2014 Highlights…and We’re off on Blogcation!

2014 Highlights…and We’re off on Blogcation!

wmb_logo_180

Season’s Greetings Readers!

As the end of December approaches, so does the end 2014. We would like to thank YOU, for joining us and coming along for the ride over this past year.  You…sharing our posts, posting comments, and interacting with us on social media…THAT is what keeps us going!

This past year has been another amazing one for World Moms Blog (WMB).  As we touch on some highlights from 2014, you will see that these world moms get around!

After all that, we are getting ready to take a blogcation break to spend time with family, friends, and re-energize for 2015.  We hope that you will get the chance to do the same.  And if you find yourself looking for something to read, come on by and catch up on posts you may have missed in 2014!

Wishing you all a joyful end of the year.  Come back on Monday, January 5th to help us kick off 2015.

Cheers!

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

More Posts

ISRAEL: The Empty Promises of Nostalgia

ISRAEL: The Empty Promises of Nostalgia

old letters

They sit there.

A mixed pile of emotions, long lost puzzle pieces of my youth that have surfaced with a surreal reminder of joy and heartache. A collection of recollections of the beauty and naivete of my tormented, confused yet vibrant teen years.

Pieces of papers and assorted mementos, all too precious for me to have thrown away, yet not important enough for me to taken them when I started my married life and moved away.

Yet here they are. Twenty-five years later they have made the journey overseas and have arrived in my home. When my parents cleaned out my childhood home before moving away, I once again couldn’t bear for these pieces of my youth to be thrown out without a second glance. Who knows what treasures might be hidden in their midst.

Now I’m overwhelmed. By the amount and variety of written correspondence I saved. There are letters from my first love at the age of 14, so beautiful, sincere and full of promise. There are tender letters from my husband back in the years before email and text messages. There are stacks of heartfelt letters from people whom I don’t remember, people I’m sure I thought I would never forget. There are letters from people whom I remember but am surprised to find out how close I used to be with them. There are blasts from the past like my old college roommate who by chance recently friended me on Facebook. There are cards and yearbooks full of short wishes and goodbyes.

Some comments make my heart go thump, while others like “ Don’t beat up too many boys.”, remind me of parts of my personality that I wish I could forget. There are words of friendship, caring, support and encouragement that warm the cockles of my heart. And I wonder yet again why certain people stayed in my life and others drifted away.

That’s the hard part of nostalgia, trying to make sense of things, trying to understand how you gently got rerouted to a path so wonderful yet so different than the one you had envisioned.

The empty seductive promises of the past are dangerous, for they’re not real in the present moment in time. They were real in a different reality when you were a different person. Yet even so, it’s hard to read your youth without wondering about alternate endings to your life story. The past is an enticing illusion, a strong magnet drawing you in and distorting the present.

Do you think there is any way to embrace the joy and wonder of what was without leaving both the past and the present a little less whole?

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube

INDIA:  Too Close to Home #PeshawarAttack

INDIA: Too Close to Home #PeshawarAttack

Peace Ghandi

I was channel surfing on the TV yesterday afternoon and I was dumb-struck by the news of the attack on the army school in Peshawar. The latest reports say that almost 150 people were killed, the majority being children.

A mother was lamenting, “This morning my son was in a uniform, now he is in a coffin.”

A student was crying out that his mother, who was a teacher there, was dead.

On another website, I read that children reported how, when they ran out of their classrooms, they could see their friends’ bodies strewn around the school compound. One child reported that two bodies fell on him and then he realized they were his dead friends. Forget violent video games. Somewhere in the world, children were watching and being part of a very violent game, a game they had been caught in unawares, unwittingly, forcefully and in a confused illogical way.

Glory be to God,’ a terrorist screamed and gunned down the children who were hiding beneath the benches.

God? I have no words… Did he say “God???”

I generally do not venture into writing controversial topics in Journalism or in the blogging world. I just shy away from anything which would cause any discomfort for another party. But this one really broke my heart… It hits so close to home. I am a mother first. And I feel for all those mothers …

Yesterday night when I was discussing this incident with a friend on the phone, my son overheard it and started asking me a few questions. I changed the topic because I was not prepared to talk about it.

I was not even prepared to talk to my friend about it. Imagine, a mother going through it, living it … It just broke my heart. Was she prepared to not see her child anymore when she was bidding him goodbye in the morning?

This morning, when my son was ready for school, my heart was stuck in my throat. As he got into the car and waved back at me, I imagined what was going on in the hearts of all those mothers who had lost their kids. I imagined all those families who had lost their mothers (who worked as teachers) and I was lost for words or feelings.

I almost wanted to stop him and say, “Do not go to school.” But I waved back enthusiastically reminding him to eat the biscuits because he had not had his breakfast and chastised him for not having completed his glass of milk and let go of my heart out of my body.

