Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blood-system stem cells

A research collaboration lead by Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found a subpopulation of hematopoietic stem cells, which generate all blood and immune system cells, that reproduce much more slowly than previously anticipated. Use of these cells may improve the outcome of stem cell transplants – also called bone marrow transplants – for the treatment of leukemia and other marrow-based diseases. The report has been published on line by the journal Nature Biotechnology to coincide with a similar study in the journal Cell.

“Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation saves many lives every day and is the most established therapeutic application of stem cells, but ironically we know very little about the cells that have made this clinical success possible,” says Harvard Medical School assistant professor Hanno Hock, MD, PhD, of HSCI and the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine, who led the study. “If we can improve our understanding of the biology of these cells, we should be able to offer our patients more therapeutic options.”

It has been believed that the entire population of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow reproduce at a rate of about 7 percent per day, with each cell dividing every two weeks. But previous investigations of stem cell proliferation appear to have missed the fact that some cells divide much less frequently. The MGH team developed a mouse model in which HSCs could be induced to express a green fluorescent label for a limited period of time. Tracking how long cells retained the label after its expression was halted would indicate how long a cell remained in a resting phase between cell divisions.

While 80 percent of the labeled HSCs were observed to proliferate at the expected rate, 20 percent of cells reproduced much more slowly, dividing once every 100 days or longer. Another experiment found that a gene believed to keep HSCs in a resting state was not required to maintain the reduced rate of cell division in these slow-cycling HSCs, and a mathematical model of HSC proliferation only matched what was actually seen in the labeled mouse model if it assumed two populations of HSCs with differing rates of cell division.

To test whether the rate of proliferation changed the cells’ ability to repopulate bone marrow, stem cell transplants were conducted using HSCs that had been labeled several months earlier and retained varying levels of the green marker – with higher label intensity signifying the slowly proliferating cells. The best results were achieved with cells maintaining the most label, which would signify the slow-cycling population, while cells in which the label was weakest were least able to repopulate the animals’ marrow.

“Our results suggest that we understand a lot less about HSCs than we thought,” Hock says. “If we can find more markers for these slow-cycling cells and identify them in human bone marrow, we may be able to make more of them and find additional clinical applications.” Co-lead authors of the report are Adlen Foudi, PhD, and Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Center. Additional co-authors are Denille Van Buren and Jeffrey Schindler, MGH; Rudolf Jaenisch, MD, Whitehead Institute, and Vincent Carey, PhD, Harvard Medical School.

The study was supported by grants from the Ellison Foundation, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the American Society for Hematology, the National Institute of Health, the Kimmel Foundation and the V Foundation.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Make it a better place!

Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow

GONAÏVES, Haiti, 22 September 2008 – Looking down from helicopter at the devastation wrought by a month of hurricanes and catastrophic flooding, actress Mia Farrow made an immediate comparison.

“I thought of the tsunami and those terrible images,” said the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, referring to the Indian Ocean disaster almost four years ago.

Touring the city by truck from the United Nations on-site emergency coordination centre, Ms. Farrow visited shelters housing thousands of people who were still recovering from a 2004 hurricane when last month’s chain of storms and rain again rendered their homes uninhabitable.

Without the basic infrastructure in place to deal with a massive amount of mud and polluted floodwaters, Gonaïves – a city of 350,000 – is literally stuck.

“All over town, it’s like a big ‘SOS’,” said Ms. Farrow. “People around the world responded so generously to the tsunami, and I’m wondering why we haven’t responded as generously to the Haitian disaster, especially with Haiti one hour from our shores [in the United States]. This is happening right in our own backyard.”

A demand for greater urgency

Accompanying Ms. Farrow on her visit was the President of UNICEF Canada, Nigel Fisher. As a UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNICEF Regional Director prior to joining the Canadian national committee, Mr. Fisher has headed up emergency responses in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places.

“What I see is much less activity here. People with almost nothing are getting very little help,” said Mr. Fisher. “In the whole day in Gonaïves, we didn’t see one pump. We didn’t see any heavy equipment to move the dirt and the mud. So the people are pretty much on their own.”

To date, UNICEF and other humanitarian aid groups have delivered over 1,000 metric tonnes of food and non-food supplies to Gonaïves. UNICEF and its partners are also working to help find secure shelter for families in need. But only a small fraction of the funding requested from a UN flash appeal for Haiti has been pledged.

