Tag Archives: 7seven

Open Letter – Myanmar Islamic Religious Organization sends Emergency Letter to the President

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Myanmar Islamic Religious Organization sends Emergency Letter to the President

The Republic of Union of Myanmar
All Myanmar Government Recognized Islamic Religious Organization
No. 214, Bo Sun Pet Street, Pabedan Township, Yangon.
Phone- 388146, 253683, 252608, 241717, 241212, 296134

Letter No. MaABa/Admin/024/2013 ASa(4)
Date- 26 March 2013

To
President
The Republic of Union of Myanmar

Subject: Asking to protect Myanmar Muslims’ lives and properties due to currently insecure situation

1. At the present time, there have been no securities for Myanmar Muslims’ lives and properties, mosques and religious schools increasingly. Now the situation becomes worrying for Muslims even in Yangon.

2. Those terrorist attacks include big crimes such as arsons and massacres and so on in which offenders can be stopped by killing according to the law of defense.
However, the neglected situation has happened that responsible authorities have not taken effective action timely to criminals who dare to offend crimes openly in front of them.

3. It is learned that such massacres and loss of religious building and properties are due to weakness and omission of administrative authorities to provide protection and take action effectively.

4. That is why, this Islamic Organization strongly believed that peace and tranquility of the country as well as protection for Muslims’ lives and properties, and religious buildings would be given by quick and effective action taken to above mentioned events. Moreover, it is enthusiastically asked to implement promptly the statement (7/2013) of the spokesperson group of Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

Al-Haj Maulana Yusof
Vice-President
Jammatul-Ulema
Union of Myanmar

Al-Haj U Nyunt Maung Shein
President
Islamic Religious Affairs Council
Union of Myanmar (HQ)

Al-Haj U Myint Tun
President
Muslim Youth Muslim (Religious) Organization

Haji Kyaw Win
Myanmar Muslim National Affairs Organization

open-letter

http://drkokogyi.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/myanmar-islamic-religious-organization-sends-emergency-letter-to-the-president/

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A refuge for Myanmar refugee kids

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A refuge for Myanmar refugee kids

By KENNETH CHAW

http://thest

 

Volunteers Heidy Quah and Khoo Ghee Ken (right) make lessons fun and interactive for the refugee kids.
Volunteers Heidy Quah and Khoo Ghee Ken (right) make lessons fun and interactive for the refugee kids.

A group of 18-year-olds take on the responsibility of providing education for over 70 Myanmar refugee kids.

IT is way after midnight and college student Heidy Quah is hunched over her desk, her brows furrowed in concentration.

Instead of surfing the Net, watching her favourite drama series or rushing to finish up some last-minute assignments like most of her peers, Quah is busy drawing and cutting out caricatures of various shapes and sizes.

“Sometimes I stay up till 4am to prepare my teaching materials,” says Quah.

The Diploma in Business student at a local college is a committed volunteer teacher at a refugee school where she conducts art and craft lessons, among others.

At just 18, Quah is the founder of a registered non-government organisation, Persatuan Kebajikan Perlindungan Kanak-kanak Pelarian (Refuge For The Refugees), which aims to provide education for Myanmar refugee children.

As of October last year, 91,520 Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers who are hoping to build a better life for themselves in First World countries like Australia, Canada and the United States, are temporarily placed in Malaysia. The immigration process usually takes up to several years before they are finally resettled in their designated countries.

Meanwhile, precious time goes by as children of these refugees – at the height of their formative years – have no access to the local education system due to their refugee status. The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) has teamed up with various NGOs to set up learning centres for them but out of 13,800 children who are of school-going age, only 40% of them have access to education.

Chin Children’s Education Centre (CCEC) is one such school. Over 70 Myanmar refugee children from ages four to 16 fill the dilapidated community hall of a low-cost flat in Kuala Lumpur, for five hours every weekday. The learning environment is far from conducive as the classes, which are separated by sheets of cloth, are all held in the small hall.

