AidBlogs

What's all this then?

Many aid workers keep online journals called web logs, or "blogs" for short. Blogs tend to be very personal, to present unabashedly biased opinions and to be much less formal than an organization's web site. Blogs are sometimes provocative, and some may make you feel uncomfortable -- you certainly won't agree with everything you read in blogs, including those produced by aid workers.

The AWN blog portal presents a range of aid worker-produced blogs from around the world. However, AWN is not responsible for the content of any of these blogs, and inclusion here on the AWN blog portal in no way endorses their content by AWN. If you disagree with what a blog has presented, by all means, write the blog author ("blogger") directly and let him or her know what you think.

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«C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 1 / french

iDevelopWorld - December 5, 2009 - 11:31am

L’Indentification et La Présentation

  1. Pour identifier une chose ou une personne, on utilise:
    • «C’est» + nom singulier
      • C’est une mangue.
        C’est un acteur.

    • «Ce sont» + nom pluriel
      • C’est une mangue.
        C’est un acteur.

    • La question est toujours au singulier:
      • - Qu’est-ce que c’est? (pour identifier une ou plusiers choses)

          - C’est un dessin de ma fille.
          - Ce sont des dessins de ma fille.

        - Qui est-ce? (pour identifier une ou plusiers personnes)

          - C’est mon cousin.
          - Ce sont mes cousins.

    • Dites: Qui est-ce?
    • Ne dites pas: Qui est-il?
    • Dites: C’est Matthieu Alberto?
    • Ne dites pas: Il est Matthieu Alberto.

  2. Pour présenter une personne, on utilise «c’est» + nom singulier, «ce sont» + nom pluriel:
      • -C’est Matthieu Alberto.
      • -C’est mon directeur.
      • -Ce sont mes parents.
      • -Ce sont des amis.

    • On utilise «c’est» invariable pour s’annoncer (par exemple à l’interphone):
      • -C’est nous.
      • -C’est Anna et Peter.

 

This article was inspired by

Check it out at Amazon

Related posts:

  1. «C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 2 / french
  2. La Réponse en français / french
  3. Pour vaincre la grammaire française intermediare! / french

Categories: AidBlogs

«C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 1

iDevelopWorld - December 5, 2009 - 11:31am

L’Indentification et La Présentation

  1. Pour identifier une chose ou une personne, on utilise:
    • «C’est» + nom singulier
      • C’est une mangue.
        C’est un acteur.

    • «Ce sont» + nom pluriel
      • C’est une mangue.
        C’est un acteur.

    • La question est toujours au singulier:
      • - Qu’est-ce que c’est? (pour identifier une ou plusiers choses)

          - C’est un dessin de ma fille.
          - Ce sont des dessins de ma fille.

        - Qui est-ce? (pour identifier une ou plusiers personnes)

          - C’est mon cousin.
          - Ce sont mes cousins.

    • Dites: Qui est-ce?
    • Ne dites pas: Qui est-il?
    • Dites: C’est Matthieu Alberto?
    • Ne dites pas: Il est Matthieu Alberto.

  2. Pour présenter une personne, on utilise «c’est» + nom singulier, «ce sont» + nom pluriel:
      • -C’est Matthieu Alberto.
      • -C’est mon directeur.
      • -Ce sont mes parents.
      • -Ce sont des amis.

    • On utilise «c’est» invariable pour s’annoncer (par exemple à l’interphone):
      • -C’est nous.
      • -C’est Anna et Peter.

 

This article was inspired by

Check it out at Amazon

Related posts:

  1. «C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 2
  2. La Réponse en français

Categories: AidBlogs

La Réponse en français / french

iDevelopWorld - December 5, 2009 - 10:38am

 

    «Oui» répond à une question affirmative:
    Vous êtes marié? Oui, je suis marié.

 

    «Si» répond à une question négative:
    Vous n’êtes pas marié? Si, je suis marié.

 

    «Non» répond négativement à une question phrase:
    Tu travailles le samedi? Non.

 

    «Pas» répond à une partie de la phrase:
    Tu travailles le samedi? Pas tous les samedis.

 

Quelques exemples

    1. -Vous êtes en vacances, Monsieur Matthieu?
    -Oui, et vous, est-ce que vous êtes en vacances?

 

    2. -Vous êtes içi avec votre femme?
    -Pas avec ma femme, avec ma fille.

 

    3. -Vous êtes à Paris en juillet?
    -Non nous sommes à Rome.

 

    4. -Vous êtes içi pour faire du tourisme?
    -Pas pour faire du tourisme: pour travailler!

 

    5. -Vous n’êtes pas fatigués?
    -Si nous sommes très fatigués.

 

This article was inspired by

Check it out at Amazon

Related posts:

  1. «C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 2 / french
  2. «C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 1 / french
  3. Pour vaincre la grammaire française intermediare! / french

Categories: AidBlogs

La Réponse en français

iDevelopWorld - December 5, 2009 - 10:38am

 

    «Oui» répond à une question affirmative:
    Vous êtes marié? Oui, je suis marié.

 

    «Si» répond à une question négative:
    Vous n’êtes pas marié? Si, je suis marié.

 

    «Non» répond négativement à une question phrase:
    Tu travailles le samedi? Non.

 

    «Pas» répond à une partie de la phrase:
    Tu travailles le samedi? Pas tous les samedis.

