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Report on Girls’ Education in India

Note from the Editor: this report is written by Daljit Singh, Jolkona Office Manager intern, a graduate in political science from the University of Washington.

photo credit: Flickr, Simon Tucker Photographs

Education is a basic human right that should be exercised fully in all nations, but for many girls in India, attending school is not an option. A girl’s education is an essential starting point in establishing equality everywhere. Despite the Indian Constitution guaranteeing equality before the law and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, India remains a patriarchal society. Male inheritance and property ownership, early marriage, dowry, honor crimes, lack girls’ education, witch hunting, violence against women, and trafficking are all serious issues in the country. There are schools, but most girls do not attend, often because of religious reasons or cultural pressures.

A study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau states that three out five girls receives primary education versus three out four boys. There should not be differences in the numbers of such a basic, universal human right. The law of the land makes it clear that both boys and girls have an equal opportunity to attend school from the age of six through fourteen, and that primary education is a fundamental right (Indian Constitution, Art 21). If the constitution does not make it clear enough, there is also an article in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defining that education is a universal human right (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 26). Girls are not receiving equal access to primary education in rural India and therefore are not achieving equality.

In this report, I want to focus on rural India and will examine the main reasons why girls have been kept away from receiving a complete primary education.

Limited access to laws and rights

The laws governing education in India are remarkably similar to the laws of western nations.  These laws are accessible to the citizens of India, but many of the citizens are unsure of how to properly live them out and where to go with complaints. Complaints usually fall on deaf ears and the citizen is told that there is equal access but that they are not fully utilizing it. It is a catch-22 situation.

In addition to national laws, there are also international laws that also govern these states. These laws, however, are harder to access for the average citizen. The citizens are only able to access these laws through local NGOs. However, the NGOs are not usually located in rural India. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has a clear article outlining that the access to education is a basic human right (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 26). These declarations should give more power to the government to provide access to education to all children.

Education is the crux

The impact of education on girls is extraordinary. Education sustains human values. It forms the foundation for learning and critical thinking. Education also provides skills for girls to become more self-reliant and provides them with more opportunities. Thinking into the future, education also provides them with the knowledge to manage health problems. A girl understanding her own body can make the difference between an unwanted pregnancy and an illegal abortion. Having the knowledge beforehand is crucial to saving and protecting lives.

Education does impact human development, as mentioned, along with economic development but the greatest impact is on democracy. Education is the only way a girl can be an informed citizen, leading the way for her to having her voice heard in society.  Education also provides a better overall quality of life. Research has shown the life expectancy rises by as two years for every one percent increase literacy (U.S. Census Bureau 1998). When women have a voice there can be changes made to existing laws changing the future for young girls.

photo credit: Flickr, karathepirate

4 reasons why girls are pulled out of school

The first reason why girls are pulled out of school is because of family responsibilities. Girls provide free labor at home for the family. Home is also where they learn to be a better housewife. Many girls are kept at home because it is a better payoff than going to school. Having the girl attend school is not valuable to the whole family. This problem is lucidly evident in India, even in urban areas, but more prevalent with poorer families. Girls can be found doing everything from farm work to household chores.

The family plays a central role in a girl’s life and shaping her future. Respect is given to elders in all situations and no decision can be made without consulting an elder. This often leads to the practice of arranged marriages. The decision is entirely up to the family and the girl often does not even see her future husband until the day of the wedding. Compared to American norms, individuals growing up in India are much more dependent on their families, especially parents.

The second reason why girls are kept from receiving a primary education is because they are pulled out early to protect family honor. This also can affect the dowry when the girl is married. The boy’s side of the family can raise the dowry if they suspect she has been in school with boys during puberty. The practice of dowry is illegal, but laws are not always implemented. If the dowry cannot be paid, the bride runs the risk of being ruined, or worse, being killed. Honor killings are prevalent among the poor.

The third reason for inequality during primary education is because girls can’t attend school due to inadequate facilities. Schools are unable to provide safe and sanitary facilities for young girls to attend, and with the population increasing at a rapid speed the priority for new facilities is given to boys. In many cases, though, this is exacerbated by basic infrastructural problems: roads, running water, and electricity are often scarce.

The fourth reason girls are kept from school is because of the shortage of female teachers. The problem can be solved, but it starts with first educating girls so they can aspire to be teachers. The government, however, does not see this as a problem and continues to deny that there is gender inequality within the education sector. There have been efforts, as listed earlier, by the government to enroll more girls but this has not been for the nation of India, but rather for international recognition and numbers.

