More than 250,000 children under 18 are involved in at least 17 conflicts around the world today. In 2008 Romeo Dallaire, now a Canadian Senator, founded the Child Soldiers Initiative to raise awareness, pressure world governments to take action, and train police and military forces from around the world to protect children and prevent them from being recruited as soldiers.
They say a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world. A fascinating new study, "The Arab Spring and Climate Change", essentially applies the "Butterfly Effect" to global current affairs, examining how climate change may have influenced the revolutions that rocked the Middle East.
The United Nations World Health Organization estimates that 140-million women and girls around the world have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM). In December the UN unanimously passed a resolution banning the practice. What shocked us was discovering FGM is a serious issue in Canada, too. In 2011, almost 29,000 women from Africa and the Middle East became permanent residents of Canada. Dr. Davis, who has worked with hundreds of immigrant women, says a high percentage of these will have undergone FGM.
The Oscar Pistorius murder case in South Africa; rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; gang rapes in India; Pakistan acid attacks, and missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Each news item was served up by reporters and anchors as a separate, isolated story. In fact they are all different versions of the same story, told over and over again, night after night, from one country to the next. Why do we treat all these disparate threads around the world as unrelated events? According to UNIFEM, one in three women -- one billion members of our human population -- will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. It's time to wake up and connect the dots.
There are approximately 23.5-million people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Without medication one in two children living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world will die before their second birthday. We have an opportunity now to change that. A new piece of legislation before Parliament -- Bill C-398 -- aims to cut the red tape.
Cluster bombs have been employed in at least 31 countries since the Second World War. Eighty-nine per cent of tens of thousands of cluster bomb casualties are civilians, a quarter of them children. Canada does not use cluster bombs, and was among the first to sign the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008. However, four years later Canada still has not ratified because of concerns how the Convention will impact our relationship with allies.
"I hate when my leather seats aren't heated," says a grinning boy, who isn't sitting in a luxury car, but perched atop a pile of gravel outside a cinder block building with no windows. This is from a short video called The First World Problems Anthem -- a cheeky, teasing shot at us pampered First World dwellers featuring Haitians reciting a litany of complaints you're far more likely to hear at Second Cup than in a seedy slum.
It is a test of manhood from another time and place, with a modern twist: For 15-year-old Jackson Ntirkana to earn a chance to go to high school, he had to become a warrior first -- by killing a lion. Although born into a traditional nomadic Maasai family that tended livestock on the savannah, Ntirkana dreamed of going to school and becoming a politician, building bridges between his people and the rest of Kenya. Now Ntirkana and his friend are touring Canada promoting their joint autobiography, The Last Maasai Warriors.
Before a room of big names like former UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, Walmart's CEO Michael Duke, Carlos Slim, the second richest man in the world, and celebrities like Matt Damon, K'naan, and Barbra Streisand, Obama reminded his nation and the world that slavery is still very much with us. Obama called the fight against human trafficking "one of the great human rights causes of our time."
The class is part of an innovative project called Kid Powered Media -- the creation of Canadian Alex Heywood. Heywood's career plans lay in the food services industry. In 2007, the chef at the Toronto Indian restaurant Heywood managed urged him to visit India and experience the food first hand. Coming home from the trip, however, it was not the cuisine he remembered but the poverty.
The question we hear most frequently from people ready to make a difference is: "Where do I begin?" In our contributions to Impact, we'll tackle some of these questions, using our experience working with communities in Canada and all regions of the world, and in the context of news that's happening right now. This new online community has the potential to bring us together and start making the news instead of just reading it.
A member of Pakistan's Christian minority, a 13-year-old girl was responding last September to a test question about a poem praising the Prophet Mohammed. But when she tried to write the Urdu word for "praise," an unfortunate typographical error instead produced the word for "curse." Faryal Bhatti was hauled before the class, beaten by her teacher, then expelled from school.