WORLD VOICE: Are These on Your To-Do List? #GlobalGoals

WORLD VOICE: Are These on Your To-Do List? #GlobalGoals


The Global Goals for Sustainable DevelopmentEvery organized mom knows that the key to getting things done is a good to-do list. That goes for parents of toddlers or teens…and for world leaders, too! That’s why I’m so excited that this past week in New York City, world leaders at the United Nations committed our planet to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It’s a to-do list on a massive scale. Known simply as the Global Goals, they are 17 goals to help us all achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years:

1. End Extreme Poverty

2. Fight Inequality and Injustice

3. Fix Climate Change

Feet Photo

That’s a tall order, but that’s precisely the point. We have a lot to get done if we want our children and their children to inherit a world worth living in. As it stands now, 1 in 9 people go to sleep hungry, 6 million children die before their fifth birthday each year, and 2.5 billion don’t have access to basic toilets. That’s simply not acceptable. We have a lot of work to do to make our society and planet stronger, but it’s our moral obligation as global citizens taking up space on this Earth to pitch in and help.

If EVERY family in the world teaches their children about these goals, we will help our kids become the generation that changed the world! 

What do you, as a parent, need to tell your kids about the Global Goals? First of all, take a look at this graphic to get an overview of all the goals. 

Pretty ambitious right? From good health to clean energy to living sustainably to fighting inequality to climate change, these goals have something for everyone. They aren’t just “nice ideas” either. These goals will have measurable targets and reportable data to go along with them. What they are missing is YOU and your family working together with other families all over the world. The only way we can achieve our global goals is if we all work together on them…globally.

The first thing you can do is to sit down with your kids and watch this 6 minute video called “The World’s Largest Lesson.” It will help explain that we all need to make these goals famous by telling everyone about them AND we each need to pick at least one goal and take actions – big and small – so that together we can reach them by 2030! 

If you are a parent, check out this resource for parents. If you are a teacher, here is a resource for teachers complete with ready made lesson plans.

Cindy Levin Take On

Make the Global Goals your to-do list as well! Pick one…or two…or three goals and take on what you want to change in the world. It’s hard for me to choose favorite children or favorite goals, but my personal top three are: 

#1 End Poverty

#3 Good Health and Well Being

#4 Quality Education 

I pledge to work on these three and I am so thankful that other people are coming on board who will be moved to work on the others, too There are more than enough of us to save our planet and all the people in it if we all pitch in and work together. 

What is(are) your favorite Global Goal(s)? Come on and #TellEveryone ! You can start by leaving yours in the comments below…

Cindy Levin

Cynthia Changyit Levin is a mother, advocate, speaker, and author of the upcoming book “From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started.” A rare breed of non-partisan activist who works across a variety of issues, she coaches volunteers of all ages to build productive relationships with members of Congress. She advocated side-by-side with her two children from their toddler to teen years and crafted a new approach to advocacy based upon her strengths as a mother. Cynthia’s writing and work have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, the Washington Post, and many other national and regional publications. She received the 2021 Cameron Duncan Media Award from RESULTS Educational Fund for her citizen journalism on poverty issues. When she’s not changing the world, Cynthia is usually curled up reading sci-fi/fantasy novels or comic books in which someone else is saving the world.

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POLAND: The Unimportance of “Things”

POLAND: The Unimportance of “Things”

mudEight thousand pounds, ten suitcases, three car seats, and a mammoth-sized double stroller. That is how we move from place to place. Our lives measured in mass. The “things” we take with us as we circumnavigate the globe.

Every time we pack up and unpack I ask myself, do we really need all of this stuff? All of these things? What would become of us if we couldn’t bring these things with us?

Before I became a parent, I wasn’t so concerned about having our things. It was always nice to receive our personal items and make our new house a home, but we could do without. While on assignment in Sudan, our household shipment took a year to arrive and be released at the port, at which point we only had one more year of our assignment left. Surprisingly, we found it pretty easy to live without our things.

But then I became a parent, and we acquired all of the things that come along with that wonderful privilege – toys, blankets, cribs, clothes, plastic plates, bottles, kid-proof cutlery, safety gates, bikes, trikes, scooters, hot wheels tracks, mountains of Legos. All of the things that entertain kids and make them happy (so we think). Times three.

