Educating Syrian refugees in Jordan

Principal Maha Salim Al-Ashkar had to apologize to a Syrian mom because she was not able to enroll her child at the primary school in the suburbs of Amman, Jordan.

“I don’t have space,” she told the mother. This Syrian crisis has added tens of thousands of students to Jordan’s overflowing classrooms. Khawla Bint Tha’alba Elementary School for Girls was no exception.

However, the mother would not give up. She had already been rejected from many schools so the principal compromised with her.

“I will register your daughter, if you bring a chair for her,” the principal concluded.

From then on, Principal Al-Ashkar refused to deny any refugee student from the school she’s headed for 10 years. Parents bring plastic chairs with their children so they would have a place to learn.

“After I accepted a large number of Syrian students, there was an increase in the numbers,” she says in a video produced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “The main problem that we faced is that the Jordanian students already filled the school’s capacity.”

Khawla Bint Tha’alba Elementary School for Girls has 356 students with 65 Syrian students thanks to the principal’s efforts. However, the problem is not solved here. Though students are receiving an education, it is quite tough to integrate them into the classroom. Many of them faced traumatic experiences and need special counseling and care.

“We had some Syrian students with psychological trauma,” Ms. Maha says. “One of the students came from an area that had been bombed, so she was fearful. There is another student who lost her father.”

USAID funds schools like this in Jordan. They support instructor training and remedial programs.

Many advocacy organizations are calling this Syrian civil war one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. It has resulted in more than 4.8 million Syrian refugees around the world. Most refugees flee to neighboring countries like Jordan, a country in which about 635,000 Syrian refugees currently live.

“I really love my school, and I also love my students,” Principal Maha says. “And I think love is giving as much as you can, by helping and supporting them to take away their hurt.”

Article via Mashable, March 08, 2016

Photo: Jordan Camp Host to Thousands of Syrian Cross-Border Refugees via United Nations Photo [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Petition against pro-rape meetings

Several thousands have signed a petition in an attempt to reach out to the Scottish government hoping they will take action against the rape advocate.

Last Monday, Cat Boyd started the petition calling for the Holyrood government to stop Daryush Valizadeh, the rape-promoting “neo-masculinist” .

“RooshV (Valizadeh), a militant pro-rape pick-up artist is holding gatherings for his followers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. This makes our cities unsafe for at least half the population. Promoting rape is hate speech, and should be treated as such,” the petition says.

Valizadeh writes that rape should be allowed and claims it would actually be good, as it will help push women to become more alert in situations such as this. He also thinks that by legalizing rape, women will stop showing mixed signals about consent, but in Valizadeh’s previous journal, his movement seems to be in favor of women’s well-being, his next articles show his true intentions.

“Modern women are too broken, unreliable and narcissistic to give men anything reliable besides fornification,” said Valizadeh.

Not only are Glasgow citizens petitioning against his movement, but people several other communities are also taking part in stopping his world-wide meet-ups.

“Pro-rape women-haters are not welcome in Glasgow, as they will find out when they gather in George Square… and have the pish ripped right out of them by decent Glaswegians.

“These men deserve derision and pity. Violence and intimidation is their game and we will not join in,” protestors said.

Valizadeh’s plans failed to execute as they occurred during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. His announcement for his plans only encouraged people around the world to promote against sexual abuse.

“The focus is going to be on the fact that all forms of sexual abuse and sexual violence are unacceptable and survivors should not have to tolerate it. There should also be adequate services to support those who have experienced it and clear guidelines for reporting it,” a spokesperson for the week’s organizer said.

Article via The Guardian, 2 February 2016
Photo: End rape_ Sexual Abuse by Your DOST [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Julian Assange should be free according to UN ruling

After nearly four years of being camped out in a converted office in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange awaited the United Nations ruling about his detention with anticipation. The verdict: Assange, according to the UN, has been “arbitrarily detained” since June 2012 given that he had not been provided due legal process prior to arrest.

The UK government disagrees. “This changes nothing,” a government representative said. “An allegation of rape is still outstanding and a European Arrest Warrant in place, so the UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him in Sweden.” Assange declined to respond to any allegations of sexual assault following the UN ruling, but his lawyer stated in 2010 that the charges were part of a “honeytrap” to discredit Assange.

Assange spoke to journalists via video webcast following the ruling. “I consider the outcome in this case to be vindication,” he said. “It is now the task of the United Kingdom and Sweden to implement the verdict.” He further described his detention as “illegal, immoral, [and] unethical.”

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) argued that the Wikileaks founder has suffered “deprivation of liberty” since 2010, when he was sentenced to ten days in Wandsworth Prison and then 550 days under house arrest. Edward Snowden commented on the UK’s response to the ruling, saying that it “writes a pass for every dictatorship to reject UN rulings.”

