Sunday, November 23, 2008

World Hunger Relief 2008...From Hunger to Hope...

My daughter and I ate at Pizza Hut tonight. We bought a bookmark and a wristband worth $1 as donation to the campaign against world hunger. Pizza Hut is one of the establishments promoting the fight against world hunger, poverty aids and malaria. Our donation will go to poor children in the conflict-ridden Mindanao area of the Philippines.

I'd like to share videos below from the World Hunger Relief 2008 website. Would be great if you can help get the word out. A $1 donation is equivalent to feeding 4 children.

So if you ever eat at KFC, Taco Bell, A&W, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's or Yum, donate $1. Not much to give away...because it can make a difference to those who need it most...

Get the Word Out

From Hunger to Hope's YouTube channel

From Hunger to Hope's Flickr Group

World Hunger Relief Cause on Facebook

From Hunger to Hope on MySpace

From Hunger to Hope on ThinkMTV

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bono at the California Women's Conference...

Sharing this Youtube video of Bono at the California Women's Conference speaking about the importance of development assistance, and Keep Our Commitments Campaign to hold both presidential candidates accountable in the fight to end extreme poverty.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Georgia Crisis Update...

A handful of disabled children, unaware of the danger that could have befallen them may have saved the Senaki Institution they live in.

During the recent war in South Ossetia, Georgia, an attack helicopter passed through the Senaki Institute, a residential school for 105 mentally and physically disabled children abandoned by their parents. The helicopter was poised to shoot its missiles. Some of the children, unaware of the danger – went to a window facing the helicopter, made eye contact with the pilot and began waving to him. A moment later, the helicopter pilot left, abandoning the apparent mission he was supposed to accomplish.

UNICEF and its German National Committee raised hundreds of thousands of euros to help restore and maintain the institute. The sports equipment and school supplies UNICEF delivered to the Senaki Institute also helped distract the children from the turmoil of the war surrounding them.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Funding appeals and humanitarian action updates...

Sharing this article from UNICEF...


Funding appeals and humanitarian action updates...

Over one million people are in risk of food insecurity and floods up until the next harvest in April 2008 and consequently women and children under five will become more exposed to malnutrition and infections as well as to abuse and exploitation. Underlying a situation of food shortage are two mutually reinforcing causes of insecurity, namely a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and chronic poverty, which need to be addressed in tandem with food aid.

Approximately 200,000 women and children under five will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2008. Recent weather forecasts by the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Global Forecasting Centre for Southern Africa all indicate an enhanced likelihood of flooding in Malawi up until March 2008. Floods have already displaced many in neighboring Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia and the main commercial corridor from central Mozambique to landlocked Malawi has been cut and is causing delays in the transportation of food and fuel destined to Malawi, resulting in shortage of petrol. Cholera remains a major threat in rural and peri-urban areas in Malawi with recurrent outbreaks during the rainy season from November to April and is particularly a major risk factor in flood situations because of the possible and immediate break down of water and sanitation facilities. UNICEF is requesting US$ 2,487,750 to respond to the needs of children and women.

The humanitarian crisis in Malawi has a particularly serious impact on children and women, who are most vulnerable to food insecurity. More than one million children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating women are in need of humanitarian assistance. In November 2005, the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) revised the initial number of people in need of food assistance until end of March 2006 to include some 4.9 million; an increase of some 700,000 people compared to the original estimates of 4.2 million in June 2005. The combination of HIV/AIDS, severe shortage of quality health staff and food insecurity has resulted in high mortality rates among children in Nutrition Rehabilitation Units.
UNICEF is requesting an additional US$ 4.5 million to respond to the urgent needs of children and women.

Maize prices are increasing beyond the reach of many. The high cost of fuel and dwindling Government stocks have accelerated the onset of the hungry season by up to three months. Admissions of severely malnourished children to Nutrition Rehabilitation Units (NRUs), already 30 percent higher than this time last year, are expected to triple the coming months. As the number of moderately malnourished children rises sharply, supplementary feeding programmes must be rapidly scaled up to prevent children becoming severely malnourished. Faced with this rapidly deteriorating situation, UNICEF requires US$ 13 million to support life saving interventions, in particular in the area of nutrition.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Many are probably unaware that there was even such an event in 2000 like the "MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS." Continuous efforts are being done to this day by countries and cause-oriented organizations to help achieve these goals.

As a backgrounder, in September of 2000, 189 world leaders from Member States of the United Nations gathered for the Millennium Summit at United Nations headquarters in New York.

Though the Goals are for all humankind, priorities were focused on children for the following *reasons (*source: UNICEF):

Because six of the eight goals relate directly to children. Meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives.

Because meeting the Goals is most critical for children. Children are most vulnerable when people lack essentials like food, water, sanitation and health care. They are the first to die when basic needs are not met.

Because children have rights. Each child is born with the right to survival, food and nutrition, health and shelter, an education, and to participation, equality and protection – rights agreed to, among others, in the 1989 international human rights treaty the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention has been ratified by 192 states, every country in the world except two. The Millennium Development Goals must be met for these basic human rights to be realized.

Because reducing poverty starts with children. Helping children reach their full potential is also investing in the very progress of humanity. For it is in the crucial first years that interventions make the biggest difference in a child’s physical, intellectual and emotional development. And investing in children means achieving development goals faster, as children constitute a large percentage of the world’s poor.

I have attached links to the 8 Millenium Development Goals that may be of interest to readers.

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Education for All...We Cannot Afford to Fail

“I didn’t know what else was in the world. I had never even seen paper until I was rescued four years ago, and it was then I first went to school. Now, I want to be able to read and write. I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

These were 11-year old, Devli Kumari's words when she spoke at the United Nation's event to launch the ‘Education for All’ campaign during the General Assembly session.

Devli spoke of her life and experience as a child laborer in India. The event was attended by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, pop stars Bono and Bob Geldof, and other dignitaries.

She is a step closer to realzing her dream to be a teacher. As she spoke, a group of government and private-sector partners were making a pledge of $4.5 billion to help educate some 15 million children worldwide over the next three years. The partners are participants in, ‘Education for All: Class of 2015’, the campaign launched during the event. The pledge came from corporations such as Intel, Microsoft and Cisco, civic and sports associations such as FIFA, charities, faith groups and the Governments of Australia, France, Norway, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

After the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, where world leaders pledged to ensure universal primary education by 2015, it still has not met its goal. UNICEF’s programmes focus on ensuring the right to quality education for all girls and boys, eliminating gender disparities in education, restoring learning in emergency situations and helping to rebuild education systems in post-crisis transition countries.

As Queen Rania of Jordan put it, “Schools don’t just build lives, they save lives. It is a test we cannot afford to fail.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just ONE Question...

