Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Legal and Moral Issue of It...

I have two bachelor friends who I had discussions with on married women. I respect their beliefs and in both cases, I think my reaction would be the same.

One friend said, a woman who isn't living with the spouse in the true sense of the word, meaning not having a good intimate physical and emotional/spiritual relationship with the partner isn't married but single, and therefore free to have other relationships or partners. The woman being married is no issue to him and he's open-minded to a relationship with one.

Another friend said, getting involved with a married woman is taboo for him. I took that to be whether the woman was separated or not. I wouldn't have expected anything less from him. It was something I wasn't surprised about when he said it. It showed in our conversations. He was always careful not to insinuate or imply anything romantic in our talks. I guess that's why the friendship lasted this long and our past conversations were often long and friendly but caring.

To the first, even if I turn out to have a really bad marriage, I personally cannot see myself as single and getting involved so casually without considering others who may get affected and all the other possible consequences. There are always legal and moral considerations and so-called double standard in society. Our conversation last night ended with me saying that as long as I'm married or not separated, I can't see myself getting involved with anyone and complicating other people's lives.

The talk continued again this morning with a sudden, "so if u have sex outside a dead marriage - the sky will fall.:-l" Lol, gosh, he said I sounded like that. He said we weren't talking about society nor reforming it and to either rekindle the marriage or leave...Oh well, to cut things short, we still disagreed on things. We often did when it came to relationships with women though I agreed with his statement about either rekindling the marriage or leaving.

To the second, it wouldn't really be any different if I found myself falling for someone while being married. Like I said, the last thing I'd want is to complicate other people's lives, especially if I care so much for them. I'd protect his reputation and career first over my own personal happiness. So there's no question about getting myself involved with someone while being married or not separated...he deserves more and better than a complicated life with a married woman. He's right about not wanting to get involved with one and it makes me respect him more for it.

I remember both of them say something common or similar though. The children will be happier and better off if they see their mother smile more often...

I'm sure they'll both meet the right woman one day and be swept off their feet. I hope they remember to woo and court her to win her love and respect because some just won't come running to them with open arms...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Ger...and Mobile Schooling

It takes determination to achieve one's goal. In Mongolia, pre-school children were given the opportunity to be educated in a "ger", a so-called "travelling pre-school." The ger is a white felt tent where Mongolian pre-schoolers are taught. It travels seven to eight times each year, bringing education within the reach of families far from town.

UNICEF's efforts to improve children’s access to early education through this innovative means of education is very laudable. It addresses the nomadic nature of the people in Mongolia where nomadic families migrate with their herds several times each year.

With only 54% of children there receiving any form of childhood education, the "ger" has lessened this limitation by bringing the mobile school to these children.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Drawing the Line...

One of the many social concerns that affect me a lot is the inequality on women. Receiving this ONE e-mail from Shade Bembatoum-Young today triggered a strong reaction from me at how even laws can deprive women of their basic rights.

When the Family Code was implemented here years ago, it was good to know that spouses are now both required to sign on legal documents for financial transactions where the spouse can be legally bound to answer for any obligations the other enters into. It's an improvement, though many institutions still don't strictly follow this requirement. It leaves room for both parties to contest any questionable financial transactions that may have been entered into by their spouse without the other's knowledge and consent.

Shade Bembatoum-Young's e-mail speaks of a similar flaw in her country's legal system. I have posted her e-mail to ONE members. I hope we can all support her fight on this in our own way....

Dear ONE Member,

One line on a property deed can be the difference between poverty and hope for a woman and her family.

I know, because for years I have worked to help women in my country, Nigeria, build businesses so they can feed their children and give them the education they deserve. But there are many things standing in these women's way.

For example, in some places in the developing world, there is only one line for one name on property ownership forms. This one line may not seem like a big deal, but it works to systematically deny a woman property rights, blocks her from getting the credit she needs to build a business, and forces her to fight for her home if her husband dies—because that one line is for a man's name.

The solution is as simple as adding another line so that a husband and wife may both own their family's land.

Right now the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act (GROWTH Act) is moving through Congress. This crucial bill will change the way the United States gives aid to help draw that line and give women the resources they need to provide for their families.

Send your letter now and give women the power to lift their families up out of poverty permanently.

The story of the GROWTH Act is a story of the power of ONE. Earlier this year, the bill didn't have the congressional leadership that it needed to move forward. So ONE members started taking action.

In April, ONE members and partners teamed up to deliver hundreds of letters to Representative Ros-Lehtinen in Florida. Then in May, a Texas ONE member visiting Washington, D.C., delivered thousands of letters to Senator Hutchison. After ONE members voiced their support they both agreed to be lead sponsors of the bill.

I want to send my thanks to Senators Durbin and Hutchison and Representatives Lowey and Ros-Lehtinen for their strong support of millions of women like me in the developing world. We need champions like them, and like the members of the ONE Campaign.

Please help convince the rest of Congress to join these leaders by sending them a letter on just how important this bill is.

Sometimes even well-meaning programs do not reach women as they should because they do not take women's needs into account. The GROWTH Act is important because it listens to women, who are our best hope for ending world poverty. Please listen to our needs and take action today.

Thank you,

Shade Bembatoum-Young,
Member, Women's Edge Coalition
Executive Director of ASSEED
Lagos, Nigeria

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Shouldn't Forget My Blessings....

As I walked to church this afternoon, I passed by a little boy seated inside a small corner of a wooden cart like the picture above. He was waiting quietly as his parents probably went around looking for scraps they can sell. Recyclable items, metals and plastics collected from garbage surrounded him. He looked at me wide-eyed for a second as I passed him. He had this "alone" look but was trying to be brave knowing his parents are just nearby. It made me want to touch his little head as I smiled at him and moved on.

My pace didn't slow down as I walked closer to church but it flashed in my mind that I should give the little boy some money....I should have but didn't. I felt bad and guilty. Though I often avoided giving money when streetchildren come to me to ask money, this child didn't. He was just waiting for his parents who were trying to earn money from scrap materials. His parents didn't even let him move around to ask people for money like parents of other kids like him do. It's garbage day tomorrow. They'll probably be there again. I hope I can share a little this time.

Sometimes I'm just so busy about things going on in my own life that I forget I'm so much more fortunate and blessed than others.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

The FIFA-UNICEF Campaign...

This is wonderful news. At the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in September, UNICEF and partner FIFA will launch a campaign highlighting the key role that sport and child-friendly schools play in helping girls overcome social barriers and transform their lives.

The FIFA-UNICEF campaign in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup is just the first of a series of stories to help promote basic education, gender equality and girl's rights around the world.

Other initiatives have also been launched to help promote the same cause. The United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI) for instance, was launched by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000 to narrow the gender gap in primary and secondary education and to ensure that by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to all levels of education.

I have read stories about women and young girls being deprived of education because they were considered the weaker sex and less important in society. And even stories of women not being allowed to join religious rites because of their gender (I had a violent reaction to this news in an old blog entry). It's sad and disappointing that these exist in our scoiety. It will be a long process of change ....