Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘families’

Hunger, Summer, America

Dear Gabriel,

For most of us, the 4th of July means neighborhood parties, backyard barbecues, and maybe a watermelon seed spitting contest or two. The holiday is a celebration of family, friends, and the triumph of the American dream. But for families across America who struggle with poverty and hunger, that dream seems a long way off.

watermelongirl

For many families, the sudden loss of a job or a medical emergency can make keeping food on the table a struggle. And for parents who rely on school meal programs to help bridge the gap when times are tough, that problem is especially acute in the summer months.

Kids shouldn’t have to worry about going hungry every summer.

While many of us are relaxing with family and friends this summer, too many parents across America are wondering how they will keep their children happy and healthy until school starts again.

Today, as Americans everywhere celebrate the tremendous promise of our nation, take a minute keep kids across the country happy and healthy. This July, add your name to the movement of Americans fighting to end childhood hunger this summer!

Thank you for taking action,

Ellen B.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

50,000 People

Dear Gabriel,

What do 140 Boeing 747s, Yankee Stadium, six square miles of Los Angeles, and FINCA Ecuador all have in common?

Each includes 50,000 people!

ECUADOR-HEADER2

As we all know, innovation is the key to lasting, sustainable, and successful development. That’s why FINCA is pioneering an innovative health insurance plan in Ecuador, where over 50,000 FINCA clients and their families—some 200,000 people in all—are automatically provided with health insurance as part of their FINCA loan packages.

Their benefits include:

Access to a network of primary, private health care providers
Affordable generic medications provided through a network of 150 pharmacies
A 24/7 telephone service for health consultation – great for families with children
Hospitalization coverage with a daily cash benefit compensation in case of severe illness
During our Matching Gift Challenge, your generosity will be multiplied – impacting more clients, families, and communities.

Be part of this holistic approach of providing hardworking microentrepreneurs a hand up to a brighter future. Give today and make change happen for families struggling in poverty.

Sincerely,

Soledad Gompf
FINCA Vice President

Help Women In Nepal

Dear Gabriel,

Providing high quality livestock and agricultural training to poor farmers has proven exceptionally effective in Nepal where two-thirds of the people depend on subsistence agriculture for a living. This has truly created a revolution in Nepal, where families living in poverty can procure economic security in one generation.

Now, you have the opportunity to become part of this revolution. Add your name to the pledge showing you support these women as they learn, train, and work their way to economic freedom.

NepalChild200x160

The program helps provide goats, vegetable seedlings and training in animal care and small-scale agriculture. In many cases this has given women the means to support their families and provide their children with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. These are amazing accomplishments for women in a country where chronic gender discrimination has historically prohibited them from owning animals, property or even holding jobs.

Let’s be part of this incredible transformation. Sign this action to support 25,000 families in Nepal.

Thank you for taking action,

Sharanya P.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Oxfam America Advocacy

Gabriel –

Imagine that you’re pregnant, injured or gravely ill. You have no car. There’s a clinic building nearby, but no doctors or nurses – the doors are shut. The nearest hospital is 25 miles away.

Women and girls around the world face this nightmare scenario every day. Women suffer from unequal treatment in many ways: less food in crises as they feed their children first, more violence – including rape – during conflicts, inadequate care for themselves and their families when they need it most.

homecollage

We can prevent this scenario – but it’s going to take us all working together to make sure women’s voices are heard in the legislative process so we can fix the broken US aid system and keep life-changing programs off the chopping block. The Oxfam America Advocacy Fund is fighting for this day in and day out. To keep our work going in the months ahead, we need to raise $40,000 before June 6. Can you help?

Donate to the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund today to join our fight for policies that help women tackle hunger, poverty and injustice at their roots.

Martha Kwataine, a health advocate in Malawi, helped end this nightmare for women in the town of Mponela. Martha brought her neighbors together to pressure the government to meet urgent needs – from convincing the government to staff an empty clinic to restarting scholarships for midwives. “We don’t ask America to do our work for us,” says Martha. “We just want America as a partner in helping us solve these problems.”

Even as we celebrate Martha’s success, we know that there’s a bigger problem here than a lack of doctors and an empty clinic. Why isn’t her government addressing these problems? How can we help communities take control of their resources and their futures? And how can we make sure that the help our government provides to communities in need around the world is making a real difference for Martha, her neighbors and her country?