For Gonaïves, the road to recovery is long, and the end is hardly in sight.

“What we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg of decades of chronic decline and increased poverty,” said Mr. Fisher. “The people here are condemned by both internal neglect and international indifference.”

Schools bear the brunt

The task at hand is particularly urgent as the government struggles to meet an already delayed start date for the school year, which is now scheduled to begin on 6 October. With nearly all of the schools in the disaster zones currently being used as shelters, however, that will mean relocating thousands of families and intensively rehabilitating school structures to make them safe and sanitary for students.

Even in the best circumstances, education is one of Haiti’s weakest links. About 67 per cent or school-age children are registered, but far fewer attend. Only 2 per cent finish their secondary education.

Even before the storms, many families were constrained from sending their children to school because of tuition costs and other school fees. Rising food prices, too, have wiped out money put aside for schooling.

Orphans of the storm

At an orphanage in Gonaïves, Ms. Farrow and Mr. Fisher visited 25 children who were safe and clean after the storm, but were cramped into the second story of their school while the first floor remained under several inches of water.

The orphanage director pointed to the children’s latrines, which were accessible only by tramping through deep, putrid mud. “Please help us,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the youngest children in the facility had a different request.

“One little boy said, ‘Stay with us, I don’t want you to go,’” recalled Ms. Farrow. “He said, ‘I will pray for you.’ And I was thinking, if anyone needed prayers and help now, it’s…these orphans on the second floor.

“Those are the most abandoned of an abandoned population,” she concluded, shaking her head sadly. “And he said he would pray for me.”

Afghan children get a chance to be immunized

NANGAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, 22 September 2008 – Afghan and international forces, including the Taliban, have been asked to lay down their weapons in support of the biggest Peace Day that Afghanistan has ever experienced.

Yesterday’s UN International Day of Peace was marked by marches, gatherings and ceremonies. Kites flew all over the country.

UNICEF, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Health Organization in Afghanistan urged all sides to take Peace Day as an opportunity to renew their commitment to children’s health and well-being. They asked that schools, literacy centres, students and teachers be protected from attacks.

From January through 20 September 2008, more than 200 school attacks have taken place in Afghanistan, resulting in 37 deaths.

Polio immunization drive

About 14,000 vaccinators are using the hoped-for pause in violence to immunize children against polio in insecure districts in the southern and eastern and western regions of the country – all as part of the National Immunization Days organized by UNICEF, WHO and the Ministry of Public Health.

The three-day campaign, from 21-23 September, will cover districts in Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Nangahar and Lagman, as well as the western region of Farah.

“We will give access to the polio vaccination teams to carry out their activities,” said a statement issued by the Taliban.

Eighteen cases of polio have been reported in Afghanistan so far this year, compared with nine cases during the same period last year. Most of these cases are in the country’s southern and eastern provinces, where access is difficult due to ongoing conflict.

“It is possible to eradicate polio in Afghanistan. However, a commitment is required from all parties to the conflict and [from] communities,” said UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan Catherine Mbengue.

“Our goal is to reach every child in Afghanistan,” she added.

‘A window for peace’

“Today’s events show the huge demand that exists for peace in Afghanistan,” said the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Kai Eide, in his Peace Day message. “A window for peace has been opened, through which the people of Afghanistan are making themselves heard.

“Peace for a day is a start,” he continued. “Peace that is enduring must be our common goal.”

Peace Day was established by a UN resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the General Assembly officially declared 21 September as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

These are some news from UNICEF. I'll bring some more. Yes, I think together we can change the world if we put our minds into it. I'm so happy to see that beautiful things are going on around the world and that some people still care.

Fund 4 Darfur!
Support Darfur by donating online and helping the people that have survived and are in despretly need of our help!!!!Organise events and raise money for Darfur!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Alive, With Cancer

Alive, With Cancer

Cancer is not a death sentence. The nearly 10 million survivors throughout the United States are living proof. Unfortunately, this stereotypical characterization of the disease is alive and well.

In the early 1970s when little was understood about the disease and treatments were limited, survival was considered a coin toss—at best a 50/50 chance. As if that was not bad enough, patients were sick from toxic anticancer drugs and radiation, and their bodies were often mutilated from radical surgical procedures. These images sadly still cast shadows over the amazing discoveries and triumphs of the last decade.

