Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

There is a woman from Thailand named Lek Chailert who has dedicated her life to rescuing tortured elephants. She grew up in a small hillside village north of Chiang Mai where large scale logging was practised. Elephants were used by loggers to transport incredibly heavy loads.

When she was a student, Lek used to see the elephants cut and wounded and sick, and she sought to find out what was happening to them. She could hear elephants screaming in the forest but, being a student, was not allowed to go into the logging camp. One day she was taken into the forest by one of the elephant keepers, and that was when she witnessed the shocking horror of what was happening to them. The horror that would change her life.

There was an elephant hauling a log up the hill with a man riding on its back. Every time the elephant tried to haul the log, the man would step on a hook on its head and wound it, drawing blood. The man was also cutting its back with a knife. It was screaming.

Lek was speechless. It was her first time to see the giant animal tortured so badly by human beings. Shaken, she went back to the village for elephant medicine and came back to treat the wounded animal.

The elephants were used not only for logging but also for entertainment in circuses and tourist parks.

Baby elephants were put in a structure called “crush box”, which is a small, rigid trap with no room for turning around. They were then beaten and tortured mercilessly until they learned to obey their human masters. Afterwards, they were taken to the circuses for entertainment, obeying commands, playing with hoops, or being ridden by tourists in tourist parks for a fee, etc.

Lek wondered why humans expected so much from the animals. She made it her mission to rescue them. She went to the media and exposed the loggers. She founded Save Elephant Foundation.

An American actress, Ashley Bell, heard about her work and joined her. They have since worked together on a documentary called Love and Bananas about the rescued elephants and the ordeals they went through.

The animals she has saved are very grateful and when they see her they run to her and cuddle her.

Lek’s rich story can be found here.

Elephant Whisperer

Lek Chailert, BBC

This is the 17th 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, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein 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
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Sometime in 2015, the Taliban attempted to recapture an Afghan city called Kunduz. War began between the Taliban and the government military. All roads were closed and hospitals became battlefields. People were trapped in hospitals for weeks. Hospitals were running out of medicine, blood, and even food. One hospital was blown up by a mortar.

A gynaecologist named Dr. Marzia Salam Yaftali was working at the last-standing public hospital in the city. She couldn’t go to work during the attack and it worried her sick. The situation was getting worse. The injured kept arriving at the hospital despite the diminishing supplies.

I was desperate to go to work but I couldn’t because all the roads were closed and the hospital was a battlefield. It was in the crossfire between the Taliban and the government troops. My colleagues were trapped in the hospital for two weeks. No one could leave.

One night when the fighting had worsened uncontrollably, Dr. Marzia was called to help her neighbour deliver twins.

There was heavy fighting one night. The battle was going on from street to street and house to house. It was so bad that no one dared to leave their homes. If you were shot at no one would know if it was from the Taliban or government troops. My family was hiding in the basement.

Around 8 o’clock in the evening, there was banging on our door. We were terrified. But it was a neighbour. They had a lady staying with them called Fatma. She was young and pregnant with twins. But it hadn’t been an easy pregnancy. My neighbour said, ‘Please come. Fatma is going into labour. We need your help.’

Dr. Marzia was living with her sister, also a doctor. But her sister refused point-blank to go outside. The risk was too great. She had her own children to look after and going outside meant certain death.

Dr. Marzia had to decide what to do. She had met Fatma and seen the scan of her babies.

I knew that if I didn’t go, Fatma would die.

When I stepped outside the front door, there was a rain of bullets. It was absolutely terrifying.

I was running. I will never forget that night. There were NATO airplanes above. It was pitch-black but I could see the laser lights coming from the jets looking for the Taliban fighters. I ran like I had never run before. The neighbour’s house was ten minutes away but it felt like a whole hour.

Dr. Marzia managed to deliver the first baby. Unfortunately, the second baby was trapped at the shoulder and needed caesarean section to be delivered. She needed a hospital.

I called my government contacts and asked them to send a military tank to take us to the hospital. Then I rang the hospital and my colleagues there said absolutely not. You cannot come here. The hospital is a war zone. Earlier a patient and his father left the hospital and were shot. Their bodies are still outside in the driveway and no one dares to pick them up. The same could happen to you. Don’t come.

The rest of Dr. Marzia’s story can be found here.

Dr. Marzia

Dr. Marzia Salam Yaftali. Photo by BBC.

 

This is the 16th 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 GargBelinda WitzenhausenSylvia McGrath, Simon Falk, 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

Some days you come across a horror story about the agonies of sex-trafficked women. Young girls in their teens–children, really–kidnapped or sold, enslaved, abused, tortured, raped, degraded, and dehumanized, their bodies full of cuts and burns and bruises and deformities, their eyes wells of deep-rooted fear and despair, their children sold without their knowledge–they have no hope but to die.

In the Italian town of Caserta, near Naples, a little hope shines there for these women, growing bigger and bigger every day.

Sister Rita Garietta dedicates her life to helping women trafficked for sex. She was initially a nurse and a trade union representative, but when she was 29, she quit her job to follow a calling, becoming a nun. Later on, she left her home city for Caserta where, together with other nuns, opened Casa Ruth, a shelter for victims of sex trafficking in Caserta.

When she first saw the young girls on the streets, she was worried. All of them were about fifteen and sixteen years old. Sister Garietta was with a few other nuns and they stopped the vehicle to talk to the girls, thereby beginning a new journey in her life which would see her become families with the enslaved women.

“When there are stories about loss of dignity, you never get used to them,” she says after encountering the young girls and listening to their harrowing stories.

“What happens to your heart is that it grows in tenderness. This is the essence of Casa Ruth . . . of feeling loved with no judgement. It is a process of healing to the girls. They call us ‘Mama’ and every time we hear this, it sends a shiver down our spines. Being a mother today is about joy, it is about responsibility. It is about the responsibility of being entrusted with the care of other people’s lives,” she says about her experience with the women.

“My reward is joy . . . and the smiles. When these women arrive, they are desperate, and the pain is etched on their faces. Then the lines relax, joy sets in, hope sets in . . . All I want to do is to bring light into these people’s lives.”

Sister Garietta’s rich story can be found here and also here.

Rita Garieta

Sister Rita Garietta, BBC

This is the 14th 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, Damyanti Biswas, Andrea Michaels, Inderpreet Uppal, 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

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