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The Action Thread Part Two

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Something for the weeked here as the Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival takes place from the 4th to 7th August, in Kells, County Meath

Guth Gafa (meaning ‘captive voice’) is Ireland’s only independent documentary film festival focusing on showcasing the latest award-winning International and Irish documentary films.

Some highlights include:

Irish premiere of Singing with Angry Bird (Sat @ 11.30am)
Landfill Harmonic (Sun @ 11.15am)
School Life (Sat @ 8pm, Sun @ 11.30am)

Details at: http://guthgafa.com/

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1058 EDUCATION How soccer is changing the lives of girls in Kenya February 23 2017 | By: MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO GIRLS COUNT Every gi

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Back in September 2016, The Harpur Trust began supporting the Employ Me programme in Bedford.

Rory Hicks, who is completing the Employ Me project at the moment told us a little more about what he has been learning: “With Mencap we have been looking for jobs…. We have spoken about communication, health and safety, and how to treat others in the work place.”

The Harpur Trust team is enthusiastic about the project and its results : “we are extremely pleased to learn that the Bedford project is already chalking up some impressive successes, with several people leaving the course because they have secured paid employment and more getting volunteer roles, an important first step for so many people looking for work. We look forward to hearing more about their stories!”

We are so very grateful to The Harpur Trust for their amazing support – thank you! We are looking forward to what the rest of the project brings!

Learn more at: https://www.mencap.org.uk/…/services-yo…/employment-services

La imagen puede contener: 6 personas, personas sonriendo, personas de pie, personas sentadas e interior
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5 African power couples fighting to end extreme poverty

13 February 2017 11:07AM UTC | By: GWADAMIRAI MAJANGE


Join the fight against extreme poverty


This Valentine’s Day we celebrate five powerful couples who are spreading the love by using their influence and resources to make the world a better place. These couples illustrate the power of love in more ways than we could imagine!

1. Desmond and Leah Tutu

Desmond and Leah Tutu Photo Credit: The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation

Desmond and Leah Tutu Photo Credit: The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation

Having been married for over 60 years, Desmond and Leah Tutu are the epitome of love. Despite their celebrated role in ending apartheid in South Africa, the two have also gone beyond in post apartheid South Africa by establishing the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation, which aims to promote peace, foster reconciliation, respect and tolerance as well as enhance health and well-being.

2. Mo and Haina Ibrahim

Mo and Haina Ibrahim Photo Credit: AP

Mo and Haina Ibrahim Photo Credit: AP

Mo and Haina are a Sudanese born philanthropic couple. Mo established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to put governance at the centre of any conversation on African development. He believes that governance is at the heart of any tangible and shared improvement in the quality of life of African citizens, and he also sits on the ONE board helping us to develop our organisation. The foundation awards African presidents who at the end of their term have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of their citizens. His wife Haina, a retired radiologist consultant was reported in The Guardian in 2009 as working on setting up a breast cancer hospital in Khartoum.

3. Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa

Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa and wife Tsitsi meet US President Barack Obama

Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa and wife Tsitsi meet US President Barack Obama

Strive Masiyiwa is the chairman and founder of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group. He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation. Philanthropists Strive and Tsitsi, dedicated to investing in advancing development in Africa, have through the foundation been instrumental in setting up of trusts that have played a pivotal role in education and health-care reform. In 2010 Strive and Tsitsi joined The Giving Pledge, started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage wealthy families worldwide to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

4. Patrice and Precious Motsepe

Patrice Motsepe, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Global Fund Ambassador Charlize Theron and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize at the Global Fund dinner. Photo Credit: www.flickr.comgovernmentza

Patrice Motsepe, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Global Fund Ambassador Charlize Theron and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize at the Global Fund dinner. Photo Credit: www.flickr.comgovernmentza

Patrice Motsepe is a South African mining magnate who is married to businesswoman Precious Moloi-Motsepe. The Motsepes established the Motsepe Foundation in 1999 with a primary aim to end poverty and uplift the lives of the marginalised in South Africa, Africa, and the world. The Motsepe family is also part of The Giving Pledge.

5. Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel

Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel with Sri Chinmoy. Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel with Sri Chinmoy. Photo Credit: Wikimedia

This list would be incomplete without mentioning the dedication to end extreme poverty shown by the late great statesman, Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel. These two founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Graca Machel Trust respectively and worked together to address poverty, inequality and some of the health challenges the world faces. They were more than just politicians, but have greater goodness at heart!

There you have it folks, five great love birds who are have made a mark in history for their great work to improve people’s lives

Are you feeling the love? Then join ONE and start making your contribution to ending poverty in all its various forms in your way!



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MARCH 2, 2017

This Global Citizen of America Moved to Nepal and Adopted 49 Children

Maggie Doyne was almost your typical recent high school grad travelling through Nepal, 10 years ago.

Meghan Werft

By Meghan Werft

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.

Just over 10 years ago, Maggie Doyne was almost your typical recent high school grad travelling through Nepal. Except she was spending her gap year visiting war-torn regions of a country that had recently emerged from a brutal civil war. 

The civil war in Nepal, similar to the one occurring in Syria today, affected children more than anyone. Children were pushed onto the streets and the war forced families to separate. 

Over 40,000 children were displaced during the decade-long war according to Unicef. 

This experience aboard, along with her altruistic nature and a profound encounter during that gap year, led Doyne to stay in Nepal, and, ultimately, to start a movement to improve the lives of hundreds for Nepal’s Surkhet community for generations. 

Read More: Meet Nadya Okamoto, 18-Year-Old Global Citizen Who’s Changing the Conversation About Menstruation

It started one day following her daily route while in Nepal in 2006. Doyne walked past Hima, a young girl who was splitting apart stones to sell for money, instead of attending school. 

“I saw myself in her eyes and I saw her future, and I just had this moment where I knew I needed to do something. And that something was to provide her with an education,” said Doyne. 

After listening to Hima, and then to many other children’s stories — she took action. 

Doyne, who is originally from New Jersey, went back to the US and got to work. At 19, she babysat to raise $5,000 to purchase land in Nepal and start a home for the lost children she had met. 

In 2007 she founded the BlinkNow Foundation, which became the sole provider (and still is) to build the children’s home into the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. Today, the foundation also has set up a health clinic, women’s center, sustainability program, and a school for more than 350 students which it continues to fund. In addition, 90% of the foundation’s staff are Nepali, furthering a cycle of empowerment for the community. 

Today, Doyne is the legal guardian for 49 children, whom she lives with at the Kopila Valley Children’s Home and that she would “do anything for.” The home also has two incredible Nepali caretakers, and several Nepali staff who the children call "aunties" and "uncles" that cook help out with daily tasks. Doyne spends part of her time back in the US to fundraise, and works to ensure the bright future that the BlinkNow Foundation is building with the Surkhet community. In fact, some of her oldest children are just beginning to reach 18, and the BlinkNow Foundation is helping them with attending university, vocational training, and has a committee dedicated to seeking opportunities for older children at the home. 

Read More: Meet Max Frieder, a Global Citizen of America Who’s Bringing Art to Conflict Zones

maggie doyne 10.jpgCourtesy Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow Foundation

She has received the highest humanitarian honors such as the 2015 CNN Hero of the Year Award, 2014 Unsung Hero of Compassion, and 2013 Forbes Excellence in Education Award, to name a few. 

Her story is so powerful, filmmaker, Jeremy Power Regimbal is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for a documentary about Maggie’s humanitarian efforts in Nepal. 

Global Citizen had the chance for an email rendezvous with Doyne to ask her about what inspired her to start the BlinkNow Foundation, adopt 49 kids, and what it means to be Global Citizen. 

What influenced you to become a global citizen, and champion for the rights of the world’s vulnerable? 

I was traveling through Nepal shortly after the civil war ended in 2006 and I met children and heard their stories. There was this one dry river bed that I’ll never forget — I used to walk by it everyday. There were children scattered across it breaking stones for money and on one particular day, I made eye contact with this one little girl named Hima. Hima looked at me and smiled and said, ‘Namaste didi!’ — which means, ‘Hello big sister!’ I saw myself in her eyes and I saw her future, and I just had this moment where I knew I needed to do something. And that something was to provide her with an education. 

maggie doyne gca.jpgCourtesy Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow Foundation

Many people travel abroad, but what about your experience led you to stay, and create a safe space for Nepal’s children and women to thrive?

