When I saw on the news that a five year old girl was raped by a man in his twenties, I was livid. As a mother of a five year old, I was greatly affected by this horrific crime. Apparently he was a tenant in the girl’s house. How could a grown man do commit such a horrific act on a child? What is the government of India doing about this? Why is rape so rampant in the country? Women and girls are not safe. What will happen to the rapist of this child? I hope that he will get the punishment he deserves.
I learned today that the police arrested a second man in connection with the abduction and rape of the little girl. This youngest of the rape victims so far was not only raped but tortured. According to BBC News, she was taken hostage on Monday and attacked in a locked room for over 48 hours. Once found guilty, these men should be thrown into jail without any possibility of being released. This way they cannot hurt another innocent child. They should be made an example to others who might be thinking of committing similar violent crimes.
It has also been reported that the little girl is showing signs of improvement but the people of New Delhi have erupted into protests again. They are saying that the police are not doing enough to prevent rape in their country. Enough is enough! It’s time the police do their job. Let us raise our voices in protest and soladarity with the people of India and demand justice for the five year old rape victim.
I wanted to share this email from Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the first Pakistani woman to win an Oscar for her film Saving Face in 2012 and one of TIME Magazine’s most influencial people of the world.
A lot has happened since the Academy Awards in February in LA…I have begun work on a new series of documentary films which are being aired for the first time on TV Channels across Pakistan-
In a unique partnership with Coca-Cola, my production company SOC Films has launched a 6 part documentary series titled “Ho Yaqeen” featuring Pakistanis doing extraordinary things and transforming their communities.
The first episode of the series launched 2 weeks ago: Please do tune in to watch it, links are below:
Please do share these links with friends and family….
In other news, i was very fortunate to have been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most Influential people in the world- (http://goo.gl/OFVhZ)
This positive reinforcement helps us get the message of our Academy Award winning film Saving Face out.
As more episodes of Ho Yaqeen become available i shall send them out on this mailing list. I am also involved in two more exciting documentary ventures outside of Pakistan which i shall share with you later in the summer….
All my very best
You can check out Sharmeen’s website at: http://sharmeenobaidfilms.com/bio/ I will keep you posted on Sharmeen’s exciting ventures.
Recently I have subscribed to receive daily devotionals for Women and today I received this encouraging devotion.
|today’s versefrom the New Living Translation|
This is so true. God is the One we turn to when we are hurting or need help. Countless times I have turned to Him when I am hurting or am troubled. He is always there, just ready to step in and offer a helping hand. He cares about us. We are His children. He is the loving Father who longs to pick us up when we fall or enfold us in His arms when we need comforting or the shoulder we cry on.
The psalmist wrote, “God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Peter encouraged us to cast all of our anxiety on God because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
There are times when God is the only One you can run to. He knows what is going on. You don’t have to tell Him. And He is in control. He is that Rock of strength you can cling to when you feel like you are sinking or unable to cope with what’s going on in your life or around you. Sometimes there is no other where to look but up. And remember that God is able and very willing to come to your aid. Just let go and let Him.
I got the following email telling me about a film titled, Hungry For Change. I haven’t watched it as yet but plan to sometime tonight. I encourage you to watch it with your families and friends.
We all want more energy and healthy bodies. So what’s stopping us from getting there? From the creators of the groundbreaking documentary Food Matters comes another hard-hitting film certain to rock your world. Hungry for Change exposes the secrets of the diet and food industry, and how their deceptive strategies keep you craving more and more. Today marks the worldwide premiere of Hungry for Change, and you can watch it online for FREE until March 31st. Check it out today!
In this movie, you’ll hear the truth behind “diet,” “sugar-free,” and “fat-free” products, and learn what to avoid in your supermarket. You’ll be inspired by transformational stories from people who have recovered from being sick and overweight. You’ll find the solutions to vibrant health for yourself and your family. So, watch the movie and share the knowledge with a friend–it may save a life!
