When war breaks out in a country, families scatter and sometimes remain separated for years on end. It is traumatizing to lose loved ones without knowing their actual fate. The suspense due to the loss and the subsequent sense of emptiness can be devastating to an individual and can leave them in a constant state of despair.

The recent exodus of the Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh has created such a situation. Fleeing persecution and genocide from home, the Rohingyas have lost not only their livelihoods but also their children.

They are currently in a refugee camp in Bangladesh where one man, KAMAL HUSSEIN, helps them reunite with their lost children.

Kamal himself fled Myanmar into Bangladesh when he was nine years old in the 1990’s. He was sheltered by a kind family before his parents found him six months later. His parents had thought he was dead. He had missed them so much, and he had caused them so much pain, that the memory of those days continue to inspire him to help desperate parents find their lost children.

He has so far reunited 700 children with their families. He has a booth and a megaphone which he uses to search for the missing children. He also protects the children from  suspicious people who falsely claim them. He has a paying job but he volunteers to search for the children during his free time.

He says: “I want to keep on doing this as long as I can. I mean, I have been through the same experience. Reuniting other families helps me forget the pain that I went through. This work is the most important thing in my life.”

Kamal’s full story can be found here.

Kamal Hussein

Photo Courtesy of BBC

This is the ninth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are:   Damyanti Biswas, Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, and Andrea Michaels.

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List
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In May this year, Muslim militants linked to the dreaded (but now defeated) ISIS attacked the Philippine city of Marawi on the island of Mindanao.

As the fighting raged on between the Philippine army and the militants, the latter began hunting down Christians. They would meet random people in the city and ask them to recite the Qur’an, failure to which would lead to merciless executions.

It was in this period that one kind-hearted man, Norodin Alonto Lucman, a prominent Muslim in the area decided to save the persecuted Christians. He started by hiding his Christian workers as soon as he heard the news of the executions. Not long after, however, more and more Christians poured into his compound. They came with their children, the youngest of whom was ten months old.

It was a great risk for him and he was scared. He could have run away and left them to their fate but he stayed in order to save them. He says:

“The first thing that came to my mind was to save these people. I had a chance to leave. I had three cars in the house. I could have left, put my belongings there and then leave but I figured if I left these civilians will die.”

Later on, when he had a total of 67 Christians in is home and he was quickly running out of food to give them, he took even a greater risk to lead them to safety outside the city. He disguised the women to look like Muslim women and made the men to carry the babies so that they all looked like couples. Then he taught them how to recite a Muslim prayer and bravely led them out of the city at dawn. On the way, more people from neighbouring homes joined them until they were about 144 in total, excluding him.

Alonto says:

“I saved their lives because I had to save their lives, because they came to my house and asked for help. It is a human thing. It is not something about being a Christian or a Muslim. They are human beings like me.”

His home was burnt down by the militants.

Alonto’s full story is found here.

Norodin Alonto Lucman

Norodine Alonto Lucman, Source: BBC

This is the eighth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are:   Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen, Sylvia McGrathMary GieseShilpa Garg, and Guilie Castillo.

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List

In early 90’s a devastating civil war broke out in Burundi between the Hutu and the Tutsi people. Violent murders, rapes, displacements, and appalling suffering became the order of the day. Children were not spared, but were subjected to the same unspeakable atrocities their parents were experiencing. Things were dark.

In these bleakest of days, one woman, a teacher named Marguerite Baranktse, emerged an unlikely hero. When she was only twenty-three, she adopted a young Hutu girl aged thirteen. At first, her relatives did not welcome her decision and urged her to reject the girl, because the girl was from the Hutu people (the enemy) while Marguerite was Tutsi. Only her mother encouraged her.

Marguerite’s entire family was later slaughtered by the Hutu fighters in October 1993. They spared her because of her work.

Nevertheless, she refused to hate the Hutu people. She went on to adopt more children from both the warring Hutu and the Tutsi sides.

She had to defend them and fend for them. She had to watch people die and had to bribe the killers to save the children.

“She set up Maison Shalom, the House of Peace, in 1993, a shelter providing children displaced by Burundi’s civil war with refuge, medical care and education.”

It was an undertaking so risky at the time that people started to think of her as insane. They called her “Maggy the Madwoman”.

As the war went on, the number of her children grew to over 100,000. Later on, her efforts were recognized such benevolent organizations as the UNICEF, WFP, and ActionAid.

She says the name “Maggy the Madwoman” suits her best because what she did was crazy.

“[It is crazy] to decide sometimes alone in the streets, whether to teach love when the others are killing. I would like everybody to follow this madness, to create hope and to break this cycle of violence. To teach love.”

Marguerite’s story is found here.

Marguerite Barankitse

Marguerite Baranktse. Source: BBC

 

This is the seventh celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are: Michelle Wallace, Emerald Barnes, Andrea Michaels, Shilpa Garg, and myself.

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List

A strange illness has been debilitating the children of Northern Uganda. Named Nodding Disease or Nodding Syndrome, it causes the children to nod their heads rapidly and go into severe seizures similar to those caused by epilepsy. The seizures begin when the affected children are presented with food or exposed to cold temperatures. The  children become mentally and physically stunted.

MRI scans have revealed brain atrophy and damage to the regions responsponsible for memory storage and retrieval.

