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The Action Thread Part Two

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Here are some wonderful happy moments captured during a recent medical volunteer trip. Volunteers travel with our medical care teams to Vesnona which is home to 174 children with various forms of physical and mental disabilities. Volunteers assist in providing nursing and general care to the children while also exchanging experience and assisting the Belarusian nursing team in enhancing and developing their skills further.

We are always looking to recruit volunteers with 
nursing/medical/childcare/teaching/physio/psychiatric qualifications but we welcome applications to volunteer from all backgrounds. For more information contact us at info@chernobyl-ireland.com

La imagen puede contener: 17 personas, personas sonriendo


Via Chernobyl Children International

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In the early hours of 26 April 1986, a testing error caused an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine. During a radioactive fire that burned for 10 days, only 3% of the reactors 190 tons of toxic material was expelled into the atmosphere. This one human error would have serious consequences for millions of people and still continues to, 31 years on.

La imagen puede contener: nube, cielo, exterior y naturaleza


Via Chernobyl Children International

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AUG. 15, 2017

World’s First ‘Hijabi Ballerina’ Is Forging a Path for Dancers from Diverse Backgrounds

She’s only 15 years old

Sarah Wood

By Sarah Wood

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE


Meet Stephanie Kurlow, a 15-year-old Australian dancer who is changing the face of ballet in Australia. Kurlow grew up in the south-west of Sydney, and has been dancing since the tender age of 2. She also happens to wear a hijab.

In 2010, Kurlow stopped performing ballet when her family converted to Islam. At the time, finding a school which accommodated both her religious beliefs and dance needs seemed impossible, and Kurlow thought her professional ballet dreams were over.

“I didn’t have any role models that looked like me. I didn’t have anyone who had a layout of, ‘This is what I’ve done, this is how I’ve become this,’” Kurlow told the SBS.

Read more: Lawmaker’s ‘Controversial Painting’ Features a Statue of Liberty in a Hijab

However, inspired by the determination and success of public figures like principal ballerina Misty Copeland, Emirati weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, and American news anchor Noor Tagouri, Kurlow decided to give her dream one more shot.

She launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a full-time ballet-school education, and her story quickly spread worldwide, catching the attention of Swedish sport fashion company Bjorn Borg in early 2016. The company was so moved by Kurlow’s story that they awarded her their first ever Game Changer scholarship, equal to around $8400 AUD and sufficient to cover a year of ballet tuition.

“She’s a true game changer,” said Bjorn Borg marketing director, Jonas Lindberg Nyvang. “We were genuinely inspired to learn about her story. The courage it takes for a 14-year-old to fight for her right to dance ballet against all odds is exceptional.”


Not everyone has been encouraging of Kurlow’s dream.

“She's very young, but she's already had to cope with considerable pressure from the extreme right in the Muslim community and the extreme right in the Australian community," Silma Ihram, a family friend and President of the Australian Muslim Women's Association told the SBS. Although some Muslims discourage dancing, Ihram sees no problem with Kurlow pursuing her passion, saying, “I think having active practicing Muslim women who are proud to be Australian and who want to do something which is new and innovative is a fantastic role model.”

“People are always going to have something negative to say, you’re better off focusing on just being you,” says Kurlow. “I really look forward to a time where wearing a hijab isn’t front page news, because having different beliefs or clothes shouldn’t be a deciding factor as to whether you pursue your dreams or not.”

“She’s definitely forging new ground and I think it’s going to be something that’ll really challenge people like myself and ballet companies but I think that’s a good thing,” commented David McAllister, Australian Ballet Artistic Director.

Read more: This Syrian Refugee Defied ISIS Death Threats to Dance Ballet

Muslim author and lawyer, Randa Abdel Fattah, has nothing but praise for Kurlow. “On so many levels, she’s an inspiration. And I think it's beyond just a Muslim story here. It’s about somebody just pursuing their dream against all odds.”

Although Kurlow admits it was difficult getting back into dancing after her three-year break, she says that “any dream can be achieved through perseverance and hard work. If you love something you can achieve anything.”

The dancer is currently training for a place at a pre-professional ballet school which she hopes will enable her to tour the world with a dance company. Her long term goal is to open her own “ballet company and performing arts school that caters towards people of different religions, races or backgrounds.”

“We need to realise that being different is something you should be proud of and embrace,” Kurlow says. “Art forms are always evolving and I think introducing ballerinas who are diverse is just creating a more beautiful world.”


Sarah Wood is an editorial intern at Global Citizen. She has a background in the disability and arts sectors and is an avid painter. Sarah is passionate about sharing stories, bridging gaps, and creating authentic connections with people from all walks of life. In her spare time she can be found swing dancing her way around Melbourne.


Via Global Citizen

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Surviving on Sand

9 January 2017 1:01PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER


Join the fight against extreme poverty


In partnership with One Acre Fund, ONE will follow a small community called Luucho in Western Kenya through the agricultural season.

A sense of anxiety looms large in Luucho village. A months-long drought wiped out more than half of the village’s crops, leaving many homes in desperate need of food.