And I know I am going to talk to him about it when he comes back home in the evening. I am going to tell him what happened in Peshawar, in our neighboring country.

I wouldn’t even say Pakistan is another country because just a few decades ago, India and Pakistan were the same country. I am going to tell my son that his brothers and sisters living just a few miles away were victims of violence and hatred and vengeance.

I am going to tell him that it is very necessary to be filled with love, to be able to spread love, peace and kindness.

To be filled with happiness, joy and life.

I am going to sow fresh seeds of love into his heart. I am going to teach him again that he has to nurture those seeds of love and allow them to grow into huge trees of love, spreading shade all over humanity.

I am going to tell my son again, how unconditional love is the only solution, and that alone breeds more love.

I am going to tell him he should not hate those perpetrators of crime either, who gunned down his brothers and sisters, but pray they change over too.

Yes, it is a tall order. But I think it is possible. If it is possible to think it, it is possible to do it, it is possible that somewhere in the future this reality manifests.

I feel it in my heart. If all of us World Moms can do this tiny bit to our children today, teach them that love is the only solution for hatred and violence, then the children would believe it too and there might be hope for the next generation.

So, dear mothers, this evening, when your children come home from school, give them all an extra big, tight hug and talk to them about this, and ask them to pledge their solidarity in spreading love and peace.

Today, World Moms, representing all the countries we write from, stand in solidarity and support of all those victims, the families and friends, and share their grief and express their prayers and love.

I conclude with this short nursery rhyme… and might I remind you, as a dear friend reminded me yesterday: there is a wealth of wisdom in Nursery Rhymes, even for adults.

This little light of mine,

I am going to let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Everywhere I go,

I am going to let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Deep within my heart,

I am going to let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

All around my friends,

I am going to let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This is an original post from our World Mom and Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan on the occasion of the “#DayOfTheGirl Child.”

Her contributions to the World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.

Photo credit to the author’s friend, Mahalakshmi.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

SPECIAL REPORT:  World Moms Speak Out on #PeshawarAttack

SPECIAL REPORT: World Moms Speak Out on #PeshawarAttack

photo-57

As World Moms, the school massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan is not just “their” issue, it’s our issue too.

We are shaken to the core. December is supposed to be a month filled with hope, joy, peace and love. It is a month of holidays, coming together and sharing our gifts. Yet in 2012 we were faced with the horror of 36 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, a tragedy we hoped would not repeat in our lifetimes. In April, the kidnapping of 276 school girls in Chibok, Nigeria. And just yesterday, 145, mostly school children, killed in the #PeshawarAttack.

In this special report, we bring you the voices of moms from around the world as they weigh in on this very personal issue:

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden (USA): What are we going to do about this? What is it going to take? Where are the girls from Chibok? Where are the children who died in Peshawar? How can anybody join an ideology that is violent to children? The good in the world far outweighs the bad in the world. I keep telling myself that. And I believe that. How do we unbrainwash those who are using religion for bad? Why is religion in the wrong hands so dangerous? Yet, in the right hands can be so positive? I have a lot of unanswered questions after reading the sad news from Peshawar.

Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrisnan (INDIA): I was channel surfing on the TV yesterday afternoon and was dumb-struck by the news of the attack on the army school in Peshawar. The latest reportssay that almost 150 people were killed, the majority being children. One news channel says that a teacher was burnt aliveand the students were made to watch it. A few of them were beheaded and the rest watched the horror. Forget worrying about your child watching PG or Adult Rated Content on the TV. Some child across the world is watching it live, unable to grasp the tangible reality of hatred and violence.

Managing Editor, Kyla P’an (USA):  I am heartsick over this tragedy. As a journalist, I typically share current events with my kids (8 & 5) and have real-world conversations with them about what’s happening globally. I simply cannot let them know about one more school tragedy. School should be a safe place. A place to be around their peers, adults who care and nurture them and a thriving environment to learn. This tragedy is beyond my maternal processing capabilities. A little piece of every mom is chipped away every time an atrocity happens to anyone’s child.

World Voice Editor, Elizabeth Atalay (USA): The attack in Peshawar yesterday was a horrific act of barbaric cowardice. As a mother it sickens me to the core, and I know that today mothers around the world are in mourning for those innocent lives lost. My heart cries for the families of the lives taken yesterday in this senseless act of violence against children. Innocent children at school. I just can’t even fully express the despair the thought of it brings.

Contributor, Maureen H. (INDONESIA): It is so difficult to process such a horrible news. I cried and as a mom I cannot imagine the kind of grief and pain these parents have to go through. How do they move forward? How do they find peace? Is that even possible? It is every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child but to have them taken away with such cruelty? I am in tears writing this.