The Solution

All of these contribute to the issue of unequal access to education for girls along with many more issues. These four issues have many underlying issues that contribute to the overall problem. And to solve this issue we can look to three conclusions: NGOs and nonprofits, and the government’s response.

First, NGOs and nonprofits can offer the most helpful solution to this problem because of grassroots movements across rural India. Many of the past efforts have come from reviewing previous reports. NGOs and nonprofits work at a local scale where a difference can made, whereas the government has worked on a larger scale with less success.

Second, the government’s response can help the whole process of providing primary schools for girls. The Indian government has recognized the problem has been slow to act on the issue. As mentioned earlier, education is not a priority for the government right now; rather the government is focused on the economy. Without girls being involved in the future economy, the government is taking a risk and putting the issue off for another generation.

Be a part of the solution. Jolkona is focused on providing mentorship and training to young social entrepreneurs who seek to create solutions that address things like education and women empowerment through a social accelerator program called Jolkona Catalyst. Join us in supporting the next generation of leaders by volunteering or by making a donation to the Jolkona Catalyst program.

Your gift will allow Jolkona to expand the Catalyst program to other parts of the world. This program has had a significant impact on the young leaders we have already invited. You can help us achieve our mission of accelerating positive social change by empowering even more young social entrepreneurs around the world. Let’s turn small acts into big impacts!

 

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Note from the Editor: this post was written by office manager intern and mayor of Jolkona HQ on Foursquare, Daljit Singh.

On Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to volunteer at Global Washingtons How Girls Can Save the World event. Thanks to a generous donation from Microsoft all 500+ guests were able to attend without any cost. The afternoon had two speakers, Geena Davis of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Chris Grumm of Chris Grumm Consulting Group; as well as a moderator, former CEO of the Women’s Funding Network and moderator, Andrea Taylor of Microsoft.

The talks were a fascinating confluence of women in media and women in economics, portraying where these worlds intersect and, although vastly diverse, how they are at times inter-dependable. Extremely memorable was Geena Davis’s constant emphasizing of the word feminist. She stressed that we were not be afraid of it as all it means is to believe in equal rights for women.

The event was incredibly engaging and a number of questions were asked at the end. It was refreshing to see young girls (maybe 12 or 13 years old) asking such difficult but pertinent questions. One girl, who was in middle school, asked how she could engage in conversation with her friends about women empowerment and hyper-sexualization. This question and many others were enlighteningly answered by both Geena and Chris.

Some quotes from the evening:

Chris Grumm: “We need system change to help women/girls. Celebrate all success but be five steps ahead.”
Chris Grumm: “The difference between the women of the Global South and the Global North – women in the North are already empowered and the women of the South need more help with empowerment and business opportunities.”

Geena Davis: “Female characters in G-rated movies wear the same revealing clothes as female characters in R-rated movies.”
Geena Davis: “We’re due for a resurgence of the women’s movement!”

Eye-opening statistics that were mentioned:

  • 80% of the media consumed worldwide comes from the United States. This is the message we’re exporting.
  • If we add women to media at the rate of the last 20 years, it will take 700 years to meet parity. 500 years for congress.
  • Teenage girls’ #1 ambition is “reality TV star”.
  • There is typically 1 woman for every 3 males in TV/movies/media.
  • Research shows the more hours of TV a girl watches, the fewer options she imagines for her life.

Follow #girlssavetheworld on Twitter and you can take a look at the conversation we all had. Tom Paulson at KPLU also wrote a excellent summary of the evening on his blog, Humanosphere.

With our current matching campaign, Give to Girls (#Give2Girls) we can all make a difference and help empower the next generation of women leaders.

Empower women the world over here.

 

Image credit: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com

Women have been ethically and emotionally suppressed throughout history. But even today, women make up 70% of those who are living in poverty. This is likely due to women’s shrinking employment rates over the years. 66% of illiterate adults are women as well. Tony Cade Bambara said, “revolution begins with the self, in the self.” Empowerment can fuel an entire community when one person decides that what they have to say is important. Amidst such inequality and lack of resources, women continue to transcend difficulties with grace,attitude, and determination. It is notwonder why March 8 is a day dedicated to lighting your revolution of the self. Join Jolkona and I in celebrating the power of the human voice and what we are capable of:International Women’s Day is here!

