Sunday, 26 September 2010

Child Hunger

Bird feeding in the United Kingdom...
Whilst children around the world die from malnutrition and hunger

Every 5 Seconds a child dies of hunger.

Your waste could save their lives...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Humanity Explored - Issue No.2

 Humanity Explored is a series of articles designed to highlight some of the humanitarian news and issues around the world into bite sizes. It is published here weekly in order to raise awareness of the issues and start a conversation about them. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and opinions and share the stories you have heard or the activities you are involved in that are helping make our world a better place.

 Millennium Development Rights
I recently read an article entitled 'We need millennium development RIGHTS, not just goals' and I was intrigued. To understand where the author is coming form it is important to know what the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are. The UN MDG's are eight international development goals that all 192 UN member states (countires) and at least 23 international organisations have agreed to achieve by 2015 covering everything from reducing child mortality rate and fighting disease to  eradicating extreme poverty and promoting gender equality (read more here).The article calling for millennium development rights therefore is reviewing the progress (or lack there of) in achieving the MDG's since 2000 when they were first set. Considering the countries that are failing to perform and carry out the much needed changes that this radical program calls for and whilst so doing leaving many, particularly women and children is a state of abject poverty, hunger and destitution. I agree that in order to make these noble goals a reality in practice, there needs to be a means of enforcing the change by the UN rather than the current system operated on good faith and promises to act / change from member states and corporations; promises that for many 'lie broken'

'When rights are violated, someone, or some government or some corporation, 
can be held accountable.' 

The Millennium Development Goals (video)

 African Union vision...'another Africa' the advent of afro-optimism.
Dr Bingu wa Mutharika address
The UN General Assembly
During the United Nations General Assembly opening this week the African Union president and president of Malawi, Dr Bingu wa Mutharika talked of a 'new Africa', one which takes control of its own destiny and becomes its own champion in relation to changing its political and economic climate and creating an environment where its people are free from hunger, poverty, discrimination and corruption. President Mutharika said that he is“fully aware that the Africa that the world hears about is that of insensate calamities and natural disasters,” yet there is little reported of the growth and changes being made in many African nations. He went on to say that he had 'come to inform this world body that Africa has decided to shift from ‘Afro-pessimism’ to ‘Afro-optimism.' This bold statement if realised in practice could be just the change Africa needs. The reason for its stagnation and seemingly systemic failure to break free from corruption and poverty that lead to many of the other endemic issues that have and continue to  plague the continent is due to the perspective of the nations and their leaders. A paradigm shift is precisely what is needed to turn Africa around...we can only watch this space and optimistically hope that action follows.

Kuluka Project

Kuluka means"to weave" in Chichewa (a Malawian language). It  is a non-profit development organisation which focuses on the developing community healthcare and welfare in Malawi. Giving blood is so important and yet something that we do not often think about or consider to be a life saving act. There are so many people who die because they have lost too much blood and yet the blood banks are nearly empty and there is no way to access any. Giving blood where ever you are in the world is a life saving act and something that everyone can do. See here the life changing work this organisation is doing by encouraging blood donation in Malawi...Remember, you can be the DIFFERENCE.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The 'Voice of the People' Feature Profile #1: Project Peter

Peter's Story
I met Peter, man from Trinidad on the streets of Reading in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2009. What first caught my eye about Peter was his brilliant white beard as I passed him on the street. His clothes looked old and in need of repair or replacement. With a bottle in one hand and a roll up cigarette in the other at about midday simply going for a walk. He seemed cheerful as he walked along the street humming to himself and I just knew that he had a story I had to tell. I went back and stopped him and asked him if I could ask him a few questions and take his picture, a little risky admittedly as he could have been drunk or high on drugs. Fortunately Peter was sober enough to hold a conversation and agreed. As I started taking his picture, he told of how he had come over in the late 50s as part of a drive by the UK government to fill jobs that had shortages post war. He had come over to be a bus driver, had settled, married and had children and lived out his adulthood in England. However at some point in his life here, his marriage had broken down and he became estranged from his children. Consequently he now sleeps rough or in a homeless shelter. When I enquired of his homeland and why he did not return rather than live on the streets, Peter talked of how he wanted to return to Trinidad but with no living family there or money for relocation the life he now lives he felt was his only option.

There are many foreign nationals who live in situations of destitution and squalor at times particularly in the United Kingdom where they have no access to public social services to assist them when they encounter life issues. Like Peter, many become homeless, either sleeping on a relatives sofa, or in a hostel or shelter, the latter often run by religious groups rather than government initiatives. Many turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of escape and others choose to take their own lives, unable to cope with the pressures of life where they are and unable to return to their home countries. In the article 'Homeless Briton' it is shown that ethnic minorities like Peter, who are often foreign nationals are three times more likely to become homeless as a result of various social issues primarily relationship breakdown or loss of employment. A growing issue as the population of foreign nationals grows due to immigration which is largely tackled by many charities and religious groups, which needs more attention and due consideration from a social services perspective in the UK.