I thought it would be easier to stay and try to do something to make a difference, than spend the rest of my life being haunted by the fact that I met these children and didn’t do anything for them. When I first started, I had no idea what I was getting into, but it felt right. I saw a problem and I had an idea for a solution — did I know it was going to work? No. But I was willing to try. I think being young may have been my greatest strength. I was young and naïve and unstoppable. As we get older we start to get more doubtful. We think of all the things we don’t have instead of the things we do have. When it comes to helping our world and our human family, it’s important for for everyone to maintain the sense of, “I can do anything.”


Tell us about your children at the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. What’s it like living with 49 children? 

It’s so much fun living in our home. [It’s] kind of like constant summer camp and a massive sleepover every single night. Meal time is a little crazy with so many children around the dinner table. You’re definitely never bored. There is always music playing and laughter and games and children running around. I love it. It’s a little slice of paradise for me here.  

maggie doyne 2.jpgCourtesy Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow Foundation

How old are the children? Any amusing stories you’d like to share?  

Our little ones are 5 and 6 and our oldest are 16-18 which makes for a really fun dynamic. My 15-year-old son was recently learning about family planning in health class. While we were counting off the kids to make sure everyone was at dinner one night, he looked at me at like number 48 or 49 and said, “Mom, you need some family planning.” I thought that was pretty funny.

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

What does being a Global Citizen mean to you?  

To me it means putting the care and well being of our planet and our human family above one’s own personal interests. It means stepping outside of our comfort zones to meet and learn about individuals all over the world — it means having empathy for the experiences of others and an understanding that we are all more alike than we are different.

I think being a global citizen is the beginning of a path toward peace and world change. Being a global citizen is the willingness to be part of a global community and a willingness to work at improving life for everyone, no matter their background. It’s important that we don't put up boundaries between each other. Like, that person is from a different country so they’re not like me and their problems aren’t my problems — we’re all citizens of the same planet, we're all in this together.


What is your hope for education on a global level?

That every child has their most basic human needs and rights met and has a fair chance in life by having an education. Children thrive, communities thrive and economies thrive when children have access to education. It’s a viable way of ending the cycle of poverty and it’s something that all children should have access to.

maggie doyne 1.jpgCourtesy Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow Foundation

What advice do you have for global citizens who want to help the world’s children succeed in life?  

If we can’t care for our world’s children, then what are we doing here?  If you're educated [and] free, empowered [and] safe, you have to use your strength [and] your power to help the rest of our human family. I think we all have the power to create something to make the world a little better.

maggie doyne.jpgCourtesy Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow Foundation

Read More: Meet Global Citizen Aerlyn Pfeil, Who Helps Give Babies Life All Around the World


Via Global Citizen

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DEC. 12, 2014

The 7 biggest challenges facing refugees and immigrants in the US

Moving nations comes with some big challenges.

Christina Nuñez

Two years ago, I had an incredible, eye opening experience. I was working with several refugee groups in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over the span of one year I found myself constantly impressed and amazed at their perseverance and strength.

You would think that the struggles faced by refugees would be over once they arrived in the land of the free, right? I certainly did. And so did many of the refugees I worked with. I learned, however, that this is far from the case. Refugees, and immigrants especially, are faced with many barriers once they arrive on our shores. Here are just a few:

1. Difficulty speaking and learning English


UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Let’s be honest- my country, the United States, is not known for being multilingual. So imagine arriving here, unable to speak English. Try getting a job, making friends, or even completing basic tasks like buying food or filling out forms.

To address this, many refugees and immigrants take ESL classes, but finding the time between jobs and caring for kids can be difficult. Especially difficult if you weren’t literate in your native tongue to begin with.

2. Raising children and helping them succeed in school


Flickr: Lumina Foundation

One of the biggest obstacles refugees and immigrant parents report is raising their children in a new, unfamiliar culture. Parents often find that their children are quickly “Americanized,” which may be at odds with their own culture. Additionally, kids tend to pick up English much faster than their parents. This throws off the parent-child dynamic, and you know that kids, especially teens, are going to use this to their advantage.

