The Girl Effect, Revisited . . .

image credit

Both images (the same person) are from National Geographic. The one on the left taken in 1984, the right in 2002, in Afghanistan.

The woman was interviewed in 2002. Here’s an excerpt:

Had she ever felt safe?

“No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order.”

Had she ever seen the photograph of herself as a girl?

“No.”

She can write her name, but cannot read. She harbors the hope of education for her children. “I want my daughters to have skills,” she said. “I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry when I had to leave.”

Education, it is said, is the light in the eye. There is no such light for her. It is possibly too late for her 13-year-old daughter as well, Sharbat Gula said. The two younger daughters still have a chance.

This is a story repeated far too often in our world but there is strong reason for hope!

One among many reasons for hope is a site called The Girl Effect and I can’t urge you strongly enough to click that link and at least watch the really awesome video !

Here is a PDF file of their Fact Sheet and here’s an excerpt from that Fact Sheet:

The Ripple Effect

• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

Population Trends
• Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.

Girls Count !

Here are two videos from their site:

Spiritual Quotes:
“The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 288<

“As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133

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What Good Is The United Nations? – Part Two

thinkingTime to put on our thinking caps. Time to search for values and principles that the whole of humanity can embrace. Time to work tirelessly so, at least, our great-grandchildren can have some measure of peace and tranquillity.

Sure, you could avoid thinking hard about these issues but, in my experience, if things weren’t going well and I avoided the effort of critical thought, things got immeasurably worse.

Also, this quote from the last post should lend tremendous power to the effort of thought leading to action:
“The great peace long envisioned by the peoples and nations of the world is well within our grasp.”

In the last post, we looked at some of the immensely critical issues testing the effectiveness of the United Nations—the continuing subjugation of women and girls, neglect of cultural and religious minorities, unbridled nationalism, massive refugee flows, narrow economic agendas exalting material prosperity, and the growing importance of the role of religion in discussions of global crises.

How in the world can all these things be resolved in time to avoid a global meltdown?

There is no longer any rational doubt about what can provide the power to make all the changes we must make—The Principle of Oneness—the awareness that we are All  in the same boat and we must include All  in the bailing out process…

If you think you don’t have to be involved or that other people have the job of resolving these issues, you’re ignoring one of the most basic laws of the universe: Everything Is Interconnected.

There are certain important areas of change the United Nations is involved in and some they need to bring to greater urgency in their agendas.

The following points of focus come from the Study Guide to the Bahá’í International Community’s 2005 statement to the UN.

“…at what point is it morally legitimate and necessary for the international community to intervene in the affairs of sovereign states? In 2001, in response to this question, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty defined
sovereignty not only as an inviolable right (as it had been previously understood) but as a ‘responsibility to protect (its citizens).’ In a historic move during the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly member states, after much debate, endorsed this new understanding of sovereignty.”

“For many years, the level of ‘development’ of a nation was assessed primarily by its Gross National Product (GNP), its GNP per capita and other commodity-based indicators. In 1990, under the leadership of Mahbub ul Haq (former minister of finance of Pakistan) and Amartya Sen (Nobel prize winning economist from India) —the UN released its first annual Human Development Report stating that ‘people are the real wealth of a nation.’” Read the report.

“Several factors have contributed to the near complete rejection of religion in concepts of international relations.”

“In [David Held’s] book, Democracy and the Global Order, he states that the ‘future has to be conceived in cosmopolitan terms’ which include a set of global institutions shaped by democratic law and which act as a ‘government’ by implementing and enforcing that law. Citing philosopher Immanuel Kant, Held states that ‘cosmopolitan law’ is not a utopian way of thinking about law, but rather a ‘necessary complement’ to the existing code of national and international law and a ‘means to transform the latter into the public law of humanity’.”

Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, introduced a major report that “took a comprehensive approach – stressing the interdependence of development, freedom, and peace and emphasizing human solidarity as the basis for effective and sustainable solutions to global challenges.”

“As the number of countries with significant minority populations grows, states face the challenge of devising policies to effectively govern increasingly diverse ethnic, religious, and linguistic populations.” Read the report, Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World.

This is only a representative offering of the super-critical issues facing not only the United Nations but each of us as World Citizens. Will we, through lack of initiative and action, let our world implode on itself?

Spiritual Quote:

“It is my hope that this standard of the oneness of the world of humanity may be upraised with the utmost solidity so that the Orient and Occident may become perfectly reconciled and attain complete intercommunication, the hearts of the East and West become united and attracted, real union become unveiled, the light of guidance shine, divine effulgences be seen day by day so that the world of humanity may find complete tranquillity, the eternal happiness of man become evident and the hearts of the people of the world be as mirrors in which the rays of the Sun of Reality may be reflected. Consequently, it is my request that you should strive so that the light of reality may shine and the everlasting felicity of the world of man become apparent.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 12

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

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The Girl Effect . . .

image credit

Both images (the same person) are from National Geographic. The one on the left taken in 1984, the right in 2002, in Afghanistan.

The woman was interviewed in 2002. Here’s an excerpt:

Had she ever felt safe?

“No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order.”

Had she ever seen the photograph of herself as a girl?

“No.”

She can write her name, but cannot read. She harbors the hope of education for her children. “I want my daughters to have skills,” she said. “I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry when I had to leave.”

Education, it is said, is the light in the eye. There is no such light for her. It is possibly too late for her 13-year-old daughter as well, Sharbat Gula said. The two younger daughters still have a chance.

This is a story repeated far too often in our world but there is strong reason for hope!

One among many reasons for hope is a site called The Girl Effect and I can’t urge you strongly enough to click that link and at least watch the really awesome video !

Here is a PDF file of their Fact Sheet and here’s an excerpt from that Fact Sheet:

The Ripple Effect

• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

Population Trends
• Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.

Girls Count !

Here are two videos from their site:

19-year-old Shumi from Bangladesh

18-year-old Addis from Ethiopia

“The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 288

As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133