The Oxfam America Advocacy Fund works to tackle problems at their roots by:

Helping communities control their resources and their futures – Without the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund, community voices – like Martha’s – are left out of important decisions about resources, leading to disastrous consequences. Oxfam works to support women’s leadership programs and make sure that local activists are heard in the legislative process.
Fixing foreign aid – We’re working to change the way food aid is delivered during food shortages so that every dollar can go to work helping people who need it most, rather than being wasted on expensive shipping restrictions or in “red tape” processes.

Fighting to keep life-changing programs fully funded – Too often, poverty-fighting aid programs – from education to food aid to health services – are the first ones cut, despite the dramatic difference they make for people in need.

It takes dedication to long-term development work plus community leadership plus changing laws and policies to truly help people lift themselves out of poverty, hunger and injustice. Martha is fighting for this change – are you?

Donate to the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund to make this change – and more – possible.

There are just three days left to help us reach our goal of $40,000 to keep this work going. Please give as generously you can.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Mary Marchal
Advisor, Aid Effectiveness
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund

Carried In Our Hearts

0399161058.01._PC_SCLZZZZZZZ_Carried In Our Hearts
New York Journal of Books
Review by Gabriel Constans

Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption:
Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents

by Dr. Jane Aaronson

“. . . There is great care, hope, and love in these pages.”

The introduction to Carried in Our Hearts reads, “These stories need to be told,” and Dr. Jane Aronson does so with honesty, insight, love, conflict, and conviction.

This collection of adoptive families around the world is wisely divided into eight thematic sections, the headings of which convey the essence of the essays in each. They are: The Decision, The Journey, The Moment We Met, Early Challenges, Becoming A Family, A New Life, Reflections: Children Tell Their Own Adoption Stories, and The Children Left Behind.

The author/editor of this collection is Dr. Jane Aronson, who has two adopted boys of her own from Ethiopia. Dr. Aronson is a pediatrician who specializes in adoption medicine and who founded the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. To say her heart, body, and soul are thoroughly invested in helping children (professionally, personally and collectively) would be an understatement.

UNICEF estimates that there are 153 million orphans in the world. Dr. Aronson is trying to get as many of them into families as possible and make sure those not adopted are treated with dignity and care.

The title of the book comes from an adopted child’s remark overheard by her mother when she was speaking to another young child her age. Her daughter’s friend said she was carried in her mother’s tummy and the adopted daughter replies, “My mommy didn’t carry me in her tummy; she carried me in her heart.” That line alone could make the harshest reader’s heart melt, but it is just one of many poignant moments revealed throughout this compilation.

Molly Wenger McCarthy, who has three children, including daughter Lu from Ethiopia, sums up the experience of adoption (and having and raising children by any means) with an insightful and comprehensive line, “The home side of our adoption is a humbling, astonishing, crazy, poignant mess of a life.”

Shonda Rhymes (creator of TV shows Gray’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal) tells about her need to surrender control to the process, as she adopted her daughters, as does actress Mary-Louise Parker and many others who had children previously or were adopting for their first time.

All of the parents who adopted also spoke about learning how to balance doing what they could for the process to move forward and simultaneously letting go of what was beyond their grasp or ability to change. Some might liken it to an adoption parent’s version of 12-step programs’ serenity prayer.

The section titled Early Challenges is especially helpful and necessary to give readers an objective perspective of the difficulties that can arise in the midst of all the goodness and joy. Physical and mental health issues, birth parents changing their minds, governments saying “no” at the last minute, adopted children having difficulty adjusting to a new environment and language, etc. can all take place before, during, and after adoption, just as painful issues can arise with biological children.

Carried in Our Hearts proclaims to contain stories from “families created across continents,” which may lead one to believe that the essays include a variety of adoptive parents (culturally, nationally, and of various financial means), but the reality is that ninety percent of the families who speak about their experience in the book are not only privileged white Americans, but also predominantly from the New York area.

This is not surprising due to the author’s circle of contacts and practice, but it would have added an enriching depth and perspective if there had been as much diversity with the adoptive parents as there is with the children who were adopted.

There is also only one story about an adoption not working out and the child being returned to the orphanage or childcare center. There may be fewer unsuccessful adoptions internationally (which is the primary focus of this collection), but on a local level there is a higher percentage (as much as 50% in some areas), in which the children do not stay in the adoptive home.

Whether you have children, are thinking of having children, thought about adopting or adopted hundreds, Carried in Our Hearts is an inspirational and timely collection. There is great care, hope, and love in these pages.

*****

Read complete review and more at New York Journal of Books.

Reviewer Gabriel Constans’s books include Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call; Good Grief, Love, Loss & Laughter; The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales; and The Last Conception (coming in 2014). He is the father of five children (two adopted) and is closely associated with the Rwandan Orphan’s Project and the Ihangane Project, both in Rwanda.

