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The Action Thread Part Two

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We're already on the countdown to our next #happyheart "Flying Doctors" Cardiac Mission with Novick Cardiac Alliance.

These missions sees teams of internationally renowned cardiac surgeons fly to Eastern Ukraine, on a voluntary basis, up to 6 times a year to carry out life-saving ‘open-heart’ operations on the most critically ill children.

During each trip, the surgical teams are able to save the lives of dozens of children with congenital heart defects such as ‘Chernobyl Heart’. Without the intervention of our Cardiac Programme, most of them would die before they reach their sixth birthday. 
 To support our next Cardiac Mission visit
http://www.chernobyl-international.com/donate

 

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Via Chernobyl Children International

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Via ONE

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GIRLS AND WOMEN 4 famous letters — and one we want YOU to sign

 

January 12 2017  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
IF YOU CARE, ACT. ADD YOUR NAME TODAY International Womens Day 2017
 
  

Thanks to the ease of email, sitting down and hand-writing an actual letter has fallen out of style. But we have to admit there’s something truly powerful about putting pen to paper in an effort to change the world. Below you’ll find a list of some of our favorite correspondences and open letters… and one we hope you’ll add your name to, too!

1. Nellie Bly

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Photo credit: Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

“Nellie Bly” was a pioneer of investigative journalism who would go on to write about the plight of working women, as well as a famous exposé on the brutal conditions at a New York women’s asylum. But Elizabeth Cochrane began her career under a different pseudonym: In response to a misogynistic article titled “What Girls Are Good For” in her local paper, Elizabeth sent in a blistering rebuttal under the name “Lonely Orphan Girl.” The paper’s editor was impressed and ran an ad trying to find her. When Cochrane arrived at the office and owned her letter, she was offered her first writing job.

2. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Photo credit: Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

A vital text of the Civil Rights Movement, this open letter was written by Martin Luther King, Jr. during his time in a Birmingham jail in 1963. He wrote it in the margins of a newspaper — the only paper he had available — and gave bits and pieces of it to his lawyers to take back to the movement’s headquarters to assemble. The letter defends nonviolent resistance to racism and includes the famous line, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

3. Nelson Mandela

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Photo credit: Mark Davey/Oxfam

During his more than 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela wrote many letters. Some, such as a call to arms against apartheid in 1980, were read aloud in public. Others were meant just for his family, such as the many letters to his wife and children. Mandela was released from prison in 1990, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. You can read many of his letters, as well as journal entries and collected doodlings, in his book, Conversations with Myself.

4. Eva Tolage

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Eva Tolage, right, reads her letter to the Tanzanian government to her District Commissioner. (Photo credit: Restless Development)

When we first met Tanzanian teen Eva Tolage, she had just written a letter to President Obama. Eva wrote about the challenge of hunger, water, electricity, and corruption. She wrote about the challenges of being a girl. At the UN Summit later that year, President Obama actually responded to Eva, saying “Today, I say to Eva and hundreds of millions like you, we see you. We hear you. I’ve read your letter and we commit ourselves as nations as one world to the urgent work that must be done.” But Eva didn’t stop there: She rallied her classmates at Mlowa school to write a letter to their local leaders last year, asking for water and sanitation facilities to be provided at their school. (And she’s even written another letter to President Obama!) What an amazing example for students and activists everywhere!

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Photo credit: Mike Turner/ONE

And now we have a letter that we’d like you to sign. It’s an open letter to world leaders, asking them to prioritize girls’ education. 130 million girls around the world are out of school — that is unacceptable. When girls get an education, they are less likely to become child brides, less likely to contract HIV, and they have greater economic opportunities for the rest of their lives — which is good for everyone. On March 8, ONE members will deliver this open letter to their representatives and senators to let them know we want them to prioritize girls’ education. Stand with ONE and add your name here.

 

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ENERGY What I learned about energy and education on my trip to Kenya

 

November 16 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty
 
  

By Cindy Dyer, Board Member at Kenya Connect

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Have you ever thought about the power of the sun and how its energy potential could impact literacy and education? I had never really connected the sun to reading prior to my trip to Kenya this summer, probably because I live in a part of the world that has adequate access to electricity.

What I came to learn on my trip is that the power and potential of the sun can be harnessed to help develop an entire generation of children in rural Kenya into thinkers and leaders who will positively impact their country and the world. This epiphany came about thanks to the SunKing products of Greenlight Planet and the efforts of Kenya Connect.