 

Quelques exemples

    1. -Vous êtes en vacances, Monsieur Matthieu?
    -Oui, et vous, est-ce que vous êtes en vacances?

 

    2. -Vous êtes içi avec votre femme?
    -Pas avec ma femme, avec ma fille.

 

    3. -Vous êtes à Paris en juillet?
    -Non nous sommes à Rome.

 

    4. -Vous êtes içi pour faire du tourisme?
    -Pas pour faire du tourisme: pour travailler!

 

    5. -Vous n’êtes pas fatigués?
    -Si nous sommes très fatigués.

 

This article was inspired by

Check it out at Amazon

Related posts:

  1. «C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 2
  2. «C’est» et «Il est» en français – Partie 1
  3. Pour vaincre la grammaire française intermediare!

Categories: AidBlogs

How to use Kiva to turn your $50 into $500 so that you infinitely give more and more to empower the poor in our world

iDevelopWorld - November 30, 2009 - 4:12am

The concept of giving to the poor, or alms giving, is an idea that is as old as the creation of money.

Giving to the poor has traditionally meant giving to charities or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). You give money to these charities and NGOs, in the hopes that they will either pass on that money to targeted beneficiaries, or buy in-kind products (such as food or shelter) to give to the poor, or even to implement social programs (such as participatory initiatives or vocational training or education).

This sort of giving has been the conventional form of giving for centuries.

However, as times have changed, technologies and ideas have grown. We now live in the 21st century. As a result, the concept of giving must adapt to the ever-growing and ever-changing dynamic of our world. Giving to the poor must keep up.

At times, the problem with giving money, or throwing money at poor people, is that it can often breed a habit of dependency on aid. Having worked with NGOs and beneficiaries of long-term aid, I have seen first-hand the problems of having people depend solely on handouts by governments, NGOs or international organisations. It kills initiative in people and self-reliance. I understand that there are instances where humanitarian assistance is necessary, but prolonged aid can be more problematic. And giving aid without thinking about the consequences of the self-reliance of the people, in my view, is a major problem.

Fortunately, thinkers and development economists and people in the field have come up with new forms of giving. Herein lies the new form of philanthropy that I am personally excited about: micro-loans (also known as microcredit or microfinance).

What are micro-loans?

Currently, I live and work in Bangladesh for humanitarian and development programs. Funny enough, the idea of micro-loans originated from Bangladesh, by the renowned Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Muhammad Yunus.

He noticed that the poorest people in Bangladesh were more than capable to lift themselves out of poverty. That they had the skills and the drive to lift themselves out. They have the initiative to do it, because they are the ones who directly benefit when they take initiative for themselves.

Yunus noticed that women, in particular, had a great capacity to save for their families and even had the willingness to use their savings to buy income-generating assets (IGAs).

The major thing preventing these extremely poor women from saving and then investing in IGAs is the lack of capital, a lack of finance to start up small businesses. Yunus discovered this as he observed and interviewed poor households in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Yunus then realised that many of the larger banks would refuse giving loans to potential entrepreneurs from poorer backgrounds because the loans requested by micro-entrepreneurs were too small, and plus the poor often lack sufficient lack of collateral.

When the big banks refused to given loans to the poor, Yunus stepped in and believed that it was possible. From there, the idea of micro-loans emerged. Yunus did some experiments with micro-loans, financing small entrepreneurs from poor backgrounds. For his first trials, he actually used his own pocket money to loan to some women. These women would then go out and buy simple IGAs such as chickens or cows or small goods to sell and make profit. Interestingly, Yunus discovered that when micro-loans were given to women, the repayment rate of the loans was over 90%. Perhaps it was the family-orientated characteristic of the poor women, which encouraged them to consistently save and repay.

Yunus then established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, in order to institutionalise microfinance. Now, his model of micro-loans spread across other developing countries. His pioneering of micro-loans and his exemplary work on social entrepreneurship, has given him and the Grameen Bank the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. They were awarded it “for advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, especially women, through their pioneering microcredit work.”

Yunus has often been called the Banker of the Poor.

How you can be a Banker to the Poor? Answer = Kiva

For me personally, I had learnt about the concept of microloans back in university during some of my economics and development classes. Listening to the lecturers talk about the innovation of microfinance was interesting, but I often felt like the application of microfinance was left to NGOs or other microfinance institutions in the developing world.

One day however, as I was reading my friend Peter’s blog (one of my humanitarian friends), I stumbled across his project to raise money with kiva. And I was instantly amazed by the impact that his project was making all across the world, and for many different people directly.

I visited the kiva website, and I was intrigued even more!

Kiva’s motto is “Loans that change lives”, and when I saw that I could start with just $25, I gave it straight away. It was very fitting that I loaned to a Filipino woman (as my parents are originally from the Philippines) and I remembered that my parents had decided for our family to move to Australia to escape from poverty.

Already, I observed that I was already a part of the innovative process of micro-loans. I was a lender, a banker to the poor. To give a woman from the developing world the help she needed (via capital) so that she could buy income-generating assets, and therefore, help herself.

For me, that excited me immensely. This concept of giving was revolutionary, and I was a part of it. It’s revolutionary because it gives the entrepreneurs the gift of self-respect. Typically, when you give money to charities, it sometimes feels as if you throw money at the poor, and often there is a massive imbalance of power because you have given and they have taken without giving anything in return for it. (Of course there are many humanitarian or crisis examples where donations must be given to prevent a disaster)

However, for long-term development, I believe that there needs to be a balance in the relationship between the donor and the beneficiary. Through micro-loans, there is a greater balance because the micro-entrepreneur uses the loan to buy assets that can provide goods and services for their community, and then the entrepreneur can make a profit. From that, they are then able to repay the loan and give back. It becomes similar to the notion of “paying it forward”, and a balanced relationship of giving and receiving.

