OMAN: Raising Children As Global Citizens

OMAN: Raising Children As Global Citizens

Is it possible to raise children to be global citizens in a conservative society?

Is it possible to bring the ideas of globalization in a culture that might reject anything new?

Is it possible to raise children as global citizens, yet respect their own culture?

These are the questions that we as parents, caregivers or educators should be aware of, when raising/educating children in the current global world. For me, as a mother of three children in a conservative society, I believe it is not only possible but a necessity.

Extremism in any culture, I think, is partly a result of isolating a society from the world to the extend it rejects and fights anything that differs from them regardless of the reasons.

Therefore, some effort is needed. Our children are not only influenced by us as parents. They are influenced by all the other constituents of the society they evolve in especially.

As parents, we may start with ourselves. We may be culturally-sensitive, non-judgmental and educated to the differences around us.  We may be very careful to what we say in front of children when they ask questions related to different cultures and ethnicity. We, ourselves, can be judgmental unfortunately sometimes towards a specific culture and may be careful with any words we utter in the presence of our children.

The other thing that I believe is crucial are resources. Books, television, internet programs,  and after-school activities could be diverse. We are lucky to have diverse and a rich market that allows us to learn everything about anything. Travelling allows us more exposure to different cultures and learning opportunities.

I think that learning English (or any other language) at a young age provides more contact to different “diverse” materials. We do have more diverse materials in English than , say, in Arabic.

Charity works wonders in an interesting way too. You may involve your children in a charitable action into giving to others who are in another country or culture. This provides a learning opportunity, empathy towards others and a responsible child who believes he/she can make a change.

Preparing children to be global citizens is a must at the present. We will not be present at every step they take in their lives, but at least prepare them to manage better in a fast growing world.

What are your ideas to raise a global citizen?

This is an original post from our #WorldMom, Ibtisam from Oman for World Moms Blog.

Picture Credit to the author.

You can find more of her wonderful perspective on her blog:

Ibtisam Alwardi

Ibtisam (at Ibtisam's musings) is an Omani Mom of three, living in the capital city of Oman ,Muscat. After working for ten years as a speech and language therapist in a public hospital, she finally had the courage to resign and start her own business. She had a dream of owning a place where she can integrate fun, play and 'books', thus the iPlay Smart centre (@iplaysmart) was born. Currently she is focusing on raising awareness through social media about parenting, childhood, language acquisition. She started raising awareness on (the importance of reading) and (sexual harassment) targeting school-aged children. Ibtisam enjoys writing, both in Arabic and English, reading and working closely with children. She plans to write children books (in Arabic) one day. Contact Ibtisam at ibtisamblogging(at)

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WORLD VOICE: Why I Send My Kids To Camp

WORLD VOICE: Why I Send My Kids To Camp

IMG_0826I just returned from two weeks in the woods of northern Minnesota. This was my sixth summer reprising my college job as a camp counselor. The opportunity to be at camp at the same time as my three children has allowed me a unique perspective: I get to witness firsthand the benefits of sending my kids to camp.

I am proud to work at Skogfjorden, the Norwegian language and cultural immersion program that is one of the fourteen Concordia Language Villages.  Respekt is the guiding principle; all deltagere (campers) and staff promise to both have and take responsibility for their actions as part of the Skogfjorden promise. But I am willing to bet that most of the following benefits of sending your kids to sleepaway camp apply to pretty much any high quality summer program.

Kids do things at camp that they may never attempt at home. Being outside of their normal social circle allows kids to try new things. Sometimes this is as simple as a picky eater who samples food at camp that he would flat-out refuse at home. My daughter, for example, barely nibbles the kid-friendly items in her lunchbox but she chows down on almost everything she is served at camp. But sometimes I have seen kids do incredible things that they would never dream of doing at home. I remember a girl in my cabin one year whose parents pulled me aside when they dropped her off to brief me on how incredibly shy she was. And she WAS painfully shy. But exactly one week later, I saw her stand up in front of the entire camp and sing a solo a cappella in the talent show. It was so beautiful that I teared up. Her parents saw a video of it on the camp blog and were. Totally. Blown. Away.

The corollary of this is that kids get to explore different aspects of their personalities at camp.