International Women’s Day began as a social and political event designed to bring greater awareness of the need for women to have equal rights among men. Over decades of monumental change, the meaning behind this day has grown into so much more than just a governmental responsibility: each person who celebrates brings a unique aspect to what International Women’s Day truly means.

International Women’s Day Australina recorded thousand of people’s reactions and ideas about what this day means to them. Here is one such voice:

International Women’s Day is now, of course, a day of celebration. A day when women can get together, celebrate being women– all [that] they’ve come through with a reminder of how much further there still is to go. I know that International Women’s Day didn’t start that way, it started as part of an industrial struggle[;] while there’s still a lot of struggling to be done I think there should be a strong emphasis on celebration.

Here at Jolkona, we believe that recognizing today is vital for the advancement of women, and for celebrating the power women have brought and will continue to bring to our planet.

With CRAVE and women@google by our side, the Give2Girls campaign is our revolution to generating dynamic awareness and change within global communities. We are providing girls and women on every inch of planet Earth with a chance to grow confident, grow strong, and grow wise. No matter which Give2Girls project excites you, we will match your donation made on the site up to $500 per person until our $6,000 match runs out! Find your favorite project to give to on the Give2Girls campaign page.

Did we mention you will receive proofs for both of the donations? Share your story with family and friends when we update you with how your generous impact has transformed a woman’s life.

We would like to thank our very own volunteer Zanoon Nissar for spear-heading the campaign this year and raising our matching fund! Check out her video to learn why she believes in this campaign:

RSVP for our virtual event and help tell your friends about the Give2Girls campaign.

Get a Give2Girls gift card for a friend.

Follow us and share our updates on Facebook.

Tweet using the #give2girls hashtag.


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How’s your knowledge of women’s history? Honestly. I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say mine is a little patchy. Well, if you’re anything like me, then this month of March is your chance to change that. March is Women’s History Month – a world-wide movement that looks back and celebrates the tenacious achievements of women in our history, with a mind to looking forward and increasing awareness of the great distance that is yet to be traveled to achieve gender equality.

Introducing the Give2Girls matching campaign

To celebrate and participate in Women’s History Month, we’re proud to be launching our second Give2Girls matching campaign, running for the whole of March – starting today! We’re dedicating thirty one days to improving the lives of thousands of women and girls around the globe. Like last year, we’re partnering with the indefatigable CRAVE, a networking organization committed to connecting and promoting women entrepreneurs.

How will the campaign work?

Give to any of our 20+ projects related to women or girls, and we will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to $500 per donor! Even better than that, though, we will double your proof. So donate $40 to educate one girl in Afghanistan for ten months, and we’ll send you the proof for how two girls have been educated. The campaign is being matched up to a total of $6,000.

Why this campaign?

Here are just some of the reasons:

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
  • The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 – already the largest in history – is expected to peak in the next decade.
  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.
  • Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
  • Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.

(statistics taken from girleffect.org)

For too long women have been over-looked. Their worth within society, communities, and families has been woefully neglected. And the true absurdity of this is that the roles they play within these spheres are of paramount importance. But we’re not here to bemoan the past; we’re here to change the future. So let’s do that.

What can I do?

1. Educate yourself. Give a bit of your time to learning about the past and women’s history. You can start here at womenshistorymonth.org. Then, learn about the present. The sites are numerous, but here are a couple we like: girleffect.org and the UN’s womenwatch.

2. Spread the word. Share what you learn and share our campaign with your friends, families and social networks. Tweet using the hashtag #give2girls.

3. Change the future. Support the Give2Girls campaign and invest in the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today!

Empower women and girls the world over here.

 

There’s a nothing like a bit of jargon-busting from time to time, especially when it concerns a word that is heavily used. A word like empowerment, for example – we talk about it a lot at Jolkona. But why? What is it about empowerment that is so fundamental to our vision as a non-profit? The answer to that question lies in the relationship between power and justice: one of the core functions of justice is granting power to those who need it. Take any situation of injustice, chronic or temporary, and at its root will be an imbalance or abuse of power.

In America there is an imbalance of power in the meat industry. Small scale farmers are marginalized due to agricultural pressures to yield high quantity (not quality) at minimum costs. In the world there is an imbalance in the allocation of wealth, and one of the many countries that suffer interminably because of this is Sudan. Here farmers lack sufficient resources and access to agricultural education. Imbalances of power in the farming industry are local and global. So that’s why we started the Eat Local, Give Global campaign.

What was it about?

