World Voice: An Interview on Heartfulness Meditation – #IDayofYoga #InternationalYogaDay #InternationalDayofYoga

World Voice: An Interview on Heartfulness Meditation – #IDayofYoga #InternationalYogaDay #InternationalDayofYoga

International Day of Yoga is June 21st

This week our Senior Editor of World Voice Column, Elizabeth Atalay, interviewed our Senior Editor of Africa and Middle East Region, Purnima Ramakrishnan, about Heartfulness Meditation in relation to the International Day of Yoga.

Elizabeth Atalay: What is Heartfulness Meditation?

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Heartfulness is to feel the already existing deep inner connection of the human being with the heart. It means to experience every single aspect of life in a natural way of the heart. It means to live life in the best way possible.

EA: Why Heartfulness?

PR: We are all connected with each other only though our hearts. In any relationship, personal or professional, in any decision making process, in any life altering situations, in any thing which ever matters or commences or ceases, it is the heart which matters. We feel in our hearts to do or to be or to exist.

We always listen to our hearts. We need this deep connection with our hearts. That is the core of our existence. That is what matters for us, as human beings, in our lives, to be happy and joyful and to be able to follow our hearts. So Heartfulness is a way to do this with a deeper and more connective consciousness with the heart.

EA: Is Heartfulness a type of meditation?

PR: I personally feel “meditation” is a very over-rated word in today’s world. When you close your eyes and think for some time to make a decision, are you contemplating, are you meditating on that aspect? When you sit down silently, by the mountains and close your eyes and feel the peace all around you, do you call it meditation?

When you hug your baby and feel that beautiful joy of a hug, which you would continue to prolong for as long as your baby lies still, is it meditation or is it just an experiencing of joy/love? That is Heartfulness indeed. That is meditation too, if you call it that way. We are meditating every single day, every minute on something or the other. Our hearts are always “working” on something, at times even on stillness.

www.Heartfulness.org

www.Heartfulness.org

EA: So do you practice this Heartfulness meditation? If yes, how?

PR: I sit down, close my eyes, and suggest connecting to my heart. I am aware of my heart. Sometimes a few mundane thoughts come along the way – everyday thoughts about everyday life situations. But I still continue with my connection, I continue to feel the brightness in my heart, the stillness in my heart. I feel the joy and peace there, I try to tap into it. And it feels good.

EA: As a #WorldMom of World Moms Blog, how do you think this is useful for mothers?

PR: As a #WorldMom, I say, we mothers are the care-takers of this world, care takers of our babies, children and of our families, which make the structure of the society. It helps mothers stay balanced, stay happy, spread the joy in the family. Personally, it helps me be more connected and intuitive to my child’s needs and well-balanced in my mind for my own personal happiness and development.

EA: Is this something which everyone can participate irrespective of their religious and social/national constructs?

PR: Can everyone (irrespective of their beliefs) go to the doctor when they are unwell? Of course! Taking care of one’s body is a primary duty.

But very often we ignore the cry of help from our own hearts and minds. And to meditate everyday, to feed the soul, to take care of the soul, to enrich the heart, is a duty.

Once I started doing it, I felt it gave me a lot of strength, joy and well-balanced, holistic, emotional and mental life.

EA: Would you be able to help the World Moms with an experience of this?

PR: Yes, definitely. We could have it over skype if our contributors and readers would like to join or I could also suggest local centers where they can go and experience it.

EA: Lastly, how is this Heartfulness Meditation related to the Intenational Day of Yoga?

PR: Ah! Here comes that aspect, where all this discussion started!

India has always been a hot destination for spiritual seekers. From the time of Paul Brunton, India has always been a mystic place with seekers coming here for spirituality. And recently too, the Prime Minister of India, Honorable Mr. Narendra Modi has been instrumental, in the UN’s declaration of 21st June as the International Day of Yoga. Indians have been yogis always, India has been the house of meditation.

All the yogic postures and breathing exercises are fundamental to train the body to be able to sit in meditation for hours together.

The yogis meditated for centuries together, in the jungles and in Himalayas.

Everything they did is for this final act of being able to meditate effectively. However today, we are easily offered this way of the heart, to be able to meditate effectively, to connect with our hearts, for short moments during the day whenever we feel a need, whenever we feel the want, and to experience the joy. So, yes, yoga evolves into meditation, eventually in an aspirant’s journey.

