A resolution is just a fancy way of saying ‘goal’ or ‘ambition’. 

amy%20blog%20.pngAmy Clarke


New Year’s resolutions are goals that people make to change something in the year ahead and live the life they want. A New Year’s resolution might help you try something new, or become a better version of yourself.

I have a learning disability and in this blog I will be sharing five aims for 2017. If you haven’t made any resolutions yet, you might want to try a few of them too!  I’ve given a few handy hints and tips to help you get started.


1. Saving money

I think it’s important to put money aside. I try to save money for nice things like a haircut, a pair of jeans, or a holiday, and for emergencies. By saving money I make sure not to cut into important money for bills and food.

Hints and tips  

  • Look for bargains and only buy what you can afford. Remember to take a look in charity shops to snap up a good deal! Mencap have opened some brand new shops, check them out!  
  • Save a bit each month and put it aside. You never know what might happen or when you might need it.
  • Keep all spare change in jar, every bit helps. Even one pennies!
  2. Staying organised

It helps to be organised, especially if you live on your own and have bills to pay. It’s good to know what things have to be done.

Hints and tips

  • Keep a diary or calendar or use your gadgets to keep track of what you’re doing day-to-day
  • To keep track of the time, have a clock at the right time around the house, wear a watch or your gadgets should have a clock too
  • From my experience, it’s best to allow a lot of time to get ready in the morning, and allow plenty of time before travelling. Before going on a journey keep the radio or TV on for traffic alerts.
  3. Speaking up for yourself

As someone with a learning disability, I have learnt it is so important to be assertive and speak up for my rights. If you have a learning disability, I’d encourage you to do the same.  

For example, if you have received bad customer service, or someone has been rude to you, speak up about it. If they are nice, they might give you a free token if they have not pleased you. I wasn’t pleased with a shop recently nearby me, so I went to complain and they gave me a free box of oranges, which I was happy about. Speak up for yourself, it can pay off.

Hints and tips

  • Write a letter or email to the person that you are bothered by. Ask a friend, family member or a support worker read it for grammar and how it comes across. Another good idea is to read it out loud before you consider sending it to make sure it makes sense
  • Always be polite but firm, people are more likely to listen
  • If you are speaking to someone face-to-face, practice what you want to say in front of the mirror
  • If you find it hard to speak up for yourself, ask for someone to help you. You could ask a friend or family member, or find an advocate. Advocacy is when somebody speaks up for you. Mencap runs an advocacy service, take a look. 

Finally, if you care about a matter in your local area, you can campaign with advice from Mencap. Check out Mencap’s campaigns here.

  4. Learn something new

So it’s a new year and it’s a good chance to learn something new to further life and help you gain confidence. It worked for me, I was scared of going abroad but attempted it last year and it was great! Have a read of the blog I wrote about my travels in 2016. If you’re not into travelling then I recommend trying new things like cooking, dancing, sports, crafts, or even something practical like online banking

Hints and tips

  • Find out what you want to learn and how much it costs and whether you can do it with ease
  • Once you do the thing new try to keep at it if you can. The more you practice, the better you will get and the more confident you will feel.
  • If it goes wrong the first time, start again. Don’t give up straight away!
  5. Cooking for myself

I like to make things that will freeze and are easy to prepare. Eating loads of ready meals can be expensive and unhealthy and dull. If you cook, you can add your own touch to dishes!

Hints and tips

  • Buy some good pans and baking dishes to get you started
  • Get a good cook book to give you some inspiration and new recipes to try
  • If you’re on a budget, think of some meals where you can make a lot in one go and freeze portions for another day


So what are your New Year’s resolutions for this year? Let us know on social media! 

  Via Mencap

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The Netherlands Sets Up Abortion Fund in Challenge to Trump Policy

By Yosola Olorunshola| Jan. 25, 2017


The Dutch government is already making steps to fill the gap that will be left by US President Donald Trump’s “Global Gag Rule,” a federal ban on all funding to international health organizations that administer or discuss abortion. 

