By Angel Wright
Senior year of highschool is so pressure filled. Its not the part about getting into college
that I am worried about, its the part where I have to pay up more money than I have ever seen
in my life. College is so expensive and one thing that family members keep trying to shove down
my throat is that I don’t want to go into debt. That is something I obviously want to avoid, but it
seems so inevitable
. You have to be the best of the best to get the scholarships that help you avoid having
to pay a single dime when it comes to tuition and board. Along with being the best of the best is
a financial need that has to be proven my financial documents. If your parents make too much
money to qualify for the financial based scholarships, but not enough to actually provide any
contribution a person is pretty much on their own at that point.
So when you’re not the best of the best and you have the weighing pressure of how do
I pay for a decent education a few ideas begin to leak into one’s mind. One idea is spend your
last high school career mindlessly filling out applications and trying to claim the money that so
many financial advisors say is out there. There are also financial advisors who say that is not
the right way to go and to only consider a select few. Money seems unreachable and debt looks
likes its the only option.
Education comes at a very high price and so many people out there want it. To compete
with the best of the best is tiresome. A car payment is what the debt of college can gain you,
only you don’t get the car in the end. Instead you get a degree, and that if you have no prior
work experience in the field you’re searching for it can become nearly impossible to get hired.
It is a very time consuming thought of having to pay for college. Yet, I often wander into
thought of the possibilities that can happen once I go through the college experience. So many
amazing things can be learned and introduced to me. Passions and inspirations may be thrown
my way in a storm that would not be possible without that car payment of debt. I hate to think
that money is the only thing holding me back from those experiences.
So whether I like it or not, I’ll sit day after day listening to the educated financial advisors
searching for a way to pay for college. I think searching for money to go to school is closest I’ll
get to understanding not having primary and secondary school readily available for children in
other countries. Though I know in my search, I ‘ll probably never fully understand it.
By Lindsey Nield
The internet is home to various riches: videos of cats, marketplaces, and answers to homework problems; however, among this vast community lay hidden web pages dedicated to making the world a better place. They offer opportunities for users to make themselves into philanthropists by giving to those in need. Below are a few unique and constructive examples as to how a single idea has transformed the lives of women and others in the developing world.
1In in India there is an estimated 3 million forced sex workers with about 90% of that being internal. The International Princess™ Project founder, Shannon Keith, discovered this display of modern day slavery on a trip to India in 2005. She heard stories of girls being sold by their families, mothers trying to provide for their families, and pimps picking up orphans off of the street. Unfortunately, the few who are able to return home must face social stigma and have no way to survive. Ignited by what she saw, Keith gathered up her friends and founded International Princess™ Project to empower women and provide opportunities for those who have lost everything. Working with a skilled seamstress, they created a simple pattern for pajama pants, termed Punjammies, made out of the traditional Indian Sari that women could use to learn how to sew. With each stitch, the brave women who escaped sex slavery can forge new and respectable lives. Now there are over 150 women employed by the Project at 3 of their sewing centers in India. You can donate directly to The International Princess Project, but by purchasing your own pair of pajama pants or any of their specialty products at http://intlprincess.org/, you are actively employing and assisting strong and independent women whom have experienced horrors that we can only imagine. The humanitarian efforts of Shannon Keith and her friends have transformed the lives of women in India and with every purchase of Punjammies, you too can be a philanthropist.
Furthermore, at http://www.shethinx.com/ you can purchase a pair of underwear for yourself while providing seven washable and reusable pads for adolescent girls in Africa. The undergarments that the buyer receives with their purchase are made with a moisture wicking layer, an anti-microbial and stain-resistant layer, an absorption layer, and a leak-proof layer that can absorb up to 2-6 teaspoons of liquid, depending on the style purchased. They have been designed for women to wear them during their menstrual cycle without the waste and burden of using pads or tampons. However, with every purchase, you ensure that one girl in Eastern Africa can stay in school, get a job, and be a productive member of society. Over 84% of girls in the developing world (approximately 10 million) are forced to leave school early because they are unable to properly regulate their menstrual cycle. Due to the lack of resources, women and girls must stay home when they are on their period and are unable to attend school or work. THINX has teamed up with AFRIpads to provide work for women in Africa to manufacture reusable cloth pads in order to2 improve menstrual hygiene which would allow girls to continue their education. The organization employs native women to produce their products, creating more opportunities for women in a male-dominated society. By making their products reusable, AFRIpads also ensures that the environment is protected as there is very little waste associated with their pads. With the spectacular benefits for the consumer, the recipient, and the creators of the kits, you can be sure that your purchase will benefit yourself and the developing world. You can also donate to the cause directly at http://afripads.com/blog/.