How to use kiva to turn your $50 into $500 so that you infinitely give more and more to empower the poor in our world

The repayment terms vary from 6 months to 1 year or longer.

You can start off with just $25, and loan it off. You’ll then receive that $25 again once the entrepreneur has paid you back (after let’s say, 6 months). Then you can re-loan that $25. Then you’ll get re-paid that $25. And you can do it again and again and again.

In practice, the effect of just $25 can be enormous over the long run. And you will definitely see the effect of your $25, because there is accountability, as the entrepreneur is expected to pay it back from the profits that they make.

For instance:
You give a micro-loan of $25 to a woman in Africa. She uses that $25 to buy a chicken. The chicken lays eggs and then she can sell those eggs to people in her community (providing a service to them). She makes a profit, and then repays the loan of $25 (giving you back your $25). The chicken then lays more eggs, and even has baby chickens, and the woman now has a greater scope of increased profit and income-generation for her future.

You then have your $25 again because the first woman repaid her loan. Now you can give your $25 to another woman, maybe perhaps in South America or Asia? It’s your choice. But then again, the process will reoccur.

Then you decide to give a micro-loan of $25 to a woman in Peru. She uses that $25 to buy a cow. The cow produces milk and then she can sell that milk to people in her community (providing a service to them). She makes a profit, and then repays the loan of $25 (giving you back your $25). The cow then has more milk, and even has baby calves, and the woman now has a greater scope of increased profit and income-generation for her future.

Effectively, you’ve only given $25 once. BUT you have actually given 2 loans worth $25 each. So you’ve made an impact of $50 with just $25. Interesting, isn’t it?

The process goes on and on as you receive your repayments back, and then you reloan the money. That is how you can turn your $25 into $250 or more of impact around the world. It is also how you can turn your $50 into $500 of impact and contribution for the lives of the poor.

In a nutshell: If you give an initial $50 loan with 6 months repayment terms and you re-loan that $50 to another entrepreneur after every 6 months over 5 years, then your $50 will have made an impact of $500.

Check out the kiva entrepreneurs who I have supported

Kiva has made it easy and interactive for you to give micro-loans to small entrepreneurs from around the world. These people already have the initiative and the ideas to lift themselves out of poverty. Kiva is a great way to give to them to give them a boost up on the ladder of development.

Check out their website here: kiva.org

Or even check out my profile to get an idea of how it works: http://www.kiva.org/lender/idevelopworld

Below you can also see the entrepreneurs who I am supporting or have supported.

Categories: AidBlogs

I find that, above all, the soul wants stories.

iDevelopWorld - November 29, 2009 - 3:31am

“I find that, above all, the soul wants stories.”
Why stories?
Because the soul’s way of communicating is to teach. And its language is symbols and themes – all of which have been found, since the beginning of time, in stories. No matter how much “much” a person might otherwise possess, they were seen as poor, or even imperiled, if they did not know stories they could turn to for advice, throughout and till the very end of life.

- Clarissa Pinkola Estes

You live your life and meet people. You have conversations with people from all over, sometimes meeting them at chance happenings. You listen and learn, hearing their stories and meanings that are drawn from their life and experience.

The power of stories are so captivating for us as humans.

As I read Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, I really do feel a sense of change in my thinking and perspective of the world. You know, I used to live with the idea that we have to always be practical with things. Be practical with what you do, practical with what you read, practical about how you see the world.

Campbell’s book at the moment is really influencing me to see the world anew. Our world in which metaphors and soul stories and characters and lives play out in meaningful and symbolic ways – which are often expressed in tales that are not so practical or reasonable. Because the imagination and the soul expresses itself in these images.

The art of story-telling

There’s such an interesting description of story-telling, and the history behind it. That historically, when humans livd and worked in small tribal or village communities, stories had the purpose of binding people together. Stories would allow people to pass the time, ease the work, and teach lessons to children – especially stories shared by word-of-mouth.

While recent times have seen the demise of the oral tradition (as human societies move increasingly away from communal living to more independent living), this does not diminish the importance of stories and the desire for them. “No matter how urbanized a people may become, no matter how far they are living from family, or how many generations away they are born from a tight-knit heritage group – people everywhere nonetheless will form and re-form “talking story” groups.” Stories nowadays have changed in their form of communication. You can find the sharing of stories in newspapers, magazines, books, movies, TV, daily conversations, parks, pubs, benches, and cafes.

I read this idea, and could really validate it in my own experience. While facts and reason are important, there is another layer of the imaginative and the impossible which has the emotional power to affect us. And looking for this power in stories is so basic. It is a way that our human socialness is conveyed.

“For everyone, from war veterans to families, from co-workers to classmates, from survivors to activists, religious and artists, and more, the stories they share together bind them more faithfully, through the heart and soul, to each other and to the spirit, than almost any other bond.”

Stories are so essential to the character of humanity. It is said bluntly that the “lack of compelling and unpredictable heroic stories can deaden an individual’s and a culture’s overall creative life – can pulverize it right down to powder.”

