I was given the opportunity to visit the Olive Tree Refugee Camp in Atmeh Syria. All the little girls approached me with their unique knitted creations. When I had to say my goodbyes, one woman voiced her concerns about the lack of yarn to work with. That same night, I wrote out the plan for Tight-Knit Syria, a project to help supply yarn, as well as establish an online store to sell knitted products from the Olive Tree Camp.
The reality is that we do not have to be professional "life-savers" to help people. Each of us can choose to live a meaningful life, to have a positive impact on others, and to embrace and help people in need. No cameras. No medals. No public recognition... just ordinary "heroics" by ordinary people. I believe that there is "magic" in kindness.
Until women of all ages can exist without the terror of violence, can move around at any time of the day without fear of consequence, and can enjoy equal access to opportunities in all areas of life, none of us are truly free. I'm taking responsibility to end violence, by not only participating in this walk, but by talking to other men about their responsibility to end violence and promote gender equality.
The results of a recent study conducted by MoneySense on charity spending are shocking, to say the least. The difference in the ways that charities are being run is frightening. I counted 13 very well-known charities that spend less than 50 per cent of the money they raise on programs. Two were less than 40 per cent!
Give 30 is an initiative established in 2012, tapping into Ramadan's lessons on social solidarity, to mobilize everyone -- regardless of faith or background -- to address the challenges of hunger in our society. Hunger in Canada is not an issue of food scarcity. Rather, it is directly related to income sufficiency and security.
Imagine the G20 Leaders (Zuma, Obama, Harper, Pena Nieto, Rousseff, Fernandez de Kirchner, Jinping, Keqiang, Yudhoyono, Abe, Geun-hye, Singh, Putin, Erdogan, Merkel, Hollande, Cameron, Letta, Abdullah and Gillard). Open your eyes. Now imagine 20 girls. What you see are the G(irls)20 Summit delegates.
One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).
We've all heard the saying "It's like herding cats." As challenging as that might be, it's not much more difficult than building consensus with a global committee: everyone has a different view, and often a territorial approach to meetings. In fact, while herding cats is tough, creating a brand change in corporations may be even tougher.
Raising awareness is often a good first step, and functions well as a means to an end -- but it cannot be viewed as an end in itself. Activism simply does not end with the sharing of a Facebook post or a retweet; it's great to tell your friends that something is important enough to share with them, but it's virtually meaningless if it doesn't lead to further action.
The memories of my mother are not of a cancer victim, they are not of a shaved head, or intravenous tubes, or a frail body. They are her wonderful spirit, her brave beautiful smile, and a loving acceptance of life that was contagious with everyone she touched. My mother didn't just talk the talk, she walked the walk.