“Will we be safe there?” My 11 year old son asked me that question as we were discussing our winter holiday travel plans, and I suppose, given that we live in the UAE, his question might make sense. In the last few years, we’ve traveled to Jordan, India, Kenya – all places that have been in the news lately as sites of violence.
Where are we going for the winter holidays, you might wonder, that would elicit such a question?
The United States.
I’ll let you think about that for a minute.
Okay, true, his question was a bit of a joke – the question of travel safety has become a running gag in our household, in part because that question is always the first thing my mother (in Illinois) always asks us.
But this time, when he asked the question, none of us laughed. He’d asked us just after the last mass shooting, the one in San Bernandino. And think about that for a minute: I have to specify for you which shooting I’m talking about. Was it the one in Colorado Springs outside Planned Parenthood, or the one in Oregon, or the one…
In other countries, when you say “mass shooting,” there simply aren’t that many to choose from because in the aftermath of the tragedy, governments have changed the laws to make such events less possible. But not in the good ol’ US of A.
When I tell people in the States where I live, there are two questions I am always asked: do I have to “cover” and “do I feel safe?” The answers are “no,” and “yes.” People who didn’t worry about me strolling home after midnight in New York’s East Village in the late 1980s now seem dreadfully concerned about my safety here, in this part of the world, as I drive off to the mall.
Part of why we chose to live abroad with our children had to do with wanting to give them a cosmopolitan perspective on the world: we wanted them to experience other cultures and learn to be open to, rather than threatened by, difference. I know that in the US it is possible to live in cosmopolitan cities—we used to live in Manhattan, where children from many nations crowded into my kids’ classrooms—but it is a different experience to live in a place where “your” culture is not the dominant.
A little while back, for instance, my older son had some friends over so that we could all go to a water park in the afternoon. When I told them it was time to get ready to go, my son said “well, we have to wait a little bit because T. is in the other room doing his prayers.” T. comes from a devout Muslim family and his mother would have been pleased to know that T. didn’t miss a prayer time just because the water park called. And for my son and his other friends, T. doing his prayers was as matter-of-fact as if he’d been changing into his swimsuit, or drinking a glass of water. Ordinary.
Like many of us, at home and abroad, I wrestle with how to explain to my children why the United States can’t simply change its gun laws and why so many people in the country seem afraid of anyone who worships at a mosque rather than a church or a temple. The explanation in both instances seems to boil down to fear: fear of change, fear of difference, fear of that-which-is-not-me.
It’s not much of an explanation, but it’s the only framework I have to explain why Donald Trump, for instance, can still be considered a candidate for the Presidency.
I know that the demagogues like Trump do not speak for all the people in the United States, and that many, many people are outraged by gun violence, but alas, the picture of the country that travels outward to the rest of the world is one of violent, gun-toting Islamophobia – and it’s scary. For me the fear rests not in the thought that Trump will ever be President because I refuse to believe that his bilious self is actually electable. I hang on to that fact as ardently as I once hung on to my belief in Santa Claus. No, my fear rests in the fact that, according to a recent poll, Trump leads the group of Republican Party presidential hopefuls, with 35.8% of the vote.
THIRTY-FIVE POINT EIGHT?
Maybe there really isn’t a Santa Claus.
How do you explain what’s happening in the United States to your children?
This is an original post by World Mom, Deborah Quinn in the United Arab Emirates.
Photo Credit to the author.
Typically, after Thanksgiving in the United States, the following Friday and Monday, known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, kick off the holiday shopping season. Black Friday, in the stores and Cyber Monday, online. However, Giving Tuesday follows and is what now kicks off the holiday “Giving Season.” This movement has been around for several years already.
With so much poverty around the world, the fact that a movement, based entirely on the giving of time and money, is gaining momentum gives me great hope. Did you know that you do not just have to give money on Giving Tuesday? You can, instead, donate your time. This means many more of us can get involved.
How great is a movement that the whole world can participate in as a collective unit with one goal in mind: to give?
So take today to think about the something you want to change most in the world. And give. Give of your money. Give of your time. Give only what you can. From around the world to your local community, find out how you can participate today, Tuesday, December 1st.
As each year of Giving Tuesday goes by, more and more organizations are getting involved, which plays at my heart strings. For example, here, in Canada this is the first year that Waterloo Region in Canada will be launching Giving Tuesday in an official manner. The community is rallying around local groups and causes in a way that I would never have imagined!
Let’s kick off the giving season and make this the most memorable Giving Tuesday the world has known to date.
A Note From our Founder:
Today, World Moms Blog asks our readers to consider volunteering, donating and/or advocating for these 4 organizations that have been created by our contributors or employ them. Click on over to see why they are worthy of your #GivingTuesday love!
- Mom2Mom Africa helps to educate and provide a better life for children in Tanzania. What started as a penpal project of a mom in Canada, turned into an education sponsorship program, a school being built, class trips provided and much more!
- Cleanbirth.org, which helps to provide a safer birth experience for mothers in Laos through clean birth kits and nurse midwife training. Started by an American mom who pledged to single-handedly take on poor maternal health statistics.