Everywhere in India on June 21st, (including Rajpath where the Presidential Residence is present) and all across the world, different schools of Yoga and meditation are organizing Yoga demonstrations and meditation sessions.

Here at World Moms Blog, we would like to invite the contributors, readers and fans of World Moms Blog for a meditation session on Heartfulness.

Venue: Here on World Moms Blog

Time: Check in any time on June 21st for a video here on World Moms Blog to guide you through heartfulness meditation with Purnima.

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Edited on 21 June, 2015, International Day of Yoga:

There is a video below about Heartfulness Meditation. If you are interested, please try to do this in the following way.

1. Gently close your eyes. Relax your body. Empty your mind.

2. Suppose that the Source of Light in your heart is attracting you from within your heart.

3. Rather than trying to visualize it, simply tune in to your heart and be open to any experience that you may have.

4. Do this for as long as you can. It could be 30 minutes. It could be longer or shorter than that too.

5. If your mind wanders and ‘thinks’, gently bring your attention back to your heart.

If you like to do this often, then please do it everyday. It rejuvenates your heart and mind and you feel so ready to take on the world. Please leave your comments in this page and/or contact me through this page – here.

Would you like to try on the next advanced stage after a few days? Let me know and I shall help you with a few more resources and contacts. Or you can do it through this page here too.

Above Video and photo credit to www.Heartfulness.org

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.

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FLORIDA, USA: The Couch in the Chapel

FLORIDA, USA: The Couch in the Chapel

Yellow Couch

Life after witnessing a miracle, is challenging. There other words I am looking for, but ‘challenging‘ is the truest of them all. With it I rank faithful, blissful, hopeful, trusting, invigorating, and inspiring as next in line, on a list of many words. (more…)

ThinkSayBe

I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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Arise, Mothers, Arise!

Arise, Mothers, Arise!

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 10.47.22 AMThe state of the world came sharply into focus after the birth of my first child. I saw it all–good, bad, and ugly–not just as my own habitat, but as the place where I would hand off my son and his generation. This realization lit a fire of motivation in me to do everything possible to ensure that I leave this planet better than I found it.

That’s a tall order to be sure, but I believe that small things eventually add up to big things. I believe that change can, does, and will happen with directed energy and focus. I also believe that mothers are uniquely positioned to effect and create opportunities for change.

Years ago, on my first Mother’s Day as a mother, I was delighted to discover the origins of the holiday are more substantial than the greeting card industry would have us believe. Julia Ward Howe issued this Mother’s Day proclamation back in 1870:

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts,

Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears

Say firmly:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of

charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”  

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!

Blood does not wipe out dishonor

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war. 

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. 

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace,

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality

May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient

And at the earliest period consistent with its objects

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions.

The great and general interests of peace.

Her proclamation is just as relevant today as it was 145 years ago. We, as mothers, weep with the mothers all over the world who are losing their children to war, poverty, police brutality, and other injustices.

Sitting with all of this anguish, with the pain of these broken-hearted mothers in our hearts, a dear friend and I decided to start a new Mother’s Day tradition in our community. We’ve invited all of the mothers in our area to join together for 30 minutes on Mother’s Day morning–before the brunches, before the (precious and beloved) handmade cards, before the massages–in an inter-spiritual and inter-generational gathering of solidarity with mothers everywhere and to meditate and pray for peace.

We will meet in the park, we will read the original Mother’s Day Proclamation, we will meditate and pray together, and we will commit to doing everything within our power to create a more just and peaceful world.

When I decided that this gathering was something I needed to create, I reached out to Mirabai Starr, who is a mother, author, and poet. I asked her if she would write something for us to read together before we parted ways on Mother’s Day. She directed me to something she’d already written:

“Mother of Mercy, the cries of the world keep me awake at night. I rise from my bed, but I cannot locate the source of the wailing. It is everywhere, Mother coming from all directions, and my heart is shattered by the sheer intensity of suffering. 

You of boundless compassion, expand my heart so that I can contain the pain. Focus my mind so that I can arrive at viable solutions, and energize my body so that I can engage in effective action. Give me the courage to follow the crumbs of heartbreak all the way home to the place where I can be of real service. Let me dip my fingers into the dew of your compassion and scatter it now over the fevered brow of this world.”