During a brief meeting at the Nairobi office of Greenlight Planet, I learned about their solar lights, which seemed to have been designed almost perfectly for the needs of the families and children of rural Kenya. The products were durable, lightweight, simple to use, long-lasting, and inexpensive. Many of the children in rural Kenya don’t have electricity at home. If they had access to these lights, they might have a better chance at success.

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Especially excited by that prospect was my colleague, Kenya Connect Field Director James Musyoka. During his childhood in Kenya, James was one of ten kids. His family couldn’t afford for him to board at school, so each day, he would run five kilometers to and from school.

Daily chores and working on the family farm left James with precious little daylight hours to study:

“At night, I would use a kerosene lump to study for between two to three hours before retiring to bed,” he said. “Sometimes there was no kerosene to light the home and I would have to go to bed without reading or doing my homework. At such times, I would wake up much earlier the next day and report to school much earlier so I would have a chance to finish my work. I was so determined to make good grades and my hope was to make it to university.”

He made it—and of the 120 students who sat for the university exam at his school, he was among the eight who qualified, and the only one not in boarding school. After university, James felt strongly about returning to a rural community and working to help improve the state of education there. One of his goals was to increase the number of rural students that went on to attend secondary schools and universities.

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So as we left Greenlight Planet that day, he thought about how access to these lights would help the children with their studies. When compared to the kerosene lamps that James had used as a rural student, the lights provided a healthier, more reliable, and higher quality source of light, in addition to being less expensive.

That’s why Kenya Connect is starting a new initiative that focuses on the affordable distribution of solar lights to the families we work with in the rural areas of Kenya. The program James has started in rural areas is a monthly payment program. Each family that wants a light, pays the equivalent of $1 (USD) per month for eight months. They own the light after eight months. After four months of this program, not one family has missed a payment. They are finding it cheaper and more effective than the kerosene they had come to rely on.

“This solar light produces very clear light, unlike the kerosene lamp,” said Lilian, a student in the area. “Therefore I enjoy reading at night more than before. I always complete my homework because I can now study in the evening and also early in the morning.”

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Kenya Connect has distributed over 880 SunKing Pico lights to families in the rural area of Wamunyu, Kenya. With the money that the families pay monthly, we purchase more lights to distribute to other schools and families in rural areas.

Our goal, quite simply, is to provide greater access to light for families so their children can read and study at night. It’s amazing that such a simple and affordable product has the potential to have a dramatic impact on education for so many.

Cindy Dyer has been an active member of the board of Kenya Connect for more than two years. She has traveled to Kenya three times to work with the project site. Cindy is also a mediator with the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center of Howard Community College (MCRC). She has spent more than 15 years working directly with youth in many aspects.

Learn more about energy and energy poverty, then check out the other projects at Kenya Connect.

 

Via ONE

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TECHNOLOGY 4 ways the internet can help change the world

 

December 15 2016  | By: CLEA GUY-ALLEN
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty
 
  

Can you remember the last time you had to go to a friend’s house to use their wi-fi because yours was down? The last time you weren’t able to check your route to a job interview because you’d run out of data? The last time you missed some big news because you couldn’t get online?

Chances are, some or all of these things have happened to us at some point in our lives. But for billions of people—53 percent of the world’s population—these scenarios occur daily, and can often lead to a much bigger problem than being a little inconvenienced. They can directly affect a person’s ability to thrive.

There are significant benefits to improving internet access, but as we now know, this digital utopia is not available to everyone, with nearly half of our planet not having a connection.

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Did you know that in the world’s poorest countries, only 15 percent of the population are connected to the internet, compared with 81 percent of people living in developed countries? That’s a huge disparity, and one that needs to be addressed.

There are many ways that lack of access to the internet can have a negative impact on people’s lives – this is especially true for girls and women – but the urgency of this issue can sometimes get overlooked. ONE’s new report, Making the Connection, estimates that by 2020, the digital gender divide across Africa could rise to 26 percent, leaving millions of girls and women out of the digital revolution. Because of this, we tasked our incredible policy team here at ONE to come up with 4 areas that MUST be prioritized if we’re to achieve the 2020 goal of connecting the world—not just the most developed countries—to the World Wide Web:

1. KICKSTART A DIGITAL SKILLS REVOLUTION: Today, approximately 263 million children and youth around the world are not in school, and more than 114 million young adults cannot read. Education combined with the knowledge that the internet brings to boost their potential dramatically.

