Protecting Girls from Child Marriage


Nepal | The Lost Girls: One woman’s battle to end child marriage

NEPAL — Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That’s 28 girls every minute, and one girl every two seconds. In Nepal, one in three girls under the age of 18 are married. One in 10 girls under the age of 15 are married.

The culture of child marriage is accepted in this country. In some cases it’s forced, but in others it’s consensual. The act of child marriage, which is punishable by jail time, has been illegal in Nepal since 1963.

CBSN’s Reena Ninan traveled to a rural village to witness an illegal wedding firsthand.

“How do you feel?,” Ninan asked the young girl. “Do you feel nervous? Do you think you should have waited a little bit longer to get married?”

“Yes,” the 17-year-old girl replied.

In 2014, Nepal pledged to end child marriage by 2020. But just two years later, it pushed back its goal to 2030.

Importance of education

According to the U.N., child marriage only perpetuates the cycle of poverty. When parents force their daughters to marry young, they drop out of school, face domestic violence and are more likely to die from pregnancy complications.

Rachana Sunar, 22, lives in a village in Western Nepal. Her mission is to stop the age-old practice of child marriage, which is no easy feat.

In another life, she would have been forced into marriage by now. She’d have a few kids and would be silenced at home. But she begged, pleaded and managed to get a scholarship to study abroad, which in turn changed her fate for the better.

Now, Rachana is going door-to-door to spread her message to prevent child marriage. She’s phased by little and willingly resorts to extreme measures like going to the police to report and forcibly stop marriages, sometimes right on the wedding day. To locals, those actions are seen as provocative. Many people believe she should quiet down and lower her profile, including her own mother.

“She’s in the limelight now, but that makes me worry,” her mother said. “She has enemies. A lot of the villagers don’t like her. I fear that she may be raped, or that someone might knock her off the road.”

During Ninan’s stay, Rachana stopped a wedding by calling the police. And overnight, her mother’s worst fear came true — an angry mob confronted Rachana at her home. But she didn’t let the incident prevent her from losing sight of her main goal.

“If a girl hears my story, and how I started my journey, at least I’m giving hope to them,” she added. “There are some people  who don’t like the work I am doing. If I die for this reason, I know my sisters will be inspired and they will carry on.”

“If I lose hope, if I give up, nobody will dare to take this issue ahead,” she continued. “I’m happy to put my life at risk.”

Shortly after filming, Rachana stopped another three weddings. Her work has spurred a movement to end child marriage in her home district of Surkhet by 2020, ahead of the government’s 2030 target to wipe out the practice nationally.

She recently started an NGO called Sambad, which means “dialogue” in Nepalese, to help boys and girls alike discover their self-worth. She’s been fighting to empower the youth to focus on the importance of education. But in this conservative society, change isn’t easy. For some, this is the only education they will ever receive. For others, it’s the only place they’ll ever feel loved.

82 More of Our Girls are Free


82 Freed Chibok Schoolgirls Arrive in Nigeria’s Capital 3 Years After Abduction

9:19 AM ET

(ABUJA, Nigeria) — The 82 freed Chibok schoolgirls arrived in Nigeria’s capital on Sunday to meet President Muhammadu Buhari as anxious families awaited an official list of names and looked forward to reuniting three years after the mass abduction.

The newly released girls arrived at the Abuja airport and were met by the Buhari’s chief of staff, presidential adviser Femi Adesina said. The president was expected to meet with the schoolgirls at 4 p.m. local time.

The 82 girls were freed Saturday in exchange for an unspecified number of detained suspected Boko Haram extremists, Buhari’s office said in a statement.

This is the largest negotiated release so far of the nearly 300 girls whose abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria’s homegrown extremists who are linked to the Islamic State group. Before Saturday’s release, 195 of the girls had been captive. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.

A first group of 21 girls were released in October as Nigeria announced it had begun negotiations with the extremist group. At the time, the government denied making an exchange for Boko Haram suspects or paying ransom.

