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Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Final Reflection: Samantha Kim

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

Global Issues: the things that affect all living organisms on our planet. That’s fairly broad, but over the course of a semester, we’ve managed to cover a lot—globalization, trade, the economy, the environment, women’s rights, and human rights, as a whole. However, there’s an infinite amount of things we haven’t been able to cover, and probably couldn’t if we tried: simply because the world is too large, with an enormous number of things that affect it and those living in it. Not only that, but they are impossible to prioritize: one can’t place human rights over the environment, and vice versa; one of the many things that makes global issues such a complicated topic. A certain issue, however, may draw one’s attention, raising the need to act.
Evelyn Apoko lived her whole life in fear of the Lord’s Resistance Army. She grew up in a poor family with nine children, and worked on their farm in the daytime. By nighttime, however, she, just like many other children in the region, traveled almost 10 miles in the dark to sleep in the town center. A ten mile walk every night, because her parents believed she would be safer from the LRA there than in their home. They were wrong. She was abducted by Joseph Kony (the leader of the group)’s men when she was twelve years old—according to the LRA, the ideal age for a child soldier. Strong enough to shoot a gun, but young enough to have their morals switched around, young enough to be trained as a killing machine. She was forced to walk for days without food or water, carrying heavy items. She was beaten often by soldiers, but was considered one of the lucky ones. Most girls were turned into sex slaves or married to LRA officers. Over a year passed before Ugandan and Congolese planes bombed the LRA. A bomb exploded behind her, and the items she was carrying caught on fire. Taking off her shoe, Evelyn saw blood. She remembers holding a child, trying to find a safe place to hide. But then another bomb exploded, sending thousands of pieces of shrapnel into her body. All of her teeth shattered, and where her mouth should have been, there was a giant crater. She realized, in pain and disoriented, that the child she had been trying to save had died. Many other children wounded, if they didn’t look like they would survive their injuries, were shot. Kony and his men determined that Evelyn would be fine. The wound became infected, and one day, Evelyn escaped. She currently lives in the United States, and is awaiting plastic surgery. But when she looks in the mirror, she says, “I see me…I look into my eyes and I know there is something there.”
There is no other way to explain the LRA than through the story of a survivor. Statistics only go so far: numbers mean far less to a person than a heartfelt story, an honest experience. And for every Evelyn Apoko, for every survivor, for every child who managed to escape, there are hundreds more who couldn’t. Who were tortured, beaten, abused, or killed. Joseph Kony claims that he is a messiah, sent from God, and that he receives holy visions and messages. He uses fear to control his soldiers, and it works: some parents even lock their children in cages to try and prevent them from being kidnapped by the LRA. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh berated Obama for his decision to send 100 military advisors to the Central African Republic to help hunt Kony down, saying that the LRA is Christian, simply trying to remove dictatorship. If you ask Evelyn Apoko, she will describe them as hardly even human.
There is no end to the things people could be doing to help out in any way. Petitioning for more interactions between the governments of the affected African countries, so they can unite in an effort to bring down Kony, who has been severely underestimated. Most Americans have never heard of Joseph Kony. That’s why my goal is to bring the LRA’s cruel and terrible practices to the forefront—to let everyone know what’s going on, and then petition for more action against Kony, and fundraise for recovery/rehabilitation centers for survivors and escapees. The goal is not only to get the children out of the situation, but to prevent their alienation, stress, and minimize the trauma they experience afterwards, and try to help them rebuild their lives, one person at a time.

Final Project: Tess Morgan

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I feel as if, living in Los Angeles and going to a private school, I have never truly seen the world as it is for most people.  I think this class has helped me to look at the world from a perspective I wouldn’t have otherwise considered.  I know I keep talking about microfinance, and I hope it’s not annoying, but it’s something that I’m passionate about and something that I believe can make a difference in so many lives.  Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned on the topic and how we can help, either from a distance or up close and personal.