The goal was two-fold: to raise awareness of America’s overlooked local farming industry, whilst raising funds to provide tools and agricultural education for women farmers in Sudan. To do this we partnered with the brilliant and munificent Bill the Butcher, a Seattle-based chain of neighborhood butcher shops that supports sustainable farming practices by selling grass fed, natural meats from local farmers and ranchers. The funds were raised in three ways:

1) You could donate online through Jolkona via the campaign page

2) Customers could donate in any one of the six shops around Seattle

3) Bill the Butcher generously donated 10% of its sales on Thursdays and Fridays to the campaign

To throw in a bit of competition, we devised the Great Meat Race. This was a competition to see which of the six shops could raise the most of amount of money via customer and online donations.

What was the impact?

Some – but not all – of the results are in. We do not yet know the winner of the Great Meat Race, neither do we know the final amount raised including the 10% donation from Bill the Butcher’s Thursdays and Fridays sales. However, we do have the results from the donations made online and in the shops by you the donors. Remember: $30 covers the cost for one Sudanese woman to attend 2 days of farming classes, providing her with essential knowledge and tools which she can share with her entire village.

Through donations made online and in the shops, over $1170 was raised, providing training for 39 women.

Returning, then, to complete my jargon-busting: the crux of empowerment is not exercising power on someone’s behalf; rather, it is the placing of power into their own hands. And in this campaign the power was education and tools, both of which the women farmers in Sudan can utilize to change their own lives, that of their families, and that of their entire community. This is empowerment. Sincerest thanks to all who donated.

Stay tuned to find out which shop wins the Great Meat Race, and also for the final total raised and impact made….

And don’t forget: you are what you meat.

 

 

 

 

One of the things we’re encouraged to do here at Jolkona is to find projects that resonate with us personally. Jolkona has some 120 projects, so that’s not so hard a thing to do. And the idea is to really invest ourselves in those favorite projects: to learn about them, to draw attention to them, to love them. Our motto – Your choice. Your world. Your impact. – is not just an alluring marketing slogan; it’s an attitude, creed, and work ethic that is congruent with our very own grassroots. And the 12 Days of Giving Campaign epitomizes that spirit. (To understand more about those grassroots, watch this excellent talk given by our CEO, Adnan Mahmud, at last year’s TEDXRainier conference.)

What was the campaign about?

The 12 Days of Giving Campaign saw all of us at Jolkona split into 12 teams. Each team picked a project they wanted to support and set a target for how much they wanted to raise. To promote the project, every team made a video regarding what the project was about and why they were supporting it. Then each on each of the 12 days leading up to December 25th one project was revealed on our campaign page. The goal was to raise as much support as we could to achieve the targets each team set for themselves. Take a look at the creative videos promoting the projects at our campaign page.

What was the impact?

The figures are in. The efforts were sterling. Here is the impact:

6 months of psychological care for 12 orphaned children in Bolivia. Project partner: Friends of Orphans.

12 children in India medicated against life threatening diarrhea. Project partner: Calcutta Kids.

1 month of education for 22 disabled children in Nepal. Project partner: The Rose International Fund for Children.

1 month’s literacy education for 9 children in India. Project partner: India Rural Development Fund.

28 children received night classes in the tsunami-ravaged Prefecture of Migayi in Japan. Project partner: iLeap/Katariba.

7 publications in the Snowland Tibetan Women’s Journal. Project partner: Machik.

8 full lunches for Peruvian weavers and their families. Project partner: Awamaki.

2 semesters of text-books, midday meals, and uniform for a child in India. Project partner: Inida Rural Development Fund.

$489 in working capital for aspiring entrepreneurs in India. Project partner: Upaya.

7 Notebooks for youth classes at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. Project partner: Pacific Science Center.

6 months of schooling and medical costs for 2 children in Bangladesh. Project partner: Distressed Children & Infants International.

3 months of peer tutoring for a child in the U.S. Project partner: Soccer in the Streets.

The lives of many have been touched; the lives of real people with real needs. Thank you to everyone who participated and donated their time, money, and energy.

The 2011 holiday season, then, was truly a season for giving the gift of impact. Quarter 4 was our best quarter yet at Jolkona, sending $70k to our partners.  And here’s the challenge: that our giving not be something purely seasonal, because the ability to choose is not seasonal; it’s perennial. It’s your choice, your world, your impact.

Make a choice here.