DSC0337-1024x680.jpgLike most villages in western Kenya, Luucho plants two times a year. Farmers who lost their crops during the first season, when rains failed to arrive between May and June, banked their hopes on the second harvest. But another wave of drought has struck again since last October, dashing all their expectations. Now, withering plants covered in brown dust dance lazily in the light wind, thirsting for the return of rain. There is not much hope to save them – farmers normally harvest their second-season crops in December, and the damage has already been done.

“This has been the strangest year of my life,” says Mary Nekesa, a 55-year-old mother of five. “I depend on farming, but now how am I going to feed my family?”DSC0411-1024x743.jpgAt the start of the season, Mary had huge expectations. She planted a half-acre plot of maize, and like in the past, she hoped to harvest at least 12 bags of grain. Thinking she’d have plenty of food for her family, she had even planned to sell a few extra bags of maize to buy a dairy cow, which she had been longing after for years. But because of the drought, she only harvested two bags—hardly enough to feed her children for two months, let alone buy a cow.

On this morning, Mary is standing in the shallows of Khalaba River, half a mile away from her home. The Khalaba flows between two deeply eroded banks covered in thick vegetation. It’s a tributary to the River Nzoia, which pours its waters into Lake Victoria. The river is Mary’s last lifeline. She swings a small bucket in and out of the water, spewing a blast of wet sand on the river bank with each wave.

“I couldn’t sit and watch my children starve,” Mary says. “The only other way I could provide food for them is by harvesting sand.”


Sand is used for all kinds of things in Kenya’s construction industry, including making bricks and concrete to build houses, bridges, and roads. Drawing sand from the river is backbreaking work for Mary, who needs to fill up a whole truck in order to find customers. She usually sells each load to a middleman for a throw-away price of $10. It’s a lucrative business, but not for Mary. Those middlemen can resell what she has collected for $40 to $50 per truckload.


Harvesting sand is a difficult job, especially in drought. During the rainy season, the waters usually swell up and sweep sand down the river, so that it only takes about a day to draw enough out to fill a truck. With this year’s dry weather, it now takes Mary three days, working from morning until evening.


“I’m not able to sleep much nowadays,” says Mary, who rises as early as 3 a.m. each day, because the thought of her hungry children disturbs her sleep. “Every evening at dinner, I sit and watch as my children eat. The thought that if I don’t work harder the following day my children might sleep hungry fills me with fear. I will do anything to make sure my children have food.”

Sand harvesting is an activity mostly carried out by men, and as the only female sand harvester in Luucho, Mary has raised mixed reactions in the village. While some men respect her courage and strength, others feel she is competing for a man’s job, or that her body will soon fail from exertion. However, most women in Luucho are motivated by Mary’s willingness to take up this kind of work.


“We were all shocked when we saw Mary harvesting sand. She is like a man!” says Felistus Nanjala, Mary’s friend and neighbour. “I feel very encouraged by her commitment to take up this work in order to take care of her family.”

Mary says she won’t stop her work, even when the rains return. With her children in school, she is in need of money all year round, and she hopes her new job will provide enough to supplement her income from farming.


After a full day at the river, Mary walks along a narrow dirt path to her home. She picks up a hoe and starts clearing weeds from her farm. Although it is still some time before her next planting season, Mary wants to be ready when the next drop of rain lands in Luucho.

One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, they invest in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. One Acre Fund provides a complete service bundle of seeds and fertiliser, financing, training, and market facilitation—and delivers these services within walking distance of the 400,000 rural farmers they serve. They measure success in their ability to make farmers more prosperous and they always put Farmers First.



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These 10 anti-woman laws will shock you

30 March 2017 3:02PM UTC | By: CLEA GUY-ALLEN


Join the fight against extreme poverty


Less than a month ago we celebrated International Women’s Day! This year’s theme was #BeBoldForChange and called on global citizens to advocate for a more equal, gender inclusive world.

Even though there are so many incredible people working towards a more equal, gender inclusive world, there are still plenty of places around the globe where women are not granted the same rights as men.

sexist-.jpgThe organisation Equality Now is dedicated to make discrimination against women history, and tracks laws – including the 10 listed below – that discriminate against women and works to help change laws and attitudes. These laws range from the absurd to the horrifying, from not allowing driving to legally permitting abuse in certain cases.

1. Women can be kidnapped

In Malta, if a man who abducts a woman intends to marry her, his sentence is automatically reduced. If the man marries his victim after the abduction, he is subsequently exempt from any and all prosecution and punishment. A similar law is in place in Lebanon, where a man who commits a rape or kidnapping cannot be prosecuted if he marries the victim after the crime.

2. Women are forbidden to drive

In countries such as Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for women to receive driver’s licenses. In 1990, a Fatwa on Women’s Driving Automobiles was declared, for fear that men and women would use cars for secret rendezvous and would tempt both parties into committing lewd behaviour.


3. Women inherit less than their brothers

Different versions of this law exist in various countries. In Tunisia, women only inherit half of what their brothers do.