Recent studies have shown that the disease is caused by a water-borne parasitic worm, Onchocerca volvulus, which is also known to cause river blindness.

However, in the beginning, stigma and superstition about the disease prevented the children from receiving proper care and treatment.

Today, for the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I share with you the story of one kind-hearted COLLINES ANGWECH, who dedicates her life to taking care of these unfortunate children.

Collines grew up in Northern Uganda at a time when the terrible Lord’s Resistance Army used to make frequent attacks on the villages and kidnap the children to use as soldiers and sex slaves.

Her story is found here.

Collines Angwech

Collines Angwech, Source: BBC

This is the sixth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are: Simon Falk, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese.

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List

As time passes, the world becomes more and more chaotic. Humanity has been divided along every possible line and almost every nation feels the effects of the split. As our population continues to grow against the ever-dwindling resources, the cracks and crevices originally created by differences in race, gender, religion, tribes, class, etc, are increasingly turning into irreparable chasms and valleys. And at this rate, we might soon find ourselves in a world where everyone is everyone’s enemy.

In Kenya, my country, the divisions along tribal lines have escalated in recent years and they are hurting us all. The politicians, the chief national leaders who are also known for their cunning opportunism, had long since ascertained the advantages of ruling a disunited nation and exploited the situation to the hilt.

We have national elections next month–August 2017–and the country is already too tense. Regions have been marked as “hotspots” of violence and people are running away from one another. Meanwhile Kenyans online engage in a vicious tribal war of words.

It is too sad. I am terrified. I feel like a foreigner here.

It is for this reason that for today’s WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I searched for a subject that might, even remotely, deal with the present situation in Kenya.

So meet the extraordinary Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan who grew up in a tribally violent region of Kenya, and who, instead of threatening the warring tribes with arrests and convictions, as our leaders often do–though in vain–has found a common interest amongst the people of her region and uses it to bring them together and champion for peaceful co-existence.

Under the program she calls “Shoot to score, not to kill”, she has mobilised the youth to play Football together and hold dialogues about their cultures and causes of conflicts among them. So far she has 10,000 youth participating in the games, each one of them being an ambassador for peace.

Fatuma studied law, the knowledge of which she also uses to fight for the rights of the vulnerable women in those regions.

Her story is here.

Fatuma

Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan, Source: BBC

This is the fifth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for July are Damyanti Biswas, Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, and Sylvia Stein.

 

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List

As the earth’s climate continues to change and the weather becomes increasingly unpredictable, the wild animals suffer the most. Devastating droughts after devastating droughts have turned East Africa into a scorching hell for both animals and people. However, being unable to buy food or water, and consistently neglected in the drought mitigation strategies laid out by governments and NGOs, the wild animals of East Africa face a dark, thirsty future in which the horror of total extinction is possible.

Today, for the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I share with you the heartwarming story of one extraordinary PATRICK MWALUA, a Kenyan pea farmer, who drives through 70KM of dusty road in order to provide drought-stricken wild animals with fresh water.

The video of his interview is found HERE.

The following synopsis and images are from  The Dodo.

‘In a land as parched as Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park, no visitor arrives with more fanfare than the water man.

That would be Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua. And when he rumbles down the dusty road bearing some 3,000 gallons of fresh water, the elephants, buffalo, antelope and zebras come running.

They’ve come to know the water man by the rumble of his engine. And his lifesaving cargo.

Mwalua fills the bone-dry watering holes in the region, driving for hours on end every day to haul water to where it’s most desperately needed.

The holes themselves, lined with concrete, often need cleaning – Mwalua blames it on buffalo droppings – and sometimes, he will just hose down an area of cracked earth for the grateful animals.

Mwalua, who is a pea farmer in his local village, came up with the idea after seeing firsthand the grim toll climate change has taken in his native land. In the last year especially, he says, the area has seen precious little precipitation, leaving animals to die of thirst in these cracked lands.

“We aren’t really receiving rain the way we used to,” he says. “From last year, from June, there was no rain completely. So I started giving animals water because I thought, ‘If I don’t do that, they will die.'”‘

This is the fourth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are Michelle Wallace, Lynn Hallbrooks, Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen, Sylvia Stein, and Sylvia McGrath.

 

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List

Have you ever wondered what happens to expectant mothers in war zones? When war breaks out suddenly and they have to live with the horror of losing their lives and that of their unborn babies. The anguish that comes with the awareness of imminent death is damaging to any ordinary person. To the delicate expectant mothers who should, in normal circumstances, be as physically and emotionally healthy as possible, the anguish is unspeakable.

Today, for the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I bring you the story of DR. MARIAM ALDOGANI from Yemen who helps expectant mothers caught up in the conflict there to deliver their children safely.

Dr. Aldogani works under extreme stress. Having lost a pregnancy before, and then later on going into labour at a time when the government had clashed violently with the rebels, she was in constant terror throughout. She could hear bombs exploding outside the hospital, doctors themselves were terrified, and each air raid was a message of despair. She developed complications and the baby had to be put in an incubator.

Yet she emerged a hero, now drawing from her experience to help other expectant mothers deliver their babies safely.

Dr. Aldogani

Image: Dr. Mariam Aldogani, Credit: BBC

This is the third celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

The co-hosts include:  Eric Lahti  Inderpreet Uppal,  Roshan RadhakrishnanEmerald Barnes, Lynn Hallbrooks, and myself.

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To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List