Five teachers – two sponsored by UNHCR while three are hired – work tirelessly to help the children learn English, Mathematics and Science. Due to the overwhelming number of students, the teachers are often unable to step into every class, leaving many of them unattended.

Ten-year-old Pari’s favourite subject is Science and she names Heidy her favourite teacher.
Ten-year-old Pari’s favourite subject is Science and she names Heidy her favourite teacher.

Early last year, Quah had just finished secondary school and was waiting to start college. After hearing about a volunteer opportunity at a school camp, she roped in her friends Andrea Prisha, Chan Weili and Khoo Ghee Ken to volunteer as teachers at CCEC on a weekly basis.

As time went by, the youths established a bond with the refugee kids and were devastated when they heard that the school had to close down in a matter of months.

“CCEC was funded by UNHCR for two years under the Social Protection Fund. The contract expired in July 2012 and was not renewed,” explains Quah.

With college just around the corner, the group was faced with the difficult decision of whether they should continue helping the school.

Eventually, Quah and her friends made the bold choice of not only continuing to teach the students every week but to take on the school’s financial burden as well.

Refuge For The Refugees came into the picture when Quah realised that corporations were sceptical about providing funding to an unregistered NGO. Apart from a few phone calls from apprehensive officials of the Registrar of Societies, the application process went smoothly and before they knew it, RFTR was up and running.

Six months have passed since its inception and Quah confesses that running the NGO has not been easy. They need about RM1,200 a month to keep the school going. This sum covers the rental, utility bills and stationery for the kids.

Sponsorships are hard to come by at times.

A curtain separates one class from another due to space constraints.
A curtain separates one class from another due to space constraints.

Sponsorships

“When we e-mail companies for sponsorships and they find out that we are a bunch of 18-year-olds, many people think that we are up to no good,” says Quah. Thankfully, some sponsors are willing to keep an open mind. Quah recalls a man who wanted to see the school for himself before making a donation.

Online volunteer portals Do Good. Volunteer. and Do Something Good have also served as effective avenues for them to get the word out, fetching sizeable donations from the public. In times of financial drought, they manage to get by, raising small sums through fundraisers like bake sales.

When it comes to ensuring quality education for every child, the youths have to work doubly hard as they are not formally trained teachers. They even come up with their own educational materials to supplement those provided by UNHCR.

Quah and her friends sure know how to make lessons fun for the kids. Sweets are used to help the younger kids learn how to count, while art and craft lessons provide an avenue for the students to develop their creativity.

“RFTR is compiling a proper syllabus for the year, so volunteers can start teaching immediately without having to prepare any material,” shares Quah.

“To get round the language barrier, we carry an English to Chin (dialect) dictionary,” Khoo adds.

The team volunteers for two hours on Wednesdays but every visit to CCEC takes a whopping three hours for the team to travel to and fro, as they rely on public transport. On top of that, they have to allocate time to plan for the day’s lesson besides finding ways to raise funds.

Andrea, a Foundation in Arts student at a local university, asserts that volunteering does not affect her studies.

“College is a priority for me, but these kids mean a lot to me as well. If I have assignments, I will finish them first to make time to volunteer; it is workable,” says Andrea.

Although Khoo, an A-Level student, is unable to teach during weekdays, he helps out with events on weekends, drafts proposals and letters, and updates their Facebook page.

Supportive

Chan, an Australian Matriculation student, does not mind turning down movie outings and skipping teh tarik sessions with friends, just so she can find time for her volunteer work. “Sacrifices have to be made from time to time if I am to teach at the centre,” says Chan.

It helps that the parents of these dedicated and committed youths are supportive of their activities.

Quah and her team of enthusiastic volunteers dispel the common perception that young people just want to have fun and take little interest in the plight of the less fortunate. Khoo points out that many of his peers are not involved in volunteer work because the avenues just aren’t presented to them.

Quah believes parents play an important role in instilling compassion for the underprivileged, in their children. “My parents exposed me to people who were less fortunate from a very young age. We used to celebrate Chinese New Year in orphanages where we would play and sing songs with the kids,” she recalls.