Today, scientists and clinicians understand that cancer is a disease of genetic mistakes, both inherited and acquired. We can screen for some of them with the goal of preventing the disease from occurring, and if it does occur, we now have treatments that specifically target these errors, eliminating many of the side effects. Breast-sparing, nerve-sparing, and speech-preserving, are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the cancer surgeries performed today. They are surgical techniques that remove tumors while preserving dignity and quality of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, survivorship is on the rise, with steady increases noted over the last three years. Adjuvant therapies, combined therapies, clinical trials, and prevention trials are all examples of advances that have helped tip the scales so that now there are more people alive with cancer than dying from the disease.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The UN refugee agency in South Ossetia

At this moment, tens of thousands of civilians are living in precarious conditions, having been driven from their homes by the crisis in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.
Yesterday, the first UNHCR plane carrying emergency aid arrived in the Georgian capital T'bilisi – the first international assistance to arrive in the country since fighting broke out last week. This included tents, blankets, jerry cans and kitchens sets from our central emergency stockpile.
Over the weekend, I made an appeal to the Georgian and Russian authorities to establish humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee the conflict zones.
The UN refugee agency has a long-established presence in the region and, since 1993, has been caring for some 275,000 people displaced previously.
Working with local partners, we are now providing assistance to the most vulnerable and needy. These include many young children and family members separated from one another. The situation is evolving rapidly and we are monitoring the needs of the newly displaced population, which now numbers some 100,000.
We urgently need more supplies. We are working actively to get aid to South Ossetia, which has been cut off by the security situation. We also hope to reach at least 30,000 people who have fled across the border into North Ossetia in the Russian Federation.
Please help by donating to our emergency appeal.

We expect the cost of the operation to reach into the millions, so I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m hoping that we can count on you to help.

Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated and make all the difference.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

UNICEF Executive Director concludes visit to Madagascar

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 30 July 2008 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman concluded her visit to
Madagascar by
launching a tetanus campaign in the rural town of Andilamena with the Minister of Health, Dr. Ralainirina Paul Richard, and local officials.

Despite impressive progress in decreasing child mortality rates, Madagascar is one of the only countries in the world – and one of nine in the East and Southern African region – that has not eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus.

“Death due to tetanus is painful,” said Veneman. “But one visit to the local health centre, for a simple immunization, can help save a baby’s life.”

Tetanus, which accounts for an estimated 5 to 7 per cent of all neonatal deaths, is preventable through a vaccination. It is the first immunization that a child will ever receive as it is given by vaccinating the mother before she gives birth.

Benefits of birth registration

Veneman also launched an appeal for all families to register their children at birth. An estimated 25 per cent of Madagascar’s children are not registered.

Many of those children will be left behind without access to basic health services and education. A child without a birth certificate is more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, early marriage and child labour.
To better understand the situation of vulnerable children in Madagascar, Veneman met with young victims of abuse and exploitation.

“We want our parents to protect us so that we can go to school and we want the perpetrators to be arrested,” a young girl survivor of sexual exploitation told Veneman.

The UNICEF Executive Director also visited a community in the outskirts of the capital, Antananarivo, where the Madagascar Rotary Club had installed a pump, which provides clean water for a community of 300 families.

“Water is essential to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” she said. “Water is critical for life, for health and for food production.”

The President of Madagascar, H.E. Marc Ravalomanana, emphasized to Veneman that improving access to safe water and sanitation is a key objective of the government.


UNICEF works on the ground in more than 150 developing and transitional countries to help children survive and thrive. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF works to advance the Millennium Development Goals by supporting child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, access to clean water and sanitation, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation and AIDS.