Heroes in your own life

The drive and yearning to live out stories is as deep in the mind as it is compelling for the mind to listen to stories and learn from them.

I liked reading about the idea that in our day-to-day lives, ordinary people try to find heroic themes in their own life. You see this in the way that people (or even you) can seek challenges and quests, which are manifested in your goals, creative endeavours and dreams. It is suggested that all of these signs of heroic seeking in real-life, lead to one psychological fact: “That is, that the creative and spiritual lives of individuals influence the outer world as much as the mythic world influences the individual.”

I just came back from a weekend trip to a small island off Bangladesh. And while the environment and the natural beauty were magnificent, the unique thing about that trip was the sharing in the stories amongst friends. Unique stories and meanings gained from a lifetime of experiences, all with their individual quirks and contexts. Many of those stories, actually impacting me in many ways. Especially the stories which I could relate to, learn from, and feel. What I liked most, was that these stories were real. From real people, each with extraordinary lives.

Think about the people who have impacted your life, who you look up to or admire. Isn’t there a heroic quality about them in your own view and feeling?

Stories have the power to move us

The wonder of stories is in its power to move us, shake us into action, or empower us with a new perspective on life and ourselves.

One example given includes those heroic stories in which a new challenge is set, and the main character has to make the decision. Should the character take on the challenge? Say yes or no? Overcome it? Become more? Run away?

In those moments, whether within stories or even in our own lives, the moment takes us on a heroic decision.

These pivotal turning points can even be simplified to:

“If not now, when?”

‘This simple and powerful encouragement to go on with the journey has been expressed in different words, at different times, to the yearning but timid, to the uncertain, the jaded, the hesitant, the dawdlers, the postponers, the fakers, the foolish, and the wise. Thus, since the beginning of time, humanity has lurched, walked, crawled, dragged, and danced itself forward towards the fullest life with soul possible.’

Stories are powerful because they give us an example of possibility. The causes and consequences of choices made. But more importantly, the type of person that you can become by making a certain decision over another. And the journey that accompanies those decisions as the character moves forward.

Sharing stories with a child

As the importance of stories began to strike me. It became obvious that the many stories that I grew up with, really have shaped me.

In Campbell’s book, there is a hypothetical that is put forward. Imagine a child who has neve been given any stories as they are growing up. They never meet any heroic characters and the drive and passion that pushes them to overcome the odds. Their imaginations are never awakened with the tales and fables of people who had to learn life lessons from complications that they come across.

And when I think of a child who has had no stories told to them, it makes me feel empty. It feels cold and barren for a child never to have known them. For they never have the role models from whence to draw their strength when they face challenges in the real world. And it is in the images in stories which are imprinted in our subconscious minds, much much longer than mere instructions.

Stories that have meanings in them are much more effective than instructive commands about life. For the stories have greater depth and sybolism that stays with us, with our soul and our imagination.

Realising this, reminded me of the times my mother would read me story books before going to bed. I remembered the people and the wonderful places in these stories, and I became so grateful. And recognizing the impact that many of these stories have had on me, it gives me such energy to want to share stories with others, especially to children.

‘Remembering’ stories, not discovering stories

The funny thing about all stories is that they all seem to share sommon elements about them. Even though the characters, the situations and the contexts may change, there truly is a thread that joins them.

I once heard that there are not millions of stories, but since the beginning of time, there have only really been a handful of stories. The rest have just been interpretations and adaptations of the original stories. And it does seem like that, doesn’t it? The themes and the underlying meanings tend to remain constant, even though the names of the people and places change.

“Since forever, the best amongst contemporary thinkers neither “discover” nor “found” anything. They remember. They remember that they are remembering. They tell what has been since the beginning of time.”

From Campbell, I really do feel affirmed in the importance of stories for us as humans. How do you feel about stories? Are there any stories, whether mythical or realistic, which have changed your life or your view of the world?

This article was inspired by
‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ (Joseph Campbell)

Check it out at Amazon

Related posts:

  1. How you can be a modern hero in your own life?

Categories: AidBlogs

Compassion: the common thread that binds all spiritual beliefs together

iDevelopWorld - November 26, 2009 - 10:38am

In our world where we often feel confusion, misunderstanding and even animosity with the fact that the world’s religions and spiritual traditions often differ, today we find some hope. Hope in the sense that, while all spiritual beliefs and religions may differ, they fundamentally have a common thread running through them all.

According to Karen Armstrong, that thread is strong enough for us to go beyond differences in belief. It is strong enough to truly love one another. It is compassion.

Karen Armstrong, and her team of spiritual leaders from around the world, have come up with a Charter to affirm the belief in the importance of interfaith dialogue and understanding, but more importantly, in compassion for each other as human beings in practice.

Personally, I thought that the Charter would be longer and more detailed, something similar to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, I suppose that compassion itself, is simple, and it needs no complicated thesis to explain what it is. You can easily recognise it when it is there.

And I suppose for me personally, this sort of Charter is significant. I’m a Christian myself who grew up in a mainly Christian country (Australia and Philippines), but I am now living in a predominantly Muslim country (Bangladesh) and working on behalf of refugees who were discouraged from practising their Muslim faith.

A great man once said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That was Martin Luther King Jr.

In the area I currently live, there are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and a small group of Christians, all living together. We really should stop focusing on the differences, and focusing on all these spiritual labels. But appreciate, instead, that in our diverse spiritual beliefs, these beliefs essentially stand for something universal – that we want to give compassion to others, whichever their creed.