The word "shocking" is very apt if one realizes that historically, since the Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign to this date, only two questions were ever raised on poverty during presidential debates. Josh Peck and Chris Scott of the ONE Campaign have sent out e-mails making everyone aware on this. ONE Campaign is encouraging its members and their friends to spread awareness on the magnitude of poverty, by launching the “Just ONE Question” campaign to get the fight against global poverty asked at the 2008 presidential debates

Thinking about it, there were poor nations that have in the past, tried to hide the real plight of their less fortunate countrymen. I can still recall that when international events took place here, two administrations had built high concrete walls on main thoroughfares that the foreign guests were expected to pass through to hide the sorry state of many poor people. True, the image of poor shanties was unsightly, but it also gave an impression that the government was trying to hide the true situation of the nation....many were impoverished and something had to be done about it.

I posted Josh Peck's e-mail below and the link to the petition at to Jim Lehrer asking him to include issues in the first presidential debate next Friday.


Dear ONE member,

Two. Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates, going back to Kennedy-Nixon in 1960. That’s less than 1% of all questions asked.

To change that shockingly low figure, ONE is launching a new campaign to get “Just ONE Question” about the fight against global poverty asked at the 2008 presidential debates.

The first debate at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi, will focus on foreign policy and is only 10 days away. Take action now by sending the message below to debate moderator Jim Lehrer. Click the link and we’ll send your message to Mr. Lehrer, urging him to ask Just ONE Question on the fight against global poverty.

At the presidential debate, please ask John McCain and Barack Obama just ONE question about their plans to fight global poverty.

This first debate will happen just one day after world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York for an emergency meeting on the Millennium Development Goals – the global pledge made in 2000 to halve extreme poverty and global disease by 2015.

Meeting those goals will require unprecedented U.S. leadership during the next eight years. For at least four of those years, John McCain or Barack Obama will be our president. It’s up to us to make sure that the issues being discussed at the United Nations in New York are also being raised with Senators Obama and McCain at the debate in Mississippi.

We can’t afford to have another presidential debate that ignores extreme poverty and global disease. Please ask Jim Lehrer for Just ONE Question on global poverty, and we’ll deliver your message to him next week, right when he’s sitting down to decide what he’ll ask the next President of the United States:

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The G8 has made several promises to help eliminate global hunger and poverty. The Data Report 2008 details the promises of the G8 focusing on the eight key promises made by the 8 super powers in the world.Below are excerpts of what the G8 has promised from the Data Report 2008. Visit the ONE Campaign website for details on the G8, their promises and what has been done so far.

Key Promises Download full report PDF (963kb)

Development Assistance
Underlying all of the ambitious sectoral commitments made in 2005 was the commitment to mobilise an additional $25 billion in development assistance for Africa by 2010 and to spend this money effectively.

The 2005 commitment on debt was to cancel 100% of the multilateral debts owed to the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank (ADB) by Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs). The effort, known as the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), was designed to deliver multilateral cancellation in a manner that would ensure that the institutions would not lose financing capacity as a result.

Development assistance can help bridge unmet financial needs as countries strive to meet the MDGs, including the goals set out in the Gleneagles Communiqué, but in the long run countries want and need improved trade opportunities to fuel development and growth.

The health commitments made by the G8 in 2005 were ambitious. The G8 committed to provide universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and care; to fully scale up efforts to fight TB; to reach 85% of those in need of malaria prevention and treatment; to fulfill the financing needs to eradicate polio; and to build health systems so as to fulfill basic child and maternal health access.

Education is another sector in which the G8 committed to work with African governments towards a lofty but achievable goal - to ensure that all children complete a full course of primary schooling.

Water and Sanitation
The commitments made to water and sanitation at the Gleneagles Summit were not as robust as commitments made to other sectors. In the Gleneagles Communiqué, the G8 committed to increasing aid to the sector and referenced a 2003 pledge to prioritise water and sanitation as part of their overall ODA allocation.

Governance and Security
Good governance and security are critical preconditions for achieving meaningful poverty reduction in Africa and must be front and centre in G8 and African efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Progress in Africa
In this year’s report, in addition to monitoring the governance and security commitments made by African governments, DATA has tried to present some of the key sectoral commitments made by African leaders on health, education, water and sanitation and trade.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peace One Day...

The number of artists advocating for a cause is increasing. That's indeed good to know.

In Kabul,, Afghanistan, British actor and Peace One Day envoy Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley, film director and founder of Peace One Day campaign, travelled to Afghanistan for a two-day mission. While there, they screened a new documentary, ‘The Day After Peace’, about the efforts of ordinary Afghans in support of peace.

Both asked all parties involved in the conflict to observe Peace Day again on September 21. The peace documentary focused on activities that took place throughout Afghanistan in September 2007. It also highlights support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization for the peaceful immunization of 1.4 million children against polio in insecure areas.

The Septemebr 21 Peace One Day will be celebrated with a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London featuring Annie Lennox and other well known musicians. The concert will feature videos and appearances by Mr. Law, UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador for Emergencies Martin Bell and other activists and celebrities.

For more details on the Peace One Day activities, visit the UNICEF site.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Somalia..."A Forgotten Crisis"

With so many crises going on around the world, many countries surrounded by so much violence and poverty are in dire need of attention and assistance. But because of the gravity of the situation and to safeguard the welfare of media people, there are no press coverages to show the real situation.
Somalia is one such forgotten nation. The UNICEF has exerted much effort to try and bring aid to people there. It's quite shocking to read that a report by the Food Security Analysis Unit of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization noted that over the next 12 months, 3.6 million people – one-half of the population – will be totally dependent on food aid and emergency assistance.

Feeding clinics have been established by UNICEF and its partners to assist severely malnourished children. Though it would be ideal for the adults to be taught self-sufficiency to be able to sustain and support themselves, the escalation of violence in certain parts of the region has added to the difficulty in giving aid to the already impoverished nation.
However, UNICEF Representative in Somalia Mr. Christian Balslev-Olesen said, there are no journalists reporting from Somalia for security reasons. So the outside world does not get to see the real situation. Somalia "is a forgotten crisis.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gates Foundation Promises $17.6-Million in Emergency Food Grants

I'd like to share this good news from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I first read this bit of news from the ONE Campaign Blog. It's a good feeling to know that there are people who can generously share their wealth to the less fortunate...

August 14, 2008

Gates Foundation Promises $17.6-Million in Emergency Food Grants

By Caroline Preston

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will donate $17.6-million to help people who have been affected by rising food prices worldwide.

An estimated 950 million people are at risk of hunger and malnutrition worldwide because of high food and fuel prices, according to the United Nations. Young children and women are suffering the most, while small farmers have been particularly hard hit by increases in fertilizer and transportation costs.

The largest grant, $10-million, will help the U.N. World Food Program feed young children and mothers in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso.