At school, a kid may be labeled as this, that or the other, but they get a chance to start fresh at camp. At camp, most kids just get to be valued for who they are, without having to worry about how they are viewed by their long-term peers. In fact, two of my three kids kind of don’t want their friends to go to camp with them. It is THEIR place and don’t want to cross the streams of their lives.

Camp helps kids learn how to problem solve and make decisions for themselves. One of the things that I have learned from parenting is that kids actually have very little control over their lives. Understandably, that can be frustrating. In a lot of ways, camp helps children feel in control of what happens to them. At Skogfjorden, kids get to choose between activities twice a day, they choose what they will do during free time, choose how much money they will take out of the bank and what they will buy with it, choose to be kjempenorsk and speak only Norwegian all day.  I think that these experiences make kids feel competent and independent, which in the end will help them to be better problem-solvers in any new situation.

And sometimes it can lead to brilliance. One summer, I was assigned to work the camp candy store (or kiosk, as we call it at Skogfjorden). In terms of kid priorities, candy is at the very top of the list. Since the store was only open once a day, the lines were looooong. My oldest son showed up one afternoon and placed a massive and complicated order of soda, chocolate, gummies, etc. He had done the math in his head and paid with exact change for each category of item. I flipped out. “What do you think you are doing? You can NOT have all of that candy!” “Mom,” he responded calmly, “it’s not for me.” Turns out he was running a business. For a small but reasonable fee, he would stand in line for you and buy your candy. Understandably, he had quite a customer base. Not only that, but what he bought for himself he would save until the next morning – when everyone else had eaten up all of their own candy and were desperate for more. Then he would sell at with a steep markup. I gave him $20 at the start of camp on Monday. By Friday, he had doubled his money and started a matching fund for a kid in his cabin who didn’t have much money.

Camp forces kids to take a break from their ever-present technology. Everyone talks about how one of the benefits of sleepaway camp is that today’s plugged-in kids are forced to unplug and commune with nature. That’s true, of course, but it doesn’t capture the sheer beauty of some of the things I have seen at camp. I helped a 7-year-old with her camp evaluation last week and the most important thing for her was that she “had seen more animals than she had in a really long time”. This happened on a day that I saw two deer sprint through camp, as well as a woodchuck, a red-headed woodpecker, and a hummingbird, not to mention all the various insects, birds and bees. (We have bears, too, but that just means you have to sing on your way back to the cabin.) I especially love how the girls in my cabin were constantly showing me the caterpillars, inchworms, moths, shells and frogs that they had discovered.

Speaking of frogs, I have to share the beauty of The Night of the Frogs. It had rained hard – torrentially hard – that day and then cleared off. On my way back to my cabin, I encountered my son Simon and 3 of his buddies in the middle of the flooded path, catching frogs in the moonlight. There were frogs EVERYWHERE – big and small. It was like something out of the Ten Commandments. The boys had already caught more than a dozen frogs of all sizes. Somewhere they had found a cardboard box. They showed me the inhabitants of their cardboard box with pride. They had worked out a system for catching the frogs and their cooperation was yielding enormous success. Sometimes, I just close my eyes and remember their young voices raised in laughter and exhilaration.

Kids benefit from relationships with trusted adults who are NOT their parents. At camp, kids have to create new relationships – on their own, without parental guidance or influence. New friends among their peers are important and perhaps what they will remember most about camp. But the relationships that they forge with trusted adults who are NOT their parents is hugely important. While counselors are not parents, they are more than school-year teachers. They are positive role models who have time and energy to listen, talk, and laugh with our kids. They reinforce the messages and values that we parents are trying to instill, but – unlike us sadly lame parents – THEY are inherently cool. Sometimes kids listen better to these non-parental authority figures who are closer to their age. Parenting is a lot of responsibility and I, for one, feel better knowing that my husband and I am not alone in raising our kids.

Camp helps kids figure out who they are. It helps them to grow up. The truth is that putting a kid in the somewhat uncomfortable situation of living with a lot of other people in a small space helps them learn not only about cooperation and teamwork, but how to respect others and negotiate. This helps kids build confidence, courage, independence, resilience and flexibility.

I sent my two sons off to camp today. They have reached the point in their teen years when they don’t especially need – or want – their mom around when they are at camp. But that’s ok with me. I know that they are in one of the most safe and supportive environments that will ever be in and that they will come home to me the better for it.

This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Jennifer Prestholdt.

Do your kids go to any sort of summer camp?

