UK: Helping Our Children Engage With The Fight For A Fairer World

UK: Helping Our Children Engage With The Fight For A Fairer World

Children helping the world

Miss M’s #Strengthie pose supporting the Poverty is Sexist campaign for ONE

I grew up living a pretty selfish life, if I’m honest. We weren’t a terrible family – we would help those we knew if they needed help, and I recall collecting my spare change for charity boxes and joining in with sponsored events, but that was about the sum of my giving to others. I’m pretty sure this is because my parents both grew up in poverty. They understood what it meant to have an empty tummy and to wear clothes that had been mended so many times they were falling off. So we focused on our tight family unit of four and my parents worked like Trojans, across four jobs, to ensure that they could pay the mortgage and offer my brother and I some of the little luxuries they had never had as children.

In my adult life, through becoming a Christian and learning more about the world around me, I developed a strong sense of compassion and a desire to help those who were not living the kind of life I feel we all deserve. As I’ve grown older (and perhaps wiser, some might say) I’ve wanted my children to understand and to ensure that they are engaging with the fight to help our world become a fairer place. I figure if they learn this as a child, they will get involved and start to help at a younger age, and not wait until they are in their thirties like I was.

Of course, as a parent it is my job to help them and to expose them to age-appropriate content and subjects. My twin girls are nearly eight which means we can discuss sensitive issues, but I’m still refraining from talking about sexual matters as I don’t need to smash their innocence at this age. My son is nearly twelve, and we can talk about almost all topics as he has more of an understanding of how the world works.

I’d really love to hear how other parents are educating and engaging their children within this area, and of course that is one of the reasons Jen set up World Moms Blog: to find out how Moms (Mums/Mams) the world over were tackling the same issues but in different culturally appropriate ways.

I thought it might be useful to share the approaches I have been taking so we can all learn from each other –

Child Sponsorship – In 2004 we started to sponsor our first child through Compassion. He was five at the time and over the last eleven years we have watched Carl-Henri grow into a caring young man. It has been a real privilege to pray for him, encourage the children to write to or draw pictures for him and to be able to financially support his place within a Christian project in Haiti. When the earthquake struck Haiti in 2010 we held our breath and prayed for all the people of the nation but of course our soft-spot was for Carl Henri and his family. Thankfully they were all physically well, but they were thrown into the situation of rebuilding their home and lives, which our supported project was able to help with.

Pray with them – I love to pray with my children. There is nothing more beautiful than hearing them expressing the desires of their hearts and offloading the small worries they carry. We have a daily devotional that sits on our dining table and on the nights when we are all together and have some time we read a verse and explore what it means for us and others.

Watch the news together and have open discussions – I probably don’t do this as often as I should but there is so much going on in the world and only so much that a young child can take in. There are some great TV programs nowadays that show the children what it is like for children living elsewhere. In the UK Blue Peter is very good, as is Extreme School and My Life.

Encourage them to raise money for charity – The children have mostly been involved in fundraising for overseas projects through their church groups, and Miss M particularly is keen to make sure she takes some of her pocket-money each week to put in the kids collection. We are signed up to run in the Race for Life soon, which raises money for Cancer Research UK and the girls alone have rustled up £65 in sponsorship. This has certainly made me aware that I need to get them fundraising with me more often.

Involve them in my blog and my plight to fight for a better world – I have been so privileged to travel with ONE and Samaritans Purse to see how donations from the UK and USA are being used in developing countries, and it has been an absolute pleasure to share this with all my children. They have all been very interested and proud as I have shared in Church, schools and within local groups. I also try to involve them in my blogging work and when I am working on a big advocacy campaign they are right there with me sharing the information and championing the cause.

Send them off to offer practical help – Whether in my home country or abroad, I am passionate that young adults should offer practical help to projects that are in need. It might be building skills, playing with children, reading to someone, clearing rubbish, cleaning dishes or something else entirely but so much is learnt when we stretch ourselves and move out of our comfort zone and do something for which we have nothing to gain. My children are all still a little young to have been involved in any kind of mission work as yet but it won’t be long before JJ is old enough and he is already volunteering within our own community.

So that is where our family is at the moment and I really would love to hear from you: what else can we do? What has worked for your family? What do we need to steer clear of?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Michelle Pannell of the United Kingdom. Photo credit to the author.

Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

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SOCIAL GOOD: The Truth About Fundraising

SOCIAL GOOD: The Truth About Fundraising

The Truth About Fundraising.WINE & BEER-2

When I talk about the fundraising work that I do for the organization I started,, I often hear in response, “I could never ask people for money.”

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a choice. When I began providing moms with life-saving birth supplies, in partnership with a local NGO in Laos, I used my own funds. Happily, the $5 kits proved effective and more moms wanted the sterile, convenient supplies that prevent deadly infections in moms and babies. How could I say no?


So I promised to fund as many kits as were needed.

Since we began in November 2012 we have provided 4,000 birth kits to moms and training for 180 nurses and staff.

 Knowing that my own funds couldn’t sustain the project, I told my story to others. I wasn’t great at promoting the project at first but many friends and family supported me anyways. The tagline: $5 Saves 2 Lives in Laos proved irresistible.