It may be hard to see, but poverty is everywhere.  From the streets of Los Angeles to the slums of Mumbai, the poor exist as an untapped resource, unable to achieve their full potential.  The sad truth is that many of these people are not given the opportunity to flourish as entrepreneurs.  This is especially true for women in third world countries.  In many countries, women are cloistered away from society, trapped by the dominant patriarchal power that runs amok in governments worldwide. Women are not given a chance.  It is for this reason that microfinance has seen a positive trend lately: it has become more popular for those donating, as well as for those receiving the loans.

There are, of course, a few downsides to microlending.  Occasionally, microfinance companies will exploit the poor entrepreneurs to which they are lending money. For example, in my previous post about SKS Microfinance, the company was making a profit from their cleints, taking more of their earnings than they should have.  Also, in an effort to expand the reach of microlending to rural or far-flung areas, often microfinance companies will expand much too rapidly and haphazardly.  This has resulted in a poor examination of potential clients.  Thus, clients who are not deserving of the loans or who are not able to repay them are given the money when it could have been better utilized with another person.

However, microlending has had a positive influence on poor countries overall.  It allows poverty-stricken individuals to break free of their restrictions and become entrepreneurially  creative.  This allows new markets to be tapped: those receiving the loans are able to see a gap in their local economy and fill it with a new business.  Eventually, this business will create more jobs, and will stimulate the entire local economy.

As we read about in Half The Sky, when women are empowered, they are able to do great things.  Thus, by finding women who would use loans wisely, we can successfully give them more power within their homes and within the larger community.  When a woman is the one supporting her family, her husband is more likely to respect her, and she becomes more valuable in the eyes of her society.

There are many ways in which we can make a difference in the lives of these women, the easiest of which is by making a loan at kiva.com.  Kiva is a well-known, trusted microloan company that allows you to choose exactly where your money is going as well as letting you track your recipient’s progress.  Another way you can get involved is through your school.  If your school has a trip abroad to India or some other third world country, get involved! Make a difference that you can see. 

image from http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/12/14/a-new-beginning-for-microfinance-in-india/

Reflection

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I have started this post about seven times now because I could never correctly word what this class has taught me. Before this class I was gung-ho for globalization and everything that comes with it, but now I see how naive I was just four months ago. Instead of droning on and on about how much I will miss this class (which I will) I am going to leave you with one final call to action. Hopefully by now everyone has heard of China’s One Child Policy. I am going to uncover what is hidden beneath the surface of the act. While I focused mostly on the effect the policy has had on woman, there are quite a few negative effects for men too. So here it is:

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/33800602?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&#8243; width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/33800602″>Final Global Issues: China’s One Child Policy</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user8454021″>Jennifer Cain</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Final Reflection – Anna Williams

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

Coming into this class this September, I had no idea what was in store for me. I thought we would be learning the basics about famine, poverty, and drought world wide—little did I know that we would learn the history behind certain issues, how they affect our lives, and what we could do to fix the problem. Before, I saw sweat-shops as an inhumane practice that needed immediate termination. But, because of this course, I learned that with an immediate termination of such a lucrative system, poor countries would be out of work completely, which would make the mess even messier. This class taught me that revolution takes time. We cannot simply throw money at problems hoping that they go away, but instead but work to recreate a different and more stable system.

                One of my favorite topics that we covered was the concept that “The World is Flat.” I never really understood how the economy works and how one nation’s economy affects another’s. “The World is Flat’s” concept outlined that when we have one country that is living in complete luxury, another country will pay the price by living in complete poverty. In order to raise the living standards in third world countries, the first world countries are going to have to pay the price. Yes, this sounds horrible, taking away money from the rich who earned it, but in retrospect, wouldn’t life be better if everyone had it equal? We need to focus on bringing everyone to this “flat” economy line by creating jobs and promoting educations in countries where those are lacking. By educating more people, more people are then thrown into the “potential employer pot,” creating a higher demand for jobs, making it harder for those in the first world to receive these jobs. Of course this is not ideal for the upper class, but then again, it is all about making the world flat.