Copy Editor, Elizabeth M. (USA): Devastating. Memories of Sandy Hook. I went to the Facebook page of my friend who had lived and worked in Pakistan for many years and saw pictures of families gathering in the parks in protest… candles… calls for solidarity. But I also feel incredibly helpless. So much intake of such bad news lately. I have a very concrete need to DO something or else I will have to tune out completely. And I suppose it’s the mundane work of peace building in my home and community, but it feels incredibly insignificant.

Contributor, Martine de Luna (PHILIPPINES): This is all very difficult to hear. I just found out a couple of hours ago, and being pregnant right now, I am rather emotional about it. Angry, mostly; hurting and crying for the mothers and fathers of the children. There is absolutely NO justification, no cause that warrants the murder of innocent children!!! It enrages me to think such evil exists in this world. We are used to hearing about war and strife, but every time innocent children are brutalized like this, it’s like I am paralyzed by grief and anger, the kind of anger only a mother would understand, the kind that stems from something unjustly stolen from you and there was nothing you could do about it.

Contributor, Karyn Vanderzwet (NEW ZEALAND): I don’t watch much “news”….. haven’t for a long time. Yet, still I heard.

I’m over hearing that children have been killed in cold blood.
I’m over feeling like my heart’s been ripped out… that, there but the Grace of God go I.
I’m over having my mother love stomped on, as if it means nothing.

Every death is painful.
Every child lost breaks my heart.

How can those mothers stand it?
How did mothers, at any time, stand it?
How ?
How ?
How?

Contributor, Sophia J. (USA): Having just given birth the doctor asks me if I have any feelings of depression, presumably because of the birth. Well I am not depressed, but I am so saddened by what is going on in the world. I try not to be depressed by it. When you specifically start thinking about what injustices and torturous things children go through, then it becomes even harder to stay positive and happy; even if you do believe in God. Because even with a belief in a creator, you wonder why is it the children have to go through such experiences as kidnappings at school, beatings when still infants, torture by the nanny, raped by teachers and priests, and death by extremists who abhor freedom in education. Why? It’s a lot to take from a distance, I cannot begin to imagine what people in these areas are feeling! Let alone the parents….and the children….who are supposed to assume school is a safe place to be. I don’t exactly know what to say, but I feel this is a problem that comes from people’s take on religion, as well as behaviors that are accepted by the majority.

Contributor, Aisha Yesufu (NIGERIA): As an advocate and activist for #BringBackOurGirls in Chibok, Nigeria, Aisha says she is devastated by this news.

Contributor, Nadege Nicoll (USA): I am horrified for so many reasons. Firstly, by how anyone with half an ounce of human cell in them could bring themselves to commit such a senseless, heinous crime. Secondly, by the sheer injustice in this world. In the name of what can this ever be just? Finally, by the disappointment I am afraid will follow: because, as much as I want to believe that this is going to change something for the better, I don’t think it will. In the US, kids in an elementary school got shot at point blank, but following the outrage and shcok, NOTHING has changed. And that is a chilling fact. Finally, I am crying for the innocent kids who lost their lives. As a mother, nothing could be more horrifying. I am crying for the survivors who lived this attack and will have to try and make sense of something that does not. I am crying for the parents and families, the world is crying with them.

Contributor, Meredith S. (USA): This takes me back to Dec.14, 2012…. When the classroom of first graders were murdered here in the U.S. My son was in first grade at the time and it really hit home for me. Just when I think there couldn’t be anything worse than a classroom of murdered first graders, yesterday I find out an entire school of innocent defenseless children are murdered. My mind cannot comprehend the evil and I will never be able to imagine the loss, heart break, and anger the mothers, Fathers, and families of the victims must be feeling. My heart is broken. If people cannot respect the lives of children then I do not know what the future holds….

Kyla P'an (USA)

Kyla was born in suburban Philadelphia but tried not to let that stifle her deep desire to see the world. Her travels have included: three months on the European rails, three years studying and working in Japan, and nine months taking the slow road back from Japan to the US when she was done. Kyla took all of her Japanese knowledge and language ability and threw it right out the window when she met her Chinese-American husband in 2000. In addition to her work as Managing Editor of World Moms Bog, Kyla is a freelance writer, copy editor, triathlete and blogger. She and her husband reside outside of Boston, Massachusetts, where they are raising two spunky kids (ages 8 and 5), two frisky cats, a snail, a fish and a snake. You can read more about Kyla’s outlook on the world and motherhood on her personal blog, Growing Muses.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

SOCIAL GOOD: Global Guide to Giving Good

SOCIAL GOOD: Global Guide to Giving Good

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.50.48 PM

In October, several #WorldMoms attended the  ONE Girls & Women AYA Summit at the Google Headquarters in Washington, DC. One of the many powerful panels we heard from was entitled Change Through Economic Opportunity, where both major fashion companies and small start-ups weighed in on how they  impact the lives of women through economic empowerment.  With the holiday season upon us, World Moms decided to share some of the ways we love to use our purchasing power to give back, and how you can too.

