USA: Global Village Membership

USA: Global Village Membership


If you’re a parent, or a child, or anyone, you may have heard the phrase. “It takes a village” (to raise a child). After reading a post written by a fellow contributor, KC, I remained in thought about this village that’s needed to raise our children.

KC is currently a stay-home-mum to a precious toddler, so you know she has one of the most rewarding and challenging positions in the universe; one weighted with a lot of responsibility, as well. Thankfully she takes the time to write about some of what’s going on in her world as a mum, a woman, and as a person, because out of her writing I found something I want to discuss, too. Check her out at  She is a really good writer, and she’s funny too.

In reading KC’s post I thought about my own experience as a child in Italy, a teenager in Tanzania, and an adult and parent in the United States. What was my village like? Who did my mum include in forming my personality and my worldview?



I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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WORLD RELIGION: Fasting as a Baha’i

WORLD RELIGION: Fasting as a Baha’i

Fasting in Faith

Fasting in Faith

A little while ago, a news station in South Carolina (USA) had a story about a religion of which many people have not yet heard. It was about the Baha’i Faith. Although I was a bit surprised by the coverage, as I listened to the story it made sense that this Faith would be well accepted in South Carolina because of the Baha’i Faith’s main principle of oneness.

I should mention, I am a Baha’i; or I try to be.

On March 2nd every able member of the Baha’i Faith over the age of 15 years began a Fast. The Baha’i Fast occurs during the last month of the Baha’i year. This last month is called `Alá’. In our  year there are 19 months composed of 19 days each. The last month is `Alá’, which means “Loftiness”, and the first month (which is coming up in just a couple of days) is “Bahá”, meaning “Splendor.”

Right before the month of `Alá’ are four or five intercalary days, depending on whether or not it’s a leap year in the Gregorian calendar with which the Badi calendar works. This year, for instance, there were five days between the month of Mulk (Dominion) and the current month of `Alá’. The intercalary days are also called the Days of Ha and Ayyam-i-Ha.

Ayyam-i-Ha is a time to prepare for the Fast and it is also a time for gift giving and a more focused intent on service.

The Baha’i day begins at sunset, as the current day ends. As the Fast began on March 2nd, many Baha’is around the world gathered for a Nineteen Day Feast after sunset on March 1st. This is when the Fast actually begins. Before dawn on March 2nd, those who fast typically awaken to nourish their spirits and bodies through prayer and food. Between sunrise and sunset we are to abstain from all food and drink.

The physical portion of the Fast is to remind us of our souls and the soul’s connection and need for closeness to its Creator. Fast is broken at sunset with prayers and food again. Because the Baha’i Faith was born in Persia, many Baha’i communities break the Fast with similar items including hot tea; at least this has been my experience in Italy, Tanzania, and the USA.

The Baha’i New Year

This year the Fast ends on March 20th which means that March 21st marks time for the next Nineteen Day Feast, as well as the Baha’i new year: Naw-Ruz.

On Naw-Ruz most communities have a big party; usually the biggest of the year. There is no required dress to celebrate, as long as what we wear isn’t a cause of ridicule. People do still try to wear festive clothes and share festive foods. The communities that can afford to rent a big ball room or similar space have disc jockeys and other entertainment. Most communities that have children in Baha’i families organize in advance so that the children are a part of the entertainment during the Naw-Ruz party.

I have not yet been to a Naw-Ruz party in South Carolina, so I am looking forward to participating in this year’s festivities! Everyone is welcome there!

If you are a member of a religion, what is something special that you personally like about the religion?  

If you aren’t a part of any religion, what do you that makes you feel like you are developing your soul?

If you don’t believe in having a soul, what do you do that makes you feel like you are a part of all of creation?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophia. You can find her blogging at Think Say Be and on twitter @ThinkSayBeSNJ.


I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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USA: How to Connect Kids to the UN’s #GlobalGoals

USA: How to Connect Kids to the UN’s #GlobalGoals

Lack of sanitation. Universal education. Poverty. Global Health. How is it possible to introduce a group of 70 kids about some of the world’s largest problems and how to solve them in one night — plus make it fun?