The girls released in October have been reported to be in government care in Abuja for medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation, according to the government. Human rights groups have criticized the decision to keep the girls in custody in Abuja, nearly 900 kilometers (560 miles) from Chibok.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which along with the Swiss government mediated months of negotiations between Nigeria’s government and Boko Haram, said the newly released girls soon would meet with their families.

The ICRC also tweeted what might be the first public image of the freed schoolgirls on Sunday, showing a line of young women wearing shirts with the ICRC logo waiting to board a helicopter.

The ICRC said it had acted as a neutral intermediary to transport the freed girls into Nigerian government custody.

Long-suffering family members said they were eagerly awaiting a list of names and their “hopes and expectations are high.”

The Bring Back Our Girls campaign said Sunday it was happy that Nigeria’s government had committed to rescuing the 113 remaining schoolgirls. “We urge the president and his government to earnestly pursue the release of all our Chibok girls and other abducted citizens of Nigeria,” the group said in a statement.

The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in 2014 are among thousands of people abducted by Boko Haram over the years.

The mass abduction brought the extremist group’s rampage in northern Nigeria to world attention and began years of heartbreak for the families of the missing schoolgirls.

Some relatives did not live to see their daughters released. Many of the captive girls, most of them Christians, were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts without knowing if they would see their parents again. It is feared that other girls were strapped with explosives and sent on missions as suicide bombers.

A Nigerian military official with direct knowledge of the rescue operation said the freed girls were found near the town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon.

Boko Haram remains active in that area. On Friday, the United States and Britain issued warnings that the extremist group was actively planning to kidnap foreigners in an area of Borno state “along the Kumshe-Banki axis.”

Buhari late last year announced Boko Haram had been “crushed,” but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries. Its insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation.

It’s been a long time since these girls were taken from their homes and their village.  I am sure it seems much, much longer to them.  I don’t know exactly what tragedies they have survived, but I know that they have survived because they are courageous, and because they love life.  I honor them and their survival and now I ask for prayers for their continued healing, that they are able to make whole lives for themselves, and to move on from this terrible experience they have lived through.

It is my solemn hope that this kind of experience will never happen to a group of young girls ever again.  That they will not be kidnapped, taken from their homes, lives and families; that their lives will not be reduced to be owned and controlled by terrorists or warriors again.

History must never be allowed to repeated itself.

Honoring Harriet Tubman


National Historic Park Honoring Harriet Tubman May Soon Become a Reality

Kirstin Fawcett

Harriet Tubman’s residence near Auburn, New York is now closer than ever to becoming an official national historic park, the Associated Press reports.

According to New York state senator Charles Schumer, the Department of the Interior has finalized a land transfer agreement that allows for the National Park Service to create the park. Now, all the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park needs to become a reality is approval from the secretary of the interior. (Congress approved legislation to create the park in December 2014, along with a similar park near Tubman’s birthplace on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.)

In 1859, the famed Underground Railroad conductor moved to the Auburn area—then home to a strong abolitionist community—after New York senator William Seward offered to sell her his home. Tubman lived there with her parents, and in 1896, purchased 25 acres of adjoining land to build a housing community for elderly African-Americans, eventually called the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged. In 1903, Tubman deeded the home to a local church, the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church, on the condition that they manage the home.

The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park will include several properties, Syracuse.com reports. The land transfer deal approved by the Department of the Interior allows for the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. and AME Zion Church to sell its ownership of the church and the Home for the Aged Rectory to the federal government. Meanwhile, Tubman’s former home, the Home for the Aged, and a historic barn will be jointly run by the National Park Service and Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. through a preservation easement.

“As a New Yorker and an American, I’m deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality,” Schumer said in a statement quoted by Syracuse.com. “The Tubman Historic Park in Auburn will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman’s life, an extraordinary American, and her story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren. This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come.”

 

 

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I Like To Think of Harriet Tubman
by Susan Griffin

I like to think of Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman who carried a revolver,
who had a scar on her head from a rock through
by a slave-master (because she
talked back), and who
had a ransom on her head
of thousands of dollars and who
was never caught, and who
had no use for the law
when the law was wrong,
who defied the law, I like
to think of her.
I like to think of her especially
when I think of the problem of
feeding children.

