Tag Archives: awareness

World Malaria Day

Malaria_posterWorld Malaria Day: Highlighting Awareness of a Preventable Disease That Still Kills Thousands

Article by: Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma

Reposted from The Independent.

“Almost half the world’s population – an estimated three billion people – live in areas where malaria is transmitted. Endemic to 107 countries in the tropics and subtropics, it is responsible for around one million deaths globally every year, with sub-Saharan Africa the hardest hit. Most shockingly, despite the fact that malaria is both a preventable and curable disease, around 800,000 of those deaths occur among African children under five-years-old, according to UNICEF.

However, what many people may not be aware of is exactly how malaria interacts with other infectious diseases, particularly HIV. Although anyone can get malaria, in parts of the world where both malaria and HIV are widespread, people can easily become co-infected with both diseases. This is potentially a very dangerous situation since HIV positive people are far more vulnerable to developing infections or more severe forms of malaria because their weak immune system simply cannot respond to the disease effectively. Symptoms last much longer than in people who do not carry HIV, and can also have harmful effects on the accelerated progression of HIV.

It is common knowledge that malaria in pregnant women results in higher rates of miscarriage and low birth weight, as well as causing severe anaemia in new-born children which leads to low birth weight, growth retardation and potentially long term cognitive and developmental impairment. Imagine if you are also HIV positive. Pregnant women who are living with HIV are at even further risk, not only because of the mother can pass malaria on to her baby, but because the impact of malaria on the placenta actually increases the risk of transmitting HIV to the foetus. This is why my work now focuses on integrated approaches to community health instead of working on preventing and treating one disease or virus in isolation.

It is horrifying to me that all this can be stopped – or at least vastly reduced – through the consistent use of simple, cheap insecticide treated nets and free prevention information! Sadly of course, poor people – who are more likely to live in areas of high malaria incidence and are often malnourished – usually have little or no access to both, much like those who suffer from HIV have limited access to ARVs or HIV prevention education. The mishmash of both diseases combined with malnourishment is surely something not many can – or should have to – fight.

Encouragingly, behind the grim statistics however, there is a glimmer of hope. There has been a definite spike in targeted investment for developing malaria vaccines over the last decade, coupled with a marked increase in prevention interventions such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and awareness-raising among those most at risk. These efforts have resulted in a rapid reduction in malaria deaths, with global mortality rates falling by 25% since 2000, and by 33% in sub-Saharan Africa (WHO).

One research vaccine known as RTS,S/AS01, currently being evaluated in a large clinical trial in seven countries in Africa, is most advanced. Recommendation for use is expected in late 2014, and a recommendation as to whether or not this vaccine should be added to existing global malaria control tools is expected in 2015. This time next year, let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can report some good news on that.”



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National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

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She’s Somebody’s Daughter

Every second28,258 internet users are viewing pornography.*

“Pornography feeds the demand that drives the sex trade and the sexual victimization of our daughters and sons.”

Although pornography is frowned upon in most households, it still remains one of the largest profiting industries in the world. Most people, including myself, tend to forget that how much of an influence it really has on our society and the trafficking world. She’s Somebody’s Daughter is a blog dedicated to “raise awareness and bring the truth of the social and human costs of pornography and its related activities to light.”

In an excerpt from She’s Somebody’s Daughter, Alex, their summer intern, briefly talks about sex in our society, the strong ties of the sex trade and the pornographic industry, and the need to raise awareness about human trafficking

“While the media has heightened the glorification of sex in our society, it can just as easily educate society on the harms and dangers of human trafficking; on the impact the sex trade has had, not only in surrounding countries, but in our country as well.

That’s why, as a journalist, I choose not to “go with the flow” of the media and glorify or write about scandals, sex, and manipulation. Instead, I choose to shed light on these matters, and the insidiousness that lies beneath them: betrayal, lust, loss of a sense of freedom, coercion, and imposing danger.

I encourage everyone to get involved in raising awareness about the issue of human trafficking and the heightened demand for it: blog and write about it, share articles and fact sheets about it on your social media sites.”

Join She’s Somebody’s Daughter and help raise awareness about the issues of human trafficking and the porn industry. To view their blog, click here. Also, check them out on twitter.