 

Let’s face it, although the principles at the heart of Valentine’s Day are noble, the day itself has decayed into something embarrassingly gaudy and grossly over-commercialized. But this is not just my opinion; it’s that of millions of others who are ditching Valentine’s Day and rebooting their February 14th as Generosity Day. In their own words, it’s one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone, to see how it feels and to practice saying Yes.

What is this? you might ask, some Occupy Valentine’s Day movement? Not really. It’s simply about reclaiming actions of love – not obligation – for Valentine’s Day. It’s about doing away with the usual kitsch, and instead, showing your love with acts of costly and generous kindness to those you know and love – and to those you don’t. It is, if you like, about putting the O! back into love.

Started last year by Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer for Acumen Fund, the idea spread like wildfire and became what it is today – a million-strong movement of people. On his blog, Dichter suggests,

“Give to people on the street. Tip outrageously. Help a stranger. Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them. Smile. Donate (more) to a cause that means a lot to you. Take clothes to GoodWill. Share your toys (grownups and kids). Be patient with yourself and with others. Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom. All generous acts count!”

And you know one of the things that seriously bothers me about our glitzy twenty-first century Valentine’s Day – indeed, I loathe this – it systematically excludes those who are single. Because they don’t know how to love? Or because they’re unworthy of receiving love? How flagrantl unfair and apocryphal! Generosity Day does not discriminate against relationship status. Single, engaged, married, or divorced, it calls all of us to participate.

How will YOU participate? Here are a few generous ideas for you:

Go to the Generosity Day website here.

Witness acts of generosity via the Facebook page.

Tweet the love using the #generosityday hashtag.

Share the love with those in need this Generosity Day by making a donation through Jolkona

Or here’s a loving idea I wrote about last week: Jolkona’s Valentine’s Day gift cards.

 

 

 

Has your Mum ever sent you a Valentine’s card? I’m quite certain mine has – and on many occasions. You see, there was a period in my life from when I was about eleven to when I was seventeen or eighteen years old, where on every February 14th I would receive a blank Valentine’s card in the mail. Sweet but also mysterious. More intriguing was the fact that each year the handwriting on the envelope was different. The plot thickens, though. Not only was the handwriting different, but by looking at the stamp I could see that each year the card had been mailed from a different location. Now, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I’m pretty sure only my Mum could have been so diligent – and kind – to prepare with such consistent aforethought. Mind you, I’ve never asked her, so I could be wrong. Nevertheless, it was a pretty original idea, you have to agree.

And here’s another original idea for Valentine’s Day: a Jolkona gift card.

How do they work?

It’s really very simple:

Choose your template

Purchase the gift card for your desired amount

Send the gift card to someone you love

The recipient redeems the gift card via any of our projects

In short, you’re giving so someone else can give. And if love is a gift, then this is love.

Forget not: actions speak louder than words. So this year, tell someone you love them by empowering them to take action. Besides, nothing says I love you like empowerment.

Send a Jolkona gift card and cultivate change here.

 

Allow me to introduce to you Andrew Abumoussa. As an accessibility engineer, Andrew is wired to notice things a little differently. What drives many of his passions as a software engineer, as an entrepreneur, and as a graduate student is the effect universal design has on entire populations. Having witnessed how many people lack the opportunities, resources or the apparatus to explore or grow their tools, Andrew’s committed to doing everything he can to level the playing fields. “Having a tool that allows me to see exactly what need is being served, and then receive a tangible confirmation, well, that’s beautiful.” Andrew is the Director of Engineering for SimplyHome, where he has been featured on Extreme Makeover:Home Edition, and he’s a member of the University of Rochester’s Human-Computer Interaction group. And now he is part of the new generation of philanthropists donating through Jolkona. Here, in his words, is what he has to say about his Jolkona experience.

Among the projects you support through Jolkona, which are particularly meaningful to you?
For me it was the BRAC USA project. I could not believe that the cost of a prosthetic limb for someone in Bangladesh was so low. Professionally, as an engineer, I work with people and I know how small changes in software or hardware have the potential to enable a person to complete a given task or goal. Personally, having been raised for a part of my life in Egypt, I’ve seen the devastation that not having a limb has on a person’s ability to participate in society. So, providing a person with an entire limb to empower them with something so basic was the reason I gave Jolkona a try in the first place.

