Refugee Doctor ‘Making a Difference’ for Thousands in Burma

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThousands of people flee Burma each year, escaping poverty, oppression, and civil war.The nearest escape for most is Thailand, where they experience both despair and hope. Burmese refugee, Dr. Cynthia Maung, runs a small, modest public health clinic near the border in Thailand, and is making a difference in her community by providing essential services not available to most residents of the poor region.Mothers line up with children, waiting for immunizations. In another line, couples with newborns wait for documents certifying their children were born in Thailand. The documents take the place of birth certificates Thailand refuses to issue.These people are refugees, and in the eyes of Thailand’s authorities, they do not exist.But to Dr. Cynthia Maung, they do matter. Dr. Cynthia is a Burmese physician and a refugee herself. She makes a difference for thousands of her fellow refugees in Thailand and for many more inside Burma. For example, the Burmese physician founded the Mae Tao Clinic, a safe haven where miracles happen every day.Dr. Cynthia fled Burma in 1988 following an army crackdown on those who demonstrated for democracy and justice.“I joined with the demonstration group and then when the military seized power, people started disappearing, or missing, or fled to the border. I myself also decided to come to the border to continue struggling or working for political change,” she says.In a two-room shack, she started doing amputations and delivering babies using instruments sterilized in a rice cooker. Young volunteer medics trained by Dr. Cynthia treat everything from landmine injuries to gastroenteritis.With donations from NGO’s and foreign governments, including the United States, Dr. Cynthia’s work has a reputation for a making a little money go a long way.One hundred 50 thousand people come here for treatment each year. Those who can, pay under a dollar.Dr. Cynthia lives in modest quarters next to the clinic. She could have immigrated to the West and be making a huge salary. But for Dr. Cynthia, this is a greater calling.“When we live here, we are not only treating illnesses, we can also educate young people who can go back and work in their community and who are very willing to promote the health activities in their village. So it is a very good opportunity for young people to give education and to give more hope,” she says.The clinic trains volunteer medics who fan out into the ethnic Karen and other isolated areas of Burma. Some of the volunteers are former patients who, once desperate for help, are now the ones helping. It is they who embody Dr. Cynthia’s vision.The Burmese physician says young people should be taught “not to feel as victims.” Instead, she says, they should see themselves as “people who can change or improve the situation.”Dr. Cynthia is reviled by Burma’s military government. To the generals, she is a terrorist and an insurgent. To the thousands she treats and trains, she is a saint.Part of VOA’s new Making a Difference series. Each week, VOA introduces a different individual – famous or lesser-known – working to help others. See the video to this story on VOA’s website. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Nevada’s First Green Convenience Store

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreNevada’s first full-sized alternative fuel station and LEED-certified convenience store opened in Minden Tuesday. With solar panels and skylights, bamboo shelving and biofuels, the idea was to “take a Whole Foods market, and shrink it down to the size of a 7-Eleven.”A Good News Network fan submitted the story link and said a friend of theirs stopped in to the store yesterday, the second customer for Don Bently, owner of Bently Biofuels Outpost.“She was told that if there was anything natural that she would normally get from a health food store or order online, just to let them know and they will order it for her… so we’re very excited.”(Read more in the Record Courier)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Iran Invited by Group of Eight to Meeting on Afghanistan

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreIran said on Monday it had been invited by Group of Eight president, Italy, to an international meeting on Afghanistan, which is also expected to be attended by the United States. Italy wants to hold a conference to bring the world’s richest countries together with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, India, China, and Turkey, among others, to find ways of bringing stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It also seeks to involve Iran, which shares borders with both of those countries. (Read more at Reuters)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Green Pizza Box Breaks Down Into 4 Serving Plates and Storage Container

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore E.C.O., Incorporated is marketing its first product, a green pizza box. The Green Box is innovative not for its 100% recycled material, but because the top of the box breaks down into convenient serving plates, eliminating the need for disposable plates and the bottom of the box converts easily into a handy storage container, eliminating the need for plastic wrap, foil or bags. The perforations and scores that create this functionality allow for easy disposal into a standard-sized trash or recycling bin. Made from a standard pizza blank, the Green Box requires no additional material or major redesign and can therefore be produced at no additional manufacturing cost. The design company, Environmentally Conscious Organization, Incorporated,owns the utility patent on the Green Box, and is dedicated to improving more outmoded, outdated and wasteful food packaging. Check out the website at www.ecoincorporated.com and see the demonstration video below. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Cheap Solar Cells Scoop Million-dollar Prize