Somehow our things mushroomed from two thousand pounds to eight thousand pounds overnight.

With three young children and all of this stuff, it then came time to move — not once, but twice (internationally) in one year. The first was a move from Thailand to Washington, D.C.; the second from Washington, D.C. to Poland. And with each move came new regulations about how much of our stuff we could take with us and how long it would take us to receive it. And naturally, as parents do, I worried about how the kids would fare without their things. How will they keep themselves entertained? Won’t they be bored? Won’t they miss their stuff?

And then the test came. In Washington, D.C. we were allowed 1/12th of our unruly-sized load of things. This actually turned out to be a very good thing. We got out to explore often – every day – and many days, multiple times. We lived near trails of every kind, streams, baseball and soccer fields. There must have been ten playgrounds within a mile radius. Libraries, museums, nature centers. Most within walking distance. By getting out, it became increasingly clear that the kids didn’t need their “things,” that in fact, those things become pretty unimportant when there were was so much exploring to do.

Their happiness was not predicated on whether or not they had their stuff. They were just as happy as before; if not, more so at the excitement of discovering new places.

Crib jumpingAfter a wonderful year in Washington, we moved to Krakow, Poland last month. Our things arrived in several different shipments over the course of six weeks. It was amazing to watch the kids use what little they had at the beginning to easily amuse themselves. Crib mattresses became trampolines, our back yard became a place of adventures, plastic tubs became swimming pools, and moving boxes . . . you name it, and moving boxes turned into all kinds of things from forts to art tables and clever hiding places. And just as we did in D.C., we are exploring. We are exploring our neighborhood, the main square downtown, the forest, the zoo, castles with dragon caves (yes, you read that right), biking trails, outdoor fountains, ice cream parlors, chocolate shops.back yard

On Friday, the last shipment of our 8,000 pounds arrived. As I look around, I realize how easy it would be to simply. To cut down the clutter. To purge all of the things we don’t need and choose to get out and explore as an everyday way of life. Kids are the best versions of themselves when they use their imaginations. Less really is more. Happiness is not about what they have, but about who they are with. So what does that mean for us? It means we will slowly be letting go of our “things” over the next three years and lightening our load before we embark on our next overseas adventure. And I’m sure the movers will thank us for it.

Have you ever felt the need to cut down on all of the “things” you own?  Have you thought about how you might do this (i.e. – by donating to local orphanages, Goodwill, etc.)?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Loren Braunohler.  Loren Braunohler is a former U.S. diplomat turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer.  She is a world traveler who avoids the cold (don’t ask why she is currently in Poland).  Former assignments have included Mozambique, Venezuela, Australia, Sudan, Thailand and Washington, D.C.  She enjoys running, although she probably enjoys sleep more.  Loren blogs about her family’s international adventures and parenting at

Loren Braunohler

Loren Braunohler is a former U.S. diplomat turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is a world traveler who avoids the cold (don't ask why she is currently in Poland). Former assignments have included Mozambique, Venezuela, Australia, Sudan, Thailand and Washington, D.C. She enjoys running, although she probably enjoys sleeping even more. Loren blogs about her family's international adventures and parenting at

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ONTARIO, CANADA: Forty and Freaking Out

ONTARIO, CANADA: Forty and Freaking Out

children at the beach

Our family has gone through some serious upheaval over the past two years. We’re talking big city to small town relocation, major job changes, the birth of our youngest, and the final resignation of my job as I officially became a stay at home mom (SAHM) for an indefinite period to deal with our children’s special needs. Whew! I can feel my stress level rising just thinking about it.

Our family embraces change with the best of them, and we tend to take many things in stride. Dealing with two children with complex needs is just something we do. Homeschooling to support serious academic needs? Done. Countless medical appointments and therapist visits? You got it. An active and healthy life style? It’s even better, now that we’re relocated to a small town surrounded by forest and farmland.

The kids are happy, my husband’s happy, and I’m happy.  So what’s the freak out about?

