Typically, after Thanksgiving in the United States, the following Friday and Monday, known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, kick off the holiday shopping season. Black Friday, in the stores and Cyber Monday, online. However, Giving Tuesday follows and is what now kicks off the holiday “Giving Season.” This movement has been around for several years already.
With so much poverty around the world, the fact that a movement, based entirely on the giving of time and money, is gaining momentum gives me great hope. Did you know that you do not just have to give money on Giving Tuesday? You can, instead, donate your time. This means many more of us can get involved.
How great is a movement that the whole world can participate in as a collective unit with one goal in mind: to give?
So take today to think about the something you want to change most in the world. And give. Give of your money. Give of your time. Give only what you can. From around the world to your local community, find out how you can participate today, Tuesday, December 1st.
As each year of Giving Tuesday goes by, more and more organizations are getting involved, which plays at my heart strings. For example, here, in Canada this is the first year that Waterloo Region in Canada will be launching Giving Tuesday in an official manner. The community is rallying around local groups and causes in a way that I would never have imagined!
Let’s kick off the giving season and make this the most memorable Giving Tuesday the world has known to date.
A Note From our Founder:
Today, World Moms Blog asks our readers to consider volunteering, donating and/or advocating for these 4 organizations that have been created by our contributors or employ them. Click on over to see why they are worthy of your #GivingTuesday love!
- Mom2Mom Africa helps to educate and provide a better life for children in Tanzania. What started as a penpal project of a mom in Canada, turned into an education sponsorship program, a school being built, class trips provided and much more!
- Cleanbirth.org, which helps to provide a safer birth experience for mothers in Laos through clean birth kits and nurse midwife training. Started by an American mom who pledged to single-handedly take on poor maternal health statistics.
- The Advocates for Human Rights is the workplace of our resident contributor and human rights lawyer. The organization provides opportunities to volunteer, donate and/or advocate for their life saving and life changing work to help people worldwide.
- Edesia makes Plumpy’Nut which helps provide nutrition for children who need it most in the developing world. And did you know that our Managing Editor works there in digital media?
Tell us what you’re doing for Giving Tuesday…
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor, Alison Fraser, in Canada.
I am an avid reader, especially during the summer months, reading outside each evening with my daughters under the stars on our back porch. I go back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, between heart-wrenching and laugh out loud funny, and between popular bestsellers and hidden gems. So, I thought I would share my meaningful reads list for this summer. These are most often the hidden gems that aren’t featured on lists of number one hits but are just as good, if not better, than those popular reads.
I won’t go into detail about plots and story-lines, but will say that each of these books was a page turner that left me pondering what I had read for weeks after.
If I had to pick a favourite, I would decline…it would be too difficult. But, if I had to pick one that resonated the most with me, it would be “If Nuns Ruled the World”.
Being a Catholic myself, I have always felt that nuns were never given the credit they deserved for the work they were doing throughout the world. We all know of Mother Theresa and her work with the sick, lonely and poor, but not much more is known of nuns working in this day and age. We often hear stories of the Pope and those of the Vatican, but what about those hard-working nuns who are on the ground changing lives every single day in the most adverse of conditions???
This book features the incredible stories of nuns who have taken chances, gone against protocol, helped those that others had given up on, and did it all under the watchful eye of many who disapproved of their work. These nuns are courageous, spunky, lively, funny and most of all, selfless and good-hearted.
I was so inspired by their stories that I wrote to a few of them to let them know….and they wrote me back!
I can honestly say that if the nuns who were featured in this book, really did rule the world, it would be a world of peace, justice, love, acceptance and empathy.
When my three young daughters saw me compiling this list, they too wanted to be involved. They hurried to find their favourite meaningful reads and have compiled them here as well:
Quynn, who is 8, loves the book “Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors” and has wanted to become a doctor ever since.
Camryn, who is 10, loves the “Who is/was…” series. She has read about Jane Goodall, Hellen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman and Amelia Earhart, to name just a few. Wanting to be a pilot, she especially loves all books about Amelia Earhart.
