King Perry, Secretary Turned African King: cbsnews.com–2/29/12
By Stacey Gualandi
“What has happened in Japan is absolutely devastating. It reminds me of the 2004 tsunami that dramatically rose the number of orphans where we work in India. At that time we had to quickly make space for children in need of shelter and love…Just one child losing their parents to something like this is an absolute tragedy.”—Rebecca
Rebecca Welsh knows first-hand the overwhelming desperation following a destructive tsumani. Seven years ago, she created The HALO Foundation–Helping Art Liberate Orphans. A HALO-supported orphanage in India provided a home for children left parentless after the 2004 tsunami.
This 31-year-old former Taekwondo World Champion is a guardian angel for many young people. HALO continues to offer support and hope worldwide through determination, donations, and drawings!
The artwork these young boys and girls create has sold at auctions and in turn helps to fund food, shelter, education, water, and the clothes on their back. HALO now operates in six countries, supporting 11 orphanages and counting.
A mutual friend recently introduced me to Rebecca while she was exploring a possible expansion to the West Coast. And considering I am a student of tae-bo (taikwondo-light), I was very interested to see how a world champion in martial arts became a champion for young children in need… [Read more...]
Jessica Posner is doing extraordinary things in a place called Kibera, Kenya. It’s the largest slum in Africa with 1.5 million people living in squalid conditions lacking running water and electricity.
Most of the 500,000 girls under 18 in Kibera don’t get the chance to go to school. But Jessica is making it her mission to provide free education for as many of them as she can.
Starting from square one, she and her co-founder Kennedy Odede worked nonstop to establish the Kibera School for Girls in 2009. Their nonprofit “Shining Hope for Communities” is also opening a health care clinic there in November.
“The deck is so stacked against these people that I care about. But I see moments of transformation, and I would do anything to help them.”
I learned about this remarkable 23-year-old graduate of Wesleyan University from Echoing Green, a global nonprofit that awards seed funds to social entrepreneurs working on bold ideas for social change.
UPDATE 6/16/11–Jessica opened the Johanna Justin-Jinich Community Clinic last November which Jessica tells us has already seen over 3,000 patients. It specializes in providing primary health care for women and children. The center is in the name of a friend, an advocate of helping those in need and whose life was taken in a campus shooting.
I reached Jessica in Kibera working on her various projects and wanted to ask her how she ended up in Kenya launching such groundbreaking programs. And how was she able to start the free girls’ school?… [Read more...]
This year Dr. Jane Goodall, the conservationist and world-renowned pioneer in the study of chimpanzee behavior, celebrates the 50th anniversary of her arrival in Gombe, Tanzania, East Africa to begin her life’s work.
Her speech “Gombe and Beyond: The Next 50 Years” at today’s Bioneers Conference in San Raphael, Ca was received with great applause and a standing ovation. I was lucky enough to attend.
Dr. Goodhall gave her unique chimpanzee greeting to begin the lecture. If you haven’t heard it, you must. Here she is at a Great Ape Appreciation Day.
This morning she spoke about her destiny to work with animals in Africa. She said she owes it all to her mother who supported her from the beginning and even journeyed with her to Africa where she stayed for four months.
Dr. Goodall was captivated by animals at a very young age and told the story of collecting hen’s eggs. She was so curious about where they came from that she hid in a hen’s house to find out. It was there she said she learned patience.
She worked as a waitress to earn money until she met anthropologist and archeologist Louis Leakey who gave her a job as a secretary. That experience gave her the opportunity to learn about chimpanzees. When she needed money to study with the animals, he went to the National Geographic Society which assisted her.
Research is so advanced now, she reports, that we can find out who the fathers are of certain chimps. How sad, she said, that they are becoming extinct. There were 1,000,000 in 1960. Today there are only 300,000. She finds “no sharp line between us and them, only a very blurry line.”
She spoke of the many programs that she has started to educate people about animals and conservation from the “Take Care” program to “Roots & Chutes” that began with twelve high school students and is now in 120 countries. She has seen wonderful projects develop around the world as a result of the “Roots” program from young people taking animals to see older people to teens cleaning up an entire river.
Despite the harm that’s been done to this planet and the loss of hope that she’s witnessed in people, she remains optimistic. She thinks that young people will make it a better and more wholesome place, but “we just have to have the right mindset and understand that the human brain must be linked to the heart.”
To close, she asked, “Can we save the world?” The answer in the room was a resounding yes.
She’s currently working in North Kivu with COPERMA, a local organization that has started ten centers for rape victims, demobilized child-soldiers, and displaced children and families.
I learned about Amy when I read her guest blog in Nicholas D. Kristof’s column in the New York Times. She described there the horrendous sexual violence against women and children in the Congo. Her raw determination to help the people affected by war was apparent.
I wanted to find out what persuaded her to relocate to this unsettling chaos. What did she hope to accomplish in a place that’s been called “the rape capital of the world?”
“I have never in my entire life understood the strength of humanity as much, and more specifically, the strength of women, as I do here…”
The photos on this post are the property of Amy Ernst. You can see many of her pictures on her blog.
This week I had the opportunity to ask Amy about her challenging work and tireless dedication to these people… [Read more...]
Dr. Krupali Tejura, a radiation oncologist from Corona, Ca, says Twitter has the power to change lives and she’s seen it happen. This remarkable doctor uses social media to advocate for patients. She’s tweeted to help find bone marrow matches and tickets for a cancer patient to meet a favorite musician.
Having blogged about cancer issues for many years, she’s now giving readers an up close view of her current trip to Uganda where she’s tweeting and blogging regularly about her experiences helping out in a hospital and camp in Jinja. Hospital facilities, Krupali writes, are shocking. Working in the camp with her visiting group and parents, she says she’s seen things she’s never seen in the medical profession. Reaching out to assist a man with elephantitis, she’s blogging to let people know that he and many others need supplies and immediate care. This week 1004 patients were seen in one day.
To follow her:
On Twitter @krupali
Question: Do you use social media for humanitarian purposes?