To a more energetic you,
Ana and Crystal
The FRESH Team
‘Zimele’ means ‘standing on one’s feet’ in the Zulu language. I love their logo. It is of a woman not only standing on her feet but it looks like she is dancing. This to me expresses the joy of knowing that you are empowering yourself–learning new skills, educating yourself–taking action instead of depending on others to help you. Joy comes with knowing that you are standing on you own two feet. Helping people to stand on their own feet is what separates Zimele from the rest of the organizations out there. Zimele equips and empowers.
Zimele is an organization created from the vision of Rosetta Stander who wanted to develop community self-reliance in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. Rosetta was convinced that while non-profit organizations had good intentions, they created a short-sighted welfare environment in which people depend upon the charities for their everyday needs. Her prior experience of training people in life, vocational, and business skills gave her the conviction that the key to developing South Africa lay in the education of its people. Education and self-reliance is the best way for a community to survive and thrive. Rosetta pursued her vision and in 2006, Zimele was formed. A year later, Zimele USA was founded. Today, there are Zimele organizations in Canada, the UK and Germany. The organizations’ mission is to free the rural communities of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa and Zimbabwe from the poverty cycle by transforming each into a ‘Zimele’ community able to ‘stand on its own feet’.
Zimele Canada is throwing their first annual gala here in Toronto. Here’s your opportunity to learn first hand about the work this organization is doing and to meet its founder, Rosetta Stander.
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 1ST Annual ZIMELE Gala
Come join us in the inauguration of the highly anticipated 1ST Annual ZIMELE Gala! This event is an invitation for Toronto to experience a glimpse of the ZIMELE community and see how the region of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa is being empowered to overcome generations of poverty and illness with long term sustainability.
Guests will enjoy a fabulous evening of great food, live entertainment and opportunities to learn more about ZIMELE through various testimonies, including the organization’s founder Rosetta Stander.
Join us in helping the people of South Africa stand on their own two feet!
WHERE: The Columbus Centre, Carrier Gallery
WHEN: Friday, March 23, 2012.
TIME: 6pm cocktail hour , 7pm–11pm
TICKETS: $85 (no tickets at the door/pre-sale only)
Tickets are on sale now. Click here to purchase your ticket!
For those of you who live in New York or close to New Jersey, Zimele USA is having their annual gala on Sunday, April 1st. Find out more here.
Mental illness is something that not many people feel comfortable talking about–at least from where I came from. I didn’t know that people suffered from depression or bi-polar disorder. In Guyana we used to see people walking around, dishevelled, shaking their fists and shouting and we stayed clear of them. They were simply called mad people. Now I realize that these people could have been suffering from mental illness and were not getting the care they needed.
I came from a society where people kept things to themselves. No one liked to talk about private matters. So I was stunned when I came to North America and watched talk shows where people talked freely about very personal things. They spoke about their relationships, sometimes giving very intimate details. They spoke openly mental illness, addictions, abuse, etc. It was therapeutic for them. They could finally face up to what they had and deal with it. I never knew that a few members of my family suffered from mental illness until years later. I didn’t see any signs. People were good at hiding things.
Mental illness is not to be feared or dismissed or swept under the rug. It is something that we need to talk and educate ourselves about. We need to understand what it’s all about so that we can offer better support to our loved ones and friends who have had to live with the stigma all their lives. Bi-polar disorder is something I have become very familiar with. People close to me have it and I have seen what happens when they come off of their medication. It is very upsetting and unsettling. They are not the same people. They do things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. They dress differently. They are either manic or depressed. They spend money on things they can’t afford. They become paranoid. They believe that someone is out to hurt them. They seem to have a beef with certain people. They might get themselves in trouble with the law. They end up in hospital where they stay for a while. Sometimes they are discharged before they should be. The more often they come off of their medication, the longer it takes for them to get back on track.
It’s a vicious cycle. Their families get tired of it. They wonder why their loved ones don’t stay on their medication so that they don’t wind up in the psychiatric ward. That part of the hospital is depressing. I can’t imagine that it’s conducive for the patients.
