Homelessness, Art & the power of Change

What a great surprise is to wake up in a Sunday morning, open your laptop and find in your work e-mail a wonderful post from The Washington Post about your host organization.

Miriam´s Kitchen runs an Art Therapy program twice a day, lead by Senior Art Therapist Lindsey Vance, where our guests can create and express themselves without prejudice. Homelessness needs to see with mental health, trauma and substance abuse most of the times. And why art is involved with all of that? Because it brings health in all possible ways you can imagine!

9th Annual Nonprofit Management Institute

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (“AFP”) and Stanford Social Innovation Review (“SSIR”) have been holding the Nonprofit Management Institute for the last nine years. This year’s theme was on how to scale social impact. The conference hosted numerous speakers with high credentials from September 9th to 10th at Stanford University Alumni Center in Palo Alto.

Early Childhood Development (Education) for a New Era

ECD is defined as “developing concepts” into the child’s mind; children will receive 6 ECD domains that encompass social, emotional, self-help and adaptive behavior including;
a. Gross Motor activities: teach the child to use all muscles in the body (e.g. crawling, walking, running, skipping, jumping and climbing)
b. Fine Motor activities: teach hand-eye coordination to control the muscles in the hands (coloring, writing, cutting scissors or tearing papers).
c. Language activities: teaches the child on alphabetic, phonemics awareness, oral and written language hence talking about things throughout the day.
d. Cognitive activities: includes cause and effect, reasoning as well as early-math skills (e.g. counting and patterning).
e. Social/Emotional: This includes learning to play as a skill. Teaching a child to feels safe and nurtured.
f. Self-Help/Adaptive activities: teaches the child on how to dress one self, feed one-self, using the toilet, brushing teeth, bathing, tying shoes to drive the child to self-independent.
g. Moral activities: teaches a child to recognize between right and wrong
Early Childhood Development centers will be linked to nutrition OTP sites (Out-Patient Therapeutic Centers). Lessons will be held next to the OTP sites as the children are waiting to be measured and weighed, to provide instructive activity while they wait and show the mothers the types of activities that can be repeated at home to reinforce child development.

Networking or Favoritism: Why it does not matter!

“In interviews with hundreds of people on this topic, I found that all but a handful used the help of family and friends to find 70 percent of the jobs they held over their lifetimes; they all used personal networks and insider information if it was available to them” NANCY DITOMASO MAY 5, 2013 9:12 PM, New York Times.

Networking Buzz Words

Networking Buzz Words

Have you ever gone to a meeting or an event and did not carry your business cards? Have you ever set goals as to how many people to interact with in an event? How many happy hours have you been to in six months? Do you ever follow up with your contacts after exchanging business cards? Your answer to this will determine how awesome or terrible you are as a net-worker and might also determine how (un)successful you will be in the US. It is notable that the job market is entering a new era where employers are comfortable with hiring those theyknow or at least one whom their friends know.

Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child. This day aims to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year’s theme was centered on Empowering Adolescent Girls to end the cycle of violence. As an avid human rights activist and a champion of all things girl empowerment, this day holds special significance and sentimental value to me especially when I think of the 250 Million adolescent girls who live in poverty globally! Being a girl in several contexts of our world comes with its own numerous challenges and it is very unfortunate that the mainstream media does not articulate their plight and also because of the unspoken social contract that exists between classes which results in some of us turning a blind eye to such obvious atrocities.

The American dream, The African challenge

The world of today is mostly development-oriented. Aside, poverty, violence and injustice arise and are even worse in some parts of the world. Born in Africa, I thought abroad was upper floor as I saw people flying, never thought they come back to the ground!
I thought of this for not a short time. My first time to fly and many more afterwards in Europe, Asia and the United States, I discovered that the earth is all the same everywhere but only the people present at that place make it different.
I was surprised to walk out of the train in Belgium and find a beggar laying a hand for me to give a coin! I never thought the United States had homeless people.
The truth about Africa is told and even exaggerated but only the good side of developed countries is told and even exaggerated!0807-US-Obama-Africa-Summit_full_600
A question to an African: do you sleep in trees? No, I have my own house. Where as many from developed countries don’t even dream of owning one of their own! The main African problem, struggle and challenge is really not poverty, HIV or Ebola, but its leadership and strategic planning.
The reality is that all men are created equal and the privilege we get is from what our ancestors have done.
America is such a great country in a way that you are free to dream and work towards your dreams with no influence or pressure, be it political or from your surroundings.
Development is a matter of vision, determination and hard work. If you have dreams but don’t work towards them, you will simply be a day-dreamer and if you work with no vision, you will find yourself wandering around the very same point. However, a favorable environment is very crucial in fostering success.
Keep sending donations is the least generous thing that developed countries should do for Africa.
If you teach me how to work for it, I will get even much more for myself and the rest of my people, but you are the enemy of my prosperity if you only keep giving me provisions for free without letting me have access to a way of getting some by myself.

Strengths Finder 2.0

Outside the comfort zone lays success. Many a times we take life for granted. We are used to saying “No”, “I cannot do it”, and “I don’t want to do it”. That is often where we make the mistake of giving up the opportunities that help us grow. You may choose not to, but when you come out of your comfort zone, is that when you make something.
My belief on this statement is one of the reasons, among many, that made me take this fellowship, and on the first day at the host organization I found the connection.

Girl Advocates Fighting Child Marriages in Malawi

Originally published by Women Deliver 

Malawi is one of the top ten hotspots of child marriage worldwide, with five out of every ten girls married off before the age of 18. This is majorly attributed to strong taboosaround child and early marriage practices such as theKusasa Fumbi practice, in which girls (usually aged 10-12) who have just begun their menstrual cycles  have sex with a man as a way of removing “childhood dust;” Chitomero, another common practice that encourages parents to offer dowry to an older man who agrees to marry their young daughter; and kupimbira, a practice in the northern part of Malawi where a young daughter is married off as repayment for a debt.

The death of a friend’s brother

The family of Lukudu William are going through an emotional ordeal after losing their big brother, Peter Lomoro, who died in hospital in Juba from gunshot wounds on Thursday October 9.
Lukudu’s big brother was attacked by unknown gunmen the night before in his house in Muniki and was carried to his bed by his attackers and his door was locked. The assailants, as can be judged by neighbors’ reports, shot him following a rowdy exchange. Some suspect they were casual robbers but others seem to think they came to his house with the intention of killing him.