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA flexible solar cell that could provide cheap energy for everyone has been awarded a prize worth nearly a million dollars. The Millennium Technology Prize, which recognises “technological innovation that is significantly improving the quality of human life”, was awarded to inventor Michael Grätzel in Switzerland last week. Grätzel said his solar cells have many benefits and could, for example, soon be helping people in developing countries to connect to the Internet. “I was in Tanzania last year and everyone has a mobile phone; but there’s no grid to charge them,” he said. (READ more at SciDev.net)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Celebrating Age 40 With 40 Acts of Kindness

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreCanadian Jennifer O’Connor is celebrating her 40th birthday this year by completing 40 charitable acts. Her actions are inspiring others to do good in their communities around the world.The married mother of three has learned some lovely lessons along the way — how people strive through struggles, how small acts of kindness can comfort, and how good it feels to give. “Honestly, I think that the amazing thing about this project is. . . I’m realizing that with every single act, I’m getting back as much as people are receiving from me.”Her blog chronicles her journey so far, at forty4change.(READ the story in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald)Thanks to Krista Hall Juurlink for posting the link on our Facebook Page!AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

37 years After Graduation, Student Sends High School Teacher $10,000

first_imgShe was overwhelmed by his kindness, and said she would’ve been happy with just the surprise phone call.Perz’s penchant for mailing money to former teachers began in 1992 when he sent a $5,000 check to his former calculus teacher. Twenty years later he gave his business instructor $10,000, according to ABC News.Honoring his gift request, Mecham plans to visit her family’s homelands of Norway and Sweden.Mecham runs a charitable effort now and says the event made her stop and think, ‘who do I want to thank’. Additionally, her post on Facebook about the incident caused many friends and strangers to comment about the teachers in their own lives who made a difference.MULTIPLY the Good by Sharing (below) / Photo Credits – Marilyn Mecham TwitterAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore After years of working with the alumni association to search for Mrs. Mecham, he finally found her son’s phone number, which led to a January reunion.The monetary gift included a handwritten note with implicit instructions to spend the money only on herself, noting that he’d be sad otherwise.Mecham, now 62, was a first-year teacher in 1977 when she taught Perz and his classmates how to cook.Fifth Grader Donates Entire $300 Savings To Stop Teacher Layoffs AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreKevin Perz took the idea of giving his favorite teacher an apple to another level.The Kansas businessman stunned the woman who was his beloved home economics teacher from 37 years ago with a surprise telephone call–and later a $10,000 thank-you check.Perz, who attended Parkway Central High School in Missouri, expressed his gratitude in a letter to Marilyn Mecham using bold letters, “You were the B-E-S-T teacher EVER!”Students Discover Math Teacher’s Secret Identity… As Baby Cuddlerlast_img read more

With Fins Off the Menu, A Glimmer of Hope for Sharks

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreFor decades, the decline of sharks – sought for their fins and meat – has been staggering. But bans on finning and new attitudes in Asia toward eating shark fin soup are leading to optimism about the future for these iconic ocean predators.Along with the economic boom in China and other Asian countries came the ability for millions to afford shark fin soup. As more sharks were harvested to feed that appetite, it became clear to scientists how vital these top-predators were for the entire ocean ecosystem – from algae to sea-grass, turtles to tuna.In the last year, there’s been some good news leading conservationists to believe that the tide for struggling sharks, at last, may be turning.Man Expertly Grabs Pelican to Save it From Almost Certain Death (WATCH)Global fin trade is declining. The U.S., European Union, and India, along with close to 100 other nations from the Mideast to the Caribbean, have banned finning — the practice of catching sharks solely to harvest fins. Some of those countries, like New Zealand, were huge exporters.China, Hong Kong and Malaysia have all banned the soup at government functions, five hotel chains have taken it off their menus and 26 airlines have refused to transport shark fins. On a recent survey in China 85% of respondents said they no longer ate shark fin soup. In fact, so many people have lost their appetite for shark, that the fins are as cheap as squid — essentially destroying the market for them in some parts of China.Transforming Lion Killers into ‘Lion Guardians’ in AfricaA preeminent marine biologist praised a turnaround in US fisheries management in the last decade, saying officials have basically altered their direction on shark management 180 degrees, calling new policies “among the best in the world.” Sharks are also bolstered by pledges from 205 marinas and 103 other businesses around the globe to forbid or discourage the offloading of dead sharks.Even as sharks recover in some waters they’re getting hammered when they migrate to countries that don’t manage them, so nations and conservationists need to continue pushing for tough regulations to make sure the tide keeps turning for these crucial top-level predators.(Source: Yale 360, March 2015, from a feature by Ted Williams) – Photo by Travel Bag Ltd (travelbag.co.uk), CC licenseAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Kristen Bell is Using Her Instagram Page to Help Send Thousands of Gifts to Teachers in Need