In response, the Netherlands’ development minister Liliane Ploumen has announced a plan for a new international fund to finance access to birth control and abortion. 

“Banning abortion doesn’t lead to fewer abortions,” she said in a statement. “It leads to more irresponsible backstreet practices and a higher death rate among mothers.”

“We need to compensate for this financial blow as much as possible, with a broad-based fund which governments, businesses and civil society organizations can donate to — so that women can remain in control of their own bodies.” 

Read More: Trump Targets Women's Healthcare in One of His First Actions As President

Citing her own country’s commitment to women’s health around the world, she added:  “Last year alone Dutch support for women’s organizations helped to prevent an estimated six million unwanted pregnancies and half a million abortions. The decision by the United States threatens to undermine these results. We mustn’t let that happen.”

Pro-choice organizations argue that the move by the Trump administration is set to affect millions of women and families worldwide. The US currently spends $600 million USD a year on family-planning services around the world, but none of this funding is spent on performing abortions. By implementing the funding ban for any organization that practices or discusses abortion, it will by extension cut funds for other forms of healthcare. Most notably, it will restrict women’s access to preventative contraception, increasing the likelihood of unwanted or risky pregnancies. After the Global Gag Rule was reinstated by George W. Bush in 2001, the number of abortions in Sub-Saharan Africa actually increased.

View image on Twitter

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 Charles Kenny @charlesjkenny

SSA countries more reliant on USAID for reproductive health saw big rise in abortions after 2001 global gag rule http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/89/12/11-091660/en/

8:32 PM - 23 Jan 2017

  85 85 Retweets   58 58 likes

Read More: March on Ladies, Your Guide to Taking Action After the Women's March

Research coordinated by Population Action International shows that between 2002 and 2006, when the gag rule was still in force, USAID ended shipments of contraception to regions where they were vitally needed to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS:

“The Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association, for example, had received 426,000 condoms from USAID over two years during the Clinton administration. Once the gag rule went back into effect, USAID had to end condom shipments to Lesotho entirely because the association was the only available conduit for condoms in that country. At that time, one in four women in Lesotho was infected with HIV.”

PAI have issued a strong statement in response to the reissuing of the rule that uses women’s health as a “political football.” 

Read More: Planned Parenthood — What Will Happen If Congress Slashes Its Funding

“Trump’s Global Gag Rule will not only severely restrict access to legal abortion, but will also have more insidious and damaging effects on women’s health overall. Health care providers will be forced to cut services, increase fees, and even close clinics altogether as a result of severe funding cuts.

“To be clear, this policy is an attack on women’s bodily autonomy and freedom, and we will see an increase in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions as a result.” 

The risks posed by the policy are clear. Marie Stopes International estimates that the loss of US funding will lead to 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and 21,700 maternal deaths in Trump’s first term. 

The Dutch government is therefore inviting other countries, businesses and civil society organisation to step in and fill the gap, protecting women’s health from the impact of this sweeping policy change. 

The views represented here do not reflect those of our partners.


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TOPICSAbortion, The Netherlands, Women and Girls, Reproductive health, Global Gag Rule, HIV/AIDS, Gender Equality, President Donald Trump

Yosola Olorunshola

Written by Yosola Olorunshola

Yosola Olorunshola is a Communications Officer for Global Citizen. She studied History and French at Oxford University before completing a Masters in Creative Writing. Now based in London, you’re likely to find her raving about her favourite writers, listening to a podcast, or people-watching in a cafe.


Via Global Citizen

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Adare Productions and TG4 are seeking applications for the JUNIOR EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2017.

The key criteria for applications is as follows:
Singers must be aged 9-14 years (by the 19th of November 2017)
Singers can apply individually, as a duet, trio or group.
The successful final 32 applicants will take part in Junior Eurovision on TG4 where a winner will be selected. The winner will go on to represent Ireland in The Junior Eurovision Song Contest Final in Europe in November 2017.

Applications are via the TG4 website...





Via Music Generation

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