The additional money will be split among Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, and Oxfam America to provide food, jobs, and assistance to farmers in poor countries.

Short and Long Term

While the grants announced Thursday focus on immediate needs, the Seattle foundation is also supporting efforts to improve farm production.

“The current global food crisis requires immediate action to feed people most at risk,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s Global Development Program, in a statement.

“In the longer term,” she said, “since agriculture and the needs of small-scale farmers in the developing world have been increasingly neglected in recent decades, we need a significant reinvestment in agricultural development from donors and developing countries that focuses on helping small farmers boost their yields and increase their incomes.”

Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, in Boston, said the $2-million grant to his charity will expand its hunger-relief efforts in Ethiopia, where more than 225,000 people have been affected by drought. The grant will be used to provide food aid to children and help communities reduce their risk of future droughts, among other efforts.

“This funding comes at a critical time, when people worldwide are striving to save the lives, and the livelihoods, of millions who are suffering,” he said. “Malnutrition continues to grow as global food prices for rice, wheat, and corn have risen 83 percent worldwide over the past three years.”

The Georgia-Russia Conflict...

I have heard news of hostilities in and around Russia but the extent to which fighting between South Ossetia, Georgia and Russia has escalated, came as a total surprise to me.

The UNICEF has stepped in to provide assistance to women and children who were displaced from the ongoing hostilities. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 100,000 people, many of them children and women, have been displaced as a result of the fighting.

UNICEF and its partners have already rushed nutritional and hygiene supplies, and water purification tablets, to more than 4,000 people who have fled their homes in Georgia. The organization also plans to airlift School-in-a-Box and recreation kits, basic family kits, and water and sanitation materials for approximately 6,000 families in the coming days.

About 30,000 people were reported to have crossed to the Russian border, seeking refuge in the Russian Federation, 80 per cent of them women and children. In Georgia, those internally displaced were accommodated in 170 temporary facilities such as kindergartens, schools, and public and governmental buildings. However, many of the facilities lack basic facilities and services such as toilets, potable water and electricity.

UNICEF is working closely with UN agencies and has offered humanitarian assistance to the Governments of Georgia and the Russian Federation.

One cannot really assess the extent of emotional and psychological trauma experienced by people in such conflicts. The assistance of UNICEF can hopefully lessen the traumatic impact on these men, women and children, that the Ossetia-Russia conflict has brought on them.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


For those living in or know of anyone living in Denver Colorado or Minneapolis, Minnesotta, here's your chance to make a simple contribution for people suffering from poverty and AIDS.
Word Vision and the ONE Campaign will be holding separate campaigns to assemble 4,000 caregiver kits by people attending the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

As many as 800 volunteers from the ONE Campaign will assemble kits to distribute to caregivers who support people living with AIDS all over the world. In addition, ONE will be hosting panel discussions as each convention to engage and educate people on the issues of extreme poverty and global disease.

Below are some information from the World Vision and ONE Campaign announcement of the events.

The 4,000 caregiver kits will include basic supplies like washcloths, latex gloves, cotton balls, antibacterial soap, antifungal cream, petroleum jelly, antidiarrheal medicine and acetaminophen. Dedicated family caregivers and volunteers are making a world of difference for people living with AIDS in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But too often, poverty denies them access to the supplies they need to help prolong lives, comfort the sick, and protect themselves from infection.

Join World Vision and the ONE Campaign at either convention. This event is open to the public and the news media.
Also, a visual reminder of lives lost to the AIDS pandemic will be on display organized by Got Cents.

Tuesday, August 26
Democratic National Convention
Time: 2-5 pm
1700 E. 28th Avenue Denver, CO 80205

Tuesday, September 2
Republican National Convention
Time: 2-5 pm
Hall B 1301 Second Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55403

Kick-off begins at 2pm with special guests including:
  • Senator Tom Daschle, National Co-Chair ONE Vote '08
  • Senator Bill Frist, National Co-Chair ONE Vote '08
  • David Lane, ONE Campaign
  • Princess Zulu, World Vision
  • And other special guests

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A woman living with HIV works to prevent mother-to-child transmission in Bolivia

I've only just found the time from my busy schedule to write again about something I've always been concerned about. And the fact that my sister is in Bolivia now doing charity work made me really want to write about the UNICEF article I read on AIDS. A medical doctor friend of mine spoke about the discovery of a cure for Aids and I really hope this happens soon and can be administered to many AIDS patients to help save many lives.

In Bolivia, Maria Isabel, a 23-year old mother with AIDS, has been a volunteer of REDBOL (Red Nacional de Personas que viven con el VIH en Bolivia), a local foundation supported by UNICEF that helps people living with HIV through a series of support groups and other assistance.

For the last 2 years, Maria Isabel has been counselling pregnant women about the importance of taking the HIV test as part of the regular prenatal care package as well as trying to achieve equality for everyone living with HIV/AIDS, especially women and children.

With a son who is HIV-negative, Maria Isabel makes rounds at maternity wards of HIV-positive mothers to emphasize that early treatment within the first few months of a baby's life can dramatically improve the survival rates of children. The majority of the children living with HIV can be saved by timely administration of paediatric anti-retroviral treatment and cotrimoxazole, a low-cost antibiotic that has been shown to have a positive impact on HIV-positive children’s survival.

From Maria Isabel's words to HIV-positive mothers: “You must go on because there is no turning back. One has to learn to accept it and live with HIV/AIDS. It’s not easy, but it can be done –and it must be done for our children.”

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Help Save Lives...

I've been concentrated on myself lately that I forgot there were really other things more important and people who needed more help and understanding than I did.

I received an e-mail from the ONE Campaign today asking help to let the G8 members know how important and very much needed their aid is to improve and save the lives of thousands of people in Africa.

A friend sent a similar request from another organization advocating for the same cause. I'm posting the e-mail from Roxane Philson of Please click on the link and do your share to help save lives.


Dear Marilyn,

Yesterday, the Financial Times declared: “G8 leaders ready to backtrack on Africa aid.”

It is inconceivable that the G8 could consider such a reversal, especially in a time when increasing food prices are making it ever more difficult for families to make ends meet. But the final decision hasn’t been made yet, and we have a critical opportunity to influence the outcome.

You—and nearly 40,000 other ONE members—have signed our petition to the G8 calling on them to deliver on their commitments to the world’s poorest people, but in light of this news, we need to redouble our efforts.

Please take urgent action by passing this email along to your friends and encouraging them to sign our petition to the G8:

This potential reversal comes at a time when we are seeing results from investments in development. For example, thanks to distribution of bed nets and increased access to antimalarial drugs, in Rwanda both deaths and cases of malaria have dropped by two-thirds since mid-2006.