                As a seventeen year old high school student, some would say there is not much I could do to solve this problem. The truth is, no one person can fix the economy. But, as an individual, I can help promote and educate the concept of a flat world, and help focus money into organizations that do not simply throw the money at these needy countries, but instead work to reconstruct the systems or educate children. Education to me seems to be the most important thing to do to help get these countries off of their feet, because without education, one cannot enter the job market. With my peers, we can strive to help promote and spread awareness about the need for education, especially in Africa, and hopefully inspire others to do so as well.  

The Dark Side of Microfinance

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

India’s leading microfinance company, SKS Microfinance, has recently been caught up in controversy.  Indian officials question whether SKS is forcing loans that are much to large onto companies and entrepreneurs who do not have the resources to repay them.  While the company’s stocks have risen in value recently, the company’s clients have been trying desperately to repay their enormous loans.  SKS started out as a brilliantly innovative company devoted to funding small projects.  In most cases, smaller projects are more difficult to fund, as they are usually more remote in location and the outcome is less visible than those of larger microfunded projects.  Recently, however, the company has been funding larger and larger projects, trying to please both their clients and their benefactors.  After being accused of these things, SKS Microfinance has been trying to redeem itself in India’s eyes, and has turned to other types of business, making different loans.  In fact, SKS “hopes to transform itself from a microfinance company into a rural financial services company.”  The fall of SKS has pushed many microfinance companies to reevaluate their companies.  Many of these companies must try to find a happy medium with loan sizes to please both their clients and their benefactors.

 

Pradesh, Andhra. “Why Microfinance is not Just About Small Loans.” 8 December 2011.  <http://www.firstpost.com/economy/why-microfinance-is-not-just-about-small-loans-150536.html&gt;.

Religion vs. Sewage Reservoir

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Communist authorities tried to start work on a sewage reservoir, to service a public hospital (that used to be a monastery), that is on church land according to the Catholics. Officials have been seizing property from Vietnamese churches more than 50 years ago when communist powers took over. The church says that the state is whittling away their land. This may sound too American, but do they really expect any less of their communist community? Religious activity claims to remain under control and says they respect the freedom of belief and religion, but is that really being followed with the “whittling away” of the church’s land? What control do they really have?

 

Sleepy Driver = 13 Deaths and 20 Injuries

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

A bus killed 13 and injured 20 people after it hit a passenger bus because the driver handed the wheel to his unlicensed assistant because he felt sleepy. The assistant is one of those who were killed in the collision. The original truck driver was arrested and can be charged for ” assigning unqualified persons to operate road vehicles,” which carries up to seven years in jail on conviction.
If the driver was so tired he should have just pulled over. It is extremely irresponsible to let an unlicensed driver take the wheel and be in charge of so many lives.

The Dangerous Beauty

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm

A toxic tree called the Oleander is rising concern over its harmful effects on pedestrian health. They originate from the Mediterranean and have pink flowers. The poison is in its resin and may cause swelling for those who touch it and if it is ingested, vomiting, headache, bellyache, possible hear malfunction, and even death. The poison is used as pesticides. Trees like these cause economic losses and environmental damage. They were planted without the knowledge that they could harm people or the environment and before people knew they were poisonous, people and children would play with the flowers and around the trees. A thorough research of what the trees are and what effect they could have on people or the environment.

Hackers Abroad

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

345 government and business websites were hacked in Vietnam during October. Only nine of the cases were domestic and more than 3,500 new types of computer viruses infected about 4.4 million computers. Governments need to really improve their security systems because 345 websites are a lot so the government should work on improving that.

 

Week Old Baby Found

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

In Ha Noi, police recover a newborn baby that was kidnapped from the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was found in Ha Noi’s Anh District and the kidnapper was seized at 3:30 pm.  A woman from wearing a doctor’s white blouse took the baby a week ago saying that she was going to take him to a blood test but they never returned. She had kidnapped him because she was said to be a childless woman desperate for a baby of her own. That is the most ridiculous reason to kidnap a baby. Well there never is a good reason but if someone wants a child, there are more simple and less drastic ways to do so.

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