2. BRIDGE THE INTERNET ADOPTION GAP: In the poorest the internet costs more in real terms than in Europe or the US – 70 percent of people cannot afford a basic broadband plan. We need to cut costs, make sure that we develop content that is useful and relevant, and break down cultural barriers than mean boys are more likely to use the internet than girls.

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3 . INVEST IN OPEN DATA ON CONNECTIVITY: Only two out of 48 LDCs report internet use broken down by gender – and it is next to impossible to find out who is connected and who isn’t at the local level. If resources are to be allocated and implemented in the most effective way, we must know and understand where unconnected women and girls live and find out what their needs are.

4. BUILD AFFORDABLE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE DIGITAL FUTURE: We need to lay cables and provide better coverage in remote areas. When a road is being build, an internet cable should be underneath it.

Here’s how you can help: Call on leaders and innovators from all countries, industries and communities to make universal internet access a reality.

 

Via ONE

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Via Global Citizen

 
GIRLS & WOMEN Girl, 8, Gets a Handwritten Note From Her Superhero: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Phineas Rueckert|

 Jan. 11, 2017
rbg-letter-facebook-krista_wujek_threefoFacebook/Krista Wujek Threefoot

Michele Threefoot, a third-grader from Columbia, Maryland, fulfilled the childhood dream of many this past week: she received a handwritten letter from her superhero. 

About a month ago, the 8-year-old dressed as pioneering Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her school’s Superhero Day. 

Read more: 10 Reasons Why Investing in Women and Girls Is So Vital

Her mom snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook, where it’s been shared more than 1,700 times. 

 

“Girls who read really are dangerous, to unfairness and outmoded inequalities,” her mother Krista Wujek Threefoot wrote in the accompanying Facebook post. 

Threefoot’s interest in Ginsburg was inspired by the book, “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark.”

Read more: Baller Kid Saves $300 for an XBox, Buys a Well for an Indian Village Instead

Ginsburg encouraged Threefoot to continue to focus on education. 

“May you continue to thrive on reading and learning,” Ginsburg wrote in the letter. 

 

Clearly, the young girl has taken Ginsburg’s words to heart. She’s now on to reading about pioneering Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, Yahoo reports.

 
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
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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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GIRLS AND WOMEN Margaret: Why investing in a girl means investing in a community

 

26 September 2016 4:15PM UTC  | By: CLEA GUY-ALLEN
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty
 
  

By Zack Fowler, Development Director for WISER International

“I really didn’t know if I would make it.”

The region where Margaret is from in Kenya is a difficult place to be a young woman. In a community where many families live on less than $1 a day, transactional sex is common — more than 50 percent of sexually active adolescents in the region report having transactional sex in order to pay for basic needs. And this happens in an area where as many as 1 in 3 people are HIV positive. The reality, for many girls, is that they risk their health to stay in school. These barriers, among others, are the reasons why, before Margaret’s WISER class, no girl from a school in Muhuru Bay had ever reached college.

Margaret faced similar challenges. She lost two siblings and her mother to disease. With little money, and no precedent of any girl being successful in school, Margaret’s education could have been over.

That is, until Margaret became a WISER Girl.

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Margaret. (Photo credit: WISER)

Today, Margaret sits in an office at the WISER school in Muhuru Bay and smiles. For her, the campus symbolises something that was once impossible, and is now the reason she feels more confident than ever that her story will have a happy ending.

“I know now that you can help others regardless of the challenges you face,” she says.

For six years, WISER, a Kenya-based NGO, has provided education, health, and leadership opportunities to girls in Western Kenya. As a school, WISER provides a fully-funded residential secondary education with dedicated teachers. As a community centre, it provides health fairs, agricultural education, and clean water to more than 5,000 people.

Across all of WISER’s efforts, from education to clean water, we are proud to champion girls and comprehensively address 11 of the 17 UN Global Goals in one program.

In 2013, Margaret was a part of the first WISER graduating class, and quickly became an ambassador for WISER’s most powerful belief: empowering girls through education and health builds not only individuals, but entire regions.

As Margaret puts it, “WISER has given me everything. But more than giving me items, they made me a valued person that feels prepared to face any challenge.”

While at WISER, Margaret found a passion for community health, and immediately looked to improve the health of her hometown. “I realised I wanted to deal with the health of people…to help those around me, and I knew others might not have the courage to handle patients in such a difficult situation. I’m able to handle it.”