As malaria still kills around one million people a year, it’s clear that we must replicate success stories like this. But it won’t happen if the G8 backtrack on their commitments.

Please tell the G8 leaders not to backtrack on aid:

Thank you for taking part,

Roxane Philson,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Learning Self-Sufficiency and Fighting Poverty....

After years of living in famine, and hardly able to feed her family at all, Sonnie Georgette can now sufficiently feed them. She is one of the beneficiaries of World Vision’s agricultural assistance program.

I have always believed that teaching people like Sonnie to sustain themselves by learning to be independent and self-sufficient instead of relying on donations of food to feed her family was always a better and more efficient approach. Sonnie's story is a perfect example of a success story of self-sufficiency.

World Vision's agricultural assistance and training program includes providing assistance to the people for seeds and tools to assist farmers to raise crops and livestock; and, training in agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, drip irrigation, and the planting of trees to enrich overworked soil.

World Vision has moved Sonnie's town of Lumata in the Democratic Republic of Congo from one plagued with famine to one with people who are self-sufficient through its farming and agriculture program and health care-initiatives.

It would be good to hear more of such initiatives from other cause-oriented groups...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Damienne’s story: Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention through open dialogue

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Togolese Government and UNAIDS, recently supported a national youth campaign against HIV/AIDS in Togo. The main objective of which is to promote HIV prevention among the youth by organizing discussion forums, awareness-raising events and concerts.

Damienne is a 17-year-old high school student who has been a peer educator for five years, teaching her classmates about HIV prevention. She met with schoolmates and engaged them in a debate regarding the three recommended means of HIV prevention: abstinence, fidelity and the use of condoms.

She discussed with them myths about aids and clarified that taking an aids test will not infect them with it but rather, protecting oneself is a means of preventing AIDS infection.

A video on the Myths on AIDS is posted for viewing and I hope it helps others widen their knowledge and understanding of it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The 7.9 magnitude quake in China brought back memories almost 18 years ago when a quake of almost similar magnitude hit my parents' place and caused the collapse of hotels and school buildings trapping children and adults alike.

From the last news, more than 19,000 have perished in the China quake and over 100,000 were injured. There is also a strong fear that the damns in the quake-affected areas might be in danger of bursting and cause further devastation. I'm sure that people in China directly affected by the quake are going through a traumatic experience that may take years to recover from emotionally and physically. At times like this, it is comforting to know that there are people readily willing to extend a helping hand to the victims in whatever way.

Other nations have in the last few days, also suffered from one devastation or another. Indonesia was hit by an earthquake just days before China. Missouri and Myanmar have just been ravaged by very strong storms causing heavy floods and displacing thousands of families.

Early Wednesday morning, 2 areas in the northern part here in the Philippines were also rocked by intensity 4 and intensity 2 quakes. Fortunately, there were no damages. I suppose the quakes were something many were not surprised about since China and Indonesia are neighbor countries. The fault lines extend to the Philippines as well.

One can never really be fully prepared for such wraths of nature....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Breadwinner at 15....

Tiyamike's picture doesn't look like that of a 15-year old teenager. He looks much older and mature. At such a young age of 13, he and his siblings were orphaned by a father who died of AIDS and later their mother who was infected with the HIV virus.

Tiyamike had to stop school and grow up fast to be breadwinner and support his four siblings. It's still quite shocking to realize that a family of 5 has to live on $5 a month while working 9 hours a day.

When I read that UNICEF has reached these children from Malawi, I honestly wondered where that place was and thought it must be far away. I never heard of it and had to google its location. It's in Africa and the country has 1 million orphans, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

Helping 1 million orphans is a big task. Tiyamike and his siblings are among the fortunate ones reached by UNICEF. A year and a half ago, the Tiwasamale Community-Based Child Care Centre identified Tiyamike’s family as a child-headed household in need of urgent assistance. I'm sure there are many more like them who need help, especially the innocent ones who have no one in the family like Tiyamike who can help support or take care of them.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Making A Difference...

Despite efforts from many cause-oriented groups, the hunger problem seems unending. This may have even worsened in some countries that are now plagued by war and rebellion. Little though it may seem, we still can make a difference by making our voices heard and making an appeal to help alleviate the hunger crisis.

David Lane of the ONE Campaign wrote an e-mail that called for President Bush and the G8 member countries to act on the following:

1) Prioritize issues of global poverty, including the world hunger crisis on the agenda of the G8 Summit this July in Japan.

2) At the G8 summit, secure commitments for additional resources for all types of food assistance and increased agricultural productivity in developing countries.

This summer, the leaders of the eight wealthiest nations (known as the Group of Eight or G8) will gather in Japan to set a global policy agenda.

By clicking the link below, we can make a difference by sending a petition to President Bush asking him to rally the G8 to end the hunger crisis as part of an aggressive anti-poverty agenda and adding your name to the list of supporters for the anti-poverty canmpaign.

The nations of the G8 need to keep their promise to increase development assistance to poor countries and double aid to Africa.

Last month, the World Food Program issued an "extraordinary emergency appeal" to donor countries and President Bush pledged $200 million on behalf of the United States. But as Lane said, "this is a step in the right direction, but will not end the crisis. Food assistance needs to be matched with investment in agricultural development to break the cycle of hunger. A comprehensive approach is needed to increase agricultural productivity in poor countries including infrastructure investment, improved technology, and better access to water, seeds, tools and fertilizer. "

Make a on the link below and make your voice heard.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

May 10th - Stamp Out Hunger Drive

I received an e-mail a few days ago from someone involved with the Stamp Out Hunger Drive in the US. After going through the website and related sites, I decided to post this entry to support their drive. I am unfortunately not from the US, but I hope this can somehow help spread the word around. The US, though a developed and first-world country, also suffers from poverty in many areas where there are marginalized populations.

On Saturday, May 10, Campbell Soup Company will join forces with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) to Stamp Out Hunger across America . The Event was created by the National Association of Letter Carriers in conjunction with America's Second Harvest. Now in its 16th year, the Stamp Out Hunger! effort is the nation's largest single-day food drive, having collected more than 836 million pounds of food since its inception in 1993.

To help Stamp Out Hunger! this year, residents simply ahve to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to your mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on May 10. Food items should be in non-breakable containers, such as boxes and cans. The nation's 230,000 letter carriers will then collect donations from homes across the country and deliver them to food bank members of America 's Second Harvest – The Nation's Food Bank Network and other hunger relief organizations in more than 10,000 local communities.

To find out more about the annual Stamp Out Hunger efforts being done in your community, ask your letter carrier, contact your local post office or visit They have also posted a site on the declaration of their assets at the URL below. Please check it out too and decide on how you want to help in the drive.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Criminal investigation ordered in the Anil Ambani case ...