What do you like most about donating through Jolkona?
I remember spending a week looking through all the avenues and organizations through which I could donate. I mean, one day after work, I literally spent about 5 hours sifting through all the sites, reading statistics, benefits, etc. But there seemed to be an entire industry around the concept of philanthropy and that really bothered me. Between all the nebulous descriptions and bureaucracy, the whole experience of giving continued to remain less than rewarding, almost habitual and mindless.

Discovering Jolkona changed all of that. The mystery behind the path of your money is removed. I was able to choose exactly what I funded, and when Jolkona sent me my first email, I was floored to see the speed of execution and the results and value of my donation. The honesty, simplicity, and accountability of Jolkona’s concept is why I’m in love with their experience.

What would you like others to know about Jolkona?
Two things. As a developer, I’ve been taught to adapt systems to people’s tastes and habits rather than having users adapt to a system. With that being said, Jolkona is the system most adept to my preferences in giving. The ability to pinpoint which cause you want to support, as well as deciding what level of commitment, really allows for anyone to give to what they feel passionate about.

Second, it’s addicting! Jolkona does an amazing job of curating the data and presenting it to you so that you can follow and watch the impacts that you choose to have. It’s genius, really, and keeps me coming back to give. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about, right?

 

Be like Andrew, and join the new generation philanthropists changing the world – and seeing the change – one donation at time. Start here.

 

A few Thursdays back was the Jolkona Foundation’s holiday party held at one of our wonderful boardmember’s home. It was great to catch up with the other volunteers, but I was most captivated by all the vitality and energy in the room. Everyone there was excited to be part of Jolkona and its numerous accomplishments over the past year. Many of these achievements can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of young people wanting to make a difference.

As a member of the NextGen team, which focuses on engaging youth under 25 in philanthropy, I love seeing the energy and commitment that young people bring to giving. The holidays especially inspire people to make the world a better place. I know that I always feel more motivated during this time of year to donate my time and resources towards those less fortunate. This season is all about feeling thankful for what you have and recognizing that others may not be so fortunate.

During this holiday season, I will use my small change to bring awareness to a cause I feel passionate about: the NextGen team is excited to help prepare kids in the United States to become employable adults as part of Jolkona’s 12 Days of Giving campaign! This organization has helped thousands of children from all over the US learn the life skills necessary to have professional careers and become more civic-minded through the medium of soccer. I am excited to support a non-profit that inspires the next generation of youth philanthropists. These kids want to make a difference, and with everyone’s support, we can help them reach their goals!

Make a difference here.

 

 

 

If Bill the Butcher ever had to change its name, I could only think of one replacement that would be equally suitable and catchy: Barry the Butcher. Well, that’s who we meet today – Barry Mang, head butcher at the shop over in Magnolia. Tall, friendly, and self-effacing, Barry talks with a certain gathered concentration in his voice. He chooses his words carefully; he stares out the window when I ask him a question, and then as if pulling the answer right out of the blue sky, he returns it with a twinkle in his eye. It was a pleasure meeting Barry; he’s professional without having to show off, and he’s passionate without having to talk the hind legs off a cow. Here are some snippets of our interview:

Barry, where were you born?
Encino, California

And where are you living right now?
Queen Anne Hill, Seattle

What’s the furthest you’ve been from home?
Cancun, Mexico.

Do you have any major hobbies?
Fly fishing, wood working, skiing, cycling.

What’s the first thing you do when your alarm goes off?
I don’t set an alarm. Such are the pleasures of opening at noon.

How do you take your coffee?
Double short Americano with cream.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Oxblood red.

Summer or Winter?
Fall.

What led you to becoming a butcher?
I was a chef for many years and the opportunity to try something different presented itself.

What’s the best thing about being a butcher?
Assisting our clientele in creating memorable meals for friends and family.

Which cut of meat should people know more about?
All of them!

Are you or have you ever been a vegetarian?
Yes, but it was brief.

How do you see your role in sustainable farming?
Education and facilitation. We create a pipeline for local farmers and an outlet for concerned consumers.

What are your thoughts on the Eat Local, Give Global campaign?
A good idea.

Why is your shop better than the other Bill the Butcher shops in Seattle?
We all do our best to shine in our respective neighborhoods. I must admit, my Marquee has drawn more attention for its witty content [see picture above].

Which Bill the Butcher shop is going to come in last in the Great Meat Race?
We all win with the drive to give charitably.

Do you have any good party tricks?
Zero.

And finally, 3 words to describe natural grass fed beef:
occupy the pasture.