“When I don’t see them for a week and they tell me they miss me, that makes me happy,” says Andrea.

Quah finds great satisfaction in charting the children’s progress. “There was this boy in my class who used to be very destructive. He would hit other kids for no apparent reason. I later learned that his dad is an alcoholic who physically abuses him. I decided to pay more attention to him and appointed him as class monitor. So instead of starting fights, he is now the one who stops fights,” says Quah, who is proud to note a change in the boy’s behaviour.

Indeed, it is positive changes like these which keep the youths going. Quah is driven by a vision to take RFTR to a new level and reach out to more refugee children so that they can also enjoy the gift of education.

To make a donation or find out more about volunteer opportunities at Refuge For The Refugees, call Heidy Quah (012-307 3714) or visit facebook.com/refugefortherefugees or e-mail refugefortherefugees@gmail.com.

ar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2013/1/21/lifefocus/12558661&sec=lifefocus

Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years

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Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years

May 17, 2012 | 216

Since Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón began an all-out assault on drug cartels in 2006, more than 50,000 people have lost their lives across the country in a nearly-continuous string of shootouts, bombings, and ever-bloodier murders. Just last weekend, 49 decapitated bodies were reportedly discovered on a highway in northern Mexico. The New York Times reports on an increasing numbness and apathy among Mexicans after years of worsening carnage, about which they’ve been able to do virtually nothing. Gathered here is a collection of recent photographs from Mexico’s drug war and the people so horribly affected by it.

Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full. There are many dead bodies; the photographs are graphic and stark. This is the reality of the situation in Mexico right now.

A masked Mexican soldier patrols the streets of Veracruz, on October 10, 2011. Soldiers of the Army, Navy and members of Federal Police patrol the streets of the city as part of “Veracruz Safe Operation” after a rising tide of violence plaguing this tourist city. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A masked Mexican soldier patrols the streets of Veracruz, on October 10, 2011. Soldiers of the Army, Navy and members of Federal Police patrol the streets of the city as part of “Veracruz Safe Operation” after a rising tide of violence plaguing this tourist city. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer stands near evidence markers at a crime scene in Ajijic on the outskirts of Guadalajara, on April 9, 2012. Gunmen shot dead three who were sitting in two different cars outside their homes, according to local media. (Reuters/Alejandro Acosta) #

The body of a man lies behind the wheel inside a car in Acapulco, on February 10, 2012. Two men were shot by gunmen, one was killed and the other seriously injured, according to local media. (Reuters/Jacob Garcia) #

Poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia (center) embraces family members and relatives of his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco Sicilia and his friends at their flower wreath, during Juan’s death anniversary in Temixco near Cuernavaca, on March 28, 2012. The bodies of Juan and his friends were discovered on March 28, 2011, in a car in Cuernavaca by the police along with a menacing message from drug cartels. (Reuters/Margarito Perez Retana) #

Morgue workers place a coffin holding an unidentified body into a grave at San Rafael cemetery on the outskirts of the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on December 27, 2011. The bodies of 36 unidentified people, killed in drug-related incidents, were buried after being held in the city morgue for several months without being claimed by relatives. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez) #

A forensic technician points his flashlight at the shoes of a man at a crime scene in Mazatlan, on February 13, 2012. The man was shot dead by gunmen while he was walking on the street, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Baseball players belonging to the Saraperos de Saltillo team take cover during an intense shootout that broke out during a game in the parking lot of the stadium in the city of Saltillo, northern Mexico, on March 13, 2012. According to a state police spokesman, three gunmen were killed and another was injured and captured after the gunmen battled with a special tactics unit of the state police. (AP Photo) #