Jennifer Prestholdt (USA)

Jennifer Prestholdt is a lawyer and the Deputy Director of The Advocates for Human Rights, a volunteer-based human rights organization that works locally, nationally and internationally. Her work in human rights takes her around the world, but she spends most of her time in Minneapolis, MN, where she lives with her children (two sons and one daughter), her husband, an elderly cat and a dwarf hamster.

As Jennifer’s kids are now all in school (1st, 4th and 6th grades), she is finally finding more time to do the things that she used to love to do, especially running, writing and knitting. Jennifer loves to travel and has had the dubious distinction of having been accidentally locked in a bathroom on five continents so far. Australia and Antarctica await!

In January 2011, Jennifer made a New Year’s Resolution to start writing about her experiences in order to share with her children the lessons learned from 15 years of work in human rights. The result is her personal blog, The Human Rights Warrior. The name comes from her son Simon, who was extremely disappointed to learn that his mother is a lawyer, not a warrior.

You can find her on her blog The Human Rights Warrior or on Twitter @Jprestholdt.

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World Voice: An Interview on Heartfulness Meditation – #IDayofYoga #InternationalYogaDay #InternationalDayofYoga

World Voice: An Interview on Heartfulness Meditation – #IDayofYoga #InternationalYogaDay #InternationalDayofYoga

International Day of Yoga is June 21st

This week our Senior Editor of World Voice Column, Elizabeth Atalay, interviewed our Senior Editor of Africa and Middle East Region, Purnima Ramakrishnan, about Heartfulness Meditation in relation to the International Day of Yoga.

Elizabeth Atalay: What is Heartfulness Meditation?

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Heartfulness is to feel the already existing deep inner connection of the human being with the heart. It means to experience every single aspect of life in a natural way of the heart. It means to live life in the best way possible.

EA: Why Heartfulness?

PR: We are all connected with each other only though our hearts. In any relationship, personal or professional, in any decision making process, in any life altering situations, in any thing which ever matters or commences or ceases, it is the heart which matters. We feel in our hearts to do or to be or to exist.

We always listen to our hearts. We need this deep connection with our hearts. That is the core of our existence. That is what matters for us, as human beings, in our lives, to be happy and joyful and to be able to follow our hearts. So Heartfulness is a way to do this with a deeper and more connective consciousness with the heart.

EA: Is Heartfulness a type of meditation?

PR: I personally feel “meditation” is a very over-rated word in today’s world. When you close your eyes and think for some time to make a decision, are you contemplating, are you meditating on that aspect? When you sit down silently, by the mountains and close your eyes and feel the peace all around you, do you call it meditation?

When you hug your baby and feel that beautiful joy of a hug, which you would continue to prolong for as long as your baby lies still, is it meditation or is it just an experiencing of joy/love? That is Heartfulness indeed. That is meditation too, if you call it that way. We are meditating every single day, every minute on something or the other. Our hearts are always “working” on something, at times even on stillness.

EA: So do you practice this Heartfulness meditation? If yes, how?

PR: I sit down, close my eyes, and suggest connecting to my heart. I am aware of my heart. Sometimes a few mundane thoughts come along the way – everyday thoughts about everyday life situations. But I still continue with my connection, I continue to feel the brightness in my heart, the stillness in my heart. I feel the joy and peace there, I try to tap into it. And it feels good.

EA: As a #WorldMom of World Moms Blog, how do you think this is useful for mothers?

PR: As a #WorldMom, I say, we mothers are the care-takers of this world, care takers of our babies, children and of our families, which make the structure of the society. It helps mothers stay balanced, stay happy, spread the joy in the family. Personally, it helps me be more connected and intuitive to my child’s needs and well-balanced in my mind for my own personal happiness and development.

EA: Is this something which everyone can participate irrespective of their religious and social/national constructs?

PR: Can everyone (irrespective of their beliefs) go to the doctor when they are unwell? Of course! Taking care of one’s body is a primary duty.

But very often we ignore the cry of help from our own hearts and minds. And to meditate everyday, to feed the soul, to take care of the soul, to enrich the heart, is a duty.

Once I started doing it, I felt it gave me a lot of strength, joy and well-balanced, holistic, emotional and mental life.

EA: Would you be able to help the World Moms with an experience of this?

