As an Indian, writing about the #NepalEarthquake today, I have to share a few interesting facts about the Indo-Nepal relationship. An Indian National does not need a VISA to travel to Nepal, and an Indian National does not need even a passport to enter Nepal.
An Indian National only needs some sort of ID card on him to show that he is in an Indian National. And then he is free to come and go.
That is the level of friendship, comradeship, and mutual trust and confidence the countries have on each other. It is just like traveling to another state within India.
It was a great shock to hear about the earthquake on Saturday April 25th. On this date, Nepal was hit by earthquake of a 7.8 magnitude that has killed over 7000 people. The death toll is unfortunately estimated to increase up to 10,000 as rescue efforts span out to remote regions of the epicentre. Nepal has experienced over 50+ aftershocks of 4.5 magnitudes or higher after the initial earthquake.
The injured are in need of desperate medical attention. Countless have lost their homes and are on streets in need of food, water, and medical supplies.
Buildings collapsed in Siliguri, North India
I was traveling in North India when I learned about the #NepalEarthquake. Some parts of Delhi, Lucknow, Bihar (all in India) felt the tremors and aftershocks. At least 60 people were killed in North India and more than 100 injured during this period. I frantically checked for all my friends in North India and Nepal. I even got a call from my friend and fellow World Mom, The Human Rights Warrior, Jennifer Prestholdt to help contact the school in Nepal that her organization works closely with. Major telecom provider #Airtel had made all calls free from India to Nepal. You can read her story about when she finally got the news she was hoping for, and when she read the text message “All our SPCS family r safe,” from Anoop Poudel, headmaster at the Sankhu-Palubari Community School (SPCS) in Nepal.
Aftermath and rubble
Indian government’s Operation Maitri (meaning friendship) aptly called so, has started helping within 15 minutes of the earthquake.
Organizations like Save the Children, Red Cross, UNICEF, WFP and Care are on the ground with supplies and volunteers. These organizations have teams on the ground and are the most capable in immediate rescue and relief work.
1. Save the Children
Save the Children is an international charity that has been in Nepal since 1976. In fact, when the earthquake hit, there were nearly 500 of their aid workers, mostly Nepalese, on the ground who were already doing work in the area. This was a great help when there were difficulties with the airport at first, according to Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. Also, 10% of funds are going to preparations for future disasters. You can donate to their Nepal Earthquake Children’s Relief Fund.
2. Red Cross
The Red Cross has committed an initial $300,000 of aid as well as 19,000 non-food relief kits. You can donate to the Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund.
3. Global Giving
Online fund-raising platform Global Giving is running a project to raise $1,000,000 for disaster relief in Nepal and has raised over $570,000 so far.
To make a donation, visit Global Giving here. If you have a U.S. cell phone, you can text GIVE NEPAL to 80088 to make a $10 donation.
4. Friends Service Council Nepal
FSCN is a Nepalese NGO with over 20 years of experience in supporting disaster relief efforts for disasters in Nepal. If you want to give directly to a local charity, get in contact and a volunteer will explain how best to transfer money to them.
Oxfam, which works in more than 90 countries, has already dispatched technical experts from the U.K. to Nepal.
To make your donation to Oxfam’s relief effort, go here.
Goonj is an Indian relief agency with 11 offices and more than 300 employees. Currently, Goonj is readying two trucks of relief material to transfer to Nepal, with more urgent supplies going by air. For more information about how to donate, visit their website.
Additionally, you could also consider donating at the following links/websites.
Sarvodaya USA: Which is a Madison, WI based non-profit organization. They have done some good work in Nepal and Sri Lanka. They now have volunteers helping in relief work.
World Food Program
Global Outreach Doctors
There are local organizations that are on ground taking care of the survivors and injured. If you wish to make contributions to these organizations, please visit their website below.
Nepal ko Yuwa
And you could contribute too, in other ways, by sending your prayers, thoughts of love, unity and world brotherhood to all of them affected there, the survivors and the long passed souls. Let us pray for some peace.
This is an original post from our World Mom and Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan.
Her contributions to World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.
Photo credit to Krish Dulal Creative Commons, Deccan Chronicle, Maps of India, European pressphoto Agency.
Article has been written with inputs from author’s friend having close ties with relatives on field in Nepal, Time.com and local Indian TV News channels.
365DaysOn the Chibok Girls are never to be forgotten.
