SOCIAL GOOD GUEST POST: INDIA: Angi and Friends

SOCIAL GOOD GUEST POST: INDIA: Angi and Friends

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 7.00.14 AM copyThis is Angi, in the Ganges river on the first day we met in India. She is the reason I decided to start a school (for her and children like her), for Angi and her friends.

She was my first Indian child-friend, she was seven or eight years old. Angi did not know her birthday or how old she was exactly. I figured she was around the same age of my own twins who were: “seven and a half” as they would proudly say to anyone who would ask.

water

I took pictures of her happy face as we were giving her attention and joined in her water play. My “ignorant self “ thought she was a boy (short hair, no full bathing suit, no jewelry) but my friend “Helen” told me that she was a girl and that we were in fact bathing in the women ghat! ( a place exclusively for women to take a bath). Had I missed a sign ?

We played “patty cake”, threw mud, bonded, laughed and swam in the Ganges together. She showed me how to get blessings from Ma Ganga. Afterwards she let us know that she was hungry as she pulled us towards the ice cream cart.

I met her every day until it was time for me to return home.

I was wondering were she would find a “home” for herself that evening. I was wondering what she would be eating and who’s footsteps she would blindly follow in the hopes of a random act of kindness.

I was to go back and help her and so I returned the following summer.

I never found her when I went back, but I found many of her little friends who told me that Angi had moved to the city….

The band of children who would hang out around the walk bridge looking to make some money was still there. A little girl (Arti) was selling flowers just like the way I had seen her do the summer before. In exactly the same spot and even the brown cow seemed to have turned into a “statue –like” creature. I wondered:” Had one evening flowed into one year?”

girl

Vikas was still selling recycled shopping bags. Raj was still selling newspapers. Arti (my flower girl) became my second dear friend. It was with much delight that my own children a year later would become friends with her. Even though it was a hard lesson for my daughter to see that trading footwear (similar to trading rainbow loom bracelets in the USA) turned into:“ I love your shiny Target sandals for ever and ever…”

I called them lovingly: “The children of the Ganges” because Ma Ganga was there lifeline/home. They called me: “Didi” (sister).

The year after meeting them I bought art supplies and most evenings (if the rain was not pouring down) we met at the steps of the Ganga, the children gathered and made drawings that I later turned into cards upon my return to NY.

kids painting

Many people have opened their hearts along the way and given time, talent, gifts, and money for “The Children of the Ganges”.

UNIS PTA bought many cards, UNIS parents and students have given and raised money, Emily held a success full penny drive at her school in NJ, many old UNIS library books made it to India, along with old UNIS laptops and school supplies.

Many blessings have returned to me.

So I continue to return every summer holiday and give my time and my best so they may have a chance to reach their potential. My hopes are that at least this handful of children will not turn into child brides or child laborers.

kids at school

Singing ,Traditional Indian dancing, art, yoga, English, photography, and computers are among the offerings to the Children of the Ganges. It is a safe place to come to because: ” our teachers’ hands are for helping instead of hitting”

For more info about our: “ no hitting school “ go to: www.childrenoftheganges.com

It is a 501(C) (3) registered public charity in the USA.

I am forever grateful for the many friends and strangers who care and support us.

Namaste, Truike

ganges

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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WORLD INTERVIEW: Erin Thornton, Executive Director of Every Mother Counts

WORLD INTERVIEW: Erin Thornton, Executive Director of Every Mother Counts

erin-thornton_executive-directorEvery mother has the right to access the care they need during pregnancy and childbirth – care that can identify, prevent, and manage complications should they arise. But failure to meet these needs results in the loss of 800 mothers every day, even though up to 98% of these deaths are preventable. 

 Every Mother Counts is working to provide solutions that can make pregnancy and childbirth safer. We know that with the right care at the right time, it IS possible that every mother could have the chance to survive and thrive.

Recently, World Moms Blog sat down with Executive Director of Every Mother Counts, Erin Thornton, to talk about how she got involved with the organization and what drives her to work so hard for maternal health.

World Moms Blog: Erin, you’re the mother of three young girls and you live in the metro-Boston area yet you are the executive director of Every Mother Counts, a New York-based non-profit working in five locations around the world. How did you get involved?