Assange agreed, saying that his arrest would be a blow to international human rights efforts. “What right does this government, or the US government, or the Swedish government have to deny my children their father for five and a half years without any charges in any country?” he asked.

Article via CNET, 5 February 2016
Photo: Julian Assange Supporters — Embassy of Ecuador, Knightsbridge, London by Marshall24  [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


New Campaign Against Sexist Ads

Researchers have begun to dive into studies of how the objectification of women in sexist ads portray the way society sees them in real life.

In late 2015, Madonna Badger, ad agency co-founder and creative director of Badger & Winters took part in the #WomenNotObjects campaign. As a result, she came across an endless number of ads that exploited women’s bodies simply because “sex sells.” In the campaign video, the majority of the women mocked each ad as the video progresses, but one said, “I’m only here for your entertainment,” which ironically is the hard truth behind these ads.

In honor of Badger’s late daughters, who passed in an unfortunate event in 2011, she compiled a video to step forward in the campaign. Badger wanted to make a change and help young women.

“I want my life to have a purpose,” said Badger. She wanted to expose the ad industry for its objectification of women and the negative effects it puts on youth.

“I love my job but I don’t want to do if it if hurts anyone.”

Ad models know that they are there to make the product look good by looking good. They step into the scene fully understanding the exploitation of their sexuality, but that does not mean they agree with it.

Badger hopes to raise awareness of this culture by the use of the hashtag #WomenNotObjects as a conversation starter.

“I am your mother, daughter, sisters, coworker, manager, CEO,” a mantra used to help kill the culture of objectification of women.

In order to teach society to respect women, we need to start from the root. Children of this decade are born and raised into this culture, so if there is any method — it is simply teaching children to respect women from a young age so that they can grow to be a better generation.

Article via Mashable, 27 January 2015
Photo: Racy chewing gum ad in London by Todd Mecklem [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


LGBTQ Community Continue to Struggle in Society

Many Americans today fall into the misconception that the LGBTQ community no longer struggle with inequality.

Inequality remains an issue for the queer community as society continues to raise discussion pertaining to whether or not they should be segregated from the rest of the community. The recent legalization of same-sex marriage is a big step closer to being equal — but society fails to realize that there is more to equality than just granting permission to marry.

In more than half the states today, employers are still legally permitted to fire employees based on their sexuality. When surveyed, the crowd that claimed to support equality for all also contradicted themselves with their own conflicted beliefs.

“Although the other half of those surveyed believe everyone deserves lawful rights, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, many of those same people still maintain beliefs that perpetuate inequality of the queer community, according to findings.”

The reality of these injustice acts prove that LGBTQ activism still exists for a reason. Inequality for the queer community and other communities that are also facing social obstacles will not end until society works together to make a change.

 

Article via Mashable, 21 January 2016
Photo: Protesting Mayor Sullivan’s veto of AO 64 by Mel Green [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Top 1 percent own more than the other 99 percent

Oxfam International, a coalition of 17 organizations dedicated to reducing world poverty, just released its newest report on global income inequality. Fittingly titled “An Economy for the 1%,” the report states that the globe’s top 1 percent of earners now own more than the other 99 percent altogether. Moreover, the 62 richest people in the world own as much as 50 percent of the planet’s population.

Since the year 2000, income inequality has skyrocketed. The bottom 50 percent of the population have experienced a decrease in wealth of 41 percent—over a trillion dollars—and the top 1 percent has accumulated half of the total increase in global wealth since 2000. This occurs even as new technologies are brought to developing countries in order to improve their economies and help individuals.

The largest share of blame, according to the report, should be dealt to wealthy individuals who circumvent taxes through the use of consultants and offshore accounts. However, the increase in income inequality is also partially due to improvements in technology that increase capital gains.

“One of the key trends underlying this huge concentration of wealth and incomes is the increasing return to capital versus labor. In almost all rich countries and in most developing countries, the share of national income going to workers has been falling,” said the report. “This means workers are capturing less and less of the gains from growth.”

This issue is augmented by modern intellectual property laws, which drive out competitors and increase prices. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, spent over $228 million in 2014 on lobbying campaigns.

World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab talked about the “fourth industrial revolution” that has resulted from the developments of new technologies. “Those who are entrepreneurs, who have talents, will push innovation—will gain from the revolution—and those who are on the other side, particularly in service positions, will lose,” he said.

From another perspective, this means that entrepreneurs in developing countries have a newfound shot at success. Half as many people lived below the extreme poverty line in 2010 than in 1990. According to the Oxfam report, however, the number of people living in extreme poverty “still remains unacceptably high.”

Article via The Washington Post, 21 January 2016

Photo: Boss by Santiago S.V. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]