 It is my fervent hope that by gathering together, by joining forces and intentions, we can “arrive at viable solutions,” energized in body, mind, and spirit to courageously go forth as agents of Peace and Justice, not only for our own children, but for the children of mothers the world over.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ms. V.

Image Credit: Google Images

 

Ms. V. (South Korea)

Ms. V returned from a 3-year stint in Seoul, South Korea and is now living in the US in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner, their two kids, three ferocious felines, and a dog named Avon Barksdale. She grew up all over the US, mostly along the east coast, but lived in New York City longer than anywhere else, so considers NYC “home.” Her love of travel has taken her all over the world and to all but four of the 50 states. Ms. V is contemplative and sacred activist, exploring the intersection of yoga, new monasticism, feminism and social change. She is the co-director and co-founder of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center, a non-profit yoga studio and the spiritual director for Hab Community. While not marveling at her beautiful children, she enjoys reading, cooking, and has dreams of one day sleeping again.

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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.

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EYE ON CULTURE: Brazil and the World Cup

EYE ON CULTURE: Brazil and the World Cup

Kids and Brazil World Cup

Even if you have heard very little about Brazil, you probably know soccer is a big thing here. In fact, for a long time Brazil was known mostly for its soccer, its Carnaval (its version of Mardi Gras), its beautiful women and, perhaps, its forests. Unfortunately, considering that Brazil is a huge and extremely diverse country in so many senses, that is a very limited view of the country. However, as we are a few days away of the World Cup, today I want to speak about soccer. The World Cup is something that has always brought about an overall sense of excitement, regardless of whether one is or not a soccer lover. It is the time people bring out their flags and most everyone shows a tad of patriotism. Of all of the World Cups I have witnessed in my lifetime, three come to mind. The first is also the first World Cup I remember, held in Mexico, in 1986. I lived in a small town in northeastern Brazil, and I recall being enthralled by the big, spontaneous party in the streets after Brazil won one of the games. There were firecrackers and people parading and dancing in the town plaza.

Others drove up and down the cobblestone streets honking their horns, the vehicles full of people half out of the windows or even on top of the cars, shouting “Brazil, Brazil!”, while waving their flags.

Unfortunately, Brazil did not win that cup, and the heavy silence that followed was a big contrast to that party, even to myself, who barely knew about soccer then and didn’t really understand what was going on. Fast forward to the 1990s. 1994 was a big mark, of course, because Brazil won the cup for the fourth time. I was a teenager and much of the excitement was because so-and-so players were cute. The mother of a friend got a couple of autographs of the team captain for me and a friend of mine, which I still have. The upside was that I was visiting family in the United States, where we watched the games together and where the cup was actually happening (although I didn’t go to any games live). On the other hand, I remember being somewhat bummed because I was still travelling when the players returned to Brazil and paraded in one of the main streets of my city to commemorate the victory. And, of course, there was a big party that I missed. The third cup that I recall with fondness happened in 2006. One of my best childhood friends, who is from India and presently lives in Singapore, came over to visit, and we watched some games together. The World Cup always brings special memories of our friendship as she was a soccer enthusiast (she’s the friend who got the other autograph!), and we always saw the games together as teenagers. Unfortunately, that cup in 2006 was the last time we saw each other in person.

This year, the World Cup will be in Brazil. In fact, one of the games will be in a town neighboring mine. When one of the World Moms Blog editors suggested I write a post about the pre-cup climate here in Brazil it made me realize two things: 1) how detached I have been from this whole World Cup thing lately and how little excitement anticipation of the games have brought me this time 2) a sense that I might not be the only one feeling this way.

The last time the World Cup was held in Brazil was in 1970. Had a World Cup occurred here during my adolescent years, it would have been a big happening for my friends and I! Yet ,now, we have three kids, a demanding job and very little spare time; and what I really have been looking forward to are the days I will have off because of the games and how much overdue work I will get done while others watch the games.

Yes, in case you don’t know, everything stops here during the games that involve Brazil – stores close, companies send their employees home early or TVs get turned on in the companies themselves, and so on. Basically everyone stops to watch the game, no matter what day of the week.