Thousands of guns are destroyed in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, on February 16, 2012. At least 6,000 rifles and pistols seized from drugs cartels were destroyed by members of the Mexican Army. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jose Lopez Tapia, 8, rests in hospital after he and his mother were attacked on February 6 in Ciudad Juarez, on February 8, 2012. Sonia Tapia and her son were attacked by members of the Municipal Police, she was accused of carrying weapons and arrested for 36 hours. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mexican marines escort Marcos Jesus Hernandez Rodriguez, aka “El Chilango”, alleged leader of assassins and member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, in Veracruz state, during his presentation for the press in Mexico City, on May 11, 2012. Rodriguez was arrested last May 9, during a military operation in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz state, a navy spokesman said. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young man lies dead next to a skateboard and a bicycle after unknown gunmen opened fire in the eastern part of Saltillo, Mexico, on December 7, 2011. According to the state attorney general, three young men were killed in the attack. (AP Photo/Alberto Puente) #

Soldiers put the final touches on a giant “No More Weapons” billboard composed of crushed firearms, placed near the U.S. border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on February 17, 2012. President Felipe Calderon unveiled the billboard Thursday and urged the United States to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico. (AP Photo/Raymundo Ruiz) #

Firefighters remove the body of a man hanging from a bridge in Ciudad Juarez, on March 3, 2012. The body was found hanging from its neck on a bridge late Saturday, local media reported. The body showed signs of torture and the head was covered with duct tape. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez) #

Mexican soldiers burn marijuana plants in a field, in Los Algodones community, Culiacan, Sinaloa State, on on January 30, 2012. Mexican soldiers found the marijuana field and incinerated the drug as part of the Culiacan-Navolato operation. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images) #

Pictures of victims of violence are hung on the facades and walls of houses in the neighborhood of Cerro Gordo in Ecatepec, outside Mexico City, on March 7, 2012. The Murrieta Foundation opened an exhibition called “Giving face to the victims in Ecatepec” with 15 giant photographs placed on houses as part a campaign against violence (rape of women, kidnappings, murders and robberies) in Ecatepec. (Reuters/Henry Romero) #

The body of a dead man, a rifle next to him, lies in a field after a shootout with police on the outskirts of Monterrey, on February 28, 2012. According to local media, 11 people were killed in different violent incidents in the city. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

A soldier stands guard inside a clandestine chemical drug processing laboratory discovered in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Jalisco State, on February 9, 2012. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #

An abandoned neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, on March 30, 2012. Violence in Ciudad Juarez has changed the lives of its residents, where many have fled. Among those who remain, anxious mothers look for missing daughters, families cross the border daily to sleep in neighboring Texas, and men live alone among abandoned houses. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Blood flows near the arm of a killed boy, on the pavement in Acapulco, Mexico, on August 15, 2011. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images) #

An unidentified woman weeps for her relatives at the scene where gunmen attacked a tow truck business in the resort city of Acapulco, on July 8, 2011. Two men and a woman died after unknown gunmen opened fire at the tow truck business. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Cuban citizen Joel Rodriguez Barrero, after being detained in Xochitepec in this April 6, 2012 photograph. Rodriguez Barrero ‘El Cubano’, was detained on April 6 by soldiers and policemen during a patrol and found to be in possession of drugs and weapons. Barrero is responsible for the recent murder and dismemberment of four minors and drug trafficking, according to the State Attorney’s Office. (Reuters/State of Morelos Attorney’s General Office) #

Two men with their hands tied behind their back and with their faces covered with duct tape lie by the side of the road as police secure the area in the city of Veracruz, Mexico, on December 6, 2011. A total of 4 men were found killed in separate incidents in the Gulf port city, which has recently suffered growing violence as drug gangs battle for control of the region. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) #

A truck burns on the road in Guadalajara, Mexico, on March 9, 2012. Drug criminals set 25 city buses and other vehicles on fire in 16 different places, spreading fear throughout Mexico’s second-largest city after an army operation, according to officials. (AP Photo / Bruno González) #

Police stand next to the body of a dead colleague in Ixtapaluca, on the outskirts of Mexico City, on January 23, 2012. Municipal police were transferring two detainees when they were ambushed by gunmen, who shot dead all five police officers and one of the detainees, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Children lie on the ground among silhouettes representing people allegedly killed by soldiers during Mexico’s drug war, during a protest organized by the National Regeneration Movement, MORENA, at the Zocalo central square in Mexico City, on March 4, 2012. Mexico’s Defense Secretary Guillermo Galvan recently conceded that the military has committed errors in the fight against organized crime and drug traffickers, such as torture, homicide and drug-trafficking but said those responsible have been punished. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