Now 3 years on, the project has grown beyond my own social network. Thanks to bloggers at World Moms Blogs and others, we have extended our reach worldwide.   I am constantly touched by the simple notes of support that accompany donations from complete strangers:

Thank you for doing what you do for mothers and babies!


Another great aspect of fundraising is working with others who want to share their special gifts to make birth safer. One example is a fun collaboration happening now for Mother’s Day. World Moms Blogger and photographer Ewa Kuc of Ewa Samples Photography in the Bay Area has developed awesome Mother’s Day photo session packages. A full 40% of the profits go to!

In my almost 3 years doing this, I have come to appreciate that fundraising is a give and take proposition.

I’m not just taking money but giving something to donors: a feeling of making a positive impact in the world; the piece of mind that comes from donating to a transparent, registered organization; or a tangible gift to give a loved one.

One such gift, our $10 Mother’s Day cards, honor mom or grandma & provide 2 moms in Laos with Clean Birth Kits.

So the truth about fundraising is that I do ask for money. (Please click here to buy our Mother’s Day cards!! J) But I also get to connect with many generous people who are committed to making their world a better place. We each give, and we each take. Not so scary after all.


What benefits do you receive from donating or volunteering with a non-profit?

 This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Kristyn Zalota, the founder of Clean

Photo credits Kristyn Zalota.



Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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SOCIAL GOOD: $5 Saves 2 Lives in LAOS

SOCIAL GOOD: $5 Saves 2 Lives in LAOS

This post is the third installment by  Kristyn Zalota, Founder of, about her work in Laos. To read the first post in the series,click here:  “One Mom’s Mission to Save Lives in Laos”. To read the second post, click here: “Small Project Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos”

IMG_0104As you may know from my previous posts, I am a mom on a mission to make birth safer in Laos. This month my organization,, has the goal of raising enough funds to save 1,000 mothers and 1,000 babies.

I am a doula, Lamaze educator, and advocate for safe birth for impoverished women.  I was drawn to work in Laos, because women there die at a higher rate than Afghani women and Lao babies die at a higher rate than babies in Sudan.

In November 2012, I traveled to southern Laos and, with my Lao partner organization, trained nurses in the use and distribution of Clean Birth Kits.  When the nurses told me that women give birth alone, I agreed to fund community education about safe birthing practices

Having completed the nurses’ training, we went deep into the mountains to visit the clinics there.  I immediately sensed the grinding poverty of the area.  People live on $1 per day.  The life expectancy of women is short, either due to childbirth (8-12 births) or disease.  Most will lose several babies.

What do you see when you walk into the villages?  Naked kids with runny noses.  Mothers with babies in slings.  Bamboo and wood one-room dwellings on stilts.  No electricity, not a single store.  While a new road connecting Thailand and Vietnam is bringing change, it is mostly in the form of human trafficking, HIV, and environmental degradation. (more…)

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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SOCIAL GOOD: Inside the Shot@Life Campaign, Part 3

SOCIAL GOOD: Inside the Shot@Life Campaign, Part 3

This is part 3 of a three part series on World Mom’s Bloggers Jennifer Burden, Nicole Melancon and Kyla P’an trip to the Shot@Life Summit in Washington DC. at the end of January to attend a summit focusing on the Shot@Life campaign, hosted by the United Nations Foundation. Click on links here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.  Part 3 will focus on what we learned at the summit and some of the amazing Shot@Life Champions that we met.

So what happens when you bring together 45 of the nation’s most enthusiastic, energetic Shot@Life Champions?  A huge success filled with ideas, excitement and passion to help save the world’s children from vaccine-preventable deaths.

The Shot@Life Summit was orchestrated by the United Nations Foundation to train, motivate, organize and provide the tools necessary for the Shot@Life Champions to launch the movement this coming April during Global Immunization Week.  The Champions represented all walks of life.

There were moms, bloggers, photographers, doctors, advocates, entrepreneurs, a teenager representing Model UN, and two brave men who represented Rotary International and The Lion’s Club (two organizations that have already done a substantial amount of advocacy and fundraising for vaccines).

To give an example of just a few of the many “champions” we met, Dr. Ari Brown, coauthor of the popular reference book Baby 411, was there representing the American Academy of Pediatrics; (more…)

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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CANADA: Running For Autism

I started running for the first time back in 1996, the same year I kicked a decade-long smoking habit. I knew that quitting smoking would never work unless I supported it with other healthy lifestyle habits. And so, my original goal, the first time I ventured out into the big wide world with running shoes on, was simply to get my butt off the couch and do some exercise.

Imagine my astonishment at discovering that I actually liked to run. By the end of the first month, I was not merely going out to run in order to get exercise and keep my weight down. I was running because I wanted to.

Who knew?

By the time I discovered that I was pregnant in 2003, I was a well-established part of the Toronto running scene. I participated in every event I could get my hands on, my life was all about race numbers and personal best times, and I was in the best shape of my life. I saw no reason why I couldn’t continue running throughout my pregnancy. (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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