That takes me to the second point. As I said, I have been a little detached from this whole World Cup reality, so I don’t know how accurate the following words will be, but the feeling I get is that the excitement is not as big as it would have been a few years ago, and it probably is a good sign. When it was first decided that the cup would be here in 2014, there truly was a sense of excitement, not only for the championship itself, but because of possible job, business opportunities and the like.

Yet, the years went by and people witnessed millions (billions?) spent on stadiums and other cup-related costs, while so many other essential areas need investment, notably education and health care.

To illustrate, here is a joke that has been going around these days. The parents take their newborn baby to the notary to get his birth certificate. When the notary asks what they are going to name the baby, the mother says: “World Cup Stadium – that way the government will surely invest in him!” As I said, I don’t know how accurate this perception of lesser excitement is, or if I am an anomaly, but if it is true, I take it as a good sign. It means that the population is maturing and that at least part of it won’t fall for the bread and circus trick any longer. Not that the World Cup, soccer or any kind of entertaining is bad in itself – but, as a country, there must be priorities.

Are you a Brazilian mother? If so, do you share the same sentiment?  And, for all the World Moms out there, who will you be supporting in the games? 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by EcoZiva in Brazil. 

Ecoziva (Brazil)

Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog. Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.

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SOCIAL GOOD: The Power of Giving on Giving Tuesday!

SOCIAL GOOD: The Power of Giving on Giving Tuesday!

image copy 2

Personalized desks at the CHETI school. copy

Photo by Alison Fraser

Anne Frank once said “No one has ever become poor by giving”. What a beautiful thought to keep in mind as we celebrate Giving Tuesday on December 3rd of this year. The act of giving can do wonders for a person’s spirit, soul and general well-being. Whether you give time, financial support, a lending hand, a listening ear or encouraging words, the act of giving is unique in that it often benefits the giver as much, or even more, than the receiver. This is something that I can attest to now more than ever before.

A few weeks ago, I visited Tanzania. I run a small Canadian Not for Profit Organization that works to fund the educational needs of women and children in and around Arusha. This was my first trip to Tanzania and the first time to meet all of the wonderful families that are involved in my organization. Helping these families has always made me feel good. I always felt like it was an equal partnership where I would provide financial assistance through fundraising in Canada and the Tanzanian women and children would allow me a glimpse into their life from afar. However, what I realized from spending ten days with these amazing people is that the partnership really isn’t equal at all. In fact, I truly believe that what I have received from these incredibly strong, spiritual, kind, compassionate and caring families is much more than what I have given them.

Making new friends - Alison and Caren! copy

The author with a student in Tanzania.

Let me explain how the power of giving has changed my life. I donate countless hours of time to help those in the Mom2Mom Africa organization. Why? It makes me happy.

It fulfills me in ways that I can’t explain. I feel a sense of purpose, like I am making a difference, albeit very small, but nonetheless, a difference in the world. My charity work completes me and makes me feel like a whole person. I can’t explain why…it just does. But, the ten days that I spent in Tanzania last month, visiting families and spending time at the schools has changed my life forever. I have never experienced anything so powerful in all of my life. Yes, I gave up family time to spend in Tanzania and I gave up quite a bit financially to pay for the trip. But, NOTHING could prepare me for what I was given in return. My life has been changed by simply spending time with these families over the course of my time in Africa. They breathed fresh air and a new life into me by just being themselves. Their sense of community, their compassion towards one another, and their love of life despite many struggles has inspired me in ways that I still have yet to process and understand. The power of giving has never been more apparent to me. It can change lives. It has changed mine.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, I am begging you to give of yourself. Whether it be time, a lending hand or financial assistance…give.

Give to someone who may need your help, whether it be across the ocean or right in your backyard. What you will get back in return will outweigh what you have given. I can promise you that. Giving of oneself has the power to change the world in so many ways. It is reciprocal. What you put into giving, will come back to you in abundance.

That is the power of giving. Giving changes all lives involved. As Anne Frank also said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”. So give. Change the world. You can do it. What may seem like a small act of giving can mean a world of difference to someone else.

On this Giving Tuesday, consider helping a family in Tanzania  by purchasing a personalized desk for our schools, school uniforms, or school textbooks. You will bring a smile to the face of a child in Tanzania.  And that, I guarantee, will bring a smile to your face, as well! Happy Giving Tuesday!

How do you plan to give back this Giving Tuesday?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog Written by Alison Fraser.

Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.

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