Erin Thornton: My involvement with Every Mother Counts grew out of a 10-day trip to Africa with my former organization, ONE. We had invited  Christy Turlington Burns along and she and I got chatting about maternal health. Maternal health was not an issue ONE focused on and I was really drawn to what Christy was telling me about.

WMB: What about maternal health drew you in?

ET: Well, Christy had just completed the film, “No Woman, No Cry” a documentary about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. During our  trip through five African countries, Christy and I spent a lot of time comparing notes on what was needed to move the maternal health agenda forward. Through all my time at ONE, I realized how interlinked so many poverty challenges are to maternal health—that if moms are kept alive, we can better keep kids alive, better give them an education and clean water, etc. Yet still no one was really talking about it.

WMB: What prompted you to leave behind a long career with ONE and join Christy in her pursuit of spreading maternal health awareness as she built this new non-profit?

ET: I had been with ONE since 2002, when I became the first hire in the US for ONE’s predecessor organization, DATA. By 2010, ONE had grown to 120 people in four different global offices. I had two young girls and I was starting to think about making a change. The more Christy and I talked about the need for an “awareness campaign” for maternal health, the more I realized I wanted to be a part of it too, so six-months later, I formally signed on to help her build the organization.

WMB:  In just a few days (May 10), we celebrate Mother’s Day here in the US, can you share with World Moms something about what makes you a passionate believer in Every Mother Counts?

ET: Physiologically, every woman goes through pregnancy the same way and faces the same chances of developing a complication. The difference in how they fare mainly comes down to whether they have access to good health care- or not. Helping more moms enjoy a safe pregnancy and delivery may sound like an overwhelming challenge but we really CAN make a difference. EMC has identified three target areas to focus our support on: 1. transport, 2. education and training for healthcare providers, and 3. supplies for clinics–including birth kits, solar suitcases and lighting. And we’re seeing that these seemingly simple things are making a big difference.

This Mother’s Day, Every Mother Counts is celebrating #WhatIsPossible for every mother.

Every mother has the right to access the care they need during pregnancy and childbirth – care that can identify, prevent, and manage complications should they arise. But failure to meet these needs results in the loss of 800 mothers every day, even though up to 98% of these deaths are preventable.

Every Mother Counts is working to provide solutions that can make pregnancy and childbirth safer. We know that with the right care at the right time, it IS possible that every mother could have the chance to survive and thrive.

So this Mother’s Day, as we look at the future of maternal health, we ask ourselves #WhatIsPossible? And the answer is, a lot.

With your help, Every Mother Counts has already impacted thousands of lives by improving access to critical maternal health care for vulnerable mothers.

During the month of May, we invite you to spread the good news about #WhatIsPossible by sharing this film.

This is an original interview with Erin Thornton posted by World Moms Blog Managing Editor, Kyla P’an.

The image used in this post is from the Every Mother Counts website and is used here with permission.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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WORLD VOICE: Women In The World

WORLD VOICE: Women In The World

IMG_7966Last week special correspondent Anna Gress covered the opening night of the Women In The World Summit for World Moms Blog. The evening launched three days of emotional and inspirational speakers, and panels highlighting the singular truth that Women are key to global development and peace. The sixth annual Women in The World Summit was presented by Tina Brown Live Media in association with the New York Times, and took place at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The topics were tender and the experiences the women were sharing emotionally centered the entire audience. The atmosphere of the auditorium was indescribable.- Anna Gress

Opening night we heard Saida Munye, the mother and activist spoke on the “Girls as Weapons of War” panel.  She shared her story of losing her daughter to a Jihadi recruiter. Her activist message illustrated the power of a mother’s love and created a platform to educate the audience on how she fights to prevent other mothers from enduring the same pain.

As a society and within different cultures, we bottle up sharing and declaring eternal and everlasting feelings, but this was a clear message as Saida spoke.

Communicating with love is the only way to affect a person and to make a change.

Saida was asked by the moderator what would happen if her daughter were to return and without hesitation Saida responded, “As hard as your children may be on the outside there is an inside, do not give up on them.” In closing, Saida left the audience with one message, a message she hopes her daughter will hear where ever she is in the world, regardless of her affiliation with Jihad, “My heart is like the ocean that can clean the earthly waste, I want her to become what she has been before. I still believe…she has my ticket to go to paradise.”