- The Advocates for Human Rights is the workplace of our resident contributor and human rights lawyer. The organization provides opportunities to volunteer, donate and/or advocate for their life saving and life changing work to help people worldwide.
- Edesia makes Plumpy’Nut which helps provide nutrition for children who need it most in the developing world. And did you know that our Managing Editor works there in digital media?
Tell us what you’re doing for Giving Tuesday…
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor, Alison Fraser, in Canada.
Here in the United States of America, on Sunday, June 21st, we will celebrate Father’s Day. I thought for the occasion I’d put together a list of gifts that World Dads would love, but that also give back in some way. There are so many great companies that give back to choose from these days, but below are a few World Moms favorites.I had the pleasure of visiting the FashionABLE factory in Ethiopia last year and have been writing about and wearing the gorgeous scarves made in Ethiopia for years. That made it such a thrill to finally meet founder Barrett Ward at the ONE Girls and Women AYA Summit this past fall where he participated on the Change Through Economic Opportunity panel. I am also excited that they are expanding their operations to include products made in Kenya including a beautiful line of leather products. Some of which are perfect for him! All products contribute towards social service programs of health care, education in a trade, and assistance with child care for their artisans to help build better, sustainable futures for the artisans and their families.
Wine can be a great gift to share, and one with a meaning behind it is even better. Of course I was introduced to One Hope wines by none other than World Moms Blog founder Jennifer Burden when she served it at a gathering of World Moms for the Social Good Summit a few years ago. A portion of the proceeds of each bottle of One Hope Wine goes to the organization that that wine selection supports, be it saving the environment, fighting heart disease, or supporting our troops among others.
For every pair of Warby Parker glasses sold, another pair is given to someone in need, along with funding the training of eye care professionals in developing countries.
The Men’s styles of Tom’s Shoes are hot! Let’s face it, what makes them even hotter is the fact that each pair bought gives a pair of shoes to someone without.
Whoever curates the (RED) shop ROCKS! They have the most amazing product selection and all funds from (RED) purchases go to The Global Fund to help the fights against AIDS.
I also met Jane Mosbacher Morris at the AYA Summit where she participated in the panel on Change Through Economic Opportunity. I love her story from policy to retail and was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview her a few days ago and get more insight into her path to founding To The Market. To The Market is a marketplace for survivor made goods, whether it is from war, disaster, or abuse, To The Market provides a market for the beautiful handcrafted goods that give women survivors a chance to support themselves and their families. The website has an entire section of goods for men.
Please share other great gift ideas for the man in your life that also give back. We’d love to hear from you!
Is there a “Father’s Day” celebration in your country? If so When?
This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for Word Moms Blog. Her writing is also found at documama.org.
As mums, we are always seen as the one who should be self-sacrificing and present for our families. After all, we are the ones that our children turn to when they can’t go to bed, when they need a kiss on their boo boo or when they are back from school with a growling tummy that needs to be fed.
I’m not complaining about motherhood and there is nothing in the world I would trade it for. But some days, I feel so tired of playing mummy that I wish I could escape from all my mummy duties; and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mum who feels this way.
And as you have it, I did get a little escapade when my group of girlfriends decided to head for a short weekend getaway to Thailand, sans husband and kids. Thankfully, my hubby was more than happy to step up and take care of my little one, giving them extra bonding time.
It turned out to be a weekend of shopping, eating and shopping some more; something that I hardly do with a little one who’s too inpatient to get out of the malls. And I could eat all the spicy food I wanted, which I usually avoid since I end up sharing most of my meals with my daughter. Nights were spent staying up late, chatting with friends and watching movies back in the hotel.
Did I miss my child? Of course, I did but you know what, it was refreshing to place myself first and not worry about my family during this break.
Sadly for mums, being selfish or putting ourselves first is regarded as a sin. And that’s why there are so many tired and depressed moms, who feel that they have no choice but to be dutiful and ignore their own needs.
Happy Mother = Happy Family
Never for a second did I think that I was a bad mom for going on that trip. I think that as moms, sometimes we need to choose ourselves over our families to ensure that we are recharged in order to go the distance and be a better spouse and better mother.
I love being a mom and while I’m far from being a perfect or super mom, I can say that I’m doing my best every single day.
My mantra has always been Happy Mother = Happy Family. And might I add for my hubby, Happy Wife= Happy Life.
So go ahead, take care of yourself. Pursue your personal happiness and take time to nourish yourself, body, mind and soul. Trust me, you’ll benefit from it and your children will too!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our “super mom” of one in Singapore, Susan Koh.
The image used in this post is credited to the author.
Season’s Greetings Readers!
As the end of December approaches, so does the end 2014. We would like to thank YOU, for joining us and coming along for the ride over this past year. You…sharing our posts, posting comments, and interacting with us on social media…THAT is what keeps us going!
This past year has been another amazing one for World Moms Blog (WMB). As we touch on some highlights from 2014, you will see that these world moms get around!