It is 365 days today that the Chibok Girls were abducted. Exactly one year ago on 14th April 2014 276 Chibok School Girls were abducted from their school. I just cannot believe the fact that we actually allowed it to get to one year without the rescue of our #chibokGirls. How could we allow innocent children be taken away by terrorist group and do nothing. The #ChibokGirls ought not to have been taken in the first place. They were supposed to be protected to enjoy their Childhood and their innocence. We failed to protect them and also failed in the next best thing which would have been their immediate rescue. How can we live with ourselves? How do we live with our consciences? How do we face ourselves in the mirror knowing fully well that we abandoned 219 #ChibokGirls and left them with the terrorists.
What is the crime of #ChibokGirls? Is it because she is Nigerian? Is it because she is poor? Or is it because she dared to be educated? #ChibokGirls against all odds dared to be educated and on April 14th 2014 they paid for daring. A group of armed terrorists entered their school and abducted 276 of them from their school in Chibok. 57 of them escaped on their own and there are still 219 of them still with the abductors for a year today, and not a single one has been rescued. The armed terrorists group known as Boko Haram, literarily meaning that western education is forbidden, have vowed to get schools closed down and seem to be succeeding. For some children in the North Eastern States of Nigeria education has become truly forbidden as schools in some parts have been closed for over a year.
The #ChibokGirls were writing their Final year examination after which those who passed would be able to secure admission into University. A beacon of hope for their families. Schools had been closed down in neighbouring towns and a lot of parents sent their children to be able to complete their secondary school education in Chibok.
There had been series of attacks within some neighbouring villages and yet the #ChibokGirls went to school. Even those who were not boarders went to stay in school because there was electricity there and they wanted to have a place to read for their exams. Sheer determination to get an education which they knew would be their key to breaking the shackles of poverty. For the #ChibokGirl education meant everything. It was the path that could lead to an end to the vicious cycle of poverty. Like one of the #ChibokMothers said to us when we invited them to one of the Sit Outs we had, said her daughter had promised to go to school to get an education and wipe away her tears. The mother asked us; “If my daughter is in the hands of terrorist how she will wipe away my tears?
For most of these parents their children are everything, including a future source of livelihood. What makes the #ChibokGirls issue so saddening is that a lot of children, especially the Girl-Child from the region of Nigeria they come from, hardly ever go to school. They are the most educationally disadvantaged and it takes a lot to get them to school, especially the girls.
One of the #ChibokFathers put it this way: ‘The government fines us if we do not send our children to school. Now that our children have been abducted while in school who will fine the government?’ A #ChibokFather wept at the Unity Fountain in Abuja where we have the daily Sit Out to demand for the rescue of our #ChibokGirls when he told us the story of how his daughter was driven home because she had not paid 300 Naira (Less than 2 Dollars) for testimonial. He struggled for days to get the 300 Naira and when he was able to, he took her back to the school only for her to be abducted the very next day. I ask again! What is the crime of the #ChibokGirl? Is it because she is Nigerian? Is it because she is poor or is it because she dared to be educated?
If these are crimes many of us would be guilty. I grew up poor in an environment where education was not seen as important.
I went to school in the morning without breakfast and came back home without expecting lunch.By the time I was aged 11, I had no friends to play with because they were all married off. I was taunted and ridiculed and what kept me going was the thought that if I am able to get an education I would one day be able to ride a car and escape the life of poverty I was born into. At the age of 24 when I got married my friends were grandparents, and by the time I turned 40 they had become great grand parents.
Anytime I think of the fact that if I was taken when I was writing my exams my parents would have been unable to speak out for me because poverty had rendered them voiceless, and if nobody else stood for me where would I be today? Probably dead! With that in mind I can never give up on the #ChibokGirls because to give up on them is to give up on the who I was 24 years ago.
The #ChibokGirls with all the disadvantage they were born with decided that they would dare to take themselves out of the station that they were born into, and for daring to dream have been with abductors for a year. The world seems to have turned its back on the #ChibokGirls. The world seems to move on after the initial flurry of activity with the world saying #BringBackOur Girls. It was glamorous for people to hold the banner and say #BringBackOurGirls in the early days. People have moved on with their lives but for the #ChibokGirls and their families there is no moving on, not for a second for 365 days. Today it is exactly one year. My daughter has volunteered to be a #ChibokGirl Ambassador who would stand for the voiceless #ChibokGirls here in Abuja, and make demands that the government rescues the #ChibokGirls. This is what she had to say:
I see my parents every day and I feel guilty because 219 school girls haven’t seen their parents for one whole year. They live in fear of not knowing what is going to happen next whether they would live to see the next second, the next minute, the next hour, the next day. They have lost all hope especially in their country.