The legal answer
to the problem of feeding children
is ten free lunches every month,
being equal, in the child’s real life,
to eating lunch every other day.
Monday, but not Tuesday.
I like to think of the President
eating lunch Monday, but not
Tuesday.
And when I think of the President
and the law, and the problem of
feeding children, I like to
think of Harriet Tubman
and her revolver.

And then sometimes
I think of the President
and other men,
men who practice the law,
who revere the law,
who make the law,
who enforce the law
who live behind
and operate through
and feed themselves
at the expense of
starving children
because of the law,
men who sit in paneled offices
and think about vacations
and tell women
whose care it is
to feed children
not to be hysterical
not to be hysterical as in the word
hysterikos, the greek for
womb suffering,
not to suffer in their wombs,
not to care,
not to bother the men
because they want to think
of other things
and do not want
to take the women seriously.
I want them
to take women seriously
I want them to think about Harriet Tubman,
and remember,
remember she was beat by a white man
and she lived
and she lived to redress her grievances
and she lived in swamps
and wore the clothes of a man
bringing hundreds of fugitives from
slavery, and was never caught,
and led an army,
and won a battle,
and defied the laws
because the laws were wrong, I want men
to take us seriously.
I am tired of wanting them to think
about right and wrong.
I want them to fear.
I want them to feel fear now
as I have felt suffering in the womb, and
I want them
to know
that there is always a time
there is always a time to make right
what is wrong,
there is always a time
for retribution
and that time
is beginning.

 

 

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The African American and their his/herstory with Missionaries.

The African American and their his/herstory with Missionaries.

 

 

 

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Nat Turner and the Forgotten Women Who Resisted Slavery


Nat Turner and the Forgotten Women Who Resisted Slavery

 

Colman Domingo as “Hark” and Aja Naomi King as "Cherry" in THE BIRTH OF A NATION. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Colman Domingo as “Hark” and Aja Naomi King as “Cherry” in THE BIRTH OF A NATION. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

 

 

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I dedicate this post to the thousands of men and women who were sold into slavery and treated like animals. My heart is heavy for you and I can’t tell you but I  will work for your grandchildren and great grandchildren. I will speak for them and support them. I will stand up for them. They are equal to me and my grandchildren.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

Slavery in the Old South

Slavery in the Old South

Truth No One Wants to Talk About


 

America has a lot to be ashamed about in our history. The are four huge things I am going to mention. There are others, and though we like to think of ourselves as the standard that all countries should strive for, we are not. The first is our indigenous population, the many tribes of Native Americans who lived here for centuries before white Europeans came to these shores.  I am sure it was unnerving to have the strange colored and strangely dressed people arrive at their shores, yet they welcomed these new people.

 

Despite the myth of Thanksgiving, we came and brought disease and began to take their land. They had been the caretakers of all of this beautiful land that comprises America for centuries. The land was lush and fertile. It was full of wild animals, including buffalo. There was more than enough bounty to go around. The indigenous people did not pollute the water or the air. They proudly took care of their land. White people came in an took the land and killed the “American Indians” or fought them in bloody battles. White people would not give up so they killed thousands of braves, the women and children. We “gave” them little patches of worthless land (that they already owned) and made treaties that weren’t worth the paper they were written on. Still to this day, they care for Mother Earth as best as they can.

 

Our second shame is the issue of slavery. The first black men were brought to Jamestown in chains in the 1600’s. They were brought to sell to people who wanted them to do work their new owners didn’t want to do. The south became the biggest owner of slaves because of the plantations and crops such as tobacco, cotton and sugar cane. There were some slaves early on in the north but the practice didn’t last long. The 1840 census showed that New Hampshire had one slave.

 

Today slavery is long gone, thanks to a war. Even after the Civil War, the South enacted segregation and an organization called the Klu Klux Klan was formed. It was made up of cowardly southern men who rode at night under white sheets lynching Black people, beating them up. Setting themselves up as judge, jury and executioner for the helpless black people.