After all that, we are getting ready to take a blogcation break to spend time with family, friends, and re-energize for 2015. We hope that you will get the chance to do the same. And if you find yourself looking for something to read, come on by and catch up on posts you may have missed in 2014!
Wishing you all a joyful end of the year. Come back on Monday, January 5th to help us kick off 2015.
World Moms Blog
In October, several #WorldMoms attended the ONE Girls & Women AYA Summit at the Google Headquarters in Washington, DC. One of the many powerful panels we heard from was entitled Change Through Economic Opportunity, where both major fashion companies and small start-ups weighed in on how they impact the lives of women through economic empowerment. With the holiday season upon us, World Moms decided to share some of the ways we love to use our purchasing power to give back, and how you can too.
Sydney Price of Kate Spade NY spoke about the Kate Spade On Purpose line at the AYA Summit panel. Each piece in this collection is handcrafted in Rwanda creating sustainable economic opportunities for women and reshaping their community.
Jane Mosbacher Morris , founder of To the Market, also participated in the panel on Change Through Economic Opportunity at the AYA Summit. To The Market provides a marketplace for the beautiful handcrafted goods that give women survivors of war, disaster or abuse a chance to support themselves and their families.
World Moms Elizabeth Atalay and Nicole Melancon had the pleasure of visiting the FashionABLE factory in Ethiopia this past summer and we have all been writing about and wearing the gorgeous scarves made in Ethiopia for years. It was great to finally meet founder Barrett Ward at the AYA Summit this past fall where he participated on the panel as well. FashionABLE is now expanding operations to include products made in Kenya and a beautiful line of leather products, all while providing social service programs of health care, education in a trade, and assistance with child care for their artisans to help them build better lives for themselves and their families.
“Through your purchase, you are ABLE to provide opportunity, and a woman is ABLE to have a new choice.”-LiveFashionABLE
The Giving Keys provides jobs for those transitioning out of homelessness, giving them the opportunity to rebuild their lives. The necklaces & bracelets are super cool as is the message of the Giving Keys:
“When you get this Key, you must give it away at some point to a person you feel needs the message, then write us the story of why you gave it away. We employ those looking to transition out of homelessness.” -The Giving Keys
You can read Giving Keys stories of those who have given and received keys on their site.
Shop the ONE Campaign store Holiday Gift Guide for some fabulous items where you know everything is fair trade and ethically sourced. By doing so you support the ONE Campaign in it’s goal of eradicating extreme poverty.
Alex & Ani Bracelets
Alex & Ani Charity by design products are another of our favorites. A percentage o profits goes back to designated non-profits. Their products are made in the USA from recycled materials, and spread the message of positive energy! They have branched out from bangles to key chains, and candles, wine charms & more!
From South Africa, The Mielie bags employ women of the townships in South Africa.
Mielie Bag Made in South Africa
Our mission is to design and produce innovative, export-quality hand-crafted products using reclaimed materials – with the aim of creating employment and restoring dignity and financial independence to South Africans.- Mielie
The Anchal Project Mission merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India. Their scarves are gorgeous and the company was founded by two Rhode Island School of design Grads.
Anchal is an Indian word that means shelter, or refers to the edge of a woman’s Sari used to provide comfort and protection for loved ones.-Anchal Project
Kids Books from Little Pickle Press, a B Corporation, are some of our favorite books for kids!
Lollie Beads Bracelets are created from fair trade recycled glass beads made in Uganda. So they are not only gorgeous (the glass beads look and feel like sea glass) but they are good for the environment AND help support sustainable living in a developing country.
Tom’s keeps its designs fresh while still managing to provide shoes and glasses to those who need them. We love their One for One business model (and pledge to support it with as many shoes as we can get away with!)
1000 Shillings Ugandan Paper bead necklaces. The women artisans earn capital for their own small businesses by making limited-edition products for 1000 Shillings. Each product sold through 1000 Shillings helps a woman establish a small business, which enables her to support her family. They also aim to tell the in-depth story behind each artisan. The company works with six single mothers in the Namatala slum, Uganda.
A Gift As A Gesture:
Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect gift for someone who has every material thing they desire. Still you want to give something as a token of your appreciation to them and the below gifts are the perfect solution that everyone can feel good about.
Photo by Elizabeth Atalay
Heifer International :
“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. It all started with a cow. Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.” – From the Heifer International Website
Save two lives, those of a mom and her newborn baby, with CleanBirth.org and the perfect holiday gift of Bags of Love and Miracles, a handmade bag with a beautiful full-sized honor card inside ($20) and 4 mothers in Laos will receive birthing supplies and safe birthing education.
Mom2Mom Africa is a Canadian Not-for-Profit Organization, established to help empower women and children through education. The benefits of education and global awareness apply to us all. Your gifts this season will help to buy books, school uniforms and school supplies for the Mom2Mom Africa students in Tanzania.
Wishing Happy Holidays to You All,
May You Give As Good As You Get!
Do you know other organizations or shops that belong on this list?