With regards to school, parents often feel disappointed to see their children struggling to keep up in class, and many parents report bullying and discrimination as a result of cultural differences. Kids are often placed by their age rather than by their ability, and for those who are unable to speak English, it’s virtually impossible to keep up. To add further insult to injury, parents may not have the education or language skills to assist their children, and they may not be able to communicate with faculty to address the problem.

3. Securing work


Flickr: Wonderlane

While most refugees and immigrants are happy to take whatever job is available when they first enter the country, finding a job, and slowly moving up the ladder, is incredibly difficult. Even if you ignore undocumented immigrants who face additional challenges securing work, trouble speaking English is a major problem in positions you might not expect like labor. Refugees and immigrants who are educated and who formerly had strong jobs back home, find it frustrating that they can’t obtain the same jobs here. Employers typically prefer work experience within the US, and certifications outside of the US usually don’t transfer. That’s why it’s not uncommon for your taxi driver to have formerly worked as an educator or engineer.

Additionally, refugees and immigrants are easy victims for discrimination and exploitation in the workplace. Some employers recognize the sense of urgency and desperation among these groups to keep their jobs, so they will have them take the less desirable and even dangerous roles. Undocumented immigrants, particularly, assume they have no rights, and workers who can’t speak English are easy targets.

4. Securing housing


Flickr: Rachel K. So Photography

I don’t have to tell you that safe, affordable housing is expensive. So imagine trying to obtain that with low-paying jobs. For that reason, large families often choose to live together, creating stressful, noisy environments that are hardly conducive to studying or resting.

Again, refugees and immigrants fall victim to exploitation, this time from their landlords. In Utah, for instance, I worked with a group of Karen refugees from Myanmar who were forced to live in apartments known by the landlord to have bedbugs. Once, one of those buggers was spotted, the families would be forced to pay an expensive fee to have them removed, and the landlord would attempt to charge them additional fees or threaten to kick them out. Unable to speak English and unfamiliar with our laws, many of the families complied- even though it was clearly a scam.

5. Accessing services


Flickr: Dominic Chavez/ World Bank

Undocumented immigrants have an especially difficult time accessing services, largely because they are afraid of being deported. Consequently, people will avoid seeing the doctor or reaching out for services like legal guidance when they’re badly needed.

Those who are here legally aren’t necessarily in the clear, though. Difficulty speaking English, trouble taking off work, and limited transportation (we’ll get to that) are all very real issues.

Accessing mental health issues is especially problematic. Many times, refugees and immigrants have been exposed to violence, rape, even torture- but they may not know how to seek help. Furthermore, mental health issues are taboo in many cultures, creating an additional barrier for those in need.

For those who are able to successfully obtain the services they need, the experience is usually negative. In Utah, I heard stories about law enforcement professionals misunderstanding a victim’s statement due to language barriers, and doctors misdiagnosing sick patients for the same reason.

6. Transportation


Flickr: Rob!

Like language barriers, trouble with transportation is an issue that affects nearly every aspect of life for refugees and immigrants.

Obtaining a driver’s license, whether documented or not, is extremely difficult for a variety of reasons. For those who don’t speak English, a translator is needed, and they aren’t easy to come by. Also, the driver must be literate in order to to pass the written exam.

With some luck, families will have one car to share among them, but getting kids to and from school, as well as getting adults to and from work can be challenging. Many times, the men will keep the car, leaving it up to the women to find their own rides from friends or coworkers. As you can imagine, having so many people rely on one car makes it incredibly difficult to fit in additional commitments like ESL classes and medical appointments.

But hey, what about public transportation? While many refugees and immigrants do rely on public transportation to get around, it can be incredibly frightening for some. In Utah, a man I worked with from the International Rescue Committee shared a story about one of his clients. The client was from a very rural town where there were no paved roads or traffic signs. My coworker recognized that because of her limited English, she might need assistance figuring out how to take the bus to reach the IRC for her appointments. He accompanied the woman to and from the IRC for her first appointment, but assumed she would be fine on her own from then on. The next week, he received a call from her, crying and terrified. Because she was not familiar with our roads, she had never learned how to cross the street safely nor how to read the traffic signs. Consequently, several cars honked at her while she illegally crossed the street. She then got on the correct bus, but became confused as to what stop she needed to get off at and was unable to ask. I can only imagine how scary that must have been for her.

