Yambio, South Sudan – It may read and sound funny why I am only referring Google map as the only friend I missed apart from human friends. But many of you know what it takes to miss a friend. Indeed everyone at Atlas Corps was a great friend of mine from Scott to Fellows (Alumni) who had joined before me through introductions and Atlas Corps’ page interaction, Fellows whom we joined together and to those who will join in the future as this great Family (Atlas Corps) continues to expand day by day, month by month and through year by year.
August 2014 was an eventful summer. A vacation in Portugal, my thirtieth birthday (thank you so much everyone for the birthday wishes!!), and my colleague’s wedding. I pick the last one to expand upon, because it was a whole new set of cultural experience!
The wedding was my first, and the first American-Jewish wedding. It was heartwarming, full of affection, and thoughtfully made by the couple. I got curious and fascinated by all those Jewish rituals. The wedding canopy, the couple circling each other, reciting, candles, wine, bread, poems, signing the document, blessings, breaking a glass… lots of dancing and singing at the reception. I think the style was a mixture of Jewish and non-Jewish parts. I am not able to distinguish correctly, yet one thing that was clear to me was that the rituals made the ceremony meaningful, full of affection and happiness, and reflected their bright future.
I am dedicating this write up to my little nephew who came to this world today Sunday, August 31, 2014.
A baby boy tiny fingers and ticklish toes
A bundle of Joy, to love and embrace
Before you were born we dreamed of you
We imagined you, we prayed for you
A precious gift from God above
Now that you are here, WELCOME to the world
We hope for you, We love you, we thank God for you
And I hope to see you soon with many goodies………….
It was sad to see all my class mates move on (go home and start resettling and getting along with their lives after a year of being a fellow) these last few days. I almost felt like I should have been doing the same and kept wondering all over again if I made the right decision to stay longer. During graduation day and the events and sessions that took place and when reflecting back on the year that went by I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. It was to me certainly a year I will keep remembering. A year that I got to know some lovely bunch of people, and I know that some of these connections will go on forever. A year that certainly took me out of my comfort zone and made me think again and again about what is it that we seek in life. What is it that makes a difference to us and what is it that we seem to be looking forward to. I value the opportunity to get to meet and work with all the different people I have come across this year. I value the individual space that I got to experience during this year. And most certainly I value the break out of the usual and expected. I have accepted to extend my fellowship experience for six more months and I shall be looking forward to an even more rewarding time moving forward. I most certainly miss all my classmates who have moved on and I do hope that we get to cross path over and over again.
If you are a social media user then you are probably already aware of the ‘ALS Ice bucket challenge’ that is viral on social media July- August this year!! One might think that the pouring of the Ice bucket might have significance in relation to ALS, however I personally could not find and literature in relation to the same.
What is ALS ICE bucket challenge?
(In case you are not aware) The Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research.
“Yo miraba la luna de Rasquí, tumbado en la arena blanca. Y la luna me hablaba sólo a mí.” Jorge Drexler, La luna de Rasquí
Every night that I slept in the District of Columbia I listened to this gift from a dear friend. She is a woman like no other on this green Earth. I deeply admire her. I have learned as much from her in the moments we have coincided in time and space, but I have learned as much from her when this has not been the case.
A recent amazing viral campaign, the Ice Bucket Challenge has attracted many celebrities, politicians, and ordinary individuals from all around the world and generated huge amount of dollars for Lou Gehrig’s disease charities, the ALS association particularly. As I have worked as a fundraiser, marketer and campaigner, I am very jealous of the campaign. It should be a kind of life dream for any fundraiser to develop huge campaigns with great success and almost free marketing cost like the Ice Bucket Challenge. According to the Time magazine, the ALS has raised $79.7 Million until now. Considering that it started on July 29, it generated significant awareness and funds for the disease in a very short time.
More work at hand
A view of the diverse challenges shows that a lot more remains to be done with respect to effective implementation of the UNSCR 1820 in order to mitigate sexual violence in war affected countries. A number of people, even women, are ignorant of the rights of women. This is one reason why awareness campaigns are organized to create or increase public awareness of this problem and its effects so as to check its rate of occurrence. There is a need for more efforts to educate both men and women about their rights and more particularly on sexual violence against women. The public must be continuously educated on this matter through all media possible. The more the issue of sexual violence is discussed, the more awareness is created; the more responsible people will be in ensuring protection of women and girls from sexual violence; and consequently the more women’s rights and dignity will be respected.
Gone are the days when sexual violence against women was no crime!
Historically, states have rarely prioritized the issue of sexual violence which occurs especially in times of war and aftermath of war. And though a number of international instruments and mechanisms for the protection of women’s human rights exist, sexual violence during armed conflicts was not counted among cases of this sort until the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Moreover, until the adoption of Resolution 1325, women’s issues had seldom been considered by the Security Council which has the mandate to ensure the maintenance of international peace and Security.