December 1st is World AIDS Day. As a tribute, our World Voice writer, Lauren, submitted this post.
They cry and yearn to be held, but there are not enough arms to hold them. Many of them have watched their parents die. Some have parents who are too sick to care for them. But all of them want the same thing—to be loved and to know that they matter.
They are just like you and me, but they are the tiniest victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some, like their parents, are HIV positive. Others are considered lucky and have escaped infection. All are residing in an orphanage with a future that is uncertain.
How do I know what an AIDS orphan wants and needs? Because on a hot August Day in 2008, I stood inside an orphanage that houses orphans affected by HIV/AIDS and I held my son for the first time. So it should come as no surprise that tomorrow, on World AID Day, I will join millions of people around the globe to unite in the fight against AIDS.
World AIDS Day aims to educate, inform and empower people to join the effort to bring an end to the AIDS epidemic.According to UNAIDS, more than 34 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS and a staggering 3.3 million of them are under the age of 15. The HIV/AIDS epidemic claims the lives of 1.7 people each year. With 2.5 million new infections occurring annually, the epidemic is far from over.
But there is hope. (more…)
I woke up one day and realized that my baby is no longer a baby. Thinking about it brings happy-sad tears to my eyes. I’m extremely proud of my son and how much he’s grown and matured over the years, but at the same time, I’m scared that he will outgrow me soon and, I will become a mommy without a baby.
It all started one fateful day at school. We did our usual routine where I dropped him off at the school driveway. I got out of the car, pulled his bag out of the trunk, and walked up the steps with him. Then I leaned down to kiss him. Usually Tristan would reach up and meet my kiss halfway, say “I love you, Mommy”, and I’d tell him to enjoy his day and that I’d pick him up after class before we parted ways. Well, that afternoon was different. I noticed when we got to the top of the stairs that he kept looking at a group of older boys out of the corner of his eye. And when I leaned down to kiss him, he angled his face so that I ended up kissing his cheek instead, all the while glancing at the bigger kids. Then he cheerfully said “Bye, Mommy!” and went to his classroom.
I stood at the top of the steps for a good fifteen seconds before I finally shook my head and got back in the car. I thought back on all the times that my friends would tease me about little boys growing up and not wanting to be seen kissing their moms in public. (more…)
I have a dream. I believe all writers share this same dream – which is to someday publish their own book (all the better if it turns into a bestseller!).
But never in my imagination had I thought that this dream would materialize any time soon, at least not this year, not in the way it had happened.
It all started with a conversation with my friend. I can’t recall what we were talking about, but I casually mentioned to her that I hope to write a book on mompreneurship, a subject I’m passionate about.
To my surprise, she shared that a publisher had approached her to write about work life balance but given her commitments she didn’t feel she could take it up at that point (she’s founder of Mums@Work, a social enterprise in Singapore that helps moms find better balance between being moms and workers through flexi-work or starting their own business). Through my sharing, she saw the possibility of us working together and shortly after, an appointment with the publisher was set up. Things went well at the first meeting and soon we found ourselves signing an agreement with the publisher to work on the book. (more…)
The distraught mother presses her hands onto her daughter’s blood-soaked chest, pumping in a desperate attempt to keep her alive. She begs the girl, just fourteen years old, to “keep awake”.
Not far away, some people try to get their critically injured friend into a car so they can take him to hospital. He collapses onto the sidewalk, his life blood spilling from him.
All around, people are scrambling in a panicked attempt to escape. A pregnant woman is hurt in the stampede.
23 people are injured by gunshots, one of them just 22 months old.
A policeman sadly shakes his head at the mother, who has just suffered an unbearable loss.
The young man’s now lifeless body is covered with a blanket.
And collectively, the community starts to weep.
How can it be possible to explain the senseless act of gun violence that shattered a Toronto community just blocks away from where I live? What do you say to the two sets of parents who lost their children? How do you console their friends? How do you reassure the youth in this neighbourhood that they are safe from the gangs who have instigated this tragedy?
How do we stop this from happening? (more…)
As many of you know, my passion for taking pictures is tremendous. For the last year there wasn’t a day in which I didn’t take at least one picture. I decided to put my passion to work by opening a photography business. I haven’t been this excited in many, many months!
The idea of me getting out there, doing something I love, pursuing my dreams and fulfilling myself is very appealing. I have known for a long time now that being a stay-at-home-mom was not going to fulfill me and working full-time, outside the house is even less appealing.
While trying to determine what line of work I should go into, it became obvious the photography business is a perfect match for me. At the same time, I feel, doing something more with my photography skills is the best way of saying “Thank You” to all those people who inspired me, helped me, pushed me, and motivated me for the last few years.
During the last year I have learned a lot, I have mostly learned what I don’t know about photography and my skills, and there’s still a lot to learn and master, but I have also learned something else; “Nothing changes, if nothing changes”.
My first attempt to open a photography business failed. Probably because I was not prepared, but also because I was a first time mother with PPD, and with nothing else than a one lens camera. I had done a few free sessions for my portfolio and with each one I realized more, and more how unprofessional the pictures are and how awkward I feel doing those sessions. I came to the conclusion that this path is forever closed to me, and that I will never become a professional photographer. For the next two years I was OK with being just a clicking mom, but secretly I was dreaming that maybe one day… , some day… (more…)