4. Men receive less punishment for “honour killings”

This law has come under intense fire in many different countries. In Egypt, a man who kills his wife upon discovering her in an act of adultery is automatically given a lesser sentence than for other forms of murder. In Syria, a man who murders his mother, sister, or wife due to catching them in an “illegitimate sexual act” can receive no more than seven years in prison. Until 2009, there were no legal ramifications for this crime in Syria.


5. A woman’s testimony counts for half of that of a man’s

In Iran, a woman’s testimony in court is less valuable than that of a man in cases such as adultery. In most of these cases, there must be testimony from at least double the amount of women as there are men. In cases where the punishment may be severe, a minimum of two men and four women must testify.

6. Husbands have more rights than their wives

In Israel, divorce depends solely on the will of the husband. Half a world away in Mali, a 2011 law upheld the man’s status as head of the household and mandates a wife’s obedience to him. It also declared that women must wait three months to get remarried after a divorce or death; men have no such restriction.

Kangaroo_Mother_Care.492.jpg7. Men can choose where women work

In countries such as Cameroon and Guinea, men have more of a say in where their wives will work than the women themselves. For example, in Cameroon, a husband may prohibit his wife from taking a job in a different trade or profession than him if it is in the best interest of his marriage and children. Cameroon is one of 18 countries where women cannot get a job if their husbands feel it is not in their family’s interest.

8. Women can be beaten

Unfortunately, laws such as this are not uncommon–in fact, 46 countries have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.

TTW_Cookstoves_101.jpg9. Women cannot perform physical labor

In China, women are forbidden from working in mines, and more broadly are prohibited from performing physical labor or work that female workers “should avoid.” In Russia, a similar law stops women from partaking in hard, dangerous, or unhealthy trades. This sweeping law includes many different types of jobs, from frontline firefighting to sailing – 456 types of work in total!

10. Women cannot pass on citizenship in the same way as men

Even in the United States, men and women are viewed differently under the law. A child born out of wedlock to a foreign mother and American father has a gruelling process to becoming an American citizen, and there are more requirements to meet if the mother is not a US citizen and the father is. At least 22 countries do not allow married women to pass citizenship to their children as fathers can and 44 countries do not allow married women to pass citizenship to their spouses as married men can.

For a complete list of anti-women laws by country, visit Equality Now’s website.

And to join the campaign for girl’s education, head to #GirlsCount.



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

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AUG. 17, 2017

Taylor Swift Just Donated to Sexual Assault Survivors in a Big Way After Groping Trial

Here’s why that matters.

Phineas Rueckert

By Phineas Rueckert

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE

taylor-swift.jpgPhoto by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

After winning a token $1 settlement in her sexual assault case against former radio DJ David Mueller on Monday, “Fearless” singer Taylor Swift announced that she would donate to “multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.” 

Today, Swift announced the first organization that she would be donating to, People Magazine reports, and it’s run by a friend and fellow actress: Mariska Hargitay. It’s called the Joyful Heart Foundation, and it works to heal sexual assault victims through workshops and advocate for justice for survivors. 



Take Action: Stop Sexual Violence in Conflict and Emergencies for the Yazidi Community

While the exact size of the donation was not specified, the CEO of the Joyful Heart Foundation, Maile M. Zambuto, called it an “extremely generous financial investment in the movement to end sexual violence.”

Swift’s announcement comes three days after her attacker was found guilty of assault and battery for groping the singer at an event in 2013. 

“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this,” Swift said Monday after the trial. “My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard.” 



Read More: Mariska Hargitay’s Powerful New Film ‘I Am Evidence’ Puts Sexual Assault Survivors First

The actress is certainly putting her money where her mouth is. And she’s not the first. 

The Joyful Heart Foundation, founded in 2004, has received nearly $150 million in donations, and serves 18,500 people through its healing programs, according to its website. The organization also advocates for the testing of rape kits, which often are backlogged in courts across the country — preventing assault victims from securing justice against their abusers. 

According to the Joyful Heart Foundation’s “End the Backlog” initiative, there are currently more than 175,000 untested rape kits across the country

Global Citizen advocates against sexual violence against women around the world, including the #LevelTheLaw campaign, which urges governments to update their laws relating to rape, sexual violence, and abuse. 

Swift, for her part, is playing a big role in helping victims of sexual assault, abuse, and domestic violence to become “fearless” fighters for change. 


Take Action: Sign Petition

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In partnership with: Equality Now and CHIME FOR CHANGE


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.

About Our Partner

CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. The campaign uses innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Co-founded by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault, CHIME FOR CHANGE works with a coalition of partner organizations, including the Kering Foundation, Facebook, and Hearst Magazines.

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The Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick will host 'Sing Yourself Better' on Sept 27th - a special event including concerts and presentations showcasing research on Arts and Health at the Academy, and the launch of a report on Singing, Health and Wellbeing.

Presented in association with the Music Therapy Dept at the Academy, the Arts & Health Research Cluster, the Association of Irish Choirs and the RTÉ lyric fm Choir of the Year Competition.

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas y texto

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