In the end, we are all human beings. And we really need to figure out a way to live together in harmony.

The Charter for Compassion was unveiled on November 12, 2009, and it is given below:

A call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

Visit the website of the Charter for Compassion for more info, or to affirm you support.

Related posts:

  1. A personal quest for universal truth
  2. An angry, vengeful God?

Categories: AidBlogs

The common thread that binds all spiritual beliefs together: Compassion

iDevelopWorld - November 26, 2009 - 10:38am

In our world where we often feel confusion, misunderstanding and even animosity with the fact that the world’s religions and spiritual traditions often differ, today we find some hope. Hope in the sense that, while all spiritual beliefs and religions may differ, they fundamentally have a common thread running through them all.

According to Karen Armstrong, that thread is strong enough for us to go beyond differences in belief. It is strong enough to truly love one another. It is compassion.

Karen Armstrong, and her team of spiritual leaders from around the world, have come up with a Charter to affirm the belief in the importance of interfaith dialogue and understanding, but more importantly, in compassion for each other as human beings in practice.

Personally, I thought that the Charter would be longer and more detailed, something similar to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, I suppose that compassion itself, is simple, and it needs no complicated thesis to explain what it is. You can easily recognise it when it is there.

And I suppose for me personally, this sort of Charter is significant. I’m a Christian myself who grew up in a mainly Christian country (Australia and Philippines), but I am now living in a predominantly Muslim country (Bangladesh) and working on behalf of refugees who were discouraged from practising their Muslim faith.

A great man once said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That was Martin Luther King Jr.

In the area I currently live, there are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and a small group of Christians, all living together. We really should stop focusing on the differences, and focusing on all these spiritual labels. But appreciate, instead, that in our diverse spiritual beliefs, these beliefs essentially stand for something universal – that we want to give compassion to others, whichever their creed.

In the end, we are all human beings. And we really need to figure out a way to live together in harmony.

The Charter for Compassion was unveiled on November 12, 2009, and it is given below:

A call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

Visit the website of the Charter for Compassion for more info, or to affirm you support.

Related posts:

  1. A personal quest for universal truth
  2. An angry, vengeful God?

Categories: AidBlogs

30 Even more Tagalog words I learned from ‘Lovers in Paris’ (Tagalog Version)

iDevelopWorld - November 26, 2009 - 10:14am

‘Lovers in Paris’ ended well. It was very climactic towards the end, particuarly as all the characters and their relationships began to unravel. Of course, there were some loose threads by the end of it, but I think the major themes and the main characters were very complete. There is a sense of finality at the end. For me, I guess watching the entire series, you get the sense of the overwhelming power of love, which can overcome anything. (A little too soppy for some, but I guess for me, love really is powerful and I personally believe it, too)

It’s a little sad having finished the series, and going through the lives and experiences of Carlo and Vivian. I liked seeing the real actors on ABS-CBN, and it’s weird seeing that they are totally different in real life. I suppose I just got sucked into the authenticity of their acting.

Here are some more tagalog words that I learned towards the end of the series!

Pangkaraniwan
Sumuko
Itakda
Matatagpuan
Maranasan
Pwesto
Ulila
Panga
Duwag
Sapat
Pondo
Maski
Diskarte
Kuripot
Ganap
Tatak
Palaban
Silbihan
Alok
Tumatanggi
Malulutas
Gapang
Babawiin
Higit
Mahusay
Kwenta
Matino
Pustahan
Balikat
Likha

Common
Yield
Set
Found
Experience
Place
Orphan
Jaw
Cowardly
Enough
Fund
Either
Strategy
Scrooge
Complete
Brand
Gladiatorial
Wait
Offer
Rejects
Soluble
Crawl
Undo
More
Well
Worth
Sensing
Betting
Shoulder
Creation

 

 

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Related posts:

  1. New Tagalog words I learned from ‘Lovers in Paris’ (Tagalog Version)
  2. 35 more Tagalog words I learned from ‘Lovers in Paris’ (Tagalog Version)
  3. Shadowing technique for speaking advanced Tagalog