I feel sad that I live in a country, where 219 girls would be abducted and kept in captivity for 365 days and yet nothing is done, yet no attempt is made to rescue them, and everyone just moves on as if nothing ever happened. Why? They are kept in the hands of monsters that go around killing people and think they are practicing Islam, but Islam is a religion of peace not violence.
What if it were I that was abducted will everyone just move on and forget about me.
Bring Back Our Girls Now And Alive.
As long as the #ChibokGirls are left with abductors we have failed the children of the world especially the Girl-Child whom we tell is important and that she should dare to dream. Action, they say, speaks louder than words. The Girl-Child knows that it is all a lie because she can see the #ChibokGirls who dared and what happened to them.
By failing to rescue the #ChibokGirls we have failed children all over the world. We have allowed terror be what they go to school expecting could happen to them, and this is not how it should be.
Due to what has happened to the #ChibokGirls and many others in that region a lot of parents are refusing to send their children to school where they are still open, and some are saying they would not send their children even when schools are opened. No parents should be made to choose between sending a child to school or their safety.
Work needs to be done to ensure that parents do send their children to school, lest the terrorist will have succeeded with their ideology of western education being forbidden. We must remember injustice to one is injustice to all. Terrorist attack to one is terrorist attack to all. Terror attack to anyone anywhere in the world is terrorist attack to everyone everywhere in the world.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria. All images provided by Aisha Yesufu.
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?
A year ago, girls, teenagers who wanted an education so they could look forward to a great future, were abducted from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. They were taken away, kidnapped and removed from their family, because they were guilty of having ambitions. All these girls had to defend themselves were books.
What’s left of this horror is parents. Mothers and fathers, grieving for a loss that can never be overcome, hurting from a pain that will never lessen, left to wonder why, and knowing that no answer will ever alleviate their sorrow. Because there is no justification.
A few months ago, Peshawar happened and with it, the world once again, lost its innocence. Over 150 kids massacred, because they were guilty of being the children of their parents. All these kids had to defend themselves were notepads.
What’s left of this horror is parents. Mothers and fathers, grieving for a loss that can never be overcome, hurting from a pain that will never lessen, left to wonder why, and knowing that no answer will alleviate their sorrow. Because there is no justification.
Last week, my home country, France, was the theatre of repeated terrorist attacks. People were massacred because they went to work that day, or decided to do their grocery shopping. A brutal attack, with one side holding weapons, the other pencils.
And the violence continued with news of over 2000 killed in Baga, Nigeria.
What’s left of this horror is parents. Mothers, fathers, grieving for a loss that can never be overcome, hurting from a pain that will never lessen, left to wonder why, and knowing that no answer will ever alleviate their sorrow. Because there is no justification.
Mothers, fathers of this world, our families are being hurt beyond comprehension. Pencils are fighting bombs, words are matched with weapons. These violent attacks are not about gender, race, religion, background, or opinions. They are about pulverizing families. This is a call to unite. We all have a responsibility to do everything in our power to preserve our families and help others do the same.
We are all Chibok girls. We are all Peshawar. We are all Charlie.
How do we, global parents everywhere, teach our children to cherish and preserve their families? How do we unite to show them that violence is never the answer?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Nadege Nicoll. She was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. Nadege also writes a daily blog for moms who need to smile at everyday life. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her website www.nadegenicoll.com.
Image creation by author.
In 2002, my international investment banking career in Singapore had left me drained. I needed to find the physical and mental freedom to return to my first passion, which was development work. I left my job and embarked on a solo backpacking journey, looking for peace and inspiration. By the time I circled around sub-Saharan Africa and ended in Lesotho, I found both. I have never looked back.
My very first impression of Lesotho came from the high peaks of the Drakensberg mountain range in the eastern part of the country, where the autumn air was cool and crisp. Dirt roads wound through small villages dotted with tradition rondavels made of stones or mud, with thick thatched roofs. The vast mountain plains opened up into a broad blue sky and brilliant, high-altitude sunshine. Our hiking trail climbed up rocky table mountain tops and down into freezing cold streams that cut through house-sized boulders, groves of thirsty willows, and into caves of prehistoric paintings. Lesotho, tucked completely within the walls of South Africa, seemed an ideal natural treasure to me.
Fast forward thirteen years. After living in Vientiane, Laos, for two years, last November, I arrived back in Lesotho. This time, I had a family in tow. My husband is in the U.S. Foreign Service. The rhythm of our family life consists of an international move every two to three years, with trips back to the States for home visits and language training in between.