*gulp*  I’m turning forty. Like really soon. (more…)


Angela is a Special Education teacher who blogs about her super-powered special needs family. She has a 3 year old with Prader-Willi Syndrome and a 5 year old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Processing Disorder. The odds of these random genetic events occurring at the same time are astronomical. "When you add our typically developing one year old baby boy to the mix, you have a very busy household!", she explains. Angela admits to having too many appointments, too many school problems, and being generally too busy as she tries to live life to the fullest. Please visit her family at Half Past Normal for more of their adventures! If you want to connect to chat, you can find her on Twitter @specialneedmom2 If you are interested in Special Education policies and procedures in Ontario – or just some excellent strategies and accommodations – please check out Angela's other site at Special Ed on the Bell Curve.

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INDIA: Of Cellotape and Glue

INDIA: Of Cellotape and Glue

In this post, World Mom, Piya Mukherjee in India has shared an excerpt from her motherhood diary. Many of us have gone through this same experience with our children when they were small, but ever did we think a mom on the other side of the world was playing the same game?…

WMB 24Sep15 Piya

These days, I seem to be in the middle of an affair with scissors and cellotape (Scotch tape). Come rain or shine, be it noon or night, these two innocuous objects have inexplicably developed a strong attachment for me, and I, for them. Diapers, I can understand, baby oil and soap, quite naturally; and toys? – but of course. But cellotape and glue?

Actually, there is a simple explanation. Abhishek, my over-a-year-old-but-not-yet-two son, adores books. He loves to feel them, dribble on them and even chew the pages meditatively, if they seem interesting enough. He turns pages and stabs his tiny fore-finger below each picture, a cue for me to explain what it is (never mind that I had done just that an hour ago!). Once, he even subjected his book on animals to the indignity of a bath – in a warm puddle of his own making!

Given his proclivity towards books, it seems logical that pages will often tear under his enthusiastic but clumsy fingers.

And what happens to that poor little torn page? It is promptly placed in Mama’s hands, where, with immediate ministrations of glue, scissors and cellotape, the book becomes whole once more. Albeit in a battered sort of way.

Meanwhile, the guilty party shuffles on his feet and darts me repentant glances from beneath lowered lids. I launch into a lofty sermon on why books should be treated with care and respect. Next comes the message “This is definitely not on.” Finally, the tete-a-tete ends with a pat on his back and a “Be careful in future.”

Abhi gives me a smile of relief, which clearly says, ”Won’t happen again, Ma!” I grin back and hand over the pieced-together book. Grabbing it gleefully, he toddles off to his favourite corner. Soon, he happily retreats into a cozy, private cocoon of books, imaginary friends and one-sided babble. Sighing in relief, I turn back to my work. Feeling the contentment that comes from a job well done, a clear message given to a young, impressionable mind.

I laugh, remembering the time I caught him in the act of throwing a torn page into the waste-paper bin. To avoid the inevitable reprimand, he had decided to do away with the evidence! The crumpled picture of a bright green spinach was duly rescued and given its rightful place in its book – with the help of the omnipresent duo, of course.

I start dreaming of the day when Abhi will use his knowledge to make a positive difference to his world. Information will no longer be restricted to books. The ubiquitous computer will occupy prime space in his life.

But books are likely to be his loyal companions for a long time to come…Will he then remember his first books and their colourful pictures? That picture of boat with its sail under cellotape? And the gentle lamb in his book of Nursery Rhymes, its tail in tatters? Maybe he will…

The peace is abruptly broken by the sound of ripped paper. A curly-haired head is bent in contrition. Two little hands are guiltily fingering a torn bit of paper, as if to ask, “How on earth did this happen again?” Sigh! It’s time to reach for the cellotape and glue once more!

(The little reader finds shelter in his mom’s cupboard, after one episode too many of ripped pages.)

Have you ever wondered about all the mothers around the world facing the same day to day as you? Where are reading this from? Leave us a comment!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Piya Mukherjee of Mumbai, India.

Photo credit to the author.

SAUDI ARABIA: Women Achieve the Right to Vote

SAUDI ARABIA: Women Achieve the Right to Vote

Saudi Woman Registers to Vote

Saudi women have the right to vote for the first time in their country. A woman proudly holds up her filled out voting registration form. The first voting day will take place on December 12, 2015.