Categories: AidBlogs

Very Happy New Year News

Jra's thoughts - February 3, 2008 - 9:30pm
Note to the press: If you found this post by searching for Adré, and you are thinking of calling MSF to contact me, please do not bother. MSF is busy managing the unfolding emergency in N'Djamena, and I am not available for comment. If you insist on calling (and I know how you reporters are) the best contact is the MSF press officer in New York(who will tell you exactly what I just told you). Hello everybody, and happy new years. 2008 is going to be really great for me, I have some news to share here to get all those who are interested in my travels back up to date with my life and my plans. First, the most important thing in my whole life... I've finally found the perfect girl for me. Her name is Marina, and we've been together over a year now. She and I weren't ready to talk so publicly about our relationship until now, but now the time has come, so that's the first really great piece of news for the blog in 2008. I met Marina in Liberia (and astute readers of my blog from back then will find some references to her). She was a coworker, and we were living in a small compound with 7 other MSFers, so we started off with a great deal of discretion. We have some funny stories about how each of our coworkers found out about our little "thing". The important part is that the boss, who liked to play the part of the mother to us all, didn't find out until the very end... that means we "won" the game. :) When we both got back from Liberia, we really had to adjust. Was it just something that happened to us inside of the MSF bubble, or would our relationship work in real life too? It took all year, and some hard times, to find the answer to that question. But the answer now is clear: YES! We are together now in Switzerland, and planning how to stay together. And that leads me to the second piece of news: we have found a posting with MSF where we can live and work together. We will be in Adré, Chad for 6 months. I leave January 10th, and she follows 2 weeks afterwards. I have been studying French during the last 5 months here in Switzerland to give me a reason to stay close to Marina and develop our relationship. Furthermore, I chose to study French to help my career with MSF and to help us have more possibilities to be together -- now that both of us are bilingual (at least for some types of jobs) that makes many more possibilities where we can live and work together, all around the world. After Chad, who knows... but perhaps we will live in Geneva while Marina studies, and after that we can continue working around the world. I will be working as a logistician in Adré, where MSF operates a hospital. It was a government hospital before the hostilities in western Sudan boiled over the border and destabilized the eastern frontier region of Chad. Now, there are 240,000 refugees from Sudan in the area, and demand for services like healthcare, water, and feeding have overwhelmed the Government of Chad's ability (and willingness) to provide. Thus, eastern Chad has become the humanitarian aid industry's second front in the war in Darfour (the western state of Sudan). My work will concentrate on construction and water systems, because MSF has the goal to rehabilitate a series of health posts and put them back into service during 2008. But in fact because the situation there is so volatile, I might end up working on other things instead... like the evacuation plan. :( Marina will be a nurse in the hospital. She will be responsible for the normal things an MSF nurse does in a post like that. She will be responsible for the pharmacy, the sterilization, the management of the nurses and the nurse aides, for ongoing training to improve the standard of care. This is actually quite a boring post, like her first one with MSF several years ago in Laos. To her credit, she's decided to take it to come with me to Chad. I suppose I will owe her big time when she finds something interesting to do somewhere else in the world and I have to find a way to come along with her! The context where we will be working, eastern Chad, is really much more the traditional MSF posting than Liberia was. Compared to Chad, Liberia is a vacation paradise. We will have a tough time sometimes, but we'll be together and that seems to give us more courage. That's how it should be with your partner, but it's perhaps not such a good idea to give each other courage when you are talking about a war zone! But, we'll be back inside the MSF bubble, where there are enough security rules, enough resources to keep us safe, and a healthy aversion to taking stupid risks. It's going to be a big adventure, and hopefully we'll really learn a lot from it. Finally, some administrative details... I am going to purge my huge list of people and only send updates from Chad to those who really want them. If you have gotten this far in my message, you clearly are interested. So please reply to me via e-mail and I will keep you on the list. If you have not read this far, don't send me e-mail. :) I will not be posting messages from Adré on the website publicly until after I get back next July. If you want to keep up with me, it has to be by e-mail. If you are reading this on the web, you need to send me e-mail at jra@nella.org to get on the list.
Categories: AidBlogs

"do isch e glaini wält verruggt"

Sharing means caring - May 7, 2007 - 1:05pm
which means sth like "this upsets but a small world". my mom said it to me when I told her that a colleague will be upset if I don't call. and a friend of mine said that if switzerland makes again "zero points" in the eurovision song contest, it is only a small world of 6, 7 million Swiss that is upset :-)I like this expression. as a small update on the bloody german "I lost my purse" guy, my money never came. Frida, I thought the same as you: I could find myself in this situation... and Phil, well, yes, you are right. what else to say? I am not sure what I should be learning out of this... next time I walk away? I just give part of the amount? I smash the nose of the guy?but at least my visa arrived in Geneva today. and I found out the reason why admin is working so particularly lousy these days: they all fear for their jobs. UNHCR is considering to outsource admin to a less expensive country. IOM has already done so, their admin is in malysia. this is where unhcr might go as well, or to bukarest or budapest. haha. I am evil enough and have some experiences of the "service" provided, so I have to say this happens to my entire satisfaction. for this lousy service? we can definitely save a lot of money.I am thinking those days about how I changed in Afghanistan. I got different feedback from my friends. from "not very much" to "more distant" to "more patient" and "less tough on some issues" to "more demanding".what I definitely learnt is that no situation is easy to solve. there are so many aspects and factors that influence things. if you are thinking too much, one tends to over-estimate his/her influence and might even stop acting for fear of provoking wrong results. talk about academisation of humanitarian work.... what is right and wrong?so yes, I think I am more distant and more patient because I don't put myself in the judges' throne so quickly. I actually think I never did. but yes, I am less tough on some issues because I realised it is not so much the actions of people that makes things happen, but sometimes the sum of a hundred things. but I am also more demanding, because I still think that any act and working in general should always be done as good as possible, without overestimating yourself but also without the lame excuse that the individual does not count.the individual does not count that much. but at the same time, it can have an enormous impact. yes, I guess I learnt to accept that an individuals life is not sacred. why should it be? and I do think that there are ideas worth dying for. now I shouldn't be writing stuff like this before trying to enter the US *lol* either they stop me at the border because of my affinity to Islam, or then they put me directly into their special forces, for my affinity to the political right. geez, I am a strange person. absolutely fit for new york then, I guess :-)
Categories: AidBlogs