February 8, 2012 is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Canadians are invited to join Bell in the conversation about mental health by talking, calling, texting or retweeting. For every text message and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers on this day, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health programs. Bell also launched this year’s Let’s Talk Community Fund. This community fund is part of the Bell Mental Health Initiative, a $50 million multi-year national program in support of mental health. Through the Community Fund, Bell will provide grants of $5,000 to $50,000 to organizations, hospitals and agencies focused on improving access to mental health care and making a positive impact in their communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
The Let’s Talk campaign is a testimony to Bell’s commitment to fight the stigma of around mental illness. The spokesperson is Clara Hughes, the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in Winter and Summer Olympics.
Every time I saw Clara Hughes, she had a huge smile on her face. I never imagined that behind that smile was a dark and lonely place for the six-time Olympic medallist. For two years she battled depression. She is proud to be the spokesperson for Let’s Talk. She speaks openly about her own struggles with depression which began after she won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Olympics. Read about her story. The struggle is still there for her as it is for others with mental illness. The good thing is that it’s out in the open. It is not a battle that they are facing alone. Hughes’ goal is “open up the dialogue” for Canadians struggling with mental illness. On February 8 she will be joined by singer-songwriter Stefie Shock and actor-comedian Michel Mpambara who share their own stories of struggle and recovery.
Hughes is making a huge difference in this campaign. Last year Canadians responded to her call with a total of over 66 million messages and long distance calls. This year marks the second annual Let’s Talk Day. The goal is to beat last year’s total.
On Wednesday, February 8, take action–talk, call, text messages. Watch the new documentary Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me hosted by TSN personality and ‘Off The Record’ host Michael Landsberg airing on CTV at 7 p.m. ET and CTV Mobile. Help to support this campaign that will make mental illness visible and remove its stigma.
If you are interested in being a part of Let’s Talk Day or need more information, visit Bell’s website.
A lot of people don’t realize that depression is an illness. I don’t wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it.
Sources: http://www.clara-hughes.com/; http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/story/2011/02/06/sp-hughes-q-a.html; http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2011/02/06/sp-hughes-q-a.html; Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20100921/bell-mental-health-00921/#ixzz1lNRfQCMF
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:5)
Paul encouraged the Christians in Philippi to always rejoice in the Lord. He repeated this to show how important it is. Paul wrote this letter while he was in a Roman prison awaiting trial. He had reason to rejoice in the Lord. His fellow Christians in Philippi had encouraged him with their support and generosity. “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (verse 18).
To rejoice in the Lord is to be thankful no matter what the circumstance is. Paul’s letter to the Philippians was a “Thank you” letter. He used the opportunity to thank them for helping and supporting him. He wanted them to know how much he appreciated them. He didn’t complain about his situation. In fact, he put a positive spin to the whole thing. He wrote, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:12-14).
He didn’t want the church to feel discouraged or sad because he was in prison. Even though it wasn’t certain what would become of Paul—whether he would live or die, he still rejoiced because Christ was being preached to people. Despite the chains, God’s Word was being preached. It was not in chains. Paul had reason to rejoice. Even while he was in prison God was still using him.
Paul gave us the secret to how to rejoice in the Lord no matter what. “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). Learn to be content and believe that you can do anything because of Christ who gives you the strength. When you do these things, you are able to rejoice in the Lord at all times.
O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11).
When Nehemiah learned that Jerusalem’s wall was broken down and the gates were on fire, he wept. He mourned for several days. He fasted and prayed to God. His prayer is a wonderful model prayer. It follows this pattern:
Acknowledgment: O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments
Confession: Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.
Thanksgiving: Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.
Supplication: O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
God answered Nehemiah’s prayer. The king granted Nehemiah’s request to return to Judah. The cupbearer prospered and was granted mercy in the king’s sight.
When we hear bad news we give ourselves time to deal with it like Nehemiah. He cried and mourned. Then, we reach out in faith. Nehemiah fasted and prayed. Then we act in faith. Nehemiah told the king the situation and what he needed and his request was granted.
Don’t let a bad situation keep you down for long. Turn it over to God and He will take care of it. The best weapon against adversity is prayer.