Every day more and more individuals are waking up to the reality that, other than geography, there is very little that separates us from one another; we are all equal.
As the global citizens of the world emerge, so too does the desire we feel to witness the end of suffering for others. Over 3 billion individuals live on less than $3 per day, facing hunger, disease and famine, and many of us not only wish to see a change, but we also have a deep desire to “be the change.”
When I was a kid it was almost the norm. It had happened to close friends. It had happened to adults I knew. It had happened to friends of friends. Those of you who grew up in Canada may recall the group that would come into our schools and use puppets to explain what we are to do if we find ourselves in this particular situation. Generally speaking, and as shocking as it may seem, sexual abuse was nothing new when I was growing up.
I was not one of the victims. I was not one of the 1 in 3 girls to experience the abuse myself, and for that I am grateful. Instead I was a best friend, a shoulder, and a support to the victims. I witnessed the inner and outer turmoil as these young souls attempted to find some peace, and begin trusting again after their innocence had been stripped from them.
Now as an adult, I know that child sexual abuse is actually pretty common everywhere. As I mentioned, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience it. Today I wanted to bring some attention to an organization that is working toward changing these statistics; they are a Canadian group called Little Warriors.
Years ago I woke up and decided that it was no coincidence that I had close relationships with so many individuals who had been abused, maybe I needed to help make changes and educate so that others could be spared, this was when I discovered Little Warriors.
- To provide children who have experience the horror of sexual abuse a safe place to heal
- To provide families affected by child sexual abuse a place to deal with their emotions, grief, guilt, and profound anger so they are able to support their children.
- To provide those in relationships with sexual abuse survivors, a place to learn about symptoms, prevention and how to understand the long lasting effects.
They work tirelessly to accomplish their mission. They offer “Volunteer Facilitator Training“ where you can become trained to educate groups and individuals about prevention, warning signs and symptoms, and what to do when a child has been abused. You can host a workshop and learn all about prevention and invite others to attend. You can donate, or you can use your voice to help them with a new project that will help nearly 500 children a year who have experienced sexual abuse; the Be Brave Ranch.
The Be Brave Ranch will be the country’s FIRST rehabilitation centre for child sexual abuse victims. Though there are many rehab centers for the abusers themselves, there is not one long-term space dedicated to helping these little beings recover. Obviously this needs to change.
Recently the Alberta government denied Little Warriors $600,000 in funding for this facility, and according to this press release, there was no shortage of funding to go around. That was a huge step backward for the group, and for the survivors.
How can we help? Little Warriors shared this call-to-action:
We are asking everyone to make a short video addressed to the government telling them how you feel. Tell them why the Be Brave Ranch is so important for Albertans and Canadians. Upload it to your Facebook and tag Little Warriors, tweet it and mention @LittleWarriors or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will put it on our Little Warriors YouTube and start a viral campaign.
That’s pretty simple right? If you don’t like the video idea, then maybe you could write about it. Maybe you could share it to your Facebook, or Twitter pages. Maybe together we could help the Be Brave Ranch become a reality.
Even if you aren’t Canadian, I urge you to visit the Little Warrior site. It is the most comprehensive resource for information on child sexual abuse, including prevention.
You can learn more by visiting the Little Warriors website here.
Before I began this blog I had a huge brainstorming session, and knew that one of the most important aspects of this site would be educating readers about humanitarian issues. I wanted to feature charities and talk about humanitarian crises – to use my passion for writing and my platform to contribute even just a little bit to changing the world. I wanted to talk about both local and global issues; open up the dialogue.
Somewhere along the line I began to hear Tolstoy’s words in my head whispering, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” I interpreted this to mean that we must do inner work before we do outer work. We must have peace within us before we can help create peace in the world.
So many of us are out there educating ourselves about what is happening in the world without a strong inner foundation, and we can so easily be whisked away into a space of negativity and despair when we really think about the injustices. It’s disheartening, to say the least.
I began to ask myself, How does one reconcile a deep desire to witness positive change in the world and act upon it, while staying firmly grounded spiritually?
I pondered true Activism; those individuals who are out there every day fighting for change. Pounding the pavement, experiencing setback after setback, and of course, the occasional win. These individuals have enough passion in them to keep going, keep fighting.