About the UNICEF Executive Director:

Ann M. Veneman assumed the leadership of UNICEF on 1 May 2005, becoming the fifth Executive Director to lead UNICEF in its 60-year history. Prior to joining UNICEF, Veneman served as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
At UNICEF, Veneman directs a global agency of over 10,000 staff and annual total resources of more than $3 billion, funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of governments, businesses, foundations and individuals. Since assuming the position of Executive Director, she has traveled to more than 40 countries, witnessing firsthand the work of UNICEF, speaking at meetings and conferences, and visiting heads of state or government and other partners.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

For nine million refugee youth, a chance to learn and play

UN Refugee Agency Launches Innovative Global Campaign with Corporate Partners to Help World's Refugee Youth

LONDON (20 June 2006 – World Refugee Day) – Nine million faces. Nine million names.
Nine million stories. They are the world's forgotten refugee youth. Today, an innovative global campaign is being launched to bring them attention and a better future, a chance to change their future through the power of education and sport. Called, the campaign aims to create a global community dedicated to giving the world's refugee youth the chance to learn and play.

is being launched as part of World Refugee Day by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with the support of founding campaign partners Nike, Inc. and Microsoft,
both founding members of UNHCR's Council of Business Leaders, and Right To Play,
the Toronto-based international humanitarian organization dedicated to using sport and play to foster the healthy physical, social and emotional development of children in refugee camps worldwide.

" is about giving the world's refugee youth a chance to see beyond their current situation and begin to rebuild their lives," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "Our greatest priority is to help refugees in crisis and to find lasting solutions for them. Once out of harm's way, the needs of refugees continue despite having moved off the front pages, and those needs far exceed existing sources of funding. All too often, the world's nine million refugee youth become the most forgotten. They are denied their basic rights to childhood and are left with uncertain futures. can help refugee youth by giving them a chance to learn and play, a chance to change their future through education and sport."

Kicking off the campaign is a 30-second public service announcement featuring Brazilian football star Ronaldo, a UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Goodwill Ambassador. The public service announcement is available for viewing at, which features individual portraits and biographies of refugee youth from camps in Azerbaijan, Uganda and Thailand. These are youth who have seen their parents killed, have fled their homes because of war, or who have been born in a refugee camp and known nothing else. Yet despite the trauma and conflict of their lives, and the harsh conditions of a refugee camp, they are connected by a universal love of sport and the desire to learn and create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. is committed to giving them that chance.

In addition to raising awareness about refugee youth, is the primary way individuals can donate money to the campaign. To kick off the fund-raising effort, the Nike Foundation announced a matching grant for the first US$1 million donated to

Nike, Inc. supported UNHCR by developing the overall concept and content for and enlisted key support from other council members such as Microsoft. Nike developed the public service announcement with Ronaldo and other video of refugee youth in Azerbaijan, Uganda and Thailand. T-shirts featuring the logo will be available for purchase at select Nike retail outlets worldwide, with net proceeds supporting the campaign. Additionally, Nike has donated 40,000 balls, designed specifically for durability in harsh refugee camp conditions, to UNHCR for refugee kids. Nike also will broaden awareness of by creating a digital presence on and, and by launching a community on

Microsoft is supporting through MSN, its online media network, by hosting and localizing the Web site content in nine languages and providing 2.8 billion impressions of primary advertising media worth an estimated US$1 million, plus editorial placement and promotional support for the campaign. MSN is featuring on local portal, Hotmail and Messenger sites in the top ten markets in Europe and on in the United States. In the European markets, MSN is also featuring on MSN's popular "Road to the World Cup" channel. In addition, Microsoft will support education projects through donations of software to non-governmental organization partners, as well as the provision of curriculum and basic training content.

Two-thirds of money raised through will be distributed by UNHCR to support education in refugee communities, including fundamental education and life skills training; HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention; gender sensitivity; and peace education programs for war-torn communities. The remaining one-third will fund access to customized sport and play programs by Right To Play for refugee youth, with an emphasis on getting girls and young women onto the playing field.

Other companies supporting

Earth Water International, the Canada-based bottled water company that contributes 100 percent of its net profits to UNHCR, will feature the campaign logo on its newly designed labels. Currently sold throughout Canada, Earth Water will expand its distribution to the United States later this summer and to Western Europe and Asia in the coming year.

Manpower Inc. will support through broad internal and external outreach. The company's CEO will invite the more than 27,000 Manpower employees across 4,400 offices in 72 countries to get involved and spread the word in their local communities. Information on also will be available on the company's Web site, and campaign information will be distributed to Manpower's vast client and temporary employee/contractor networks.

Merck & Co, Inc., in collaboration with UNHCR and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) is delivering nursing knowledge and related training for health workers in refugee camps located in Tanzania and Zambia through a program of mobile nursing libraries. The libraries will increase access to the latest nursing and health information to meet refugee health priorities.
Merck is also supporting through its Partnership for Giving Program, which will match employee contributions to the campaign.