Peter's Photo Gallery

Monday, 20 September 2010

LRBT Appeal for Flood Relief in Pakistan

Images and Information from the Graham Layton Trust.

A really good friend of my brought the work of the Graham Layton Trust to my attention recently and shared with me the serious post flood conditions that the people of Pakistan are living in. This article is therefore an appeal for your support for the LRBT Flood Relief Pakistan project that is being run by the Graham Layton Trust to help the people of Pakistan. The following is some key information about the current situation in Pakistan, there is a great deal more information and an opportunity to donate and get involved in this cause on the Graham Layton Trust website.

Those affected by the flood are in dire need of clean water, medical treatment, shelter, food (and cooking utensils), clothing and fodder for their surviving livestock as a starting point in the short term. In the long term they will need assistance to rebuild their communities and re-establish business, agricultural activities and restore infrastructure. If you have any of the skills necessary to help with this effort please do consider offering your time as a volunteer with a relevant agency to 'be the difference' for the people of Pakistan. Contact the Graham Layton Trust for information about how you can volunteer and get involved.
People stranded due to the floods
'We need your help to support LRBT’s mobile teams operating in the flood-devastated areas of Pakistan.' 
LRBT's seven medical teams are treating victims of the floods at free Medical Relief Camps within the catchment area of LRBT hospitals throughout Pakistan. LRBT’s teams consist of locals who know the area, speak the language and are familiar with the customs. LRBT is fortunate in enjoying goodwill resulting from its work over the past quarter of a century; we do not foresee any security problems in the areas of operation. 

LRBT is treating the following diseases: Diarrhoea, Gastroenteritis, Cholera, Malaria, Vomiting, Skin infection, Cough, fever and Eye infections.

You can support their work by giving a donation that will buy more medical supplies, food and essential personal hygiene items that these people are in desperate need of. 
Please support this cause and help with the crucial work that  the LRBT Flood Relief Program is doing.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Humanity Explored - Issue No.1 by Rudo Nyangulu

Hello my name is Rudo and I would like to welcome you to Humanity Explored. This is a series of articles designed to condense the humanitarian news around the blog into bite sizes each week in order to raise awareness of the issues and start a conversation about them. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and opinions and share the stories you have heard or the activities you are involved in that are helping make our world a better place. I would love to hear from you!

 HIV Born Free Campaign
This is an extremely important campaign that promotes an HIV free next generation by providing the medical care / treatment and education required for women who are HIV positive and pregnant or desire to have children. The international campaign is being funded through the Global fund and there are many celebrities that are lending their name and voice to the campaign including Gwyneth Paltrow and Carla Bruni - Sarkozy. See more about the campaign here. 

 World Humanitarian Day Project 2010 Video
I came across this video project on World Humanitarian Day and thought it was incredibly informative and worth a viewing. Read more about being a humanitarian here.

United Nations (UN) Women
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced Ms. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, as the Head of UN Women this week. This is a significant appointment as Ms Bachelet has had extensive experience as a world leader on the global stage with a proven track record. Lending her persona and voice to the fight for gender equality and human rights for women will take UN Women to a new dimension. It is definitely a space worth watching and Humanity Explored will most certainly be watching and keeping you updated.

HIV / Aids Treatment Programs in India lacking
A woman living with AIDS in a hospital in India.
Photo by: John Isaac / World Bank

Many Aids patients in India do not receive much needed life preserving treatment on time according to the Global Fund executive director Michael Kazatchkine. This is particularly worrying as India is one of the top three countries in the world with the highest rate of infection and Aids related deaths in the world. There is need for the Indian governments spending commitments to be directed more towards health which unfortunately is not the case at present. 

Say No! To Violence against Women and Girls

Everyday a female is beaten, raped, verbally abused / belittled / intimidated / caused to live in fear of another person or sold into prostitution or some other form of slavery. This may sound like an exaggerated statement to some however it is the reality of countries all over the world including the first world. Offences against women of the violent and/or abusive nature do not only cause damage to the individual woman but it affects her children and family dynamics. I recently met with a woman who has survived domestic violence and she talked of the impact of this on her children. The breakdown of the family unit and had come to her home long before her husband left. He used tactics of manipulation and employed words which his used like fists to break down her resolve, remove all trace of self esteem in her and ensure that she is never strong enough in mind and spirit to make a stand for her rights. 

Womankind reports that least 1 out of every 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime withthe abuser usually someone known to her." 
Click here for more info)
“A woman is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to get breast cancer. But, unlike cancer, sexual violence is rarely discussed. There is a stigma attached to sexual crime, the result of attitudes that lay the blame on the woman for the rape, not the perpetrator.
"Violence against women includes: domestic violence, rape
 and sexual violence,sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, crimes in the name of honour, trafficking and sexual exploitation.These are mostly committed by men that women know or are in close relationship with. 'A woman is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to get breast cancer. But, unlike breast cancer, sexual violence is rarely discussed. There is a stigma attached to sexual crime, the result of attitudes that lay the blame on the woman for the rape, not the perpetrator.'