7. Cultural barriers


Flickr: Nikita Gavrilovs

Again, just like transportation and trouble speaking English, cultural barriers transcend each and every aspect of life for refugees and immigrants.

Here’s an example. In Utah, a group of Latter Day Saints were organizing a week long hike for youth in the desert. Some of the organizers thought it might be a nice idea to include some of the refugee youth, as a way in integrate them into the community and help them make friends with some of the local kids. I remember hearing about this and thinking it was such a wonderful idea. But, less than a day into the hike, some of the refugee kids became very upset. The hike, it turned out, had reminded them of the time when they were forced to flee their homes. Now, despite the group’s kindest intentions, these kids were being retraumatized. This just goes to show how easy it is for these kinds of cultural misunderstandings to take place.

In spite of all of these challenges, the people I worked with were incredibly strong and grateful for the opportunity to be in the United States. Most of them had such basic desires: to have their children succeed in school and to be be able to put a roof over their heads. After everything they had already been through, they were doing all that they could to keep their families afloat in this new, scary place.

Curious what you can do? It’s simple! So many refugees and immigrants, particularly undocumented, feel like outsiders, or worse- they feel invisible. So if you come across someone who who can tell is new to the country, start a conversation! I’m guessing he or she will have some amazing stories to share.

To learn more, download this PDF published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Via Global Citizen

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What will it take to educate all the world’s girls?

28 June 2017 5:00AM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER


Every girl counts.

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


By Alice Albright, CEO of The Global Partnership for Education

Juliana, an 11-year-old, year 6 student from a small village in south-central Côte d’Ivoire, is the first in her family to go to school. Her story is typical of a growing number of girls in her village and across the country who benefit from ambitious government initiatives that seek to strengthen Côte d’Ivoire’s education system and remove barriers that are keeping girls out of school.

Funding from the Global Partnership for Education, which I lead, has made it possible for more of Côte d’Ivoire’s schools to include proper sanitation facilities that allow girls to go to school during their menstruation. And it has made possible the recruitment and training of 38,000 new teachers, many of them women, who often help girls also navigate their challenges at home and in the community.

The result so far: a growing number of Côte d’Ivoire’s children – many of them girls – have enrolled in and completed primary and lower secondary school. Between 2010 and 2014 the primary school completion rate for girls in the country has increased from 39% to 50% – a significant improvement in such a short time.

Aligning GPE and ONE

This is precisely the kind of result that ONE has so vocally and effectively championed. ONE members have done a remarkable job mobilising around the world to urge donor and developing countries to invest more heavily in girls’ education. And GPE has been a leading catalyst of the sort of interventions ONE champions in its recent must-read policy report on girls’ education.


ONE Campaign members in New York City on International Women’s Day 2017. (Photo credit: ONE)

As the Côte d’Ivoire example shows, GPE supports governments’ efforts to assess and address the many barriers that the ONE report rightly recognises are keeping girls from going to school – such as deeply held beliefs against educating girls; work; marriage for girls barely into their teens; school fees; long, arduous commutes to school; sexual assault; lack of sanitary facilities for menstruating girls; and humanitarian crises that interrupt schooling.[1]

GPE also emphasizes the need for a “data revolution,” which is exactly in line with ONE’s calls for more and better monitoring of educational progress. In fact, GPE’s funding model offers incentives to developing countries to build and improve education monitoring, strengthen long-range planning, promote transparency and accountability and drive for results.

And, as the ONE report points out, investing in teachers is essential. One of GPE’s priorities – as it has been in Côte d’Ivoire – is to help countries expand the number of teachers who are well-trained and qualified to inspire and challenge students. We place particular importance on governments recruiting and training female teachers, who can give girls the confidence and support they need to stay in school and thrive.

Challenges remain

Since 2000, the number of girls not attending school has plunged by 40% from more than 200 million worldwide. That’s pretty good progress. But with 130 million girls still not in school and millions more who go to school but don’t learn the basics, there’s still a lot more work to do.