In a talk I had with my friend from India today, he mentioned about the case he filed last Novemebr 2007 against one of the biggest and most influential people in his country. Coming from an Asian country like him and knowing how money and power can often influence the outcome of investigations, I can only wish him luck in his efforts and hope that many benefit in the end. I am sure justice will find its way where it is due....

Below is the press release on the case. I am posting this in support of his advocacy for truth and efforts against graft and corruption.


On 29th November 2007, Honorable Justice Smt. K. K. Patil of JFMC (Anti-Corruption) Pune, ordered investigation of offences, of criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy to strip, the 13 lakh shareholders of Reliance Capital Ltd, off a valuable property. Besides Mr. Anil Ambani, the other accused are Mr. Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Mr. Rajendra P. Chitale and Mr. C. P. Jain ( the other Directors of RCL ). Criminal complaint 4134 / 2007, has been filed by a RCL shareholder Mr. V. M. Raste. He is also the convener of Corporate Watch, a not for profit organisation. Advocate Mr. Rohan V. Nahar appeared on behalf of Mr. Raste.

Mr. Anil Ambani is the chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group ( ADAG ), besides being the Chairman of Reliance Capital Ltd ( RCL ) and Reliance Energy Ltd ( REL ). RCL was holding over 1.32 crore shares of REL till 21st May 2007.

On this day RCL sold these shares to a company owned by Mr. Anil Ambani at mere Rs.512.30 per share, even though the directors knew the true value.

Companies run share buy-back schemes, when they think their shares are substantially underpriced in the markets. REL had a buy-back scheme up to a price of Rs.525 per share, during the year 2004-2005. Since then, the profit per share has gone up from Rs.26 per share to Rs.37 per share. Similarly, the book value has gone up from Rs.292per share to Rs.410 per share. These are the two important parameters, which determine the share value/price.

As per the REL price, Rs. 1662.50 on 29th November 07, the shareholders of RCL lost Rs.1,500 crores and Mr. Anil Ambani ( including his family ) gained by the same amount.

This is a very clear case of abuse of shareholder trust by the company chairman and the members of the board of directors. This is also a criminal conspiracy to strip the shareholders off their valuable property. In the days, when the corporates are playing an increasingly important role in our society, it is important that such cases are swiftly and firmly dealt with, to avoid recurrance.

More so, because RCL deals with investor money through Reliance Mutual Fund and Reliance Insurance.

Mr V M Raste
Dated the 30th November, 2007.
12 Maithilee, 34/5 Erandwana, Pune 411004. Phone + 91 20 2543 6648.
email :

related entries: Samvedana Anashan ends, The Fasting Starts, Press release: Samvedana Anashan, Samvedana Anashan: Fasting for Good Governance to fight hunger, etc.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learning to be Responsible...

My daughter asked her father yesterday what he would do if she lost the money to pay for her tuition fee. Her question did make me think of what my reaction would be. Angry maybe. And also disappointed that she still cannot be responsible enough to handle a big amount of money at her age. I didn't dwell much on it though since the possibility that she would lose such an amount is low. We almost always issue a check to pay for their tuition and their father goes to school to pay for it.

It was a hypothetical question she raised because her classmate lost the tuition money her parents gave her. Her classmate and other friends apparently hanged out at the house of another classmate and lost the money there.Though her classmate was allowed to take her final exams, she has been trying to sell personal things to raise the amount she lost so she won't have to tell her parents. Php8,000 isn't a small amount here. For some, that could already be a month's pay. And for parents who work hard to get their children through school, that could very well make tempers rise and parents cry.

The classroom Adviser spoke to the classmates who were in the house when the money was one admitted getting the money. It's sad when friendships turn sour and one's honesty is questioned because of money, especially if the suspected one is your own best friend.

My daughter can be skeptical like me though, she said losing the money was her classmate's version. And she did agree that her classmate was wrong in going out with friends when she should have been in school paying her tuition fee first. I hope she learned from her classmate's mistake...

Saturday, March 08, 2008


For those still unaware of it, there's an International Women's Day (IWD) website. Please visit it for updates on women's equal rights, events and matters concerning women.

Women's groups have been using the logos below to symbolize what they stand for and emphasize their advocacies. HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY!

IWD global


Purple, green and white are the official international women's colours.

The colours originated from the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), in the UK in 1908. The colours were said to represent:

  • white for purity in public as well as private life
  • purple for justice, dignity, self-reverence and self-respect (and representing the women's vote)
  • green for hope and new life.

The colours unified the women's movement and emphasised the femininity of the suffragettes. The tricolour of the WSPU soon became a visual cue for the women's movement in other countries. Purple, green and white were worn on International Women's Day and were used for other women's movement banners and posters.

More recently, two changes have occured:

  • the use of the colour white has more recently been rejected as 'purity' is a controversial issue and attitudes towards the role of 'purity' from women differ greatly
  • the introduction of the colour gold representing 'a new dawn' has been commonly used to represent the second wave of feminism.

IWD global


Many women's groups around the world who understand, respect and chose to honour the history and progress made by the suffragettes use purple as their predominant representative colour.

These websites of women's groups use the representative purple:

IWD global

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The New Yorkers Home for aWedding...

My kids' paternal second cousins from New York came home 2 weeks ago for a wedding. Both bride and groom are based in New York. But like most Filipino families living overseas, their heritage remains deeply rooted in their veins. Though the groom was born and bred in New York, he wanted their wedding held at their neighborhood church which I heard his father helped build. When asked by the priest why he wanted to get married in Manila, he said that whenever he was here for vacation, he felt he was always coming home.

Ex-President Cory Aquino who lives in the same neighborhood here as the groom's family, attended the wedding. I saw her laughing and amused when during the offering ceremony, the bride's New York-born and bred male cousin marched towards the altar with his 5'8" statuesque model-like sister (what a real beauty!). He sported a thick, waist-length curly hair and a beard longer than Bin Laden's (his uncle jokingly introduced him to us as Bin Laden's relative ). The ex-President interrupted the picture-taking at the altar after the wedding to greet the new bride and groom and to have a picture with them taken before she left.

All 3 families from the bride's side came home for the wedding. A cousin who was last here in 1975 requested that we attend the wedding because she wanted to meet me (and I thought, ohhh ok...) The wedding somehow softened the bride's family's mourning for the 5 relatives who perished in a New York fire last December. The lone surviver from the fire also had his 22nd birthday yesterday. He seemed to enjoy himself as he and his cousins tried to outdo each other on the dance floor doing the typical New York streetdances. Maybe it was just as well that my kids hadn't been there. My daughter looking so much like his late 11-year old sister could have affected him last night. Too bad though that they weren't able to enjoy the night with their second cousins.

The flower girl at my wedding is now 22 and such a tomboy with very short boyish haircut. She even wore a man's Barong instead of a dress. I didn't recognize her when I saw her for the first time after more than 15 years. She didn't look female, lol.

