Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Just as we are trying to find the intersection of quality journalism and quality nonprofit work, that is where PhotoPhilanthropy specializes. Their motto, “Photography driven by social change. Social change driven by photography” sums up the exchange they wish to enhance.

Student and professional photographers can submit their unpaid work to PhotoPhilanthropy for awards between $2,000 to $15,000 and the chance to have their photo essays on display. Nonprofits can submit profiles and a description of their work on the website for photographers to find and respond to their need. They also network with nonprofit and photographer resources such as Truth with a Camera and BrandOutLoud.

This particular photo essay, entitled “Blindness” was made for Christian Blind Mission in Italy (CBM) by Stefano De Luigi:

Photo by Stefano De Luigi for Christian Blind Mission Italy http://photophilanthropy.org/gallery-posts/blindness/


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How many slaves do you have working for you?

According to Slavery Footprint, I have 25 slaves worldwide working to fuel my lifestyle. Here’s some general insights:

  • 1.4 million children have been forced to work in Uzbek cotton fields. There are fewer children in the entire New York City public school system.
  • Every day tens of thousands of American women buy makeup. Every day tens of thousands of Indian children mine mica, which is the little sparklies in the makeup.
  • More than 200,000 children are forced to work in India’s carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh. That makes it a pretty large operation, considering Honda, Sony, Procter & Gamble, and Boeing each have fewer employees.
  • Bonded labor is used for much of Southeast Asia’s shrimping industry, which supplies more shrimp to the U.S. than any other country. Laborers work up to 20-hour days to peel 40 pounds of shrimp. Those who attempt to escape are under constant threat of violence or sexual assault.
  • Rubies are believed to be Burma’s second largest export after teak wood, and are commonly mined using forced labor. Mines are controlled by either the government or the army, who oversee workers in terrible conditions for little or no pay.

Fortunately, Call + Response campaign does not leave us mouths agape with no course of action. In an interview with CNN (part of CNN’s Freedom Project), one of the leaders of campaign Justin Dylan said:

“…what we didn’t want to do is create another calculator that only spits out bad news. What I believe is that people carry around stories and not necessarily statistics. So with Slavery Footprint we actually wanted to be able to tell you the story of your life and how it fits in with the globalized economy.”

Their “take action” step is to download their app, ask others to take the survey to assess their lives based on the supply chain of common items. As people spread the word, they also provide an opportunity for consumers to directly ask companies if they know the full chain of their materials and suppliers. This push for companies and consumers taking responsibility for products and the inspirational, personal platform are well worth the time.

Check out Dan Rivers’ piece following a simple gadget from Cambodia to Malaysia to London via the hands of a girl who just wants to go home:


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I stumbled across this video of a keynote address talking about the importance of storytelling and how good storytelling connects people with people and not people with abstract concepts, nonprofit jargon or mission statements. This speech was given five years ago, but his input is (and arguably will always be) relevant to inspiring our communities and getting them on board with causes we deeply care about and why. Just watch the first five minutes and you’ll know what I mean.

You can learn more about Andy Goodman on his website: http://www.agoodmanonline.com.


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Missouri winters are bitter for me. The humidity intensifies the wind and lets the cold sink into your bones. But I’ve never had to worry about having enough clothes to combat the cold, even though sometimes I vainly complain about how a coat makes my body look. Operation Warm is a nonprofit providing coats to children in the U.S. whose parents end up making a choice between buying more food for their families or buying a coat for their ever-growing kids.

Operation Warm networks with existing community groups to distribute coats while educating the children about the environment by re-engineering their coats to be make of recyclable materials.

I share this video of this organization because of the resources they pull together: celebrity voice-over, community involvement and intimate footage of children in need that doesn’t come from being marginally concerned with this issue.

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As cleaning efforts continue in Joplin, many Columbia residents volunteered their Saturdays to travel to the southwest Missouri town to aid in the cleanup. Columbia For Joplin was organized by members of local rotary clubs to give Columbia residents a one-day opportunity to travel to Joplin as an organized group to help Americorps with debris cleanup. More than 700 Columbia residents rode busses and traveled separately this past Saturday.

In a release from Columbia For Joplin, Columbia Sunrise Southwest Rotary member and event organizer, Neil Riley said, “This is a way to connect. It’s one thing to write a check, it’s another thing to get involved personally.”

According to Americorps, over 50,000 people from all over the country have volunteered with them in Joplin since the May 22 tornado.