first_imgFor every one of the posts, Bell highlights the teacher’s need for school supplies and asks her followers to help out—and her call to action has proven to be extremely effective.One elementary school teacher from Belmont, North Carolina was inundated with packages after she was featured on Bell’s Instagram back in May.WATCH: Watching Kristen Bell Cheer Up Hurricane Irma Evacuees Will Melt Your Heart“I’ve received over a couple hundred items so far, and they are still trickling in every day,” Riggs told WCNC reporters the very same week. “I even got a gift from the UK and Zimbabwe!”More recently, Bell featured a first grade teacher from Flint, Michigan named Emily Mayberry.Within a week of appearing on Bell’s social media page, she experienced the same relief: she was flooded with gifts, packages, and supplies from her Amazon wishlist.LOOK: Barefoot Teacher Pictured Running Ahead of Tornado to Warn Families in Carpool Lane“The generosity of others is overwhelming,” wrote the school on Facebook. “Gratitude is the quality of feeling and experiencing thankfulness and appreciation. We are beyond thankful and appreciative to Kristen Bell and her #FeaturedTeacherFriday for their outpouring of love, support and dedication by enriching and changing the lives of our students through their generous donations.”If you want to nominate yourself or a teacher to be featured on Bell’s Instagram, you can send an email to featuredteacherfriday@gmail.com. Or, you may be inspired to help a teacher who has not been featured, by going to Donors Choose and surprising an educator with a donation at the nonprofit’s website.Be Sure And Share This Inspiring Story With Your Friends On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreWith more than 12 million followers on Instagram, actress Kristen Bell has been using her celebrity status to help teachers in need.Every week for the last six months, Bell has been sharing a teacher’s story on Instagram for a project she calls #FeatureTeacherFriday.last_img read more

College dedicates Unity Garden

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Unity Garden will stand as a symbol of social justice and sustainability, Director of Justice Education Jan Pilarski said. The garden, located in front of Havican Hall, was dedicated Tuesday. Pilarski said Karen Borja, a 2011 graduate, spearheaded the project. Senior Heather Smith took responsibility for planting the garden this summer as an intern with Unity Gardens, a South Bend nonprofit that advocates community building through gardening. “I hope this garden becomes something bigger [so] that we can have an option for healthy food that students can grow and learn about,” Smith said. To achieve that “something bigger,” Smith said she tapped into landscaping services at the College to help her expand the garden. “When I started planting, I realized the garden was pretty small, so landscaping helped me double the size,” she said. “They did the labor, like tilling the land and building the [wooden support] frames, and I cared for the garden.” Smith said she enjoyed having the freedom to choose what vegetables went into the garden. “I went with a salad theme for the garden. If students saw okra or a huge head of cabbage, they might not know what to do with it,” she said, “I planted lots of leafy lettuce, mustard greens, kale, swish chard, tomatoes and herbs.” On Mondays over the summer, preschoolers from the Early Childhood Development Center, which has its own Unity Garden, joined Smith to help weed and pick vegetables, she said. “It was great to have them out there, helping, tasting lettuce,” Smith said. “They were great.” Smith said the garden raised her awareness about local food security problems. “There are some people who need healthy food but can’t get it from anywhere else [other than the Unity Gardens],” she said. The garden was made possible through the Dooley Endowment, a fund intended for student-initiated social justice projects, Pilarski said. The endowment is named after Saint Mary’s alumnus Katherine T. Dooley, ’28. “She was passionate about social justice and Saint Mary’s,” Pilarski said. There are 41 other Unity Gardens of varying sizes in the South Bend area, Sara Stewart, executive director for Unity Gardens, said. Stewart added that the gardens help close social divisions. “We live in a society that separates us, and gardens are a natural way to share,” she said. “By bringing together people that would usually never interact, we can see our strengths in different ways.” Stewart said the interactive aspect of the gardens is more significant than the gardening itself. “This isn’t just about access to healthy vegetables,” she said. “It’s more about unification of the community and social cohesion.”last_img read more