PR: Yes, definitely. We could have it over skype if our contributors and readers would like to join or I could also suggest local centers where they can go and experience it.

EA: Lastly, how is this Heartfulness Meditation related to the Intenational Day of Yoga?

PR: Ah! Here comes that aspect, where all this discussion started!

India has always been a hot destination for spiritual seekers. From the time of Paul Brunton, India has always been a mystic place with seekers coming here for spirituality. And recently too, the Prime Minister of India, Honorable Mr. Narendra Modi has been instrumental, in the UN’s declaration of 21st June as the International Day of Yoga. Indians have been yogis always, India has been the house of meditation.

All the yogic postures and breathing exercises are fundamental to train the body to be able to sit in meditation for hours together.

The yogis meditated for centuries together, in the jungles and in Himalayas.

Everything they did is for this final act of being able to meditate effectively. However today, we are easily offered this way of the heart, to be able to meditate effectively, to connect with our hearts, for short moments during the day whenever we feel a need, whenever we feel the want, and to experience the joy. So, yes, yoga evolves into meditation, eventually in an aspirant’s journey.

Everywhere in India on June 21st, (including Rajpath where the Presidential Residence is present) and all across the world, different schools of Yoga and meditation are organizing Yoga demonstrations and meditation sessions.

Here at World Moms Blog, we would like to invite the contributors, readers and fans of World Moms Blog for a meditation session on Heartfulness.

Venue: Here on World Moms Blog

Time: Check in any time on June 21st for a video here on World Moms Blog to guide you through heartfulness meditation with Purnima.


Edited on 21 June, 2015, International Day of Yoga:

There is a video below about Heartfulness Meditation. If you are interested, please try to do this in the following way.

1. Gently close your eyes. Relax your body. Empty your mind.

2. Suppose that the Source of Light in your heart is attracting you from within your heart.

3. Rather than trying to visualize it, simply tune in to your heart and be open to any experience that you may have.

4. Do this for as long as you can. It could be 30 minutes. It could be longer or shorter than that too.

5. If your mind wanders and ‘thinks’, gently bring your attention back to your heart.

If you like to do this often, then please do it everyday. It rejuvenates your heart and mind and you feel so ready to take on the world. Please leave your comments in this page and/or contact me through this page – here.

Would you like to try on the next advanced stage after a few days? Let me know and I shall help you with a few more resources and contacts. Or you can do it through this page here too.

Above Video and photo credit to

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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wicked witch

The Wicked Witch of the West

Eight years ago I had my first child, a daughter.  Like most new parents, I got all sorts of advice and did a great deal of information gathering; particularly on those uncharted, early stages of infancy and babyhood.

I knew it was possible my child would have colic, GERD, and rashes. I had heard about the “terrible twos” and the “trying threes.” I was fortified for long days and short nights, especially during the early years. And I knew having a child home to entertain and educate for five years would be a whole different challenge from my professional life.

But, I thought I was ready because I knew—at the end of a long, sometimes dark, tunnel—there would be kindergarten, followed by the blissful and innocent days of elementary school to put me back on track. I anticipated that from age 5-11, life would be pretty seamless. Five years of struggle followed by at least six of predictability before the challenges of the teenage years moved in.

So when our daughter entered kindergarten three years ago, my husband and I settled in for the “predictable” parenting years we were expecting.

Sadly—and far too soon—those years are coming to a close…

This past summer, we got glimpses of something we had heard about but weren’t prepared for just yet: moodiness, sassy attitude, changes in speaking style, exploration of identity, greater awareness of appearance and increased self-consciousness.

Now that 3rd-grade is in full-swing, those glimpses are becoming the norm. It’s fairly clear that we are entering a new stage of parenting: we’re entering the TWEENS.

“Tween” is a term we use here in the US to describe the pre-teen stage of life. It’s in-between being a sweet, young kid, who’s dependent on parents and family for every aspect of life, and puberty, when a child morphs into a sassy, experimenting, independent teenager, stomping off toward adulthood.

The Tweens is a stage of life—I think populated almost exclusively by girls—when kids try to propel themselves prematurely into their next growth phase. They test out language they pick up from older kids, through pop-music and from movies and television. They mimic styles they see in the media. They use vernacular such as “like” and “whatever” and “no way!” They gravitate almost exclusively to their own gender groups.

And despite even the best attempts to shield children from pop culture and the negative influences present on TV, they still somehow find their fix at school.