 

We now have our first black president and I voted for him twice. His Presidency has brought out the racism that is still alive and well in America. Which brings me to the group Black Lives Matter. I believe in Black Lives Matter. There is no need for White Lives Matter because here in America White lives are the only lives that matter in the eyes of too many people, and often in the eyes of the law.

 

In 1947, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and much of our Navy Fleet was lost. We lost many sailors and navy nurses. The attack was a terrible shock to America. My father kept a file about the attack that I found in 1984 when he died. Japan had woken the sleeping Tiger that was the U.S., and they payed the ultimate price, unfortunately. After the Pearl Harbor attack, came our third great shame, when we rounded up all Japanese people and some who looked oriental and put them in internment camps. We even included the Japanese who were born here and had lived in America their entire lives. Why? The were different. They were a different color, and LOOKED like the enemy, so they were judged to BE the enemy.

 

In 2001, we were attacked again by religious Jihadists. The hit us in three locations: The Pentagon, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and a hijacked plane that was brought down by the passengers rather than let it fly to Washington DC. This attack was allegedly done “in the name of Islam” (although Islam is a peaceful religion) and over 3000 people were directly killed and many first responders have died since. Our fourth shame comes in because many here in America blame every Muslim. The vast majority of Muslims had no more idea of what was going to happen on September 11 than any non-Muslim, and are just as hurt, angered and appalled. But, because we are scared, we want to make all Muslims responsible. It’s easier for us to blame them because they often are a different color and dress differently, but this is not fair. Some want to keep all Muslims out of America. This is not right, and goes against everything America stands for, particularly the 1st Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion. There are many Muslims who are as peaceful and loving in their religious beliefs as anyone else, and should be able to come here and live.

 

Despite all the wrongs we have done to the Native Americans, they are now finally using their right to protest. They are protesting the continuation of the pipeline through their lands in the Dakotas. Whites should care as much about this land as do the descents of those from whom it was stolen. Native Americans are still taking of Mother Earth. Please listen to the important video below. Listen and take a stand. One you can be proud of.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

” I, too, am America.” – Langston Hughes


 

I have been thinking about Black Lives Matter.

 

First of all, I am totally behind this movement. In fact, I hope it grows by leaps and bounds. I also wish it started a couple of hundred years ago. This is not realistic, I know, but I wish it were.

 

I have been writing at different times about Black Americans  who, through luck or circumstance, have made a difference in the world;  enough of a difference that history records their deeds and contributions to civilizations. Inventors, freedom fighters, writers, fighters for freedom, poets, doctors and others.

 

Because every black life matters, I want to take the time to honor every black person who survived every day of their life in slavery. They all matter. Every black person who lived through segregation matters; From the domestics who worked for white people, to those who drank at the black water fountain to those who rode at the back of buses. Black men who were referred to as “boy”;  any black person who was referred to as “nigger”: You all shine to me. Your courage and strength of character is amazing. You were brave and tread where angels feared to go.

 

Since there has been integration — at the cost of hundreds of black lives and Martin Luther King Jr. , JFK and Bobby Kennedy — there have been some improvements. My children and grandchildren went to school with and are friends with black people and other minorities, including Native Americans.

 

Today, there should be no more racism. In America alone, there are millions of black people who have so much to give. What they need is for us white, Caucasian, people to let go of racism and give them a chance at educations equal to what our children receive.

 

Black parents need to tell your children that they are wonderful and smart and will be successful in life. However to do this, they need to be able to stop spending time teaching their children what to do when the inevitable cop stops them because of the color of their skin. How to answer their questions, where their hands should be, the tone of voice they should use: the type of training white children never receive because no cop will stop and frisk them for being white.

 

In another life, I marched and picketed in many cities in different states including Washington DC. I never got arrested. I believe my whiteness had a lot to do with that. I can have a sarcastic voice, so I doubt it was because I was so sweet.

 

American society has pushed the black portion of our society about as far as they are willing to go. I don’t blame them. Would your white friends take what black people are expected to swallow? Mine wouldn’t and neither would I.

 

America has come to yet another fork in the road that makes up our society. There have been enough black lives taken, like Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown and so many others. What could they have accomplished had they not been treated as “other” all of their lives? What if they had been told how well they were doing in school, if college had been talked about as a natural step in their growing up? What if their teachers had told them to keep working, they were going to make it? What if one or two had graduated as Valedictorian?

