Merry’s Holiday Reflection

Nu3 niño galapa1

As I head home for the holidays this year, I’m eager for some amazing home cooking as part of my family’s holiday traditions.  I love food – it’s a part of my culture, and always the center of celebrations that bring my family together.  But as I continue through this season of celebration and abundance, it is important for me to remember and reflect on the fact that in the current state of our world, food is a privilege.

Food security happens when a household has access at all times to an adequate amount of nutritious food, or food that will allow them to live a full and healthy life.  For about one seventh of the world’s population, fear of hunger, starvation, or threat of malnutrition is an ongoing reality.  These people, an estimated 1 billion worldwide, are food-insecure.

Because children, especially young children, are at vital stages of growth and development, they are at higher risk of negative effects from hunger.  Children, who are malnourished, malnutrition meaning they do not get enough of the essential nutritional elements necessary for human health, are not able to develop and are more susceptible to diseases.  Each year, 2.6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes.  Although overall the amount of people who are affected by hunger has gone down in the world, in certain regions including Africa, hunger has become more rampant.

There are many factors that allow hunger and malnutrition to persist in out world, but improved access to critical public services such as health clinics, and water and sanitation facilities, as well as increased support care for women and children would be a big step.  The United States also still has a huge population that is affected by hunger, about 14.5 percent of households, so remembering that this problem affects our local and international communities is also important.  There are many organizations, including some of NGC’s incredible partners, who fight hunger nation and worldwide as members of a global community working towards food security for all.

This post was written by NGC Team Mentor Merry Farrier.

GC Hangout: Huma Zafar

SOURCE: One World Children's Fund

SOURCE: One World Children’s Fund

This post was written by NGC Program Coordinator, Maggie Broderick.

After weeks of tech run-throughs, last week I successfully held our first Global Citizen Hangout on Skype with Huma Zafar, a Champion for NGC Global Project Mubarika Campus in Pakistan. Due to some unforeseen technology problems, our conversation was not recorded. Thankfully, Huma generously agreed to participate in another GC Hangout in a few weeks, which will soon thereafter be posted to NGC’s YouTube Channel. Stay tuned.

For now, I want to share some of what I learned with the NGC Community. Huma returned to her native Pakistan after a decade of attending university and working in the United States. Huma was drawn to Mubarika Campus’ work because of its innovative approach to universal education in her native country. Mubarika Campus is a sustainable, impactful organization that now educates 1400-1500 children in rural Pakistan every year.

The Mubarika Campus staff has proven successful because of their ability to identify and overcome barriers to education in this area. For example, students initially did not have access to water on Campus, which meant that they would have to either purchase water before school or go without water completely when temps exceeded 100° F. (Can you imagine focusing on a lesson in such conditions, with no air conditioning and without water?) After discovering this problem, staff raised funds and installed a water pump. The Mubarika Campus staff aims to have no reason that students could not excel at their schools.

Huma and her colleagues at Mubarika Campus believe that “poor children should get a rich [in quality] education”. All teachers at Mubarika Campus have at least a Bachelor’s education degree, which is different from other schools in Pakistan where anyone can hold a teaching position. By speaking with Huma for a short time, it was clear to me that Mubarika Campus will continue to educate thousands of youth for years to come. Mubarika Campus is a phenomenal example of locally-led solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

To stay up to date on Mubarika Campus’ work, like their Facebook Page. If you are interested in watching Global Citizen Hangouts with experts from around the world, subscribe to NGC’s YouTube Channel.

Expanding Worlds: Fostering Innovation in Youth

Currently circulating the NGC office is an amazing story about a Sierra Leone boy, Kelvin, who reversed engineered wires/tools to create an FM radio in his country. We definitely found ourselves with tears because Kelvin is one young student who epitomizes NGC’s vision: young people fostering their ability to be leaders. In this case, Kelvin fostered such an ability under conditions that many would have seen as impossible.

WATCH HERE:

)

Through NGC, students in the US can help global peers in achieving their dreams, from helping women in Afghanistan achieve their education or help children orphaned by epidemics to have equal access to education, nutrition, and more. LEARN MORE on how you and your peers can be involved. 

New Global Citizens: Westwood HS & Tolleson HS

Post written by Team Mentor Ahmad Abujbarah

BLOG

The second semester is in full swing for NGC teams all over the country, and, as usual, teams are trying to develop interesting ways to educate and raise funds for their global partner.

Hopefully, all teams are able to find strategies to raise awareness as well as simply have fun by knowing they are making a lasting change. Two teams, the Tolleson Union High School tram and Westwood High School team, have been able to fundraise while creatively teach their school on the Millennium Development Goals they and their global charity continue to tackle.

Tolleson Union High School’s NGC team ended their first semester with the wildly popular Poetry Night, where students perform musical pieces or recite poetry while the team raises money by selling merchandise, snacks, and charging a small admission fee. The Winter 2013 Poetry Night saw the highest turnout since the event’s creation in 2010 as over 80 students and teachers appeared to learn more about the Nirvanavan Foundation in India while also watching their peers on stage. Moving on from the success of their first semester, Tolleson NGC rang in the new semester with an Awareness Week to collect donations as well as further educate on the many issues the Nirvanavan Foundation combats while also telling students how their small donations and time spent listening helps create solutions for the children. Most recently, the team held a book sale to also raise funds, where students donated used books to be sold. By the looks of things, Tolleson NGC is having an excellent start so far, and the team is anticipating even more success, especially with their second Poetry Night and an Indian Culture Night.

Westwood High School’s NGC team is also doing well for itself. The team concluded the first semester educating and raising funds by hosting donut sales ever Wednesday and Thursday for about a month, which has been the team’s most successful strategy to fundraise as well as get students to walk up to their NGC table to learn more about the Millennium Development Goals and how they can be achieved. The team also sold Westwood High School themed Christmas ornaments, which was particularly creative because the team was able to tie in school spirit while also raising awareness for their cause! Plus, while doing these fundraisers, the team passes out flyers and posts posters all over the school to educate the students on the issues plaguing the world, as well encourage them to go to the NGC meeting to learn how change can be made. In the second semester, the team sold chocolate roses to raise even more funds and they aim to continue the donut sales throughout the rest of the semester. Even more astonishing, the team is planning a partnership with Westwood’s Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI), the world’s most dynamic coalition of youth volunteers, to help educate on the issues in today’s society as well as show students how their small contributions can make a huge difference.

Hopefully, all NGC teams are able to move forward this semester with new ideas that will call people’s attention to the concerns in the world. These teams show what hard work and dedication can create, and perhaps Tolleson NGC and Westwood NGC could inspire other NGC teams all over the country to find engaging new ways raise funds and educate their schools and communities!

As always, I hope for the best for all New Global Citizens teams!