Vermont Residents Stepping Up To Aid In Irene Relief

Volunteers in Vermont are doing everything from cleaning up damaged homes, business and roadways to harvesting vegetables, according to an article from the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. Because of floodwaters potentially contaminating crops, some crops had to be harvested earlier.

Also according to the article, farmers were using Twitter to ask for help for harvesting the crops. Many volunteers say requests for help on Twitter and responded to the requests.

The American Red Cross and Vermont Red Cross have deployed 250 volunteers so far. Americorps will most likely follow right along. Because of a new volunteer term, they have only sent five volunteers but according to the article, they plan on sending more than 100 more.

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As some of you might have heard, London and now other parts of Britain are going through what can only be described as pure acts of hatred and vandalism.

Houses and business are being burnt in the streets of London. Photography: Associated Press via El Mundo

It has now been three consecutive days of looting and street violence, with hooligans now raising the bar by setting fire to stores and houses. BBC News provides a live update on the UK riots, here.

As this strikes me deeply, for I lived in London for over five years, I wanted to share a story with you.

As I chatted with my friend back in London (late at night due to the time zone difference and that they were taking it in turns to stay up and guard the door) he told me what happened just hours before. This is the story I want to tell you.

As my friend and his flat mates were quietly asleep, they had suddenly heard a loud noise outside. Quickly they approached the window to look out when they saw that looters had broken into the pub next door and  proceeded to pour spirits (liquor) and petrol all over it. One of the looters then took out a lighter and lit the whole thing on fire. As the flames lit up the pub, the owner who happened to live above it (as it is very common practice all over the UK) woke up and looked out the window to see what was happening. Unknowingly underneath him, his business was slowly burning and the flames threatened to roar on and claim the upstairs, too. My friend and his flat mates yelled at him to get out and were themselves ready to evacuate, until the flames started dying out and eventually went out completely. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

London riots.

Rioters in London carry on for a third consecutive day. Photography: Efe via El Mundo.

The scene he described to me, which I just relayed to you, is one you might typically find in a movie about old Nazi Germany. Or, perhaps even a scene that would more commonly take place in a developing country we often neglect to mention or help because it seems they have little to offer. This particular scene, however, is happening in the capital of one of the most developed countries in the world. It’s occurring in a city that some deem the financial capital of Europe, and will be the home for athletes across the world as the 2012 Olympics draw near.

So, where’s the hope in the story? As often, it is in the little things — in the most minuscule and tiny details that come to the surface when all seems dark and grey. It might not sound like much, but the pub owner’s neighbours took him and his family in for the night, providing a safe place of rest and refuge. This simple act of generosity might sound small and insignificant — nothing compared to major riots striking the capital — but the compassion of this family was powerful enough for my friend to tell me about it. It was enough to light a small spark of humanity inside of him that transcended enough for him to wish to tell me the deed, to share the story and perhaps in the near future extend such courtesy someone else’s way.

This might not be a huge story concerning refugees or some colossal natural disaster; it’s a smaller story concerning one family. But I leave you with this simple thought, if every household showed the same kindness and generosity towards their neighbours and fellow citizens, who would be left to loot?

We — the people writing on this blog and developing this communications organization — are in the business of giving hope and helping people get hope. After listening to my friend’s story, I got some hope. So I can only hope this will give you all some, too.

Sleep tight London, the night is always darkest before dawn.


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If you are like me, you have probably never heard of the Homeless World Cup.  It turns out, it is exactly what it sounds like; a worldwide soccer tournament featuring teams comprised of homeless people.  It is a program dedicated to including the homeless and marginalized into society through sport. And it changes lives.

At least 70 percent of the players participating in the program change their lives. Meaning they get jobs and contribute to society.  This happens through the organization’s “homeless-to-work” model and it worked for Lisa Wrightsman.

Wrightsman was featured in an article from the Sacramento Bee.  According to the article Wrightsman was a soccer standout at Sacramento State and was semipro when she dropped out of school and became addicted to drugs, which led to homelessness and eventually jail.

Through the Volunteers of America (VOA), Wrightsman learned about the Homeless World Cup.  She played on the VOA men’s team, the Mohawks and was named most valuable player at the national tournament, earning her a spot to represent the United States in Brazil at last year’s Homeless World Cup.

This year, Wrightsman has a full-time job and is also coaching the United States women’s team that will be competing at the Homeless World Cup. The Homeless World Cup has more than 70 grassroots organizations around the country in support of its “global change makers” initiative.

This is a program that truly changes lives for the better. It finds a place for the down-and-out, the less thought of.

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