Well, last month I helped organize “World Thinking Day” for the Girl Scouts in my town of Holmdel in New Jersey, USA.  The day was celebrated on or around February 22nd by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 146 countries, and the theme for 2016 established by the Girl Scouts was “Connect.” As a Girl Scout volunteer and a global activist, World Thinking Day was where my worlds were about to collide!

To start, the idea of connecting the girls with what problems to be solved came from this viral Google quote I found in my Facebook feed one day:

WTD 2016 Google Quote


“Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve.” YES!! In order to inspire future problem solvers, we needed to find some problems. And it’s actually not difficult to find the world’s most pressing problems — there’s a list!

Global Goals Chart

We ran straight to the United Nation’s  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the 17 global goals world leaders set out to achieve to help eradicate poverty and make the planet a better place. And With Girl Scouts that ranged in age from 5-years old to high school teenagers, we needed presentations and activities incorporating some of the goals which would keep their wide range of interests and attention spans!

We chose to introduce the girls to the concepts of SDGs 1-6: no poverty, no hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality and clean water and sanitation with the help of Save the Children, WaterAID and a kit purchased from Sole Hope.

On the day, 70 girls rotated through four World Thinking Day stations. Two stations were “presentation” stations and two were “maker” stations, where the girls would be hands-on. Upon arrival, we had tables set up in the center of the room for the girls to convene with their troops and have a snack. They also received their schedules of what station their troop would visit and in what order. Before beginning the rotations, we started the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise. Then, they were off!

World Thinking Day Presentation Stations

We invited Save the Children and WaterAID to the event to present to the girls. Each brought a slide presentation and projector, and their enthusiasm for the work they do was relevant in how fantastically they engaged with the girls. They were introduced to how global nonprofits were applying solutions to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

Save the Children

At the Save the Children station, girls learned how the organization helps children in over 120 countries. They were shown photos of what classrooms look like before the organization goes in and after. Save the Children is creating better, safer learning environments for children around the globe.

WTD 2016 Save the Children

Carmen from Save the Children educating a troop of Cadettes about their programs worldwide that are making a difference in the lives of children.

In 2014 Save the Children helped over 160 million children worldwide! Being kids themselves, the really related to helping children and the photos of seeing the organization in action were engaging.

“It was cool because you can also help one kid who needs help at Save the Children.” — Sophie, Brownie (on sponsorship)


At the WaterAID station, the girls had the opportunity to line up and try to carry a jerry can half full of water and imagine what it would be like if they had to carry that can to fetch water for their family. They also learned how over 1 billion people do not have access to a toilet on the planet!

WTD 2016 WaterAID

Manuel and Merry from WaterAID presenting to a Daisy Troop about how their organization helps communities gain access to clean water.

WaterAID explained why clean water is important to prevent disease and how so many people around the world lack access to it. They introduced the girls to ways in which their organization is making an impact in creating access to clean water in different countries.

A Girl Scout Cadette attempts lifting a jerry can half filled with water at the WaterAID station for World Thinking Day. These containers are a way in which some children around the world fetch for waters for their families.

A Girl Scout Cadette attempts lifting a jerry can half filled with water at the WaterAID station for World Thinking Day. These containers are a way in which some children around the world fetch for waters for their families.

“I was surprised how heavy the yellow container was, and it was only half filled. How do kids carry that?” — Sophie, Brownie

World Thinking Day Maker Stations

Sole Hope

World Mom and Anti-poverty mom, Cindy Levin, introduced me to Sole Hope, an organization whose goal is to provide shoes to children who need them most to prevent infection. I ordered a party kit online, and we asked the troops for donations of denim. At the station, the girls learned about how going barefoot can lead to painful foot parasites in some places on the globe. They cut patterns out of the old jeans and plastic that would be made into shoes for children in Uganda.