She’s the first in her family to finish high school. She’s the first in her region to attend university. Having just finished her second year of a nursing degree, she’s happy and confident, and if she has her way, she’ll be the first person to return to Muhuru to work as a full-time nurse.

The most exciting thing about Margaret’s story is that it is becoming more and more common for other young women.

In the past three years, 72 WISER Girls have begun post-secondary education and become role models in their communities. And almost all of them have the same goal of raising their communities up.

Muhuru Bay now has a large group of driven, developing professionals that not only have a hunger for success, but a deep-seated sense of responsibility to their hometown. In the five years following the program, WISER Girls will become more than symbols of hope for young girls. They will become the nurses, agricultural economists, bankers, and teachers that have an active role in the development of their communities. They will address the poverty, hunger, gender inequity, and other targets that have been highlighted by the UN to build a better world.

Years ago, girls in Muhuru Bay were readily left by the wayside. There are millions of girls like Margaret all over the world. And in helping them change their lives, we can change the course of the future.

Learn more about WISER here, then take a stand for girls and women by adding your name to the Poverty is Sexist open letter.

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MEMBERS IN ACTION This letter from a girl in Tanzania to President Obama is GOALS

 

9 December 2016 12:59PM UTC  | By: ROBYN DETORO
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty
 
  

In January of 2015 we introduced you to the superstar ONE member Eva Tolage when she was just 14 years old and already calling out world leaders to adopt the Global Goals. Now, she’s 16, and has made it her mission to make sure world leaders are being held accountable by demanding that clean water should be provided to her village.

Eva’s story mobilised over 150,000 people to sign a letter asking Tanzanian leaders to supply the Malinzanga village with clean water – even President Obama heard and responded to her plea! Check out the video below!

 

This was a huge moment for Eva and for her campaign with Restless Development & ONE, but, despite all of this action, Eva is still waiting for her well.

Around the world girls like Eva make an impossible choice every day: risk their personal safety to get water or go without. This won’t change until world leaders take action and deliver a plan to provide all households with easy access to safe drinking water. That’s why Eva is asking President Obama to lend his voice once again to help amplify and remind other world leaders of why achieving the Global Goals is so important.

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You can read Eva’s letter to Obama below:

HONOURABLE PRESIDENT OBAMA

I am grateful that you were able to read my letter. It made my heart so happy and joyous to hear your reply at the UN General Assembly in which the presidents agreed to end poverty, climate change and gender inequality. My village leaders and neighbours were very shocked to hear that the President of United States of America was telling a 15 year old girl from Tanzania these words, “Eva and millions of other girls like you, we have heard your plea and we see you.”

I wrote my letter to you because my friends and I usually walk 7 km every day to search for clean water in dangerous environments. We face the possibility of being raped by men that we don’t know who have bad habits or even getting eaten by wild animals on our way. We need a well so that my village can get access to clean and safe water, and so that we get enough time to study at school, because we often come late to school. We found out that the Global Goals commit to providing clean and safe water and quality education to everyone, so we asked for those promises to be fulfilled in my village called Malinzanga.

After you replied to my letter, my friends and I started campaigning in my village for access to clean and safe water. At the same time, we shared a global petition through social media. I hope that one day my village will be able to access clean and safe water because many people in my country and globally support this campaign from Tanzania. We managed to get 150,000 signatures from different people in just 4 months.

Before this petition, I never had the opportunity to go to our national parliament, but through my campaign, I travelled to Dodoma, our country’s capital city. I felt very happy and privileged to be there and to present my petition. The environment there is good, so I enjoyed myself a lot. I wish to become a member of parliament someday. I presented my petition in front of the Prime Minister of Tanzania and other young people from Tanzania joined hands with me.

I am still campaigning for my village to get a well, which will give us clean and safe water and quality education. I realised that every young person I met during my campaign needed the same thing; that the promises made by our leaders and presidents need to be fulfilled, especially those which sit within the Global Goals.

Thank you very much for answering my letter and I have a few more questions to ask you and presidents from other nations – Can you help young people like me to remind world leaders, like our President in Tanzania and the next President of the USA, of the promises they have made to achieve the Global Goals? Can you support us to amplify our voices when asking world leaders to deliver on these promises?

Thank you for reading my letter,

It’s me, Eva Tolage

Young people in countries all over the world have joined Eva and set up their own campaigns for Youth Power – if you think this is something you can join them here!

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