Students at Nyange Secondary School, Kilombero Region, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Sam Vox/ONE)

As the ONE report notes, the success of the girls’ education revolution over the next 15 years will depend on the extent to which developing countries and wealthier donor countries commit the resources needed to implement quality sector plans and proven approaches.

Countries like Côte d’Ivoire, which has steadily raised its own domestic spending on education to about 7.3% of its GDP[2], are increasingly doing their part. But aid to education from the world’s richest nations dropped from 13% of total aid in 2002 to 10% in 2014.

If that trend continues, according to The International Commission for Financing Global Education Opportunities, educational progress – for girls and boys alike – in developing countries will fall short of reaching the UN Sustainable Development goal of education for all by 2030.

Replenishing the Global Partnership for Education

The Education Commission has called on donor countries to mobilise a step change in their financing for global education. The Commission’s recommendations include helping GPE increase its fund to $2 billion a year by 2020 and $4 billion a year by 2030.

To achieve this ambitious goal, GPE is campaigning right now for funding of $3.1 billion from existing and new donors for its upcoming replenishment for 2018 to 2020. Over the next three years, this would enable the partnership to support 89 countries, which are home to 870 million children and adolescents and 78% of the world’s out–of-school children.


Students at Nyange Secondary School, Kilombero Region, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Sam Vox/ONE)

After 15 years of experience working in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, we know how to help countries educate more girls and we have the tools in place to ensure effective support to such countries. That’s why it’s so important for leaders around the world to heed the call from leading voices like ONE: without sufficient resources for those interventions, we risk leaving girls like Juliana behind and squandering the full intellectual, economic and social potential that educated girls can deliver.

[1] http://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/breaking-down-barriers-girls-education
[2] http://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/benefits-national-education-accounts



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How soccer is changing the lives of girls in Kenya

February 23 2017 | By: MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO


Every girl counts.

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


“Discovering football is the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Claris Akinyi, sitting behind her tidy desk in the principal’s office in Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA).

When she was 11, Claris spent her days looking after her sick mother and helping run her family’s boiled maize stand. When she became a member of the Kibera Girls soccer team, her life changed overnight.


“I used to stay indoors all the time, but the soccer team gave me the opportunity to go out and meet people,” she says. “We also got to watch videos about sex education, so I became very aware of issues like early pregnancies and gender-based violence, which are common here. Soccer helped me stay focused.”

Set up by Abdul Kassim in 2002, KGSA occupies a small plot of land in the heart of Kibera, one of the biggest slums in Kenya. It has since grown from a soccer academy into a successful tuition-free secondary school.

Abdul, who was born in Kibera and brought up by a single mother, started the academy to address the gender disparities he had observed growing up.

“I noticed that the girls were finishing primary school and then doing nothing,” he says. “They were being married off at very young ages and pregnancies were rampant. So I used soccer to engage them, and to send a message about gender equality to the Kibera community.”


But early on in the program, as the girls finished primary school, they began dropping out of the club.

“I wanted to know why, so I went to their houses to talk to them,” says Abdul. “Most could not afford high school, and many had left their homes because of family problems or were married off.”

Spurred on by what he saw — and encouraged by many of the girls in the soccer club — Abdul decided to turn the soccer program into a free high school for girls, so that they could finish their education and fulfill their potential.

“When the school started, some of the girls who were in the original football club decided to go back and finish their studies, even though they were already in their 20s,” says Claris, who had already gone on to graduate high school. Claris also returned to KSGA, but as a teacher.


Claris, sitting at her desk at KGSA.

“When I finished school, I knew I wanted to give back to the community, so I became a volunteer teacher,” she says. “It was a great feeling to be teaching some of my old teammates.”

After three years of volunteering at the school, KGSA supported Claris through university, where she studied education and counselling. Now, as a fully-registered educator and KGSA’s head teacher, she continues to support the girls in her community. She’s also been able to buy land and build a house for her mother.

“I feel like giving back is very important,” she says. “That’s why I am still here.”


It is with the determination and goodwill of Claris, Abdul, and other dedicated staff members that the school continues to grow, and has earned international recognition for its creative approach to education.