Massai Kicked Out of Homeland?

Dear friends,

Within hours, Tanzania’s President Kikwete could start evicting tens of thousands of the Maasai from our land so hunters can come and kill leopards and lions. Last time Avaaz raised the alarm, the President shelved the plan. Global pressure can stop him again.

We are elders of the Maasai from Tanzania, one of Africa’s oldest tribes. The government has just announced that it plans to kick thousands of our families off our lands so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot lions and leopards. The evictions are to begin immediately.

4723_2_201101280928129gI0H_3_200x100

Last year, when word first leaked about this plan, almost one million Avaaz members rallied to our aid. Your attention and the storm it created forced the government to deny the plan, and set them back months. But the President has waited for international attention to die down, and now he’s revived his plan to take our land. We need your help again, urgently.

President Kikwete may not care about us, but he has shown he’ll respond to global media and public pressure — to all of you! We may only have hours. Please stand with us to protect our land, our people and our world’s most majestic animals, and tell everyone before it is too late. This is our last hope:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_the_maasai_loc/?bMPbqab&v=23732

Our people have lived off the land in Tanzania and Kenya for centuries. Our communities respect our fellow animals and protect and preserve the delicate ecosystem. But the government has for years sought to profit by giving rich princes and kings from the Middle East access to our land to kill. In 2009, when they tried to clear our land to make way for these hunting sprees, we resisted, and hundreds of us were arrested and beaten. Last year, rich princes shot at birds in trees from helicopters. This killing goes against everything in our culture.

Now the government has announced it will clear a huge swath of our land to make way for what it claims will be a wildlife corridor, but many suspect it’s just a ruse to give a foreign hunting corporation and the rich tourists it caters to easier access to shoot at majestic animals. The government claims this new arrangement is some sort of accommodation, but its effect on our people’s way of life will be disastrous. There are thousands of us who could have our lives uprooted, losing our homes, the land on which our animals graze, or both.

President Kikwete knows this deal would be controversial with Tanzania’s tourists – a critical source of national income – and does not want a big PR disaster. If we can urgently generate even more global outrage than we did before, and get the media writing about it, we know it can make him think twice. Stand with us now to call on Kikwete to stop the sell off:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_the_maasai_loc/?bMPbqab&v=23732

This land grab could spell the end for the Maasai in this part of Tanzania and many of our community have said they would rather die than be forced from their homes. On behalf of our people and the animals who graze in these lands, please stand with us to change the mind of our President.

With hope and determination,

The Maasai elders of Ngorongoro District

FINCA + YOU

Dear Gabriel and Colleagues,

When you think of FINCA, what comes to mind – microcredit, entrepreneurship, sustainability? When you think of FINCA +, what do you envision? We see FINCA + You, working together to change the world.

BREAK-Header_zps0794ef42

FINCA + You = Microcredit and other financial services for the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs, so they can work their way out of poverty, create jobs for others, and improve their families’ standard of living.

FINCA + You = Microenergy, a pilot project we’re running in Uganda and seek to expand elsewhere in Africa and eventually throughout the 21-country FINCA network, helping deliver clean, affordable energy technologies to FINCA clients and their families.

FINCA + You = the possibility for improving the health of our clients. Healthcare emergencies are one of the leading reasons families that climbed out of poverty fall back into it. So FINCA is exploring ways to help our over one million clients create “rainy day” saving funds and access insurance services to protect themselves in the event of serious illness or other calamity.

Join us as we create hope and opportunity to help change lives in 21 countries around the world.

Sincerely,
Soledad Gompf
Vice President, FINCA

PS: Don’t forget, FINCA is part of a $1 million challenge grant to fight hunger around the world. Donate today, and your support will be partially matched!

Elephant Families In Mourning

Dear Gabriel,

elephants-with-babyI’ve just learned that 86 elephants — 33 of them pregnant females — have been gunned down by poachers in the Central African country of Chad.

The image above is from a similar slaughter last year. The ivory tusks have been hacked out and stolen. The ivory will be sold on the black market, and then eventually carved into products nobody needs.

Entire elephant families – even the pregnant mothers – brutally killed…to make ivory trinkets?

It’s heartbreaking and senseless…and it HAS TO STOP.

You can help protect elephants and all animals by making an emergency anti-cruelty donation today.

I know you believe as I do – that an elephant’s life is worth more than a silly trinket.

Elephants are incredibly social – they gather in extended families, the moms and aunts and cousins all live together. And they’re so much like us in other ways. They’re known to play and cry and even mourn their own dead.