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The other opening night panels proved equally as impactful:

During The Sons We Share an Israeli woman and Palestinian women shared how their personal losses forged a path of forgiveness and friendship. The biggest takeaway from this panel was perspective illustrated in the mother’s quotes;
“When you see humanity that is the beginning to the end of conflict.”
“You can say a lot, but do you meant it, forgiving is giving up your just right for revenge.”
“Walk the walk, talk the talk, take the steps.”

Three Great Women of Film with Jon Stewart and Meryl Streep closed the opening evening with the power of Story. Sharing stories  is our goal at World Moms Blog, to share our stories across countries and cultures, and forge the connections that we need with each other.

We leave you with two more of the many outstanding moments throughout the summit, 10 year old poet from Kibera School for Girls, Eunice Akoth and closing remarks of the summit by Angelina Jolie on the ongoing, unending, tragedy of Syria.

 Anna Gress began her career in NYC after early graduation from Ithaca College in December of 2014. She worked freelance producing events at the BBC post graduation and currently is an Account Coordinator at CIVIC Entertainment Group a Seacrest Global Group Company. She is passionate about women’s equality and interested in building ambition and confidence within young people.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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SPECIAL REPORT: #WorldMoms at #WorldBank This Week for #SMCSO15

SPECIAL REPORT: #WorldMoms at #WorldBank This Week for #SMCSO15

#WorldMoms at #WorldBank this week for #SMCSO15

NEW FINAL CollageFantastic news! Writers from World Moms Blog will be traveling to the World Bank Spring Meetings (#SM2015) in Washington D.C. this week to help spread the word about the ongoing dialog between citizens from Civil Society Organizations (CSO). World Moms Blog founder, Jennifer Burden, and contributor, Cynthia Changyit Levin, are thrilled to be headed back to the World Bank CSO meetings to represent moms around the globe concerned about the futures of ALL children no matter where they were born.

Civil Society meetings are bi-annual events hosted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Non-government organizations like UNICEFthe ONE CampaignA World at School, and RESULTS send representatives to speak on panels to talk about development policies. Citizens from all over the world can join in and voice their opinions about the best ways to fight extreme poverty and speak out about how World Bank programs affect the lives of people in their countries for better or worse.

We’re honored to be lending our social media skills in a partnership that started at the 2014 RESULTS Conference when we met World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim and continued as we attended and blogged about the 2014 Fall CSO meetings. This spring, we’re returning to help the World Bank to engage in conversation with our audience of concerned moms on topics of importance to us as world citizens: Ebola, Education, Nutrition, and more. We’ll be live-tweeting flagship events and even hosting a panel discussion about social media and citizen activism to move the world toward education for all.

YOU can help take the meetings and the conversation about ending poverty far beyond DC! Please join the conversation by:

  • Following the Twitter hashtag #SMCSO15 and the Twitter accounts of @WorldMomsBlog@JenniferBurden, and @ccylevin so you can join in the conversation and re-tweet posts that you like using the #WorldMoms hashtag.
  • Joining live-streamed webcast events (listed below) and leaving your questions/comments on the webcast page for the moderators! Each event has a hashtag so you can engage with the panel and audience through Twitter.
  • Leaving a question for the World Bank in the comment section of this blog. We’ll try to ask it in the panel discussions and town hall meetings we attend or ask our contacts at the World Bank about it to get a response to you.

Here is the link to the full schedule of live-streamed webcast events. The list below calls out some of our favorites that we are most excited to attend. Pick one or more that interest you and join us virtually. You may even see us in the audience!

Creating Jobs and Improving Services: A New Social Contract in the Arab World

#breakthecycle and #menaeconomy

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. ET
Join us for a live discussion where panelists will address the need for a new social contract to meet the demands of the current generation of citizens in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Power of Faith to Help End Extreme Poverty

#Faith2EndPoverty

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m ET.
Location: World Bank Group Headquarters, Preston Auditorium & Online

Can people of faith help build a movement to end extreme poverty? Can they seize this opportunity at a time of conflict in some regions — some of it driven by groups claiming religious justification?