Ryleigh, who is 11 loves to read about Anne Frank and anything related to the Holocaust. She read “Number the Stars” in two days and has not stopped talking about it. It is so hard for her to wrap her young mind around the stories of girls her age who survived such atrocities in our history.
So, if you are looking for some great books to read this summer, we hope that you will enjoy some of our recommendations. And, if you have suggestions for us, we would love to hear those as well!
What is on your summer reading list?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Alison Fraser who is founder of the non-profit Mom2MomAfrica.
The author Alison Fraser pictured here with General Romeo Dallaire
I have written before on the trials and tribulations that go hand in hand with running a not for profit organization or charity. As we all know, negative words can have a huge impact on how we view ourselves and our work.
What I now realize, is that I have completely underestimated the power of kind words.
Let me explain…
Last month, I had the incredible opportunity to meet General Romeo Dallaire at a local charity event. General Dallaire is a highly respected Canadian general. He braved the Rwandan genocide of 1994, essentially remaining to help when most everyone else left Rwanda, and the world turned a blind eye to the extreme brutality taking place in the African country. As the guest of honour at the event, he spoke of the global injustices plaguing our world and causing, what he refers to, as global rage. We see this rage daily as the stories make headlines. According to General Dallaire, two of the main sources of this rage are our failures with respect to the: (1) empowerment of women and (2) education of children. I felt so uplifted to hear that the work we at Mom2Mom Africa are doing addresses two of the most important social injustices identified by someone as worldly and experienced as General Dallaire.
I raced to introduce myself to him after he spoke, and we chatted briefly about my work in Tanzania. I was so nervous but he put me right at ease. He was so humble and kind. And, at the end, he turned to me and said;
“young lady, keep doing what you are doing. It is the work of small, grassroots organizations like yours that will change the world”.
I could have cried right there on the spot; not out of sadness but instead out of pure joy. This man, who had inspired me in so many ways, just washed away all of my insecurities and doubts, with only a few words.
As the Buddha once said..
“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world”.
How great it is when someone, who is such an inspiration and role model, takes the time to encourage others, no matter how small their impact is on the world. Imagine what would happen if this was common practice? What if we built each other up instead of tearing each other down? What if we collaborated and focussed on common goals? Imagine what would be accomplished if we all spent more time being kind and supportive, especially those in positions of power. I am not sure if General Dallaire will ever know just how much his kind words meant to me. He gave me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep tackling and overcoming the obstacles that so many of us face. I will be forever grateful to this man, and I can only hope that others, who are in positions of influence, will follow General Dallaire’s lead. I am so proud of my fellow Canadian!
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Alison Fraser of Mom2Mom Africa
Do you remember kind words from another that may have inspired you in your life?
I am by no means an expert on HIV or AIDS. In fact, other than knowing some basic statistics and facts on transmission, I have never really given much thought to the social implications of living with the virus. This wasn’t intentional, but most likely the result of the small bubble in which I was living for most of my life; a bubble that did not include any friends or family directly affected by the virus. That all changed, last November, when I visited Arusha, Tanzania to meet some of the students in the Mom2Mom Africa Organization, a small not for profit that I founded several years before. I knew some of our students came from families in which some members were positive. Some were left orphaned by the disease. But what I didn’t realize was how this impacted these children in terms of treatment by their local community, regardless of their HIV status. I learned of children who were shunned by the church because the deaths of their parents was attributed to AIDS. I learned of other families shunned by their own relatives for the same reason. In some instances, the children were not even aware of why their parents died. It was hidden to protect them.
I left Tanzania with a heavy heart, but it was made heavier by the stories of the struggles of some of our students because of the AIDS pandemic. I had suspected that discrimination existed but I now had little faces associated with that discrimination haunting me, making it more real. Students are accepted into Mom2Mom Africa regardless of HIV status…I can think of operating no other way. In fact, we only request medical information so we can provide the appropriate health care.
I was now beginning to understand that this virus was not only killing people, but leaving behind families to deal with the shameful treatment by society.
Our affected students not only required extra medical attention, but also more emotional support.