Somehow I enjoyed the celebration, too. The food was really good ( but I couldn't jump in and swim on the chocolate fountain like someone suggested since it was just a fondue ) .The relatives were nice to me. But since I have future plans, I couldn't help keeping my distance....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Men, Women and Children Who Suffer...

As militia attacks continue to happen in villages in Sudan’s West Darfur region, dozens of children 12 to 18 are reported missing, especially boys.

UNICEF and its UN partners sent an assessment mission to the towns of Sirba and Abu Surouj following government-backed militia attacks in West Darfur’s northern corridor earlier this month. The team found that thousands of residents had fled their homes in the towns after multiple buildings were burned in the attacks.

The UN has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and warned that the region needs many more peacekeepers as the security situation in the region deteriorated sharply in the past two months.

As the violence continues and remains unabated, people's, women and innocent children's lives are even more at risk. In these situations, the innnocent children so unfortunately become part of the many lost and unaccounted victims of war.

In Congo, the World Vision reported that men, women, and children continue to lose their lives from rebel attacks. There is, however, a glimmer of hope for this nation with the news that a peace agreement was forged between the government and several rebel groups.

This is indeed welcome news for a country besieged for the past 15 months, with armed conflict that resulted in the massive displacement of people — more than 400,000 in North Kivu province, increased gender-based violence, malnutrition among children, school dropout rates, and rising numbers of wounded civilians.

I once posed the question "When will this ever end?" when I posted an entry on Darfur several months ago. I don't think it will...not for as long as there are people who are selfish and greedy for power. All peace-loving people can do is to try and aid the victims the best way they can and this can only go far with powerful organizations and nations taking action and putting pressure on the warring groups and nations to achieve some peace.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Flooding in Bolivia...

I just read that there was heavy flooding in Bolivia recently and about 57,000 families were affected. Meteorologists blame the La Niña phenomenon for fueling torrential rains and massive flooding across Bolivia's Amazon region during recent weeks. Last year, a similar flooding also happened that displaced thousands of families from their homes. Prior to that, there was also political upheaval that took place causing some establishments to temporarily close down and people to stay home for days for safety reasons.

The World Vision there is now working with the World Food Program to distribute 5,000tons of food aid to feed 27,000 flood-devastated families during the next three months. Most of the families hit hardest there are among the poorest of the poor in South America's most destitute nation. Some 10,600 families also have lost their crops — their main source of livelihood. Because of damaged roads, delivering aid to survivors is fraught with challenges. Meanwhile, concerns are building about disease outbreaks caused by standing water.

News like these always worry me a bit. My sister has been residing there for over 10 years doing her missionary work. I still have to hear news from her. I hope she's doing well....

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I read this very touching story of Rhett, a baby with down syndrome, from Matt's blog who also read about it from another friend's. I'd like to share Rhett's Journey too, and I hope it touches your hearts as it has mine. Rhett's father can't work because he has a back problem and needed surgery. And his mom can't work because she needs to take care of Rhett full-time, his eldest brother who has aspergers syndrome and two other siblings.

I admire parents like Pam who have so much strength and courage in going through all these trials, and have a very positive attitude.

Maybe it's the fact that my eldest son with learning difficulty had to go through a special school and I found myself exposed to special children with autism, down syndrome or other kind of disability, that I have such a soft spot for these children. It opened my eyes at how special these children really are and that despite their disabilities, many have such amazing talents. We only need to understand them and how they express themselves.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"My Neighbors and Me" - An Update

After brothers Herbert and Ashman Wiltshire – then ages 18 and 13 started 'My Neighbours and Me’ in their neighborhood in Belize, the group has since then provided kids in their neighborhood, an alternative to drugs and crime.

Andrea Diaz, an ll-year old, is one who has benefitted a lot from this movement. She said there was really nothing to do after school and ‘My Neighbours and Me’ has given her the opportunity to make use of her time wisely by joining activities there like dancing or taking care of the smaller children.

The group also offers art and theatre, and children are taught practical skills such as how to use a computer, how to combat sexual violence and how to avoid HIV/AIDS. Educational outings give them a chance to explore Belize’s rich natural and political history.

Andrea's principal, Ms. Pollard, has seen a marked improvement in the kids who joined ‘My Neighbours and Me.’ They have taken on responsibility and have learned to develop their self-control and self-discipline. She said, “They are able to work with their assignments, whether they do them correctly or incorrectly, so they know they have a responsibility – that’s the bottom line.”

Herbert and Ashman Wiltshire's parents must be so proud at what their young kids had accomplished at so short a time and such young ages....I know I would be, I am, even if they aren't my kids. :)

Saturday, February 02, 2008


While reading the World Vision website, I came across the Charity Navigator link and decided to know more about how charities are evaluated and rated. I took note of those I found most interesting and posted them here with links. There are of course many other charity evaluators, and as much as we should be careful about what charities to donate to and support, we should also be able to determine how much we can rely on the charity evaluator's information.

The Charity Navigator is an independent charity evaluator that aims to "advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,300 of America's largest charities." Estbalished in 2001, it has come up with tips and guidelines on how one can determine reliable charities.

How to choose a reliable Charity:

When choosing the charities to donate to, one should consider several factors. Ask yourself these questions before donating:

1. Can your charity clearly communicate who they are and what they do?
If a charity struggles in articulating its mission and its programs, it will probably struggle in delivering those programs. If a charity can't explain who it is and what it does, and why it is needed, find one that can. Many good organizations exist who know exactly who they are, what they do, and why they are needed.

2. Can your charity define their short-term and long-term goals?
Organizations without quantifiable goals have no way to measure success. Be sure your charity can tell you what it is trying to do.
Can your charity tell you the progress it has made (or is making) toward its goal?
Ask your organization what it has done to make the issue it confronts better. What are its results? Find out.

3. Do your charity's programs make sense to you?
If you support the mission of an organization, ask yourself if its programs also make sense. If you know you want to support the outcome the charity aims to deliver, ask yourself if its method of arriving at that outcome makes sense to you.

4. Can you trust your charity?
Don't support a charity until you feel comfortable with it. Ask the questions you need answered from the organizers before you can be assured this is a good use of your money. Do whatever it takes to put your mind at ease.

5. Are you willing to make a long-term commitment to your organization?
Ask yourself if your charity is the type of organization to which you're willing to make a long-term commitment.

The Charity Navigator has also come up with the top 10 charities based on set criteria and methodology. In rating these charities, they evaluated the organization's financial health, their organizational efficiency and their organizational capacity. Based on financial ratios or performance categories to rate each of these two areas, the Navigator issues an overall rating that combines the charity's performance in both areas. It guides donors on how efficiently a charity will use their support today, and to what extent the charities are growing their programs and services over time .