Latin America: In Search of Lost Growth

#RoadtoLima

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

How can Latin American governments stimulate growth while preserving social achievements? What growth levels will countries of the region achieve in 2015?

2015 Spring Meetings Press Briefing: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim

#WBLive

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. ET

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will address the press during the World Bank’s 2015 Spring Meetings.

The Power of Nutrition

#PowerofNutrition

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET

Join us for a panel discussion on the importance of investing in nutrition; the challenges countries are facing; and concrete steps towards scaling up high-impact programming for child nutrition.

Future of Food: A Conversation with Jim Yong Kim & David Chang

#Food4All

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

Hear from a development banker, a renowned chef, an agricultural expert, a woman farmer, a culinary professional and others about the future of food, and how we can work together to feed the world.

Trust, Voice, and Incentives: Learning from Local Successes in Service Delivery in the Middle East and North Africa

#BreaktheCycle

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET

Join regional policy makers, practitioners and civil society representatives for a discussion on what it will take to instill adequate accountability and motivation among public servants and service providers toward meeting citizens’ needs.

Water Security for All in a World of Scarcity

#WaterSec4All

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Water security is emerging as the number one global risk in terms of development impact. An expert panel will share their experiences and solutions for addressing water scarcity challenges with a view of the social, economic, and political implications.

Ebola: The Road to Recovery

#EbolaRecovery

Date: Friday, April 17, 2015
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET

WBG President Jim Yong Kim chairs this high-level roundtable at which the heads of state of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will present their Ebola recovery plans to finance and development ministers and international partners.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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CALIFORNIA, USA: New Writer Interview with To-Wen Tseng

CALIFORNIA, USA: New Writer Interview with To-Wen Tseng

IMG_2628

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I currently reside in San Diego, CA, USA. I am originally from Taipei, TAIWAN.

What language(s) do you speak?

Mandarin Chinese, English, and Japanese.

When did you first become a mother?

I first became a mother in 2013 at the age of 33.

Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?

I’m a work-from-home mom.

Why do you blog/write?

I am a writer and I write for a living. I started to blog back in 2009 when a publisher in Taiwan invited me to. My blog then titled “The World According to To-wen” was all about my experience as a criminal/disaster reporter. It made the final list of 2011 Global Chinese-language blog awards; later became a book which was sold more than 80,000 copies in China and Taiwan.

But things changed four years later when I became a mother. When returned to my previous newsroom after giving birth, I got a rude awakening which inspired me to advocate for women and children’s rights. I changed my blog title to “I’d rather be breastfeeding” and started to blog about my message to other mothers (or fathers) who share my values.

What makes you unique as a mother?

Every mother is unique, or no mother is unique. I am no exception. Mothers believe in different things and compete with one another in many different ways. But no matter what we believe, we love our children. I love my child just like other mothers do. I am not particularly unique.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

There are many and I consider temptation the biggest one. My son is barely two years old and I’m working hard to teach him to resist candy. Surely our culture is strutted with candy and other junk foods. Every so often, I feel that I’m fighting against the whole world just to protect my child from junk foods.

And I imagine as he grows up, there will be other temptations: TV, pornography, drugs, unsafe sex…the list goes on and on. Since I cannot be a food police or Internet police around him 24/7, I need to raise him as a person with integrity and strong will power to resist these temptations.

Not only children, but parents in today’s world need to learn to deal with temptation. It’s harder for today’s parents to resist the convenience that infant formula, or iPad, or smart phone has to offer. None of us want to be that mother who stares at her iPhone when “playing” with children in the park or the mother who simply gives a fuzzy child an iPad and say “here, just be quiet for a minute!” Unfortunately, sometimes an iPad seems to be the easiest solution.

The challenge of temptation. Definitely a big one.

How did you find World Moms Blog?

I don’t remember. I’ve known about World Moms Blog for a couple of years and was a reader even before I became a mother but never thought of writing for the blog. Maybe I just went across the blog somehow when surfing the internet. I really can’t remember. But I’m definitely thrilled to be part of the team!

This has been an exclusive World Moms Blog interview with our new writer To-wen Tseng.  She can be found writing at her blog “I’d rather be breastfeeding” and on Facebook and Twitter

Photo credit to Mu-huan Chiang.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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