Students at the University of Ciudad Juarez and participants of the “Illuminate Juarez” event prepare to release lanterns in Samalayuca, Ciudad Juarez, on May 28, 2011. According to the organizers, the event was held to seek the return of peace to the city, which is considered one of the most violent in the world as a result of drug trafficking, and to promote tourism. (Reuters/Gael Gonzalez) #

A forensic technician holds the head of a woman at a crime scene in San Pedro on the outskirts of Monterrey May 15, 2012. The decapitated body of a woman and her head were found early Tuesday on the foot of a hill next to a low-income neighborhood, according to local media. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Regina Martinez, a journalist and correspondent for the Mexican magazine Proceso, as friends and family members attend her funeral in Xalapa, on April 30, 2012. Martinez, from Veracruz, was found dead in the bathroom of her house on Saturday with signs of violence, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Photojournalists place their cameras on the floor during a demonstration condemning the alleged murder of fellow journalist Regina Martinez in Mexico City, on April 29, 2012. The Mexican government’s human rights commission said Sunday that it will investigate the apparent slaying of Martinez, who often wrote about drug trafficking. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

The body of a man, covered by a cloth in a restaurant after he was shot by unknown assailants in Acapulco, Mexico, on July 30, 2011. Once a glamorous beach mecca for international tourism, Acapulco’s image has steadily deteriorated as a fierce turf war continues between rival drug gangs. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Relatives of Elmer Constantino Castro Andres, a Guatemalan immigrant whose body was found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in northern Mexico, mourn over his coffin at the air force base of Guatemala City, on March 21, 2012. The bodies of 11 Guatemalans, who were among a group of 193 immigrants believed to be killed by members of the Zetas drug gang and whose bodies were found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in April 2011, were repatriated to Guatemala on Wednesday after DNA tests confirmed their identities. (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez) #

Fliers for missing people hang on the door of the city morgue in Acapulco, Mexico, on March 1, 2012. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco the second most deadly city in Mexico after Juarez. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

A skeletal corpse lies in Betania neighborhood, Acapulco, on March 27, 2012. During a recent wave of violence lived in Acapulco, eight people were killed, three of them found decomposed in the outskirts of the City. (Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Working on a scarf, a woman embroiders the account of a murder in a park in Mexico City, on November 13, 2011. The “Red Fountains” civil movement proposes the “Embroidery for Peace, a scarf, a victim” action for each of the victims of violence in Mexico. (Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images) #

The body of a young man who was shot several times, reflected in a mirror next to an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside a bus in Acapulco, on August 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Demonstrators march to protest against violence in Mexico City, on August 14, 2011. The continuing tide of drug-related killings in Mexico has drawn thousands of protesters to march against violence. The sign reads in Spanish: “Stop the war. No to the National Security Law”. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) #

The body of a man killed in a suspected drug-related execution lies along the path where he was shot on March 1, 2012 in Acapulco. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Medical workers stand next to the bodies of 10 men and one woman, discovered in a pile near a well in Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on July 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, file) #

A woman rests prior to a protest against violence as part of the campaign “March of National Dignity – Mothers searching for their children and justice” at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City, on May 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #

Colleagues, relatives and friends of murdered journalists place candles and pictures on an altar erected at the Independence Angel monument in Mexico City, on May 5, 2012, during a vigil to protest against violence towards the press. Days earlier, Mexican security forces found the dismembered bodies of missing news photographers Guillermo Luna Varela and Gabriel Huge and two other people in bags dumped in a canal in the eastern state of Veracruz. The bodies of the photographers, who worked for the Veracruz news photo agency, also showed signs of torture. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/GettyImages) #