“We wanted to provide a mechanism for girls to explore their interests and develop skills for their adult life,” says Abdul, talking about the various life-skills classes and extracurricular activities offered by the school, which include journalism, business, and computer classes.

And, of course, soccer – and sports, generally – is still a main focus at KGSA.

In addition to being a member of several of KGSA’s after-school vcubs, 18-year-old Khadija Ishikara plays on the soccer team that won a league trophy last year.


“Soccer is my favorite hobby, because it keeps me active and fit,” she says.

Khadija’s mother still thinks it’s strange for girls to play football, but she is growing increasingly supportive of her daughter’s choice of sport. As for Khadija, it’s hard to imagine her giving up soccer anytime soon: “Anyway,” she says with a wry smile, “anything boys do, girls can do better.”

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6 organizations working to fight famine

April 20 2017 | By: RACHEL TILLMAN


The President's proposed budget cuts would drastically cut food aid in the middle of a famine.

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


A famine has been declared in South Sudan for two months now — the first time such an event has been announced anywhere in the world in the past six years. Nearly 100,000 people face starvation. Meanwhile, the people of Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen are on the brink of famine as well, with nearly 20 million people total lacking access to enough food and water to survive.

This is a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. But there are many organizations working to help the people affected by famine receive the nutrients they deserve. Here are a few of the organizations working to fight this crisis:

United Nations World Food Programme

World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading global organization fighting hunger and organizing logistics in humanitarian emergencies. Many organizations working on the ground in hunger emergencies actually work for WFP.  They deliver food assistance and work with communities to improve nutrition. Already in 2017, World Food Programme has provided food distributions and digital cash cards to nearly a million people in Somalia, and is in the process of raising $1.5 billion to combat food insecurity in Nigeria.

On April 12, WFP announced its plans for emergency operations in Yemen: To provide food assistance to nearly seven million people classified as severely food insecure; secure nutrition support to prevent or treat malnutrition among 2.2 million children; and assist breastfeeding and pregnant mothers with specialized nutritious foods. You can click here to see and share their appeal for food access, and here to read their joint statement with the United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on famine in South Sudan.


UNICEF operates across 190 countries and territories, advocating specifically with and for children through fundraising, advocacy, and education. UNICEF has outlined a three-pronged approach responding to the food crises in Africa: to aid 13.1 million children suffering from famine conditions in these four countries, to treat 1 million children under the age of 5 for serious acute malnutrition, and to raise $712 million in 2017 to fund these projects. UNICEF has been a leader in bringing direct and innovative solutions to food crises in the region, like their ready-to-use therapeutic food initiative in South Sudan.

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is an organization that aims to “alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.” Their mission is to increase accountability and participation within their partner countries by providing not only aid and supplies but on-the-ground assistance as well. They’re all about working from within to create change! Right now, Mercy Corps has members on the ground in Africa to help families get the food, water, and supplies they need in order to survive. Click here to find out more.

Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization that targets both the causes and effects of hunger. Their primary target areas are Nutrition & Health, Water & Sanitation, and Food Security & Livelihoods. They also have an Emergency Response branch, which evaluates crises in order to best serve the affected communities. Currently, they have a program focused specifically on the impending famine in Somalia, as well as a broader campaign targeting famine in South Sudan, Yemen, and Nigeria.


CARE works across multiple platforms around the world to defeat poverty and empower communities. They have projects in 94 countries and reach over 80 million people through their work! This past March, CARE denounced the proposed budget cuts to foreign aid, as it would directly affect more than 20 million people already facing famine conditions in Africa. Find out more about their message and their efforts to end global hunger here.


For more than 70 years, Oxfam has been working to end poverty by tackling issues that keep people poor: inequality, discrimination, and unequal access to resources. They work with local and national organizations to help communities facilitate the change they want to see. Oxfam is launching a huge effort to reach people facing hunger crises in Ethiopia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya through food vouchers, direct access to clean water, and sanitation services. Oxfam has opportunities for you to take action through letters, volunteering, hosting an event, responding to emergencies, and more! Click hereto find out about how Oxfam is working to end hunger and famine.



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