WTD 2016 Sole Hope

A Girl Scout Junior troop measures out patterns for cutting out shoes for children in Uganda out of recycled denim and plastic.

We also showed the girls photos of what the finished products would look like.

“I loved helping to make the shoes. They are so cute!” — Brownie, Ally

Girl Scouts’ SWAPS

What’s a Girl Scout event without making SWAPS? SWAPS are an old tradition of exchanging keepsakes among fellow Girl Scouts met while traveling. The acronym stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.” The girls were led in making keepsakes to commemorate World Thinking Day 2016. Their SWAPS included gold and silver puzzle pieces to commemorate connecting with friends, as the lyrics go:

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold!”



Girl Scouts creating at the SWAPS station to commemorate World Thinking Day!

It was so fun to intertwine the UN’s global goals for the planet into the Girl Scouts’ World Thinking Day. We were able to introduce over 70 girls to problems that children like themselves face around the world and they had the opportunity to meet some of the change makers that are providing solutions on the global stage — we definitely gave the girls something to think about!

(After all was said and done, our town’s Girl Scouts had some money left over from the event that they chose to donate to both, Save the Children and WaterAID, too!)

Do you have a Girl Scout or Girl Guide who participated in World Thinking Day this year? Let us know what they did to commemorate the day! 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Jennifer Burden, who is the founder and CEO of World Moms Blog. *Special thanks to Leaders, Janice Petretti and Heather Behal who also helped plan the event! 

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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BELGIUM: Sunny Clouded Eyes

BELGIUM: Sunny Clouded Eyes

katinkaDoes that mean I get a cane now?

And a dog?

That would be sooooo cool!

She was excited, my precious one. She skipped and danced, as we left the hospital. I had just explained to her, in careful wording, that she was now officially ‘disabled’. At the last tests, her eyesight was down to ten percent, which was substantially less than a bystander would judge. Most people don’t even notice she is 90 % blind.

She compensates a lot, the therapist confirmed. She constantly moves her head around to get a full view with the remaining ten percent. Her eye-brain-connection is still flexible and easily adjusts. She even unconsciously practices echo localisation. The scientist in me finds thàt extremely cool.

The overwhelmed mother, on the other hand, was nearly in tears. I had known what was coming. I had heard the forecast. I had seen the clouds. But still, the thunder unsettled me.

Disabled. The phrasing seems so inappropriate for her. She is so able!

She is in first grade now and struggles to learn how to read. Focusing on the letters is extremely tiring for her. She keeps losing track of the word she is reading, as it disappears in the 90 % cloudy view. She literally has to press her nose next to the word she is deciphering. Writing is even harder, with minimal sight to guide her hand.

But still, she keeps trying. For the last month, she has worked twice as hard as her classmates. She has begged for extra homework and practised until her neck was hurting too much from bending down. For now, she just craved to learn how to read.

So that’s what she did. Last Thursday, she passed her first reading test. Yes, she was far slower than her peers. But she passed. I’ve never been prouder.

As of today, with her official label of disabled, she is entitled to extra support, both at home and in school. We’ll get her a special, tilted desk to spare her neck. Binoculars to keep track of the writing on the board and other magnification aids. Learning will become easier for her from now on.

2015 WMB Quote K10K Disabled

And no, she won’t get a cane and a dog just yet.

She wasn’t even disappointed and kept skipping, not noticing all the people who had to jump aside to let her pass.

I don’t need them anyway!

Instead, she asked for eye make-up.

You know, because the doctor said I have such lovely eyes.

She chose yellow, which turned golden on her skin.

Sunny clouded eyes.

How do you talk with your child about disabilities? Do you recognize the lightness of heart a child can deal with it?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K @ The Penguin and The Panther.

The picture in this post is credited to the author.


If you ask her about her daytime job, Katinka will tell you all about the challenge of studying the fate of radioactive substances in the deep subsurface. Her most demanding and rewarding job however is raising four kids together with five other parents, each with their own quirks, wishes and (dis)abilities. As parenting and especially co-parenting involves a lot of letting go, she finds herself singing the theme song to Frozen over and over again, even when the kids are not even there...