A suspected drug-related execution victim lies on Acapulco’s famous Caleta Beach in Acapulco, on March 4, 2012. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Locals look at the screening of names of 10,000 victims of violence in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on the facade of Annunciation House, a shelter for immigrants and indigent people in the US city of El Paso on April 23, 2012. Annunciation House organized a mournful tribute called Voice of the Voiceless in which more than 10,000 names were screened on the facade of the building. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman covers her daughter with a towel as they walk past a crime scene in the municipality of San Nicolas de los Garza, neighboring Monterrey, on September 14, 2011. Six men were gunned down by unknown assailants in separate incidents in this municipality, local media reported. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo) #

A forensic technician sweeps blood off a street at a crime scene in Monterrey, on February 8, 2012. A taxi driver was shot dead by gunmen as another group of hitmen attacked three taxi drivers in a different neighborhood, killing two and injuring one, according to local media. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

The burning issue

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The burning issue

Romney Touts ‘Prosperity Pacts’ To Help Middle East, Developing Nations

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Romney Touts ‘Prosperity Pacts’ To Help Middle East, Developing Nations

September 25, 2012 9:52 AM

One former president, one would-be: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (left), spoke this morning at former President Bill Clinton’s annual forum in New York City. President Obama addresses the Clinton Global Initiative later today.

Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty Images

One former president, one would-be: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (left), spoke this morning at former President Bill Clinton’s annual forum in New York City. President Obama addresses the Clinton Global Initiative later today.

Saying that foreign aid must play a role in bringing peace to the Middle East, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the case today for what he calls “prosperity pacts” that would aim U.S. assistance packages at nations that develop “the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.”

Romney was addressing the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a forum that will host President Obama later today.

If he’s elected in November, Romney said (per his prepared remarks):

“To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate ‘Prosperity Pacts.’ Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

“We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

“The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy — free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.”

Romney introduced that proposal by saying he is “often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.

“Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem. But that’s not the whole story.

“The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic. In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators. They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

“In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

“He was just 26-years-old. He had provided for his family since he was a young boy. He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

“On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, ‘Why are you doing this to me? I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.’

“I just want to work.

“Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/09/25/161738202/romney-touts-prosperity-pacts-to-help-middle-east-developing-nations

UNICEF Tap Project

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http://www.unicefusa.org/work/water/

 

UNICEF WASH: Clean Water Campaign

Clean Water Campaign

Clean Water Saves Lives

Water is life. Yet 783 million people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation.  When water is unsafe and sanitation non-existent, water can kill.

Across the globe, more than 3,000 children die each day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities.

Since 1990, thanks to the work of UNICEF and its partners, more than 2 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water.

UNICEF Tap Project

2011 UNICEF Tap ProjectWhen you take water, give water …

That’s the sentiment behind the 2012 UNICEF Tap project. Since its inception in 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised almost $2.5 million in the U.S. and has helped provide clean water for millions of children globally.

The first program of its kind, the UNICEF Tap Project has become a dynamic movement that affords everyone the opportunity to help provide the world’s children with safe, clean water.

Whether you want to raise funds, volunteer, hold a fun Tappy Hour event or just donate the water you usually drink for free, the UNICEF Tap Project invites you to make a difference and help give a child clean water to live. 2012 UNICEF Tap Project funds will support water and sanitation programs in Togo, Cameroon, Mauritania and Vietnam.

POSITIVENESS CAN OVERCOME ALL ODDS

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POSITIVENESS CAN OVERCOME ALL ODDS

This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born  with   2   legs – He  of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not  want him. 

His  first owner also did not think that he could survive and he was  thinking of ‘putting him to sleep’.

But  then, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted   to take care of him.


She  became determined to teach and train this little dog to walk by  himself.

She  named him ‘Faith’. 

In  the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let him feel the  movement.
Later  she used peanut  butter on a spoon as a lure and reward for  him for standing up and jumping around.

Even  the other dog at home encouraged him to walk..

Amazingly,  only after 6 months, like a miracle,

Faith  learned to balance on his hind legs and to jump to move forward.

After  further training in the snow, he could now walk like a human  being.. 