 

What if every child in America, no matter what color they were, or what disabilities they had, would have an equal chance in their life?

 

Well, I am going to say it to any one who wants to hear it:

You, too, are America.

You are a unique child of God/Goddess and you can accomplish whatever you want to.

You are good, smart, strong and people believe in you.

You can ignore those around you who don’t want you to succeed.

You were made to accomplish big things and you can.

Believe in yourself,

I believe in you. I believe in every black person in America.

 

Black Lives Do Indeed Matter.

 

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

 

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Some of the great black Back Americans who have made America stronger.

Some of the great  Back Americans who have made America stronger.

Human Trafficking


 

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CINCINNATI — She said she was ashamed that she traded her 11-year-old daughter for sex to get heroin, but the judge pointed out that April Corcoran never offered an apology to the child.

“You showed no kind of mercy,” Judge Leslie Ghiz said.

In turn, Ghiz said she’d have no mercy on Corcoran and sentenced her to 51 years to life during her sentencing Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

Corcoran, 32, of Warren County, pleaded guilty in June to multiple counts of complicity to rape, of human trafficking and child endangering involving the child. Corcoran also admitted giving the girl heroin sometimes as a reward. The child vomited each time.

Ghiz allowed Corcoran to read a statement in court.

“I made selfish, horrible choices that will affect (the girl) for the rest of her life,” Corcoran said. “I am consumed by guilt and shame every day.”

That didn’t move the judge.

The girl was sodomized, raped, forced to perform oral sex and frequently videotaped by Corcoran’s drug dealer in his Camp Washington home, prosecutors say. The encounters happened between February and June 2014.

Shandell Willingham, 42, who faces the same charges as Corcoran, has been convicted in Indiana on unrelated drug charges as well as on child pornography charges. He was returned to Hamilton County last month. A hearing in his case is set for Aug. 10.

The girl’s grandparents told the judge they hoped for justice for their granddaughter and that others would be protected from Corcoran. The girl’s grandmother spoke quietly in court.

“I saw my granddaughter. I heard her small voice,” Sylvia Corcoran said. “It was horrific. How could she (Corcoran) do this? I don’t know if my granddaughter is going to be able to have a normal life.”

The girl, now, 13, is living out of state with her father and stepmother.

Ghiz said she had to take breaks while reading everything that was admitted into the court case.

“I can honestly say that, in three-and-a-half years on the bench, this is by far the worst thing that has come before this court,” Ghiz said. And she’s seen everything from thefts to physical harm done by people addicted to heroin, she said.

“I don’t know that you grasp the damage that has been done to this poor child,” Ghiz said, noting that the girl is undergoing medical care, has had suicidal thoughts and is taking medications.

Corcoran’s lawyer, James Bogen, said his client has been “sickened and disgusted” by what she’s done since she’s been jailed.

Dr. Daniel Bebo of UC Health told the court that when someone’s in withdrawal from opioids or heroin,  “There’s a lot of leeway to what they’ll say or do.”

But he confirmed Bogen’s statement in court about addicts: “They still know right from wrong.”

Staff writer Kevin Grasha contributed.

 

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This case sickens me and makes me feel that we can never save every child. But we can and we will. The sentence this woman received was just and fair. What she allowed her daughter to live through is beyond description.

What a sad way to begin your life. That little girl needs a lot of counseling and people who care about her to surround her with positiveness, love, support and patience.

 

So in the middle of wars, insurrections, domestic terrorism, Domestic Violence, rape; we must not forget the human trafficking that continues to go on. You can help. If you see or hear something suspicious report it. Better to be wrong than to let something terrible happen to someone.

 

Human trafficking is increasing in infrequency and young people of all colors are being taken and sold. This is just slavery, pure and simple. Every human being has a God given right to live free, to make their own decisions and to never be owned by another human being. I believe that sentences for human trafficking should always be life without parole. The cost of the crime should be worse than people want to pay.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

 

Human trafficking in Romania

Human trafficking in Romania