 

 Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.50.48 AM

 Sydney Price of Kate Spade NY  spoke about the Kate Spade On Purpose line at the AYA Summit panel.   Each piece in this collection is handcrafted in Rwanda creating sustainable economic opportunities for women and reshaping their community.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.54.08 AMScreen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.00.42 AMJane Mosbacher Morris , founder of To the Market, also participated in the panel on Change Through Economic Opportunity at the AYA Summit.  To The Market provides a marketplace for the beautiful handcrafted goods that give women survivors of war, disaster or abuse a chance to support themselves and their families.

fashionable copyScreen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.03.40 AMWorld Moms Elizabeth Atalay and Nicole Melancon had the  pleasure of visiting the FashionABLE factory in Ethiopia this past summer and we have all been writing about and wearing the gorgeous scarves made in Ethiopia for years. It was great  to finally meet founder Barrett Ward at the AYA Summit this past fall where he participated on the panel as well. FashionABLE is now expanding operations to include products made in Kenya and a beautiful line of leather products, all while providing social service programs of health care, education in a trade, and assistance with child care for their artisans to help them build better lives for themselves and their families.

“Through your purchase, you are ABLE to provide opportunity, and a woman is ABLE to have a new choice.”-LiveFashionABLE

 

The Giving Keys provides jobs for those transitioning out of homelessness, giving them the opportunity to rebuild their lives.  The necklaces & bracelets are super cool as is the message of the Giving Keys:

neverendingbracelet copy

“When you get this Key, you must give it away at some point to a person you feel needs the message, then write us the story of why you gave it away. We employ those looking to transition out of homelessness.” -The Giving Keys

You can read Giving Keys stories of those who have given and received keys on their site.

 Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.59.21 AM

Shop the ONE Campaign store Holiday Gift Guide for some fabulous items where you know everything is fair trade and ethically sourced. By doing so  you support the ONE Campaign in it’s goal of eradicating extreme poverty.

Alex & Ani Bracelets

Alex & Ani Bracelets

Alex & Ani Charity by design products are another of our favorites. A percentage o profits goes back to designated non-profits. Their products are made in the USA from recycled materials, and spread the message of positive energy! They have branched out from bangles to key chains, and candles, wine charms & more!

 

 From South Africa, The Mielie bags employ women of the townships in South Africa.

Mielie Bag Made in South Africa

Mielie Bag Made in South Africa

Our mission is to design and produce innovative, export-quality hand-crafted products using reclaimed materials – with the aim of creating employment and restoring dignity and financial independence to South Africans.- Mielie

 

The Anchal Project Mission  merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India. Their scarves are gorgeous and the company was founded by two Rhode Island School of design Grads.

Anchal Scarf

Anchal Scarf

Anchal is an Indian word that means shelter, or refers to the edge of a woman’s Sari used to provide comfort and protection for loved ones.-Anchal Project

 

Kids Books from Little Pickle Press, a B Corporation, are some of our favorite books for kids!

llp copy

Lollie Beads Bracelets are created from fair trade recycled glass beads made in Uganda. So they are not only gorgeous (the glass beads look and feel like sea glass) but they are good for the environment AND help support sustainable living in a developing country.

Tom’s keeps its designs fresh while still managing to provide shoes and glasses to those who need them. We love their One for One business model (and pledge to support it with as many shoes as we can get away with!)

 

 

1000 Shillings Ugandan Paper bead necklaces.  The women artisans earn capital for their own small businesses by making limited-edition products for 1000 Shillings. Each product sold through 1000 Shillings helps a woman establish a small business, which enables her to support her family. They also aim to tell the in-depth story behind each artisan.  The company works with six single mothers in the Namatala slum, Uganda.

 

A Gift As A Gesture:

Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect gift for someone who has every material thing they desire.  Still you want to give something as a token of your appreciation to them and the below gifts are the perfect solution that everyone can feel good about.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

 Heifer International :

“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.  It all started with a cow.  Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.” – From the Heifer International Website

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 7.09.31 AMSave two lives, those of a mom and her newborn baby, with CleanBirth.org and the perfect holiday gift of Bags of Love and Miracles,  a handmade bag with a beautiful full-sized honor card inside ($20) and 4 mothers in Laos will receive birthing supplies and safe birthing education.

 Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.45.47 AM

Mom2Mom Africa is a Canadian Not-for-Profit Organization, established to help empower women and children through education. The benefits of education and global awareness apply to us all. Your gifts this season will help to buy books, school uniforms and school supplies for the Mom2Mom Africa students in Tanzania.

Wishing Happy Holidays to You All,

May You Give As Good As You Get!

 

Do you know other organizations or shops that belong on this list?

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

More Posts