The Eat Local, Give Global campaign is all about raising money to empower and educate women farmers in Sudan with sustainable farming techniques. We’re running the campaign in partnership with Bill the Butcher and its six shops in and around Seattle. Donate online, or go directly to your local shop, meet the friendly butchers themselves, and donate there.

Check out Laura Kimball’s launch post, or go the campaign page for more details.

Remember: each store is in competition with the others to raise the most money. This is called the Great Meat Race. If you want the Magnolia shop to win, donate to the campaign here and join its community.

 

The voice of literature in culture

Like many other people I’m sure, one of my very favorite books of all time is J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I consider it truly brilliant, and it has had a remarkable influence on me. When Salinger died in January of 2010, the tributes lauding his talent flooded the media. One phrase I recall reading by several different writers was that Salinger “defined a generation.” (You could argue he defined two). Such praise is deservedly lofty and not handed out on a whim. But what does this have to do with Machik’s Women’s Writing Program? A lot.

And here’s why: giving a voice through literature is – and has been for a very long time – an integral part of what we understand as “culture.” Deeper than that, the voice of literature within culture is inextricably conjoined with identity, whether it be on a wide or personal scale, which is precisely why we say of writers, ‘he/she defined a generation.’ We say it because we identify with that particular literary voice; it’s as if the voice is speaking for us. We perhaps take this truth for granted, but when you stop to consider it, you can truly appreciate how invaluable those voices are to us, how much they have shaped the narrative of not only our own lives but that of an entire country. This, then, is what Machik’s Women’s Writing Program in Tibet is going some way to achieve for the culture and identity of Tibetans.

Two historic Tibetan publications

In 2004, under the auspices of Professor Palmo Tso, Machik sponsored the development of two historic publications: the first ever anthology of Tibetan women’s writing, and the first print newsmagazine on Tibetan women’s affairs, The Land of Snow Tibetan Women’s Journal. Yes, these are the first ever of their kind for women’s literature in Tibet. Just think of the myriad anthologies of British and American women’s literature in comparison. Then think how rich Tibetan language and culture is, and how powerful a component women’s voices must be (or should be) within that. And yet this surface has only just begun to be scratched.

Breaking the shackles of marginalization

Ultimately, though, beyond culture and identity, giving Tibetan women a recognized voice through literature is about empowerment; empowerment against gender inequality. Women’s literacy rate in Tibet, for example, is that of approximately one third compared to men’s. And in a country where voices are largely marginalized, women’s especially, it becomes abundantly clear the scale of the struggle Tibetan women face. In the light of such facts, Machik’s Women’s Writing Program, and the projects it has brought to fruition, become all the more extraordinary. Not only that, they become all the more critical. This is why we as the Intern Team here at Jolkona have chosen to support this project for the 12 Days of Giving Campaign. Here’s our very bookish campaign video:

Give Tibetan Woman a voice

We’re asking for donations starting at $5 in order to support the publication of twelve stories or essays by Tibetan women in the tri-annual Snowland Tibetan Women’s Journal, which is produced both in print and digitally. $40 covers the publishing costs of one story or essay. By donating you contribute to the improvement of women’s literacy and education, whilst helping give Tibetan women a conduit to greater empowerment and gender equality. In this way, you assist in shaping the narrative of not only the personal lives of the Tibetan women, but also the very narrative of Tibet as a whole. That is no small privilege.

So if you care about gender equality, if you love to read, or if you’ve ever read a book by a woman and enjoyed it, then give here via our campaign page.

Give Tibetan woman a voice – through literature.

 

AIDS doesn’t need much of an introduction. Its statistics are numerous as they are harrowing. But there is one statistic more conspicuous, more worrying, more jolting to the mind than perhaps any other, and this statistic is unchanging: there is no vaccine for AIDS; there is no cure.

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day, one of the year’s most recognized international health days. Its goals are threefold: increase awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. Go the World AIDS Campaign page for a whole trove of information. Educate yourself.

Getting to Zero

Crucial to the battle against AIDS is the Joint United Nations Programme, UNAIDS, who are behind the push for a new global response to AIDS. Key to their phraseology is Getting to Zero. This sets our three main goals for 2015:

Zero new infections

Zero AIDS-related deaths

Zero discrimination

Such goals are equally ambitious, urgent, and inspiring. To learn more, go the UNAIDS strategy webpage here.