Then I thought about the Pacifist side of things, which I’ve always found myself more aligned with. I’m not a fighter. Not confrontational. I kind of hover in the middle of things.
I came to the conclusion that we need both.
We need the Activists and the Pacifists.
I realized that great change-makers are destined for their roles – Martin Luther King Jr., Gloria Steinem, Susan B. Anthony, The Dalai Lama; these individuals who throughout our history have contributed to making huge changes in our society were/are the only ones who could fill those shoes. Something that appears to be a massive challenge or burden with no end in sight to one person, can simply seem like a bump in the road to another.
Individuals who are truly passionate about changing the world meets at an intersection between Spirituality and Activism. It’s a space where decisions and actions are focused on fostering positive changes for the greater good.
If that isn’t spiritual I don’t know what is…
Today I decided to share a round-up of five of my favorite Wisdom Wednesday quotes that are perfect to carry with us as we head into 2013 full-steam ahead.
If you click on the image, you will be directed to the original post.
Happy Wisdom Wednesday!
Lately it feels like everything around me is shifting and accelerating. Both the Good and the Bad. And let’s be honest, it isn’t just my life. It is everything outside of my life, it is outside of my community, and often it is outside of the Country I call home. It is happening to both people I love and people I’ve never met.
Things are changing and it can be overwhelming – and the best course of action for me has been to surrender to the chaos.
I have always felt like I needed to focus my efforts into one or two areas to be most helpful – most effective. That seems impossible these days. What has been working better is giving whatever I have, where it is most needed at the time.
This is applicable to all areas of life, including the causes I hold near and dear.
Some days I am moved to donate $20 to an organization that sends me an email. Other days I am asked to use my voice, and my platform to raise awareness about a cause.
There are so many causes. There are so many areas that need our attention and our voices.
While the chaos seems to be increasing exceedingly in our own “backyard”, not much has changed in other areas of the world. The chaos that has been there for so long remains the same. The hunger continues. Preventable diseases run rampant. Clean water is still a luxury.
A different kind of Chaos.
Over the last year and a half, I have learned a lot about what is happening in the Humanitarian Sector. We have featured numerous Organizations, including the UN’s World Food Program.
The WFP has taught me much of what I know about World Hunger. They have an amazing program, The WF School Meals Program, where they feed over 20 million school children each year, ensuring that they will be nourished and able to succeed. They have taught me that for what we spend for a night out at the movies, a child can eat for a whole YEAR.
Marcus Prior for World Food Program
They use these red cups, which can be filled for only 25 Cents, to feed the school children (and provide a ration to take home). And they need our help to continue.
My friend Alex of Alexandra Wrote contacted me and “passed me a cup”.
Now I will explain to my older boys, 4 & 5, that we will #fillthecup with change and and make a donation so that children their age will be able to have full bellies at school. That they will be able to feel good because of this. That they can thrive. Because there is no reason any child should go hungry. Not when we all have some spare change.
To learn more about the World Food Program Fill A Cup program here. You can also follow along with the red cups as they are passed on Twitter & Instagram using the hashtag, #fillthecup.
There are specific days throughout the year which are dedicated to focusing on making change for the greater good, and for shining a spotlight on the many injustices throughout the world. Today is one of them. Today is Human Rights Day – a day that encapsulates every humanitarian issue into a single 24 hours. It is also the day in which the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which can be found here, includes thirty “articles”. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read the complete list, but here are some highlights:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
You don’t have to read the news everyday to know that we are not there yet. Not everyone is living with their basic Human Rights met. We aren’t even close – but that doesn’t mean we won’t ever get there.
Every year the United Nations selects one focus for the day – this year the theme is “the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.”
It’s a powerful theme, and one that coincides with the recent US Presidential Election. It wasn’t long ago that many Americans were frustrated or elated with the outcome of the election. Either way, everyone had the option to vote and have their voice heard, even if it wasn’t the majority.
The theme this year has a domino effect that leads you right back to The Declaration of Human Rights. Every issue is a Human Rights issue at its root that would be resolved more simply if every individual read and understood Article #1 more fully- “the spirit of brotherhood”.
If you are on Twitter, spread the good word of Human Rights Day, follow some charities, and follow along with the hashtag #VoiceCounts.