*Statistic from Family Safe Media

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Somaly Mam

She doesn’t know her age, her hometown or who her family is. All Somaly Mam knows is that she was born in the Mondulkiri province of Cambodia, and that she was sold into sexual slavery by a family member (or someone posing to be a family member), at a very own age. For very many years, the only life Somaly Mam knew was a life of sexual abuse, violence, and rape within a Cambodian brothel. After being forced to watch her best friend murdered before her very eyes, she one day worked up the courage to escape. And escape she did. But the story doesn’t end here….

After living in France for awhile, Somaly Mam returned to Cambodia and founded a non-profit organization called AFESIP (Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Precaire) in 1996 to help others like her escape from the Cambodian sex industry. AFESIP “employs a holistic approach that ensures victims not only escape their plight, but have the emotional and economic strength to face the future with hope.” She also recently founded the Somaly Mam Foundation, a US based non-profit, as a means of supporting AFESIP as well as to “provide victims and survivors with a platform from which their voices can be heard around the world.”

Despite the numerous threats and dangers, and the abduction and trafficking of her own daughter, Somaly Mam refuses to leave Cambodia or stop fighting for those who are still entrapped within Cambodia’s sex industry. When she was asked why she continues despite all the obstacles being thrust in her way, Somaly Mam responded: “I don’t want to go without leaving a trace.


Learn more about Somaly Mam and the Somaly Mam Foundation by clicking here.

“I cannot wage this fight alone and call upon anyone who cares about the innocent victims to donate their time, money and advocacy to this important cause. Each contribution means everything to the victims and know that I will be forever grateful for those who help make such an important difference.”-Somaly Mam

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UNICEF reports that across the world, there are over one million children entering the sex trade every year and that approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years.

To find out more about UNICEF, click here.

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Plant With Purpose

“Environmental Solutions to Humanitarian Problems”

Deforestation is a huge problem in the farmlands of some of the poorest countries on the planet. Deforestation is the removal of trees or forest which creates an unusable and a nutrient depleted soil. In places like the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Tanzania deforestation is making an impact. Although many of the farmers using this land have been doing the same practice for years, they still have yet to create successful ways to harvest their own land. In desperation to feed their families, they cut down the remaining trees which are protecting their soil to sell for firewood. Thus their crops are unsuccessful the following year and the disastrous cycle continues, while they continue to “depend on the environment for survival.”

In this unsuccessful cycle, Plant With Purpose comes to the rescue in 250 communities in six countries through its simple form of planting trees to end poverty. However, Plant With Purpose stands out amongst others, because they do not do the work entirely themselves. That may sound weird, however it actually makes more sense. Instead of sweeping into a foreign land and taking over, they harvest and work with locals “giving them solutions to many of their own problems when given more opportunity, access to resources, and appropriate coaching” and then those local volunteers go and lead their own villages. Those locals work alongside Plant With Purpose, each country providing “a full-time, in-country staff, all native to their respective countries” and knowledgable about their land.

Continue reading

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World Day of Social Justice

The United Nations has chosen today, February 20th, 2012, to commemorate social justice and to challenge people to if be aware of the injustices being committed everyday on a world-wide scale. Here on Rediscovering Social Justice, we each decided to commemorate today by defining social justice and talking about what the term means to each of us individually. If you take the time to read our ramblings, we thank-you, and we also encourage you to share your own ramblings with someone else today as well.

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The Social Justice Phenomenon

Have you ever stopped to think about what the term “social justice” actually means? I know I haven’t, but I’ve been thinking about it lately in light of the fact of how popular the social justice movement has become in recent years. Being passionate about social justice is increasing becoming the “cool” thing to do. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to Demi Moore to my neighbor next door seems to be passionate about something. Why?

Let’s start with the what. To me, the term “social justice” denotes a measure for a particular standard of living (this includes physical, mental, emotional, etc. standards) that Western societies generally find acceptable. Injustice is anything that falls below that measure. I don’t think that there are any all-encompassing definitions out there per se that tell you exactly what all the social justice issues are; I think it’s more of a societal concept that varies from society to society depending on which issues that particular society is faced with. It just takes one person to identify an issue and develop an infectious passion for combatting that particular issue, and a social justice movement is born.

Now that we’ve got the what down, we can move on to the why. Why are people so passionate about social justice? What’s the driving force behind this passion? Continue reading

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