waiting

Sharing means caring - May 4, 2007 - 9:05am
I am waiting for my visa, and I am waiting for the money or a sign from that german guy I was helping out the other day... he did not send the money next day, but maybe it is still coming...in the meanwhile am thinking about a post with the title HONOUR, talking about responsibility, honesty, fairness and other lost values on this world!and I do send all my best wishes and strength to my colleagues in Herat, struggling with the latest battlefield and 130 dead people in Shindand - 100 km south of Herat, the impact of some new bombs, the contradictory reports from the ground - and Iran deporting the not so well-liked Afghans back to their country: 40'000 so far in a few days. and deporting is not a nice thing. it involves a lot of psycho pressure, also physical discomfort to abuse, apart from the fact of being deported from a country with a good living standard where you've been working for years (not officially, of course) back to a country like Afghanistan which is sliding into another period of unstability and insecurity.still, I would go back working in Afghanistan or a country like Afghanistan anytime. any time. staying at home is good for a rest, but I wouldn't want to live in Switzerland and die of boredom and disgust from some elements and life style in western society. the crap people are being told here, and ready to believe...
Categories: AidBlogs

trust or no trust

Sharing means caring - April 30, 2007 - 11:43am
imagine... you walk into a train station in switzerland, and a young german guy approaches you. he says he had his purse stolen with all cards and stuff, and he needs money. he would send it back to you right next day. he needs 80 swiss francs, about 60$, 50 euros... (yeah go ahead, laugh about my miserable money converter skills!)I usually give money to people on the street - the ones performing music for instance, or people who just need a hand for a ticket or similar. not the drug people, not the beggars.now I am wondering if I am still too naive to believe any cock'n'bull story or if I will get the money in the next days. I hope I will get it. not for the money really, I have enough and it won't hurt. but it would be such an asshole thing to do to think up this story and appeal for help, and then just faking it. it would hurt on another level. we'll see...
Categories: AidBlogs

stuck at home - quelle chance!

Sharing means caring - April 27, 2007 - 9:44am
one year in the UN and I start accumulate experiences about long ways of administration and utterly incompetent people not even realising their failure...I was supposed to leave Switzerland tomorrow Saturday for New York. I asked about one and half month ago who is in charge to organise my visa. I asked again two weeks ago, and got a reply that Geneva will organise it.I spent three hours with the lady of the Travel and Visa Unit on Monday, filling out forms, taking the picture, signing et cetera - only to get a mail from the same lady on Wednesday that she gave me the wrong forms and took the wrong format of pictures. She asked me some other forms and stuff. I visited the website of the US embassy and checked it, to find out that she clearly has no idea of what she is doing. oh well. why should she? maybe because she is working for the Visa and Travel Unit for several years now????it is not too bad for myself. this way I get a prolonged holiday at home!just doubting the efficiency of the UN once more, if it is not even able to organise a visa on time for a staff member to start her new job...Worldman, maybe you would just smile and thank for the service. just, what if there is no service? what if someone is simply not up to their job? and also, especially in Pakistan, I made the experience that the nicer you are the worse they treat you. Once you start bitching, people start paying attention and make things possible. I got better rooms in hotels, accelerated check in services and generous luggage allowances only when starting to be strong and annoying. I find it sad. no wonder this world is such a fucked up place, if being nice only counts as a sign for the other to keep on sleeping...
Categories: AidBlogs

intellectual bleeding

Sharing means caring - April 20, 2007 - 6:54pm
I am doing so fine. enjoy being at home - even though everybody in my family seems to have an emergency of some kind and needs to go to hospital and stuff. well, it all turned out okay in all cases but there were a few tense moments. good to be at home - even more in times like these.the last rumour that swept Afghanistan on the day that I left was the following one, that if you receive phone calls from certain numbers a deadly virus is transmitted, which causes immediate bleeding out of nose and mouth and ears, and you die. and they did send this email here as a warning.....Subject: BELIEVE OR DO NOT BELIEVEDear all,These are some suspicious numbers (Which is coming as a phone call tomobile phones and is causing very strong bleeding in intellectual/brainsystem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) , presumably, almost all heard about. How much theseinformation are true and accurate I don’t know, but just I felt to share some ofthese numbers which I got it from XY office;111009000888009192431900880055079005588885555Wish you all safe moments,intellectual bleeding, my arse!! please, for anybody who believes this kind of crap: dont be afraid. you may have a mobile phone, but you clearly dont have any intellectual organ that could bleed at all.if feels so good to be out of it! getting the adrenaline out of my system. had the last Afghanistan experience on Monday when driving to the airport. there were credible sources warning about a suicide attack on Herat airport... we were told to go there last minute only and reduce the time of actually being on the spot. so I got out of our armoured car in the last minute - only to hear that the plane is an hour delayed. aaah, quel plaisir!but now am home. still alert about every unusual noise, but having such a good time with friends.
Categories: AidBlogs

