Tag Archives: poverty

success in 2009 – part 2

here’s part 2 of my social media friends’ nonmonetary successes in 2009: (the ones with the @ are people’s twitter accounts).   part 1 is here.

darren barefoot: i wrote half a book, which, it turns out, is a shocking amount of work.

hamish: two of my former clients (and now friends) successfully landed new jobs thanks in part to some extensive CV rewriting that i did for them – it was great to see the constructive criticism received well, taken on board and integrated into the finished product. it was then gratifying of them to keep me posted on how their job search progressed – net result, two great people in new jobs doing great things for their new employers!

vivien (@inspirationbit on twitter): my biggest success and the proudest achievement in 2009 was to teach my daughter how to read. so now, at the age of four she’s already fluently reading in english on her own, and we now started learning french with her 😉

jonathon narvey from writeimage: learning and understanding more about how organizations (business, non-profit, whatever) succeed. i’m very grateful to those who have shown me how to get it done. it seems as though some of the greatest lessons you can learn in this field come much easier when times are tough. and it’s not just important to understand these things to make a buck — it’s important to understand them so that you can truly enjoy and remain passionate about the work.

probably the most important lesson, which i had heard many times but perhaps never truly internalized until recently, was the importance of working with good people. you just can’t do it all yourself. when you’ve got good, talented people all working in an organized way towards a common goal, success is inevitable.

dan: teaching my kids things they ask about and hearing them say “c-o-o-o-l”

dave: my success really was regaining my independence. i was in a relationship for nearly 3 years, 2 of which we lived together. to escape some costs and administrative burden, i didn’t have a copy of our joint credit card and our chemistry wasn’t where it needed to be in order for me to be 50% of our relationship. i didn’t get lost in the relationship, but i got lost because of it. i didn’t realize this until a month or so after leaving – regaining my independence came out of nowhere to be my biggest success and i didn’t even see it coming.

@evanhadkins written lots of stuff, survived a new job with zero support, maintained healthy relationship despite working 6-6.5 days a week

@barkingunicorn learned to let go of money, possessions, home, people, worry.

@mollena i was awarded the title @mssfleather2009. i performed in the most difficult and wonderful show i’ve ever done. i’m still sober.

brenda blackburn: my biggest non-monetary success of 2009 was the live meeting startup and growth of the DVT support group of the lower mainland (held in burnaby, bc). “deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that usually occurs in the leg, most often on one side, although it can happen in other parts of the body. if the blood clot dislodges, it can travel to the lungs and cause a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism (PE) or lung clot. lung clots affect over 530,000 people a year and 300,000, or almost 1 out of 3, are fatal.” “national alliance for thrombosis & thrombophilia (NATT), USA. in this group of “survivors” and supporters we support, educate and advocate. as the first known live support DVT group in canada, (with no other provincial or national DVT patient organization existing to date), we are striving to make a difference at a grassroots level. we hold affiliations with vancouver general hospital, burnaby hospital, the north american thrombosis forum, peernetbc, and more.

want to tell us what your success was?

8 reasons why i give money to panhandlers

“don’t give a panhandler money! he’ll only buy drugs!” we’ve all heard this.

today i gave a hefty amount of money to the guy who always sits in front of my neighbourhood supermarket. the parking sign pole against which he was leaning was shaking because he was shivering so hard. i made him promise to leave for the night and watched him go.

while i completely believe that it’s everyone’s decision whether and what they give, i thought i’d tell you the reasons why i give money:

  1. it’s respectful. they don’t sit there to ask for food, they ask for money. most panhandlers are savvy; they know where the food banks and soup kitchens are. for one reason or another, they don’t want to go there. there’s something rude about someone asking for one thing and then giving her or him something else. when i ask to borrow your pen, you don’t give me a lighter either, do you?
  2. i don’t know whether the person is using it for drugs. having working with very poor people for a number of years, i’ve met numerous panhandlers who didn’t use it for drugs.
  3. even if they’re using it for drugs, they’re not going to stop using if i don’t give them money. even if nobody gave them money, they’d still not stop using. it’s like hoping that removing wine glasses will stop someone from being an alcoholic.
  4. even if they use it for alcohol or drugs – guess what, i (and you) support a lot of peoples’ bad habits. of the bankers, politicians and multinationals that make money from me, how many do you think spend money on cocaine? gas-guzzling SUVs? booze?
  5. panhandlers are micro entrepreneurs. i like the spirit of independence.
  6. panhandling is hard work. if you don’t think so, try it yourself. i respect hard work.
  7. there’s something honest about panhandling. the panhandler who just sits there quietly or asks politely for change doesn’t try to sell me a dream of a slimmer body, a happier child or better sex. it’s a straightforward kind of business. (btw, i can’t stand those frauds who try get money by telling me that they just arrived from calgary and all they need is a few bucks to call their ailing mother – i never give a cent to those scammers, only a growl)
  8. above all, agreeing to the exchange as it is proposed – the panhandler asks for money, i give it – gives the person and me a chance to interact as humans. the panhandler asks, i give, we both smile and exchange a few words.  we connect, and we feel good.