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NETHERLANDS: 5 Children’s Requests I Usually Give In To

NETHERLANDS: 5 Children’s Requests I Usually Give In To

406623767_850e9146c3_zSometimes I think I’m too permissive. Sometimes I think I’m too strict. Most of the time, however, I think I’m just right. I try not to say “no” without having a good solid reason for it, although I am not afraid to use it when I feel something isn’t safe. Sometimes, when I’m cranky and tired, you will hear more “no” coming out of my mouth than I would like to admit. But there are many things that will most likely elicit a big, happy resounding “yes” from me.

1) Hugs and kisses

I must confess that I always fall for these. I love it when my big girl puts her arms around me, the way my little girl’s body feels soft and warm in my arms, the soft smell of my baby’s head when I hug him. Yes, yes, yes, to all of them. Bring on the hugs and the smooches! Sometimes I don’t want to be touched and that’s OK, but when I’m in the mood, kisses are the best!

2) Singing songs together

I love singing, and my children seem to enjoy it, too. When we’re outside, running errands or walking to the playground and they ask me to sing “Let It Go”, I do what I’m told even though I can’t reach these higher notes. Singing gives us a lot of pleasure and besides, with some more practice (and since children love repetition, I get a lot of that), I’ll be able to sing it Idina Menzel-style in no time. Just watch me!

3) Reading books

To call me a bookworm is an understatement. I have a very serious reading addiction, and if you ask me, it’s the best of all addictions to have. Our house is full of books. We have recently given away some toys, but the books are not going anywhere. And if my children ask me to read to them I’ll drop anything I’m doing in order to do just that. I am also teaching my 5-year old to read and write so that she can also read independently. But I want to give them my love of reading and hope they will find joy and solace in books.

4) Independent play

I must admit that I don’t entirely enjoy playing with my children. I am just not that good at playing. So I will do anything to get out of playing with my kids. But I do love reading my book, and catching glimpses of them playing together. Seriously, the less I intervene here, the better they play. And if, once in a while, I make a suggestion that we all play together and they say, “No, we want to play by ourselves”, who am I to argue? It’s back to my book, then. Thanks, kids!

5) Answering their questions

The number of questions a child asks is endless. “What is this?” “What is that?” “Why did that happen?” “How do you know that?” It may seem annoying to some, but I actually enjoy answering my children’s questions. Some of them are simple or funny: “Why can’t I have ten legs?”. Others are more educational: “Where did the dinosaurs live?”. Yet others are hard: “What happens to us when we die?”. But I believe it is extremely important to answer these questions in an honest, but age-appropriate manner because they serve many functions, such as learning and managing difficult situations. Not to mention the fact that it teaches them that asking questions is always a good thing! So, children, ask away. You won’t hear, “Because that’s how it is” from me! The only exception I make is when they actually know the answer to the question.

It’s OK if I don’t respond to every need and every request. The children need to learn that their parents are individual human beings whose primary purpose isn’t necessarily connected to them. And there is a lot I simply refuse to do (like help them put on their clothes when I know perfectly well that they can do that themselves).

But there are things that I will always do for my kids, or at least as often as possible. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do things I don’t like doing for the sake of the kids. I also think there are some things I absolutely despise doing but the kids need them so it has to be done. The important thing I guess, is to find the happy middle ground.

What are some of the things you never say “no” to?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Olga Mecking of The Netherlands. Photo credit: Jesslee Cuizon. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Olga Mecking

Olga is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband. She is a multilingual expat mom to three trilingual children (even though, theoretically, only one is trilingual since she's old enough to speak). She loves being an expat, exploring new cultures, learning languages, cooking and raising her children. Occasionally, Olga gives trainings in intercultural communication and works as a translator. Otherwise, you can find her sharing her experiences on her blog, The European Mama. Also take a while to visit her Facebook page .

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