StartingBloc Hangover

After 5 days of intense back to back session from 9 am to 6 pm at the StartingBloc Institute in DC, I still have a hangover. Not in the traditional sense as you think- from the party or drinks but from the information, loads of information that I am still trying to process. One would say 9-6 is a normal day for most; why would you get a hangover from that?

Elevating Global Awareness through Participative Media

Photo Courtesy of Mansi Midhi and Global Press Institute

Photo Courtesy of Mansi Midhi and Global Press Institute

Over the last 10 months, I have had the privilege to serve at Global Press Institute as a Communications Coordinator. During this period, I have learnt so much about the international network of women committed to the art of story telling. GPI uses journalism as a tool for development.

The organization is committed to educating, employing and empowering women in developing media markets to become professional journalists. The stories that these women produce are of high quality and not only spark social change but also elevate global awareness.

Crucible Moments: Trina’s Inspirational Journey!

Growing up in a small village in Eastern Uganda gave me firsthand experience living in a community with class divides of the “haves” and the “have-nots”. My family didn’t have much financially, but my parents believed in investing in their children’s education and this gave me an opportunity to attend some of the best schools in the country. Because many of my age mates couldn’t have what I had at the time, it challenged my thinking at a very tender age. I constantly found myself wondering why some young girls in my neighborhood “decided” to drop out of school while others got married.

The untold story during my Fellowship


I am Atlas Corps youth fellow from South Sudan, class fifteen placed at the National Endowment for Democracy. I was born in the countryside to illiterate parents who did not keep any document of my birthday. That explains one reason I don’t organize a birthday party for myself ever. But which date of birth is in my passport? Good question! The first day my parents took me to school, it was probably one of the days in their lives that they regretted being ignorant so greatly. The Head teacher was curious to know my date of birth as they presented me to be enrolled but they could not guess any. What happened then? A friend of mind whom I still refer to as my “twin-brother” was asked of his date of birth and inevitably got copied and pasted to me as we look age mates and I was very confortable with it that time. At one time, my dad (R.I.P) joined military service for the liberation struggle of my country. Five years later when he came back home to lead his former civilian life style, he was already exposed to the world.

H is for Hogao and Heritage

Each year, many Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) by celebrating the contributions of citizens and ancestors who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Many other Americans however, are unaware of this particular celebration of history and culture. Perhaps the Hispanic migration and diaspora is too new, too close in time and space (no one remembers that it was two Spaniards next to George Washington in his inaugural parade, Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez and Don Diego de Gardoqui )… but I digress.

New Home

Wonder Bread Factory

Finally, my host organization YFU (Youth For Understanding) moved from the forest Bethesda to the historic Wonder Bread Factory in DC. I like the new space not only because I can sleep at least one more hour every day, but also it is a very cool space transformed from an old bread factory whilst kept the factory taste.

YFU rented two floors of the Factory- one for offices, the other basement for education trainer. The offices on the 2nd floor were subleased to several organizations such as Gay Men’s Chorus, Global Kids, American Board, etc. And most importantly, Atlas Corps!

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.