They don’t deserve to die for the sake of an ivory ornament. Please help us stop this cruelty today.

The poaching of elephants for ivory is a global problem. And with offices, partner organizations, and supporters in so many countries, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is working around the world to save elephants.

Here’s how you can help too:

IFAW has trained hundreds of rangers and more than 1,600 wildlife law enforcement officials around the world to protect elephants and all animals. You can provide the rangers with anti-poaching training as well as essential equipment like radios, backpacks, boots and uniforms.

Significant quantities of smuggled ivory tusks have been intercepted by borders and customs officials trained by IFAW. The ivory trade is a chain of cruelty leading from a dead elephant all the way to a shelf in a gift shop. You can help us stop ivory smugglers and break that chain of cruelty.

China is the eventual destination for much of the poached ivory. Many consumers don’t realize that the vast majority of ivory products come from murdered elephants. You can help educate consumers in China and other countries and help shut down the markets for ivory.

The cruel ivory trade threatens to wipe out many populations of elephants – and this massacre of pregnant mothers shows that poachers will stop at nothing to get their hands on ivory.

Although today is a terribly sad day for elephants, I hope you’ll join me in using this day’s tragic news as motivation to fight even harder to protect elephants.

We CAN win this fight. But we need you.

Please make an emergency anti-cruelty donation today to help IFAW protect elephants and all animals.

Thanks for your help,

Jason Bell
IFAW Programme Director, Elephants

P.S. Some regions of Africa face total annihilation of their elephants. If we don’t stop the poachers, who will? Please make an emergency anti-cruelty donation today.

Syrias’ Living Hell

Dear Gabriel,

W1303EDMNA1For millions of women, children and families in Syria, home has become hell.

Last week Amnesty investigators briefed me on the latest developments in that violence-wracked nation.

To say things are dire is an understatement.

Please make an urgent donation to Amnesty so we can continue to shine a light on human rights violations in Syria and around the world.

Our research team reports that:

Government forces have bombed entire neighborhoods, indiscriminately blowing up civilians. Recent attacks with long-range surface-to-surface missiles have targeted residential areas, killing entire families. Investigators in one case found only the severed arm of a child in the rubble — all that remained of one family.

In Aleppo, a seemingly endless procession of murdered men and boys — bound and shot in the head — is pulled from the river nearly every day.

While government forces continue to be overwhelmingly responsible for the death and suffering of civilians, armed opposition groups have escalated their abuses. Researchers in Damascus have identified a mass grave, filled with the bodies of children and others accused of helping the government. Local residents call it “the hole of death.”

More than 2 million Syrians have been displaced inside their own country. They face the threat of a second round of bombing in the new places where they have taken shelter.

Amnesty’s team is working on the ground, at enormous personal risk, to document and report these abuses. We cannot allow the world to avert its eyes from this human catastrophe.

At the global level, we are pressing countries in the European Union to make good on promises to provide emergency refugee assistance, and reminding Syria’s neighbors of their obligations to help refugees under international law. We continue to pressure governments and the United Nations Security Council to hold those responsible for slaughtering civilians accountable.

With every passing hour of indecision by the international community, the death toll in Syria rises. You have to ask, how many more civilians must die before the world takes action?

Please help today.

Sincerely,

Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

70% Of The Worlds Poor

Gabriel,

Did you know 70% of the world’s poor are women? Mothers, sisters, and daughters often face discriminatory barriers to education, well-paying jobs, and credit. Yet, despite limited access to opportunities of economic advancement, these women are often tasked with caring for children and extended families. This immense burden of responsibility should not have to be borne alone: Lend a Hand.

Join our unique online community of sponsors, and connect with resilient women and men around the world. Through Lend a Hand, you can browse through the stories of our featured borrowers and learn where they’re from, what business they’re in, and what they hope to accomplish with a FINCA loan. Once you select a client, you can choose a donation amount, and then track their progress towards their goals.

LEND2-Header_zps3a4b2454

One Woman + One Loan = Many Lives Changed.

Any donation will make a difference: as little as $50 can help a client build a business so she can pay school fees, employ neighbors, and provide goods and services to a local community. Your loan will empower women around the world. As one FINCA woman told us: “My knees are softer. I used to have to kneel to my husband to beg for money for every little thing. Now I don’t have to kneel much, so my knees are softer.”

All FINCA clients have a deep desire to work hard, support their families, and strengthen their communities. They are not looking for a hand out: all they need is a hand up. Change the lives of many: Connect with a FINCA woman today.

Thank you,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President
FINCA

Tag Cloud