In 2011 King Abdullah (God rest his soul) declared that Saudi women would have the right to vote and run in the municipal elections in 2015. When I first heard the news of women being allowed to vote and nominate themselves I imagine many women felt as I did, overjoyed, excited and, slightly doubtful that the day will come.

It’s one thing to have it said, and an entirely other thing to have it happen. Over the last few weeks women have, for the first time in Saudi history, registered to vote!

Every article or news piece I have read about this event has had a ‘however’ attached to the end of it. You won’t find any ‘however’s’ in this one though. Every situation has a ‘however’, but the change that has happened for women in our country over the last ten years alone shows me that these ‘however’s’ right now are just rain on a very well deserved parade.

Saudi women are held up to the litmus test of the west that totally ignore (or are ignorant of) the fact that Saudi women have been campaigning for this right and other rights for over a generation. The foreign media also seems to be ignorant about the role society and culture play in these advancements.

It’s not as easy as flipping a switch or changing a law (contrary to popular belief there actually is no law against women driving in Saudi Arabia, it’s just not culturally accepted). It is more like rewiring a circuit board. (Now, I would lie if I told you I had any idea what that involved, but i am quite sure you cannot just do it willy nilly and have to take into account all the other hundreds of wires before messing with one.)

Saudi Women Register to Vote Wall

A message board in Saudi Arabia provides voting registration information for women.

The thing people also don’t give us credit for is how hard-working we Saudi women are. And believe us, there is no one more adamant on us getting our rights than ourselves. Small changes are happening that have a big impact on our society’s perception of the role of women outside of the home, in businesses and in government.

For the first few months after women joined the Shoura council, during the televised portions, when any of the women were talking, the camera men didn’t know where to focus. Fast forward to a year later, and the cameras are clearly focused on the strong female representatives broadcasting their voices and their faces* clearly.

There is not one road block stopping the progress of women’s rights in Saudi, but rather, there are many small holes and bumps and detours to get around and navigate. For the first time since women being granted the right to get an education, we are seeing fundamental change that cannot be taken away from us. It is exhilarating.

There has been contagious buzz in the air since registration opened. The Saudi Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA) launched a campaign, website and an app with all the information needed to register to vote or run in the municipality elections. The philanthropic women’s society, Alnahdha, held one of the biggest campaigns to spread awareness around the elections and how to register. They held workshops and partnered up with local businesses and other NGOs to spread the message of “your vote makes a difference” campaign.

Saudi Women Register to Vote Clothing

Saudi women taking part in the campaign to spread voter registration information to women.

Small business even got on board. Many taxi services such as Easy Taxi and Careem offered free rides for any women who wanted to register to vote. Uber carried flyers and information about voting in their cars.

Saudi Register to Vote Lunch Tray

A lunch tray in Saudi Arabia advertises women’s voting registration.

Registration closed on the 10th of September, and the vote is on the 12th of December. According to MOMRA 22% of the registered voters are women and 16% of the candidates running are women.

Thinking of my daughter now, I pray that she will be shocked she was alive when women were still not allowed to vote. I pray she can’t imagine what it was like to not have full power over your life and your decisions because of your gender.

And for the first time I believe without a doubt that change is not only coming, it is here, just pay attention. It’s moving fast!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Mama B. in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Photo credits to the author. 

Mama B (Saudi Arabia)

Mama B’s a young mother of four beautiful children who leave her speechless in both, good ways and bad. She has been married for 9 years and has lived in London twice in her life. The first time was before marriage (for 4 years) and then again after marriage and kid number 2 (for almost 2 years). She is settled now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (or as settled as one can be while renovating a house). Mama B loves writing and has been doing it since she could pick up a crayon. Then, for reasons beyond her comprehension, she did not study to become a writer, but instead took graphic design courses. Mama B writes about the challenges of raising children in this world, as it is, who are happy, confident, self reliant and productive without driving them (or herself) insane in the process. Mama B also sheds some light on the life of Saudi, Muslim children but does not claim to be the voice of all mothers or children in Saudi. Just her little "tribe." She has a huge, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters that make her feel like she wants to give her kids a huge, loving family of brothers and sisters, but then is snapped out of it by one of her three monkeys screaming “Ya Maamaa” (Ya being the arabic word for ‘hey’). You can find Mama B writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa . She's also on Twitter @YaMaamaa.

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