Where I once turned to travel to help me change my life, what I now seek at each new destination is stability and conetinuity for my family.
After 22 hours of travel, we arrived in the capital city of Maseru, which is situated in the hilly western lowlands. The air is again cool and crisp, although now it is springtime. The backyard of our new house is full of bright yellow birds, endlessly flitting back and forth to complete their work. The males are busy constructing round grassy nests, which dangle festively in our trees. If a female doesn’t accept the nest, the male bird tears the entire thing apart and starts all over again. The kids and I have named one “Butternut”, and we admire his tireless work everyday.
Maseru is a small city with a growing suburban sprawl. There are barely 300,000 people in the entire urban area. The buildings are low, the traffic flows, and only a couple of noteworthy malls have popped up within the past two years. “First impressions” this time around are mainly focused on the business of getting on with life for our family–new school, new friends, new job, new supermarkets, getting the internet set up, figuring out a car, and obtaining household help. Luckily, it’s been quite easy to get everything that we need. As far as Western-style life needs go, there are plenty of products here that are brought in from South Africa and beyond.
With our basic needs met, we’ve been exploring beyond the city. I still find Mother Nature calling at every turn. Within Lesotho, you can go hiking just about anywhere. Cross a bridge and stop to hike down to explore up the river. Head up a hill to find herdsmen tending livestock. When it rains, we hike in the mud (the kids’ favorite). When it’s hot, we cool down in streams and waterfalls. The nearby children find us no matter where we go; the adults are not engaging but very courteous. Fortunately, the personal safety issues prevalent in most of South Africa are not as concerning in Lesotho yet, and most of the expats we’ve met are comfortable exploring the countryside.
After the scant two-and-a-half months that we’ve been here, we are already feeling more settled. And while we all miss what we’ve left behind in our “old” life in Laos . . . and Mexico. . . and the U.S. . . ., we begin anew to embrace what we have and to anticipate what gifts our new country holds.
Is there a change in your life that you’ve made or would like to make? What have you left or would like to leave behind, and what have you found or hope to find?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our mother of twins writer, Dee Harlow, currently living in Lesotho. You can also find her on her blog Wanderlustress.
Photo credit attributed to Damien du Toit. This photo has a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike license.
The 2015 deadline for the eight Millennium Development goals is upon us. As of December 31st 2015 not all of the goals will have been met, but huge progress has been, and continues to be made. If anything the past 15 years showed what is truly possible with concerted effort and proper funding. The MDGs were set in the year 2000 by 189 nations, and the Millennium Goal Declaration was put in place as a step to alleviate extreme poverty around the globe. Negotiations of the Post 2015 development agenda are due to take place early this month, and will build on the progress made thus far through the 8 MDGs.
The next set of 17 sustainable development goals, which have 169 associated targets, are being referred to as the SDGs. The proposed goals are to end poverty, end hunger, achieve healthy lives for all, provide quality education, attain gender equality, empower women, and girls the world over. To ensure clean and sustainable water, sanitation, and sustainable energy for all. Goals include economic growth, resilient infrastructures, reduction of inequality between countries, to make cities safe, create resilient consumption and production cycles, urgently combat climate change, conserve our oceans, protect our ecosystems, create peaceful, inclusive and just societies, and strengthen global partnerships towards sustainable development.
On December 31st UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released his synthesis report of all the suggestions entitled “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”, and broke the SDGs into what he referred to as 6 essential elements to serve as conceptual guides in the work of outlining the final goals. Here are the six key elements according to a press release issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on December 4th of 2014.
The first element is dignity: an essential element for human development, encompassing the fight against poverty and inequality.
Second is people: Millions of people, especially women and children, remain excluded from full participation in society. We must finish the work of the Millennium Development Goals.
Third, prosperity: We must develop a strong, inclusive and transformative global economy.
4. OUR PLANET
Fourth, our planet: We have an urgent duty to address climate changes and protect our ecosystems, for ourselves and our children.
Fifth, justice: to build safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions.
And finally, partnership: because this agenda will be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity.
These six broad categories provide a much more digestible approach to the 17 goals that will be finalized at the General Assembly in September of 2015. As #WorldMoms it will be our children, the next generation, who will carry through many of these goals, and be the ones help to innovate, execute, and hopefully see the end goal of eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030.
What do you think of this new proposed set of SDGs?
This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for World Moms Blog. She also writes at documama.org.