I began to wonder if those affected by HIV/AIDS in Canada feel the same degree of isolation. Did being HIV positive in Canada carry with it the same stigma as in Tanzania? I decided to find out. Speaking to the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area (ACCKWA), I learned that, unfortunately, Canadians often face the same discrimination and stigma. Although laws are in place to help prevent discrimination, it still occurs. Many of those affected by HIV are judged, and often blamed for their HIV status. Thankfully, there are support groups such as the ACCKWA that provide a safe place and much-needed services to those living with HIV in our local community.
After speaking to ACCKWA, I contacted my friend, and fellow World Moms Blog contributor, Nancy Sumari to discuss what support services are in place for those living with HIV, and their families, in Tanzania. Nancy is part of the “I am Positive” Campaign in Tanzania. The campaign was established in response to reports by those living with HIV of being discriminated against and, in some cases, being physically assaulted and emotionally abused because of their HIV status. The campaign has several main objectives, but the one that hit home the most was:
“To live with HIV/AIDS is NOT to live without human rights and dignity”.
The power of that message is not only incredible, but universal. Regardless of what country you live in, what part of the world you live in, and what your HIV status is, you have the right to basic human rights and to live with dignity. We ALL deserve this.
As I reflect on this past year, and what I have learned about the realities those living with HIV face each and every day, I can’t help but dream of a day when the stigma no longer exists; a day when judgement and discrimination are replaced with support and understanding. Or better yet, I dream of a day when HIV and AIDS move from pandemic status to curable infection. But, until then, I hope that empathy prevails for all those living with HIV, as well as for their families.
This is an original post written by Alison Fraser for World Moms Blog.
Two months ago, I travelled back to Arusha, Tanzania as part of my work with Mom2Mom Africa. Each time I am in Arusha, I make sure to stop by a local outdoor restaurant frequented by many tourists. The restaurant resides on a beautiful piece of property, and offers free Wifi to connect back home to loved ones. I consider this to be a real luxury in the areas I work in Arusha so take full advantage of this establishment whenever possible.
On my last trip, I decided that I would take several of our Mom2Mom Africa students to this restaurant as a “treat”. What was originally planned as a small group outing with 5 or 6 children, ended up turning into a van full of children, and my colleague Aloyce. It was absolutely priceless to see me walk through the grounds followed by 12 little Tanzanian children, and Aloyce at the rear to ensure we didn’t lose any along the way! The other restaurant patrons could not stop staring!
I had questioned this dinner outing for days before making a decision to go ahead with it. Many believe that exposing those in poverty-stricken areas of the world, to ‘luxuries’ is unjust; a tease. I didn’t want to be that white foreigner.
But, after much thought, I decided to go ahead with our big dinner date. What influenced my final decision was the fact that the same holds true for my three little girls in Canada. As a mother, I often treat my girls to little extravagances. These are not every day occurrences, and in fact are more rare than common. And my girls understand that. If they could be treated each and every day, there would be no argument on their part. But, they know that even though that might be the reality of other little girls their age, it is not their reality. And they are ok with that and simply choose to enjoy the times that they do get to experience trips or dinner at fancy restaurants. I used this experience with my girls as the deciding factor in Tanzania. After all, everyone likes to be treated!
Seeing the kids eat pizza until their bellies were full, drinking pop, and laughing with their friends was one of the highlights of my time in Tanzania. When they noticed the playground with swings and teeter-totters, I lost them in play for 2 hours! They were beyond happy. And, that made me beyond happy. And, at that point, I thought to myself that I had made the right decision. I left the restaurant on cloud nine, with twelve happy little ones singing all the way home in the van.
All had gone as planned, until one little girl said out loud in the van…”I now know how mzungus (white people) live”…and my heart broke.
The restaurant is staffed with locals but caters to tourists, most of whom are white. Instead of this being a fun night out for all, Canadians and Tanzanians alike, the take home message was that white people deserve and live in a world of luxuries. My plan back-fired on me with a vengeance. It has been two months since that night, and that little voice from the back of the van still haunts me. I guess my mommy instinct was off this time. We all worry about making decisions that may negatively affect our own children’s lives. I now worry constantly about my decisions and how they may impact the lives of so many who call me “Mama Alison” in Tanzania.
Do you think it’s better to know what you are missing or not?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Alison Fraser. Photo by Alison Fraser.