Sexual Violence in the UK is 54% more likely to be committed by a woman
’s current or former partner. Sexual violence of any kind from the 'mild' sexual overtures in the office to the forced sex with a partner  / a known person. Rape is a crime that is not carried out exclusively on women but thousands of girls around the world have become victims also. I had the humbling experience of talking to a young girl who had been raped a few years ago, in her case by a stranger. The blessing in her situation is that she did not get pregnant or get any STI / STD's or HIV from this violation. However the psychological impact was so great and so damaging that this girl has been in and out of the social services system and placed in many different foster care environments due to her fear of men. Her innocence robbed so young that she initially blamed herself, felt dirty at the very thought of any man looking at her and she was ashamed of herself as if she had done something wrong... You may wonder what this girl did to provoke her attacker? Did she flirt, wear her school skirt too short, accept a ride from strange me, lie about her age? The answer is no. she was a 13 and a half year old tomboy who did everything with her parents and only walked to school alone. As she did one day the perpetrator abducted her. Had she fitted the former description of the flirtatious teen, it would still not be acceptable or in any way understandable that this inhumane character sought to violate her in this manner. Furthermore, sexual assault is about control and domination often coupled with anger and and the desire to violate than it is about attraction or lust. \The are no excusable set of circumstance in which a woman or girl should be raped.

Physical Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. The Home Office published statistics on violence against women which showed that; In the majority of incidents of domestic violence in the UK (2007/8), the victims were women 85% of the time. Furthermore, female victims are more likely to be killed by someone they know; 48% were killed by their partner, ex-partner or lover. These statistics highlight the gravity of the issue of violence against women, an inconvenient truth that is often ignored. Women who are murdered as a result of violence and abuse in the home will have engaged the emergency services at least once prior to their death however if a woman does not disclose that she has been abused the authorities are powerless to intervene and assist her. Her friends and family will experience a change in their relationship with her where she is vague, distant and increasingly unavailable, her countenance and character changed. Responding to these subtle changes before they  escalate can be the difference between life and death for many women, please do not ignore the signs.

Human Trafficking has been defined by the United Nations as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation". Human trafficking claims an estimated number of persons ranging from 500,000 to two million per year, the majority of victims are female, many of these come from poor families, third world countries. Some are sold into slavery by family members who are poor and have no way of ensuring their basic needs, others are lured in by promised a better life in another country, for example the United Kingdom, yet upon arrival their passports are confiscated and they are forced to work as sex workers to pay for their freedom. This is a reality today all over the western world not just in impoverished developing countries and it is essentially slavery in the 21st Century.

War Crimes against women are some of the most atrocious. According to Amnesty International every conflict zone they investigated in 1999 and 2000, showed that the torture of women was reported, most often in the form of sexual violence. They went on to say that; rape, when used as a weapon of war, is systematically employed for a variety of purposes, including intimidation, humiliation, political terror, extracting information, rewarding soldiers, and "ethnic cleansing".This is the reality of so many women and girls today in every war torn country whether the issue is internal conflict (such as dictatorship and military coups) or external conflict  with other countries. This tragic reality in our world today can not be accepted or ignored, particularly when young girls and women are taken from their homes and placed in 'rape camps' where they are systematically raped and beaten.  The Women's Refugee Commission state that; Gender-based violence (GBV) is any harm enacted against a person's will that is the result of power imbalances that exploit distinctions between males and females. Forms of GBV that occur during conflict and its aftermath include: sexual abuse and exploitation; domestic violence; trafficking; forced impregnation or sterilization; forced marriage; forced prostitution; forced recruitment; and harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation or early marriage. Amnesty International highlight, that these acts are forms of hatred and those that result in prolific offence are tantamount to torture and are used as a rutal precursor to murder.

Where you live today...someone is being abused in one way or another...dont look the other the difference in the fight against brutality and violence against women.
There are many local, national and international organisations that have been set up specifically to raise awareness and fight against all forms of violence and abuse to women and girls. A notable organisation/movement is that of the White Ribbon Campaign which was started by and is run by men. They say of themselves, 'White Ribbon is a campaign led by men who condemn violence against women and take action to tackle it.  We are part of a global campaign of men and boys committed to ending violence against women'. If you are male and reading this, go to the website for your local white ribbon campaign and submit a pledge, ladies you can make a donation to this organisation as well as your local organisations that deal with helping women who have already been abusedYou can be the difference and violence against women can stop...Get involved!        

Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world.
Ban K-moon, UN Secretary General 

Related Posts with Thumbnails