The tweens are a funny, little limbo-land.

Take our daughter for example: She’s still afraid of the dark (in fact, she’s fairly convinced the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz is living in her closet); her favorite Disney character is Sofia the First; she loves kittens and rainbows, unicorns and stuffed animals. But recently, she also has discovered Disney’s High School Musical, and when we go to our  pediatrician’s office, she pours over the book, It’s Perfectly Normal, (she has a lot of questions about both).

These days, she prone to emotional outbursts, demanding “alone” time and spontaneous moments of being shy. Aren’t these teenager behaviors?

Tonight, while my five-year-old was in a martial arts class, my daughter and I sat in the car having a chat. She said she was sad because she felt frustrated and sort of out of control. I found myself explaining puberty to her and talking about hormones and endorphins and lots of other changes in our bodies that made us feel confused and out of sorts…Uh, did I mention she’s only 8?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the onset of puberty in girls now happens as young as 7! OK, so none of my early parenthood prep or information gathering or family planning ever involved needing to have these conversations so soon. Afterall, my youngest just started kindergarten. By my accounts, I had just come out of the trenches. I’m not battle ready. I don’t have my armor on. This is going to be a massacre!

But this is where we are these days…the in-beTWEENS. Wish us luck.

Have you experienced these sorts of changes in your own child(ren)? If so, at what age? Any advice for getting through to the other side?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our managing editor and mother of two (one of whom is entering her tweens), Kyla P’an.

The image used in this post is credited to Karen. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

Kyla P'an (Portugal)

Kyla was born in suburban Philadelphia but spent most of her time growing up in New England. She took her first big, solo-trip at age 14, when she traveled to visit a friend on a small Greek island. Since then, travels have included: three months on the European rails, three years studying and working in Japan, and nine months taking the slow route back from Japan to the US when she was done. In addition to her work as Managing Editor of World Moms Network, Kyla is a freelance writer, copy editor, recovering triathlete and occasional blogger. Until recently, she and her husband resided outside of Boston, Massachusetts, where they were raising two spunky kids, two frisky cats, a snail, a fish and a snake. They now live outside of Lisbon, Portugal with two spunky teens and three frisky cats. You can read more about Kyla’s outlook on the world and parenting on her personal blogs, Growing Muses And Muses Where We Go

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ONTARIO, CANADA: Hoping For The Best, But Fearing Heartache

ONTARIO, CANADA: Hoping For The Best, But Fearing Heartache

DSC_0114This week, a story in the news made me cry. It was not the kind of story that makes it big in the mainstream media. It was not about mass devastation or loss of life, war or missing jetliners. It was, however, a story that has a big impact in my little corner of the world: the autism community.

What happened was that a pair of teens persuaded a 15-year-old boy with autism to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. They sold him on how generous it would be, how cool it would be, how fun it would be. As he stood there trustingly, expecting to be drenched in freezing cold water, the teens poured a bucket filled with human feces and urine all over him. (more…)

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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#BLOGUST: A First School Trip to the UN

#BLOGUST: A First School Trip to the UN

World Moms Blog has a long history of advocating for global vaccinations with the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, and we are honored to host a post for their #Blogust campaign going on this month! The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness for vaccinations for the children who need them most. Every comment on this post will unlock one donated vaccine for a child.  And don’t stop there — every social media share counts, too!  You can visit all the posts in the relay at

So, tell me now, have you ever experienced any “firsts” growing up that were better than you ever expected or were highly impressionable on who you are today?  Many highly anticipated first experiences often come and go forgotten or don’t really mean anything today in retrospect, right?  But, here’s a story of one first in my life that made an impact, and I admit to even going back for more!  It’s not chocolate, but could have been chocolate, but no, it wasn’t.

Ok, here goes…My age was only 14. I boarded a big yellow school bus to travel to the great big city to my first international summit. And I left with a new perspective on what one person, one child, in fact, could have on the world. This is the story of my first trip to the UN in New York city and how I wound up there as a teenager…

Growing up on the Atlantic coast in New Jersey, USA, it’s common to spend many days on the beautiful sandy shores of my home state and playing in the surf.  What was not to love back then?

The pollution, that’s what.

