In a world where humans are increasingly isolated and the cost of healthcare is always rising, being pregnant and homeless can be too harsh an experience. Every child deserves a home to grow up in, but looking forward to having a child who will never have a home or a country can fill the heart with despair.

Fortunately, there are women like Memuna Sowe whose compassion, love, and kindness  lead them to dedicate their lives in helping the unfortunate women in the world.

Memuna helps pregnant drug addicts, asylum seekers, street families, and people who have escaped war-torn countries with only their lives.

 Memuna Sowe is Britain’s midwife of the year according to the British Journal of Midwifery. Memuna stands out from many of her colleagues because she devotes her life to helping marginalised pregnant women, including asylum seekers and rough sleepers. Her family are originally from Sierra Leone. They inspired her to take up her chosen career.

Memuna’s story can be found here.

Mamuna

Memuna Sowe, BBC

This is the 13th 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: Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion, Simon Falk, Michelle Wallace, 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
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We are all born innocent. We are born with young, feeble limbs waiting to grow strong and serve humanity, and an almost empty brain waiting to learn from the world. We never ever ask to be born. We never ever ask to be brought here. But once you are born, you begin experiencing the world as it is. Depending on where you are born, and of whom, your first taste of the world can be varied from too lovely to too hostile, from too sweet to too bitter.

If you are the child of a sex worker, who herself is subjected to repeated abuse and contempt, your chances of ever having a full positive life begin in the negatives and linger there for days on end.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, one tender-hearted, compassionate woman cares for the children of sex workers.

Hazera Begum was born in an abusive family. When she gathered the courage to run away to her aunt, who lived in a different part of the city, she got lost and ended up in the streets. Hungry, unwashed, foraging for food and work, she later met a woman who sold her to a brothel. She was eleven years old.

It was in that hell of rape and torture and suicide and never-ending series of abortions that she learned of the inimical fate of the children of sex workers.

“Actually, I saw that the children of sex workers often end up in the streets. No one wanted them. They were suffering very pathetically.”

The children face too much discrimination even in school. Normal parents do not want their children mixing with the children of sex workers.

Hazera says that it is the little girls she worried about the most. She didn’t want them going through what she herself had gone through. Abandoned girls are more prone to being sold away for sex work.

When she could, she quit the brothel and set up a facility for the children. She now takes care of as many as 35 of them. Sex workers in the city know her and they bring her their rejected children.

“She knows from her own traumatic personal experience that the children of sex workers can have a rough time. They’re often shunned, end up on the streets or in the same trade as their mothers. So Hazera looks after as many as she can – 35 at the current count – all living in her home. For some, it’s the only chance they’ll have to get fed, clothed and educated.”

She loves the children as her own.

“Love has no limits. They love me and I love them. And they call me mum. Likewise, I treat them as my own children. I enjoy and love it so much.”

Hazera’s story is found here.

Hazera Begum

Hazera Begum. Photo Courtesy of BBC.

This is the twelfth 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: Shilpa GargEric Lahti,  Belinda McGrath WitzenhausenSylvia McGrath, 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

We are living in the times when life doesn’t seem to hold much meaning. Whether it is the life of an animal, a plant, or a human being. The essence of life has reduced almost to the point of nothingness. It seems that anything else is better than a living thing.

From the arguments due to climate change to those concerning pollution in the cities,  to deforestation, poaching, immigration, etc, the outstanding concept is that we no longer care about life. We are inconvenienced by life. We hate life. The pursuit of the nonliving things, money and material resources, is being carried out at the expense of everything else, even ourselves. We are in bondage.

In Kenya, in the impoverished, marginalized regions of Mombasa, a place called Owino Uhuru, a chemical company has been poisoning its workers and the neighbouring community with lead. The company has been producing lead from recycling old car batteries. It has been operating at night to avoid detection, emitting fumes laden with lead into the air and also releasing the untreated wastewater into streams used by the community for washing, cooking, and cleaning.

Workers at the plant faced the most direct exposure to chemicals. They were provided one pair of flimsy cotton gloves per month, which quickly disintegrated after a few days. Once the gloves were gone, workers continued work with bare hands. In contrast, managers entering the factory did so in full protective gear.

One woman, Phyllis Omido, has been been fighting for the closure of the company.

Phyllis was first hired to manage the plant’s community relations. Her first task was to put together an environmental impact report. She found out what they were doing to the community, and, instead of protecting the company as is common in most such instances, she exposed them.

One of her first tasks was to put together an environmental impact report. Working with a team of experts, she found that the plant’s proximity to the local community left residents vulnerable to dangerous chemicals—and that the plant was likely operating under illegally obtained permits. Her report recommended closing the factory and relocating, but management dismissed the recommendations and removed Omido from the project.”

About three months later, she found out that she herself had become so poisoned with lead that her own breast milk was in turn making her infant son violently ill.

With a little encouragement, she founded an NGO, the Center for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action (CJGEA) and convinced the government health department to test local community members for lead. The results confirmed her worst fears. All her three children had very high levels of lead poisoning. Soil tests also showed lead levels increased almost tenfold from 2008 to 2009, when the plant became operational.

Equipped with this data, she began to actively seek the shutdown of the plant. Her efforts were in vain, and the company hit back. She was arrested, attacked by armed men, and forced into hiding.

She never gave up, though. Her bravery eventually paid off.

the NGO she founded, the Centre for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action, has already forced the closure of the plant and is now pushing the courts to secure compensation for the victims and a clean-up of the community.

They have gathered thousands of local residents in a class action against the government and two companies – Metal Refinery EPZ Ltd and Penguin Paper and Book Company (no connection with the global publishing company) for 1.6bn Kenyan shillings (£11.5m) compensation and a clean-up of contaminated land.

Two years after the suit was launched, the plaintiffs will be called as witness for the first time on 19 March in the environment and land court.

Her story can be found here and here.

Her website is here

Portrait of Phyllis

Phyllis Omido, environmental activist

 

This is the eleventh 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:   Inderpreet UppalShilpa Garg, Eric Lahti, Roshan Radhakrishnan, 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

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

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.

watw-turquoise-badge-275-x241-white

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