Jolkona AIDS projects: NHCC and the Slum Doctor Programme

At Jolkona, we are partnered with two projects in areas of the world where AIDS is most prevalent: Africa and East Asia. Cambodia has the highest AIDS incidences in the whole of Asia. The identified infected population is somewhere near 65,000. Over 3000 are children under the age of fifteen. Most of those children are orphaned. They are left for nothing. New Hope for Cambodian Children (NHCC) provides full range housing, nutritional, health and educational needs for these children. They are a small beacon of light within a maelstrom of darkness. One donation of $75 supports the medical needs of one child infected with AIDS for six months. That’s $12.50 a month – what, a little more than your monthly subscription to Netflix? Go to the Jolkona campaign page, give, and help alleviate the suffering of these children today.

Tumaini is a community based organization in Nairobi, Kenya, partnered with the Slum Doctor Programme. Tumaini’s main objective is raising funds to provide HIV medication. While the Kenyan government and major grants, such as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), pay for a substantial amount of this medication, the funds fail to cover the need to its full extent. Tumaini works tirelessly to bridge that gap and to fill that need. One donation of $30 provides full HIV treatment for one patient for two weeks in Nairobi. That’s about a third of your average monthly cell phone bill. Cut the chit chat and let your money do the talking. Give to the Slum Doctor Programme here.

Zero new infections. Zero AIDS-related deaths. Zero discrimination. Be a part of Getting to Zero.

 

Feasting, in the truest sense of its definition, is one of life’s great pleasures – and privileges. Rightly so, we reserve such meals for special occasions. The holiday season is one such occasion; Thanksgiving is tomorrow. At Jolkona we’re running the Eat Local, Give Global campaign with Bill the Butcher to raise funds in order to facilitate sustainable farming for women in Sudan. Central to the equation of sustainability is the relation of produce to consumption. Needless to say, wastage in either of those areas is detrimental to the balance and cycle of sustainability. The infographic below illustrates the morbid statistics of food wastage here in America and Europe compared to other parts of the world. Quite frankly, it’s shocking. During this holiday season, then, eat well, delight in your feasting, by all means; but please, shop and prepare responsibly. Avoid as much food wastage as you can.

Click on this link to view the infograhic full size: foodwasteinfographic

To learn more about our Bill the Bucther campaign and how you can help women farmers in Sudan develop sustainable farming techniques which will benefit their families and their communities, go the campaign page here.

 

 

Part 2 of our Bill the Butcher interview series

Josh is a Washingtonian, born and bred. Currently residing in the state’s jewel, the Emerald City (Seattle), he is the head butcher over in the Redmond shop. Alarmingly honest and witty, Josh is both a wizard with meat and words. His major hobby is sausage making, he claims he’s never been too far from home (because his wife keeps him on a short leash), he takes his coffee with whiskey, and, much to his chagrin, believes beef liver is a vastly undervalued piece of meat. In his own words, it was the combination of a lack of college education and a genuine love for the craft of butchery that lead him to this current position. Here’s a snippet of our interview:

What’s the first thing you do when your alarm goes off?
Wake up.

Summer or Winter?
More of a Fall or Spring kinda guy.

What’s the best thing about being a butcher?
Can’t pick just one.

How do you see your role in sustainable farming?
An important link in the chain.

What are your thoughts on the Eat Local, Give Global campaign?
Great cause. Education is crucial to understanding.

Why is your shop better than the other Bill the Butcher shops in Seattle?
I think each shop has its own personality and style, all of which are equally attractive and charming.

Which Bill the Butcher shop is going to come in last in the Great Meat Race?
I hope we all come in first.

Are you or have you ever been a vegetarian?
Not yet.

If you were a cow, would other cows want to be your friends?
Yes, unless they were lactose intolerant.

If I gave you a herd of cattle, where would you hide it?
It wouldn’t be hidden if I told you where I was hiding it.

If you were a cut of meat, which would you be?
The brain.

And finally, what’s your best meat your joke?
What do you call a cow with two legs?    Lean beef.

The Eat Local, Give Global campaign is all about raising money to help implement sustainable farming techniques for women farmers in Sudan through supporting sustainable farming here in the U.S. We’re running the campaign in partnership with Bill the Butcher and its six shops in and around Seattle. Donate online, or go directly to your local shop, meet the friendly butchers themselves, and donate there.

Check out Laura Kimball’s launch post, or go the campaign page for more details.

Remember: each store is in competition with the others to raise the most money. This is called the Great Meat Race. If you want the Redmond shop to win, donate to the campaign here and join its community.

 

 

GET INVOLVED!