The TOP 10 CHARITIES (source: Charity Navigator)

10 Super-Sized Charities

10 Slam-Dunk Charities

10 Celebrity-Related Charities

10 Charities Drowning in Administrative Costs

10 Charities Worth Watching

10 Inefficient Fundraisers

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Samvedana Anashan ends, but the campaign continues...

On the night of January 25, Shekhar ended Samvedana Anashan, his way of campaigning against hunger, corruption, and disease...

I personally felt that this was going to be a long campaign for him and his colleagues, just as his anti-tobacco and alcohol campaigns took years before it finally bore fruit and regulators saw the need to have rules implemented. This is no different in other countries. What matters most is that there are people who recognize the need to bring their advocacies to the people and call for awareness and support.

I have seen such successes in the ONE Campaign, World Vision, United Nations and other cause-oriented organizations where joint efforts have given a voice to their advocacies on aids, poverty, and violence.

In unity, goals are achieved faster but it's never always an easy road towards achieving them. Together, the rich and powerful...the world, will eventually recognize the need to address issues and do something about them. It may never be a hundred percent successful or fullproof. What's important is the desire to change things for the better and doing something about it.

With Shekhar's permission, I posted his e-mail announcing the end of his Samvedana Anashan. The campaign continues...but it's also time for him to rest and regain his strength after 11 days of fasting.

I know some have followed this subject matter and even put links in their blogs or mentioned the Samvedana Anashan campaign in their articles. I hope they continue to have interest and support this campaign.


Yesterday Samvedana Anashan concluded.‏

On the 11th day of the fast, yesterday evening, there was a meeting presided over by the retired Justice of the Bombay high court Mr. Kolte-Patil. The fast was broken by taking sweet lime juice, at the hands of Smt, Anusuya Mandavkar an old manual worker lady.

Samvedana Campaign to promote Integrity and Caring-Sharing, will continue.

These universal values are sure to drastically reduce sufferings in the world. Sufferrings of the rich, poor and the people between. Actually, it is the enlightened selfishness to follow these values.

Thanks for your support.

The fast was never meant to be ' Till Death '. We also never thought of hospitalization or putting me on saline.

In a way, it was a test for our endurance. AND the endurance of the PMO of the sensitive PM of India, not to take cognizance of the Samvedana Anashan.


V M Raste

Saturday, January 26, 2008

We can’t turn a blind eye...

I've read the name David Beckham several times in the news but I never really went further than read the news title so I never knew who he was and why his name was often mentioned. Well, that's because I never watch football.

When I went through the UNICEF website which I often visit, I saw his name again. Curious, I went through the article. David Beckham is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was featured in his travel with UNICEF representatives to focus attention on the issue of child survival.

I can understand why such famous people are tapped by the UN for worthy causes like child survival, health, and other humanitarian projects. As Mr. Cappelaere, a UN representative put it, "David Beckham's visit is important for UNICEF's global health agenda. Child survival is one of the top priorities of UNICEF. His visit will help support our global drive to improve the health of children and women."

One of the more dramatic stops on Beckham's tour was at a UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding centre. He met with Foday, a five-year-old boy who had swallowed a chemical that scarred his throat so severely that he was prevented from eating solid food for months. Foday held Beckham's hand and joined him on a walk through the facility.

"We can’t turn a blind eye to the tens of thousands of young children who die every day in the developing world, mostly from causes that are preventable,” said Beckham.

Beckham is just one of the many famous artists working with UNICEF to promote health, child survival and many other projects of the UN. Artists supporting UN projects go way back to the days of the late actress Audrey Hepburn who was herself an Ambassador of Goodwill.

It's good to know many of them are so magnanimous as to offer a part of their time and even their own money to help provide the much needed support for the helpless and the needy...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

UNICEF and youth: Working together for 'A World Fit for Children'

The UNICEF has launched several projects that involved the youth to help promote and protect child rights and empower them to let their voices be heard.

The year 2007 marked the five-year anniversary celebration of the UN plan of action, ‘A World Fit For Children’ – a commitment by world leaders to protect and promote child rights.

In December 2007, ‘A World Fit For Children Plus 5’ a follow-up meeting to the 2002 UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. More than 90 youth participants from over 50 countries represented their respective governments and non-governmental organizations. The child delegates from many countries got the chance to speak at United Nations headquarters in New York City and attend roundtable events.

'Our Stories', a newly launched online archive, documented the thoughts and opinions of dozens of these youth delegates. The project, which is supported by UNICEF in partnership with Google and One Laptop Per Child, chronicled the youths’ impressions of New York, songs they composed, stories of home and messages to world leaders. Many children recorded stories in their native languages for audiences at home, while others interviewed fellow delegates from other nations.

UNICEF’s Voices of Youth programme, also offers the youth with the opportunity to take part in sharing ideas with their peers from many different countries. They are able to explore issues important to them, and discuss and take action on human rights and social change.

In a related initiative, the Voices of Youth Digital Diaries provide first-person accounts of the lives of young people around the world. And the UNICEF-supported International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) partners young people with broadcasters, while the yearly ICDB Awards recognize broadcasters for their dedication to youth participation in media.

The UNICEF's laudable efforts, through its many youth-oriented projects like "Our Stories," "A World Fit For Children Plus 5," Voices of Youth," among others, have finally given the youth the opportunity to have a voice to express themselves in matters they find relevant.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Fasting Starts...

Today Shekhar starts his "Samvedana Anashan" - indefinite fasting. This is his third. Curious, I asked what he would be doing during his fast. I've always pictured someone fasting to be sitting in a meditative position all day...I was wrong. He said he'd still have a normal life, and meditation, which has always been part of his daily routine. As moving around too much will drain his energy faster, he will try to avoid such activities. When I asked if he can still drink water, he laughed and said he can drink all the water he wants.

I took special notice to a line in the "Society Without State" article as they initiated drumming up support for Shekhar's advocacy: "The sorting of goats from sheep was apparent, as some of those who had been vocal supporters during the talking stage were now nowhere to be seen when the action began." How sad, but true.

I hope his fasting turns out into something really positive his countrymen will benefit from. He seemed very positive that it will. I can only wish him all the best in his efforts.

Everything has a beginning and an end...and this one I hope to be a very good one and soon...

Other links on the Samvedana Anashan announcement:
Society Without State

Sunday, January 13, 2008


An estimated 250,000 people have fled their homes and are in need of food, shelter and essential medicines. The UNICEF and World Vision are aiding displaced people from the violence that erupted across Kenya following the announcement of disputed election results on Dec. 30. Violent demonstrations since then have led to an estimated 500 deaths, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property in many locations across the East African country.