what do you do?

the cinderella project

prom - graduation partyon friday i went to a highschool graduation ceremony – my first one!  not having grown up in north america, and my older children having decided to skip grade 12, i had never been to one.

my first impression were the beautiful clothes everyone was wearing.  where did all these gowns come from?

well, some of them came from a fairy godmother, that’s what i just found out.  it’s part of the cinderalla project:

the cinderella project is a federally registered, 100% volunteer-based charity founded in vancouver, BC in 1999.

the latest statistics indicate that more than one in five, or twenty percent of all children in canada live below the poverty line. many of these children come from families with little or no formal education. without a high school education, employment opportunities are limited and this causes the cycle of poverty to continue.

the cinderella project was started to help encourage youth to stay in school and achieve the milestone of high school graduation, giving young people the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.

it is a magically simple concept; we know that youth in our community who are living in low income situations can not afford to celebrate the graduation festivities along side their fellow students and as a result many of them don’t see the value in completing high school. these students are referred to the cinderella project by their teachers, principals or social workers to participate in a day of recognition, self-esteem boosting and mentorship. on this day, “boutique day”, we provide these special students with formal attire so they can attend their graduation festivities with pride. without assistance these students could not afford to participate in celebrating this important milestone.

the cinderella project works to remove social barriers and promote inclusiveness and diversity. we recognize outstanding young people who have succeeded in the face of overwhelming odds and boost their confidence and self esteem through respect and positive mentorship. nearly half of all cinderellas and cinderfellas are chronically ill or physically or developmentally disabled. more than two-thirds of those students who are physically able to work juggle multiple jobs before and after school to help support their families. many are caring for ailing parents or raising younger siblings with little support. most have never had a childhood.

since its inception in 1999, the cinderella project has assisted approximately 1200 young people from around greater vancouver. the impact of the cinderella project extends well beyond graduation ceremonies. it’s truly remarkable how one day of encouragement and positive mentorship can have a long-term impact on a young person’s confidence, self-esteem and outlook on life.

image by whiskey gone bad

smoking out poverty: the regina smudge walk

today’s video against poverty is of the regina smudge walk which was held last june.

on january 15th, 2007, maclean’s magazine declared regina’s north central to be “canada’s worst neighborhood.” this unflattering portrayal was particularly hard felt by north central’s aboriginal population which numbers roughly 16,000. to some the article was embellished and to others it spoke the absolute truth. whether the article was cause for division or the impetus for unity, it did open the floodway for people to actually think about the humanity of regina’s impoverished aboriginal community. the article gave everyday people the ability to actually conceive the conditions of north central.

in honor and respect of the humanity of the aboriginal people who live in north central, it was decided that something must be done in order to move forward, out from the negative and into the positive. in first nations traditions, cleansing is symbolized through the smudging ceremony. thus, we decided that we would organize a “smudge walk” throughout north central to symbolize the possibility of renewal.

(from animikeeg)

and today i want to wave to some fellow blog action day bloggers from vancouver – people who, unlike my many vancouver blogger meetup and twitter friends, i’ve never met before. so hello! it’s nice to come together over this good cause, isn’t it?

canada genealogy or “jane’s your aunt”
kulpreet singh’s blog
the change blog
stroller strides
what about blog
friuch
i’m trying
all about cities

stand up against poverty

as promised, a video about poverty every day this week – blog action day week. this one is a moving piece from last year’s day against poverty.

again, i want to take this opportunity and both thank some people who have been good to me, and also shamelessly use this linkbait to draw everyone’s attention to the issue of poverty. today, i’m tagging some of my friends from entrecard:

imaginif … a child protection blog
i’ll never forget the day i read a book!
healthy tips for a healthy lifestyle
how to deal with chronic pain
health eagle
everyone’s child
dungeons and dragons corner
chronic chick talk
a consummate life

october buddhist carnival – about poverty

blog action day - poverty

the first part of the october buddhist carnival is entirely dedicated to the topic of blog action day 2008:

poverty.

longing for the begging bowl
as usual, we start with a poem. here is a translation from malayalam into in english by k p pradesh – a poem by koyamparambath satchidanandan

buddha, this earth is burning
not by lust but by hunger.
they don’t need salvation,
they are already nothing.
tongues dry up not for
want of wisdom
and the bellies burn not for
want of meditation.
it is not your lips
bursting into philosophy
that they watch, but they
stare, longingly at the
begging bowl your fingers hold…
go and beat the drum of
the weak’s awakening,
retrieve your bread, your power.

this poem can be found among numerous others in this very interesting post about poetry written in the malayalam language, one of the many languages spoken in india.