If you would prefer to give directly to an organization rather than receive a gift in return, the Global Fund for Women is a nonprofit organization which works to advance women’s rights. By giving at 3 http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/, you are supporting women-led organizations around the world. Their vision is a “just, equitable and sustainable world in which women and girls have resources, voice, choice and opportunities to realize their human rights.” By funding in more than 170 countries focused primarily in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Fund’s primary goals are to end gender based violence, ensure equal rights to resources and politics, and allow all women to make their own reproductive and sexual choices. They do this by challenging laws and cultures that promote discrimination and abuse, supporting democracy movements, legal reform and women’s participation in politics, and advocating for campaigns aimed to secure women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Finally, the Global Fund for Women provides grants for organizations or groups of women whose aim is to improve the lives of women around the world. This organization not only advocates for women’s rights and equality, but also empowers women to take action and change the world.
Not every philanthropy website is based on women; http://freerice.com/ serves to provide food for anyone who is struggling to find their next meal. The website advocates two goals: to provide a free education and free food in the form of rice to those in need in order to end world hunger. As you are educating yourself in the form of games and activities, the points you accumulate translate into grains of rice that will be given to hungry human beings. Freerice is owned by the United Nations World Food Programme and is a nonprofit website. It promotes that “somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.” While you spend some down time learning new information in a variety of subjects, you are providing someone’s next meal; it is a win-win situation.
Some of the activities available on the website are:
· World Hunger
· Famous Quotations
· English Vocabulary
· English Grammar
· Multiplication Table
· Basic Math (Pre-Algebra)
· World Landmarks
· Identify Countries on the Map
· World Capitals
· Flags of the world
· Human Anatomy
· SAT® Preparation
As the player moves on in the game, the questions accelerate in difficulty. One right answer is the equivalent of a donation of 10 grains of rice; the amount of rice to feed a single adult for a whole day is approximately 19,000 grains. The website boasts that they have raised enough to feed over 5 million people in the developing world. By playing for just 5 minutes you are actively assisting those who do not know where their next meal is coming from without having to concede any money. Being a donor isn’t about how much money you give; by giving your time, expertise, or services, you are considered a philanthropist.
Donating your time, money, and talents through internet based organizations changes people’s lives who are in need of help. The internet connects us to people around the world and in doing so, we able to interact and donate to those millions of miles away. Sitting on the couch, watching an episode of Friends, you can be a philanthropist. And these are only just four examples; on the vast expanse of the web there are thousands of websites dedicated to improving the livelihoods of women, children, and those in poverty in the developing world. It only takes a few clicks to make a big difference.
On Sunday, 11 February, 1990, a little after 4p.m., Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I watched with my family as he triumphantly raised his fists in the air. There were tears, there were cheers, and a profound sense that I was witness to an incredible moment in history. I fell in love with South Africa that day.
The country's first, fully representative, democratic election was held on 27 April 1994. I was not old enough to vote. But I did accompany my parents, and watched with deep joy as they voted for the first time, for president. I proudly called myself South African that day.
The pride and joy I felt for my country grew tremendously throughout Mr. Mandela's presidency. In particular, his focus on two population groups shaped my social awareness: women & youth.
In his opening address to South Africa's first democratic parliament in 1994, Mr. Mandela said:
“It is vitally important that all structures of government, including the President himself, should understand this fully: that freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”
Recognizing the importance of women and women's leadership, Mr. Mandela committed to an informal quota of having at least 30 percent of his parliament represented by women.
And to honor the women who fought for freedom and forged the path for justice, August 9th in South Africa is designated as National Women's Day.
Mr. Mandela's government reviewed the country's public holidays to ensure that the calendar was reflective of the total experience of all the people. As such, June 16th is commemorated as National Youth Day, for the young people who gave their lives during the Soweto Uprisings of 1976.
Youth have been very important to Mr.Mandela. He was one of the founders of The African National Congress Youth League - the organization that influenced his leadership.
As president, he was keenly aware of the responsibilities that lay with the next generation - he challenged and inspired them. In 2005, in an address to youth at the "Make Poverty History" campaign , Mr. Mandela passed the baton of action to all young people:
"I am proud to wear the symbol of this global call to action in 2005. This white band is from my country. In a moment, I want to give this band to you – young people ... – and ask you to take it forward along with millions of others to the G8 summit in July. I entrust it to you. I will be watching with anticipation".
"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom".
These words have been the inspiration for The Blossom Project. I am proud that this program has been created from the inspiration of a true hero. I will continue to honor the life and vision of this extraordinary man, in all that The Blossom Project continues to do.
I hope that you, too can find inspiration from Mr. Mandela.
Hamba Kahle, Madiba.
Blossom Project Participants
We are empowered high school girls, inspired to make a positive difference in the world.