Back in the 1990s, plastic bags, straws, cans, plastic tampon applicators, you name it — all washed up on our beaches.  Beaches were closed after hypodermic needles arrived on our shores with other hospital waste.  We were swimming in this dangerous mess, and as a species, we were not only endangering our fellow humans, but recklessly damaging a habitat that marine life called home.

The pollution and lack of empathy to preserve our planet drove me nuts!

So, as a teenager I wound up joining a local environmental advocacy group to help raise awareness about the importance to keep our oceans clean and attended their beach clean ups.  At a meeting back in 1990 they gave us the news that the UN would be hosting an environmental summit for youth in New York City.  I had to go — the UN!  The environment!!  Yes!!!

I took the information about the youth summit to my high school principal and made the case that our school should be represented.  On the day of the summit, my school, Brick Memorial High School, had a delegation en route with our amazing science teacher, Mrs. Kingman.

We were wide-eyed while entering the famous main UN room with seats and labels for delegations from each country. It was a place where decisions were made on human rights, trade, embargos, and we sat down and took to playing with the microphone systems (so hard to resist!). We looked around at all the other students, both, similar and different to us.  We didn’t know what to expect from the event, and as it got started, out came speaker after speaker — all kids like us, at the time, from around the world. They spoke of environmental issues affecting the areas they lived in and what was needed or what they were doing to make a difference.

At the UN's environmental youth summit in the 1990s.

At the UN’s environmental youth summit in the 1990s.

Back in the early 1990s at the UN youth environmental summit, one boy in particular — I remember him being younger than me at the time, maybe 12 years old? maybe younger? — gave a presentation on how the lives of sea turtles in Florida were becoming threatened.  He, on his own, was responsible for saving the lives of thousands of babies by protecting their nests and helping the hatchlings out to sea. Our delegation went from wide-eyed to teary eyed.  He brought the house down in applause and pride for our fellow youth. That moment engrained in me of how one person, regardless of age, can make an impact on the planet. He was an inspiration.

My first experience at the UN was definitely one that was positive and inspiring — a big realization that we were all players in a world much larger than our own hometowns.  And kids could make change, too!  They were even already doing it.  This mindset is something that inspired me as a kid and will continue to impact how I raise my young daughters today and in the future.

As a part of World Moms Blog, I still jump on the opportunity to head to the UN when we’re invited to report, especially around the UN General Summit & Social Good Summit and for the annual State of the World’s Mother’s Report. We have become our own “United Nations” of moms, here! And additionally, in 2012 when I was asked to be part of a UN Foundation delegation to Uganda with Shot@Life, I was honored to answer the call, too, with the same 14-year old excitement I had when attending the environmental youth summit back in the early 90s. Which brings me back full circle for the purpose of this post…

Elizabeth, a volunteer health worker in Fort Portal, Uganda with World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden on a Shot@Life trip October 2012.

Elizabeth, a volunteer health worker in Fort Portal, Uganda with World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden on a Shot@Life trip October 2012.

While in Uganda with Shot@Life, I witnessed children receiving life-saving vaccinations at UNICEF’s Family Health Days around the country. We sat under shady trees and spoke with mothers who wanted the same for their children: good health and an education.  We played with lots of children, knowing that because they were being vaccinated against measles, pneumonia, rotavirus and polio (the four deadliest killers of children under 5) that they had a healthier shot at living past their fifth birthday and experiencing more “firsts.”

There is no doubt in my mind that life-saving vaccines are needed in the world.

Every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease that could have been prevented through immunization, which is an inexpensive global health solution to save lives. Healthcare in far to reach or developing areas can be ineffective at keeping a child alive in the event of severe diarrhea or pneumonia. A vaccination can work as a shield to protect a child from even contracting these diseases in the first place.

First Vaccination Mumbende Uganda 500

Today, and all this month, you have the unique opportunity to comment on #Blogust posts and help save lives. Walgreens will donate one vaccine to a child who needs it most in response to your comment on this post, those on all the #Blogust posts this month, as well as, any social media shares.

Please, give more children the chance to live past their 5th birthday, the chance to attend a global youth summit, the chance to single-handedly save marine life, the chance to make a positive impact on animal life and on others, the chance to ride a bus to the UN, the chance to live and be a kid. Join me in being a game changer. Help start the conversation to unlock life-saving immunizations!

During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000).  Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world. 

Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! For more information, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden, of New Jersey, USA.

Photo credits to the author. 


Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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