a school for untouchables
still in india, we find this:

located on the outskirts of varanasi is a small and simple school ” buddha’s smile school. the space for the students is very restricted, and classrooms are of only 3 walls and a roof.in a confined area. less than 200 m2. 220 untouchables carry of their daily studies. they sit on small benches, and share tables with at least 4 others. the classes are from the 1st grade to 5th grade. they share their classes with at least 20 other students, and as previously mentioned not a lot of space… to even stretch your legs.

go here for the remainder of the article.

a buddhist school in africa

the amitofo charity association is a taiwanese based buddhist charity organization. our primary goal is to build orphanages to care for and educate orphans in all 53 african nations. although we will be funded mainly by far eastern buddhists and well as overseas chinese buddhists, we will also raise funds in south africa and other western countries.

one of their stated goals is to assist, care for and educate children and teenagers in great need – especially orphans in africa. they are part of pure land buddhism, a school of buddhism centered around chanting the name of amida buddha.

here is more about the amitofo charity association.

defining poverty
eden maxwell looks at various definitions of poverty, for example

[a] definition of poverty when arrived at through mindfulness might also describe an itinerant yet content sadhu (holy man) who has peered through the veil and weight of possessions, denies himself nothing, knowing that he takes everything of value with him as karma.

60 million americans live on less than $7 a day
conscious capitalism asks, “can we as conscious citizens and engaged buddhists create our collective future mindfully?” and talks of a social experiment with a conscious shift to create an abundant yet sustainable human-scale economy, a global culture of peace, partnership, genuine free market, and unlimited potential for conscious living and right livelihood. in this article, a times article is cited which states that

the bottom fifth of all taxpayers average reported income was only $5,743 each. because the IRS includes a single individual or a married couple in its definition of a “taxpayer” the poorest 26 million taxpayers account for the equivalent nearly 48 million adults and about 12 million dependent children. according to the times analysis, this means the poorest 60 million americans have reported incomes of less than $7 a day! it is often noted that 3 billion of the world’s poorest people live on less than $2 a day. in the US, where the cost of living is far higher, $7 a day is only enough to guarantee a life of destitution.

more here.

the bottom billion
one of my buddhist blogging friends, william from integral options, shows a TED video. paul collier talks about 4 ways to improve the lives of the “bottom billion”. as noted on the oxford university press web site:

global poverty, paul collier points out, is actually falling quite rapidly for about eighty percent of the world. the real crisis lies in a group of about 50 failing states, the bottom billion, whose problems defy traditional approaches to alleviating poverty.
in the bottom billion , collier contends that these fifty failed states pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first century. the book shines a much needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized west, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world’s people.

here’s the link to the bottom billion video.

religions unite for food
people from christian, muslim, jewish, buddhist, and sikh backgrounds gather with jim morris, former executive director of the UN world food program, to create the interfaith hunger initiative.

we often think that people who are hungry must be different from the rest of us. our religious traditions teach us that all people, rich or poor, are created in the image of god. by neglecting the poor, by turning our backs on the hungry, we turn our backs on god. there is no difference between them and us. every person who lives in poverty impoverishes us all because we share a common humanity.

read more about the interfaith hunger initiative here.

more poetry
here is a fantastic collection of poems and personal accounts of poverty. it is presented

to promote an understanding of its very real effects on human lives. our hope is it develop a greater sensitivity to the tragedy, the challenges, and the urgency of poverty.

the works collected here are from writers and poets of many cultures and many eras. some emphasize the tragedy of poverty in striking the most vulnerable of society. some describe long-perpetrated social and political injustices as contributors to poverty. others write that poverty is a noble existence which shows the human potential for strength and spirituality in the face of hardship.

please help them add further insights and works to this collection and send them citations for additional writings at povertynet@worldbank.org.

the post includes thich nhat hanh’s “peace is every step”:

before each meal, we can join our palms in mindfulness and think about the children who do not have enough to eat. doing so will help us maintain mindfulness of our good fortune, and perhaps one day we will find ways to do something to help change the system of injustice that exists in the world.

that’s it for part 1 of this month’s buddhist carnival. part 2 will appear some time by october 22. if you have any submissions for next month’s carnival (november 15), please send them to me here, or, if you have a hard time connecting to blog carnival, drop me a line.

blog action day 2008 - changing the conversation about poverty

pants for poverty

tomorrow is blog action day, and the topic is poverty. i figured, why not post about poverty for the rest of the week?

here’s a video by my mennonite friends. the mennonite central committee does an incredible amount of work in the areas of poverty and social action in general.

and … the other thing i’m going to do is to tag a few people who’ve linked to me in the past and who, for one reason or another (mostly forgetfulness) i haven’t acknowledged lately. thanks, guys – and if you haven’t put together a post for blog action day yet, maybe this helps as a reminder!

urban vancouver
alien in a foreign field
everyone’s child
migrainechow
mormon MD – mind, soul and body
roots that heal
carrall street journal
social media world
shanker bakshi
fetch me my axe