World Vision's Kenya office has temporarily closed because of the crisis but their emergency staff team is partnering with the Kenya Red Cross Society to provide relief supplies and meet the immediate needs of affected people in Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Mombasa, and Kisumu townships.

UNICEF Kenya Nutrition Specialist Linda Beyer estimated that 40 per cent to 60 per cent of the displaced people in camps there are children. She is concerned that the displacement could have long-term consequences for the well-being of families who rely on farming to survive.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Press Release on Samvedana Anashan - Indefinite Fasting...

Below is the press release on the Samvedana Anashan - Indefinite Fasting which will start on January 15. The first press conference was held in Pune last Tuesday, January 8.

This is the third campaign through fasting and hopefully, the same positive results are achieved.

Samvedana Anashan - An Indefinite Fast from 15th Jan.2008.

There has been a discussion and actions taken against criminalisation of politics by the judiciary and the election commission. But the criminalisation of business and glorification of such business leaders is a completely ignored subject. We started the process by filing a criminal case against Mr. Anil Ambani. The aim of this fast is to create awareness about criminalisation of business in India. There is a great need to prosecute such persons. We also need to take effective steps to avoid recurrence of such cases.

This is our third fast campaign. A seven day fast was observed in Chennai, in 1998 to protest against the sports sponsorships by tobacco and alcohol companies, targeting our teenagers. In 2001, ITC withdrew all the sports sponsorships, including Wills Cricket Cup. A five-day 'calling attention' fast was observed in Pune, in 2001, for Safe Smooth and Environmentally Friendly Transportation Systems in our cities. The process for fundamentally changing urban mobility is under way now, giving priority to the pedestrians, cyclists and users of the public transport.

During the last 3-4 years, Indian stock markets have been growing into highly stretched valuations. At the same time there is a neglect of the public sector. It has resulted into idle funds of Rs 2,39,000 crores. Government, instead of using these funds for social investments, plans to put these funds into stock markets. Similarly the pension funds, provident funds are also being put into the stock markets, besides the ULIP insurance funds. Another proposal under the active consideration of SEBI, is to allow real estate investments by common people through units. We shall realise the real estate prices are highly inflated (confirmed even by the Reserve Bank of India ). The great plan seems to be to palm off the highly inflated assets to the naive entities. This is going to expose our long term savings to a great danger.

In 2001, Unit Trust of India got into a big trouble and government was required to support UTI through the budget. Our study shows that this time around the problem will be 15 to 20 times bigger.

Shekhar ( V M ) Raste
Center For Holistic Human Development and

Saturday, January 05, 2008

"Samvedana Anashan " - Fasting for good governance to fight hunger, disease, poverty...

A friend of mine from India will start his indefinite fasting, "Samvedana Anashan " from 15th January, 2008. I admire his advocacy on good governance to fight hunger, disease and ignorance which to him are rooted on lack of sufficient integrity, creativity and competence, caring and sharing.

I'm posting his letter to the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singhji as a sign of support for his advocacy. Press conferences will be held starting on Tuesday, 08 January 2008 in Pune, and another in New Delhi on 10 January 2008. I hope he and his colleagues achieve what they are fighting for. As he said, even if they fail doesn't matter, because they have put 110% of their effort into it.

Center for Holistic Human Development and Research
12 Maithilee, 34 /5 Erandwana, Pune 411004 - India.
Ph : + 91 20 2543 6648.
Sky is not the limit !

Dear and Respected Dr. Manmohan Singhji,

Sub : " Samvedana Anashan " - An indefinite fast from 15th January 2008.

A day has come in my life, to express our solidarity with the avoidable widespread sufferings of kids - out of schools, sick - not getting proper health care, the hungry and the malnourished. It is our considered opinion that hunger, disease and ignorance are only the symptoms and the real problem is, lack of sufficient integrity, creativity and competence, caring and sharing. I have decided to go on an indefinite fast " Samvedana Anashan " from 15th January, 2008. You are the sensitive leader, with highest integrity and competence. We are sure, you will appreciate our small offering to promote integrity.

The government under your able leadership and that of Soniaji, has done a lot to reduce sufferings, but one vital aspect is not yet on the agenda of the top leadership or society. We have been working on the issues of governance, more specifically the corporate governance. What we find today is very disturbing. As you rightly pointed out recently, the crony capitalism is widespread. The most disturbing aspect is, the people who constantly show their lack of integrity, are being promoted as role models in the society. They do not even hesitate to commit crimes - criminalization of business. We consider these behaviors as serious attacks on the very system of market economy, the very system of Joint Stock companies. Our society needs plenty of risk capital. And we need to promote integrity of markets, integrity of market participants, to attract the risk capital. We need to swiftly and sternly deal with any threat to integrity.

I would like to quote Mr. Alan Greenspan : " An area in which more than less government involvement is needed, in my judgment, is the rooting out of fraud. It is the bane of any market system. Fraud is a destroyer of the market process itself because market participants need to rely on the veracity of other market participants ".

The corporates are playing an increasingly important role in our society. One can imagine, in the coming years Railways, Posts, LIC etc. getting corporatized and listed on the stock exchanges. This can make them accountable to the millions of citizen stakeholders. But in the short term, as the greed gets the better of us, we have a strong feeling, of another scam being just around the corner. The grand plan seems to be, to palm off highly inflated assets to the naive entities. We are concerned with the crowding out of PSUs, as indicated by their enormous cash piles and more so, if this cash is invested in the markets. In these days of Ponzi Capitalism, with the current working of regulations/regulators and the judiciary, allowing/encouraging PSU cash piles/provident funds/pension funds, to invest in the financial markets is fraught with grave dangers.

We would like to bring to your kind notice, some of the shocking cases of corporates, we discovered during the last 4 years. Very clearly, each case is a criminal conspiracy to strip the shareholders off their valuable properties, criminal breach of trust, insider trading and so on. Most of the publicly claimed wealth they have, does not belong to these persons.

1. Larsen & Toubro Ltd. case.
2. Mr. Kumar M Birla case.
3. Mr. Anil Ambani case.

We did approach the media. We did approach the elected representatives. We did approach the government authorities. We did approach the Judiciary and now finally, we are approaching you. We sincerely feel these cases deserve immediate attention of the top leadership, for the sake of truth and justice and to stop their recurrence.

We are also sending a note as to why we consider the markets, as if running on "Ram Bharose," and our humble submission to improve the situation. These cases, besides being taken up as a precedent to be followed by all others have also resulted into loss of revenue in taxes and other government dues.

We thank you.

With respectful love.


Mr V M Raste
Convener, CHHDR.
Dated the 15th December, 2007.

Encl :
1. V M Raste - A Contemplative Activist D7.
2. Larsen & Toubro Ltd case.
3. Mr. Kumar M Birla case.
4. Mr. Anil Ambani case.