The National Basketball Association and Women's National Basketball Association will support, through NBA Cares, the League's global outreach initiative. The NBA will be broadcasting the public service announcement on NBA TV, and information on will also be available on

Procter & Gamble also joined via its Children's Safe Drinking Water program. Procter & Gamble will provide more than 1 million sachets of PUR Purifier of Water for safe drinking water in refugee camps. The company also will link to from its Web site and encourage employees to join the campaign.


Additional media information, including the video, is available at

                                                     Run for a noble cause!!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jackie Chan in Timor-Leste

On a recent visit with the young people of Timor-Leste, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan encouraged them to use martial arts as a peaceful, unifying force.

Timor-Leste, which received its independence six years ago, is one of the poorest nations in East Asia and the Pacific. In recent years, the country has descended into violence.
With it, martial arts, once a popular activity for Timorese youths interested in sports and fitness, have also suffered a setback,
with more and more young people applying their skills to acts of crime and violence.

Mr. Chan reminded some 3,500 young people gathered at the national stadium that “it does not matter what school of martial arts we are from as long as we are united. Training for martial arts helps you to strengthen your eyes, your mind and your body. When you have a good body and mind, let's help people. Don't harm them.”

The Government of Timor-Leste recognizes that strong youth-focused policies, as well as better education and employment opportunities, are critical to the country’s future. UNICEF is working with the government to protect and promote the rights of young people.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Nations unite for World Malaria Day 2008

NEW YORK, USA, 24 April 2008 – Ten years after UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners launched the Roll Back Malaria initiative, malaria is still the single largest child killer in Africa. The disease takes the lives of some 3,000 children per day.

Of the more than 350 million people who are infected with malaria every year, 90 per cent live in sub-Saharan Africa. Work done by the Roll Back Malaria partners has brought millions of children and their families increased access to health and prevention tools, but the threat remains.

These partners, along with governments and public and private-sector organizations, will come together on 25 April, World Malaria Day 2008, in an effort ramp up global action to combat the disease.

‘Curable and preventable’

In malaria-endemic nations, governments spend as much as 40 per cent of their public health expenditures on malaria. This spending, which can be crippling to economic development, is still not enough to cover both treatment and prevention measures – including improved water and sanitation facilities, increased insecticide spraying and the mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs).

“It is unacceptable that malaria still kills more than 1 million people, mostly children, every year,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
“Malaria is a curable and preventable disease that can be controlled by increasing the use of mosquito nets and other proven interventions as part of integrated, community-based programmes.”

With the assistance of partners such as the
European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department and the Government of Japan, UNICEF has become the largest procurer and distributor of ITNs, having provided more than 18 million nets in 2007. The nets drastically reduce malarial infections.

The Roll Back Malaria partners have also funded and participated in local and national health drives, spreading awareness about the importance of malaria prevention and early treatment. These efforts have gone a long way, but an increase in sustained funding is necessary to allow the partners to build on their success.

A disease without borders

Malaria is endemic in 107 countries and territories where 40 per cent of the world’s population lives. It is truly a disease without borders, the theme for World Malaria Day this year.

“In Ethiopia, 18 million long-lasting insecticidal nets that protect against malaria have been distributed since 2005, and in Kenya 10 million nets have been distributed in the past five years,” noted Ms. Veneman. “These successes show what can be achieved with concerted action.
But with 800,000 African children dying from malaria every year,
it is clear that much remains to be done.”

It will cost an estimated $3.2 billion to achieve global control of malaria. Through increased public and private commitments and partnerships, Roll Back Malaria has raised $1 billion so far.

Investments in malaria control would greatly assist endemic nations in reaching the Millennium Development Goals on extreme poverty and child mortality. Achieving these benchmarks and rolling back malaria, however, will require the commitment of the entire community of nations.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa, albanian: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.
By the 1970s she had become internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary, and book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.

Mother Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulties. She had no income and had to resort to begging for food and supplies. Teresa experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early months.
She wrote in her diary:

“ Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross.
Today I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them.
While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then the comfort of Loreto [her former order] came to tempt me. 'You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again,' the Tempter kept on saying ... Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come."

Teresa received Vatican permission on October 7, 1950 to start the diocesan congregation that would become the Missionaries of Charity.
    "The hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone."