transit

Sharing means caring - April 17, 2007 - 7:00pm
my plan was to leave herat and go straight to islamabad, spend a day, dubai, spend a day, and thanks to all those night flights be home by thursday morning.I should have learnt the insh'allah lesson better!herat to kabul was nice and smooth. UNHAS has this extra terminal for themselves, so passport stamp and transit check happens within few minutes. you hardly have time to go to toilet when you find yourself back in the same plane again. the planes are based in islamabad, and the typical monday route is islamabad - kabul - kandahar - herat - kabul - islamabad.I had a bit of bad luck - the guy in front of me of smelling of sweat quite badly. we were driving towards the runway when I was already looking around checking for a seat to change to once we are airborn, when the smell suddenly changed. and all passengers started to look agitated. and I realised its bloody SMOKE that we are smelling! and, like for re-assurance you look towards the flight attendants and see their faces fall and get all white, and you realise, haha, humanitarian air service has an emergency :-) well still being on the ground you can laugh when they stop the plane, push open the door and say "leave all your luggage and get off the plane now. leave your luggage, get out!"the other thing I realised is that I need a camera with a better zoom.after this picture ISAF showed up heavily armed and I stowed my camera away. we were in the restricted section of the airport... it took them almost 30 minutes to get the buses coming to pick us up - oh well, not bad. for security clearance it normally takes 24 to 48 hours!so I could spend another night in kabul and flew into Islamabad today morning. still the same boring city - and bloody office for unfathomable reasons changed my flights in a way that I have the whole day in Islamabad tomorrow, and there is no Dubai. I still arrive in Switzerland at the time foreseen, which was enough reason for the stupid jackass in the office here to say "but your schedule has not been changed at all - destinations and arrival times stay the same".I still wonder sometimes how deliberately stupid some people manage to be. must be quite a challenge to think in such a small box.talking of small box, this is the beechcraft we were using today to fly to Pakistan.nice and cosy, no neighbour as single seats only, and capacity 18 passengers. funny to see the pilots working so closely.had lovely clouds.bought myself some books in Saeed Book Bank (Jinnah Super Market Islamabad). If you ever come to Islamabad, this is the place to go. you find everything. critical books about world politics that are not in our shelves in Europe and even less in the US, I even saw "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler today (wonder how many google search will hit on this page now....). did not buy it, I'd like to read it but hey, as a german native I wont read it in english.so this is my selection of books that will help me over the day tomorrow and steer away my thoughts from fancy Dubai while being in f... I mean in less fancy Islamabad:
  • Magazine "The Economist"
  • Ghost Wars by Steve Coll (the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invastion to September 10, 2001),
  • the two minute rule by Robert Crais
  • Sex and the City as preparation for New York ;-)
  • I is for Infidel... J is for Jihad, K is for Kalashnikov by Kathy Gannon (from Holy War to Holy Terror in Afghanistan)
  • and last but not least the Princess Diaries II by Meg Cabot
the last one will be the first one I'll finish.
Categories: AidBlogs

partir, c'est toujours un peu mourir

Sharing means caring - April 15, 2007 - 8:09am
last day.I just gave back my phone and radio equipment to our radio room guy. he was so sad, happy for me but sad, saying that I will always stay in the heart of the office family and asking me to please keep in touch. it does hit you right in the heart - almost physically - and the chest goes all tight, and the stomach seems to have thousands of sensitive nerve endings!parting... someone once said it is the most intense form of human contact. not everyone is up to it. some people are scared of living life to its fullest, maybe.Tous les changements, même les plus souhaités, ont leur mélancolie, car ce que nous quittons, c'est une partie de nous-mêmes ; il faut mourir à une vie pour entrer dans une autre. and for the non-french speaker the english translation of Anatole France' wisdom:All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
Categories: AidBlogs

happy

Sharing means caring - April 14, 2007 - 6:58am
there is nothing more exciting than packing and leaving to a new life.sorting out memories, throwing away things, just keeping the most treasured staff.with a little help from my friends - thanks guys you are great!!turning anger and disappointment into energy. I discovered really good horoscopes - on tarot.com. I have it on my google startpage, and yesterday it did tell me not to "hide the anger that is lurking under the surface, even if it is unconvenient for other people". I did, and it was a beautiful day also for my friends - and Friday 13th, I realised this morning! that is one of the few great things in Afghanistan: there is loads less of superstitious small talk ;-)however, today it says "(...) don't slip into the time-consuming trap of believing that you must explain yourself to others. Just keep pushing forward, inch by inch, in the pursuit of your dreams."dreams... I see myself walking through Grand Canyon, running to a Security Council Meeting trying not to sweat upon arrival, flirting with some great guys, enjoying Splash with my friends until I'm "gayed out", going for good bread (well maybe not in the US... but in New York!). I look forward having more contacts to my old friends at home again. Afghanistan has been too far away from everything. and I just want to have fun :-)and honestly. this is the first time I am looking forward to buying business suits and deux pieces. not sure about the high heels... am 1,82 already with flat shoes and I dont want to intimidate everyone ;-)Song of the Day - Poison by Alice Cooper
Categories: AidBlogs

countdown: 3 sleeps

Sharing means caring - April 13, 2007 - 8:18pm
I am looking forward to getting out of here. leaving some of those things behind.sometimes you go on mission and it is a defining mission for you, your personality, your professional development, yourself. and sometimes you just go on a mission and have your share of work, have fun, meet new friends, learn some things - but it is not a defining point in your life.I would have expected Afghanistan to be the first. and I am disappointed that it was not. but well. life goes on - and I am looking forward to suck some more marrow out of life in the future!today... a relaxed day. after a really great funny party yesterday evening was woken up by phone calls to remind me we want to go for a picnic. alka seltzer is a good friend in those moments! were in a beautiful garden with a swimming pool, a little dairy fabric, cows and vineyards. nice. and in the evening our great guesthouse team (am tempted to write family - we do know so much about each other!) we went to the military base where they have a beautiful small spanish restaurant. and then spent some time with spanish military friends at their friday night party.a great day, all in all :-)
Categories: AidBlogs
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