Faith  loves to walk around now.

No  matter where he goes, he attracts people to him.

He  is fast becoming famous on the international scene and

has  appeared on various newspapers and TV shows.

There  is now a book entitled ‘With a Little Faith’ being published about  him.

He  was even considered to appear in one of Harry Potter  movies. 

His  present owner Jude Stringfellew has  given up her teaching post  and plans to take him around the world to   preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect  soul’. 

In  life there are always undesirable things, so in order to feel better  you just need to look at life from another direction.

I  hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking to everyone and  that everyone will appreciate and be thankful for each beautiful  day.

Faith  is the continual demonstration of the strength and wonder of  life.

 

Somaliland: 21 years of peace

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Somaliland: 21 years of peace

 

 

June 11 2012: In May 2012, Somaliland commemorated 21 years since declaring independence from Somalia. Although not recognised as an independent state by the international community, Somaliland’s self rule has provided the area a peace and stability not seen in the rest of Somalia. Muhyadin Saed, Insight on Conflict’s Local Correspondent for Somalia, looks at the reasons for this and what lessons can be carried over to rest of the country.

http://www.insightonconflict.org/2012/06/somaliland-21-years-of-peace/

The Somaliland government is capable of maintaining peace and security. (© Flickr / Alfred Weidinger)

While the central government of Somalia collapsed in 1991, Somaliland – a region in Northern Somalia that declared independence from the rest of Somalia – has been enjoying relative peace, incremental economic growth and democratic governance. This is a completely opposite path to that of Somalia, which has been in chaos for the two decades that Somaliland was peaceful.

Somaliland commemorated 21 years of peace, stability and self-declared independence – although no other country from the international community has yet recognised Somaliland politically – on 18 May, 2012. The day always raises questions as to why Somaliland is peaceful and Somalia not despite the numerous peacebuilding efforts by the international and regional communities which have sought to get Somali factional leaders to reach a lasting agreement. Among other questions is if peacebuilding models that have been used in Somaliland and Puntland to build peace can be replicated in other parts of Somalia to restore stability and ease the suffering of the Somali people.

Grassroots peacebuilding and local solutions

Peace in Somaliland came from the local people, represented by their traditional elders and leaders, politicians, business people and later women’s organisations, working together in a series of reconciliation conferences between the clans that live in Somaliland. Starting from the grassroots, by reconciling sub-clans to stop fighting and addressing the grievances between the communities became a building block for a grand reconciliation conference that was held in Borama in 1993. The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process too has been implemented locally and traditionally.The Somaliland peace process was independent from an external influence, and the interests of the Somaliland people were at center-stage. Though admittedly some international NGOs were providing funds and logistics to the process, however their involvement was kept to minimum by the Somaliland leaders.

The conference produced a National Charter and a hybrid system of governance; traditional, Islamic and Western. A presidential type of government with bicameral house of parliament was formed through selection. The Upper House of Parliament (guurti) consists of 82 elders from the various clans in Somaliland to assure representation of all people in Somaliland. This house was entrusted to work on further consolidating peace, reconciling communities and resolving conflicts in a very fragile environment, by then with weak governmental security institutions.

Lessons for Somalia

There are lessons learnt of bottom-up peacebuilding in Somaliland that can be applied in other parts of Somalia without just copying and pasting exactly as it worked here. There might be some contextual and time factors that are different, but holding on the central idea of local reconciliation and peacebuilding before rushing to central state-building is relevant. This may be partly what the Somali leaders have in mind in the current transition, which will be finalsed in Istanbul in August this year with the Somali traditional elders now in Mogadishu to approve the constitution and nominate MPs.

Somaliland is now democratising, with the transition happening successfully but with many challenges. Parliamentary, municipal and presidential elections were held successfully with a peaceful transfer of power. Civil society, business people and other non-state actors have been instrumental in the process. The Somaliland government is now capable of maintaining peace and security. Peacebuilding by the civil society is taking place, alongside a state-centric view to security and drafting of a national peacebuilding policy.

 

 

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