In 1952 Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in space made available
by the City of Calcutta.
With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into
the Kalighat Home for the Dying, a free hospice for the poor.
She renamed it Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday).

"A beautiful death," she said, "is for people who lived like animals to die like angels — loved and wanted."
Mother Teresa soon opened a home for those suffering from Hansen's disease,
commonly known as leprosy, and called the hospice Shanti Nagar (City of Peace).
On March 13, 1997, she stepped down from the head of Missionaries of Charity and died on September 5, 1997.
Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her
death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes
for people with AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.
Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Missionaries care for those who include refugees, ex-prostitutes, the mentally ill, sick children, abandoned children, lepers, AIDS victims, the aged, and convalescent.
They have schools run by volunteers to educate street children, they run soup kitchens,
as well as many other services as per the communities' needs.
They have 19 homes in Kolkata (Calcutta) alone which include homes for women, for orphaned children, and for the dying; an AIDS hospital, a school for street children, and a leper colony.
These services are provided to people regardless of their religion or social caste.

I must say that Mother Teresa was a blessing for the world, she lived her life as a Saint and helped people that were dying.
She was born to help the poor and lived every day with the love of Jessus in her heart,
even if she faced so many difficulties, loneliness, pain and suffering, she carried out her mission.
Mother Teresa is an example of faith, strengthbeliefkindness and most important, LOVE for all of us.
I respect her work and I wish
someday I could help at least half of the number of people she helped during her life.

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones-the ones at home.”

“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

"Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house... let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness.”

                          Death is being born to an eternal life!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

‘Albania Reads’ – IKEA donation

NEW YORK, USA, 25 February 2008 – UNICEF and IKEA are re-igniting enthusiasm for reading amongst a generation of children in Albania who have been deprived of books.

For almost two decades, libraries have been repurposed and school budgets slashed while the government has focussed on transitioning to democracy. Books have become a scarce and expensive commodity, out of reach for many poor families. The resulting dearth of literature has left well over half of Albanian 15-year-olds unable to complete more than the simplest reading tasks.

“At home I only have three books,” explains Ermedina Hoxha, 13. “The last books the school library received was six years ago but they are inappropriate. We also have books from the old Communist era. If you go to Peshkopi Library they have few books for children – sometimes only one copy.”

‘Learn to read, read to learn’

With €1 million from UNICEF’s largest corporate donor, the Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA, the ‘Albania Reads’ project aims to open a library in each of 850 schools. In collaboration with the government, libraries have already opened in 160 schools – to the delight of
children and teachers alike.
“What’s best is that the Albania Reads project works with the Ministry of Education so that the books we receive are the same books that children need in literature classes,” says Musa Nikolai, the teacher in charge of the new library at the school in Katundi i Ri.

Forty minutes from Ermedina’s hometown, Katundi i Ri is a small farming community
and typical of the target communities at the heart of Albania Reads.
Many children have no books at home, and it is not uncommon for girls to drop out of school at the age of 13.

“We know reading is very important for learning,” says UNICEF Representative in Albania Carrie Auer. “First you learn to read and then you read to learn. So if we want continuous achievement in school, reading is important.”

Re-establishing the culture of literacy

It is not only schoolchildren who benefit from the project. With the ability to check out books to take home, children are able to share them with parents and siblings. Extending the reading experience to the whole family can help to raise literacy levels across the entire society.

At the same time, teachers are being trained in new techniques to encourage reading, and an Albania Reads awareness campaign is planned to help re-establish the country’s
culture of literacy. Also in the works are a children’s magazine and a national literary award with winners to be decided by young people.

IKEA’s contribution to Albania Reads was part of a $10.5 million donation to UNICEF in 2007. Since 2001, IKEA has given UNICEF a total of $46.2 million to help improve the lives of children around the world.
The children are in desperate need of education!Why not help them?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Heal the world - UNHCR

1.What does UNHCR mean?
The UN Agency for Refugees. Created in 1951, today, UNHCR is responsable with giving the first-aid in 120 countries. UNHCR is the only agency with a specific purpose, to help and solve problems for the refugees all over the world. When people are forced to run away because of a war or persecutions, they go to the UNHCR for immediate assistance. They provide them food, shelter, water, medical care and safety. If necesary, they help them re-establish in other countries and start a new life. UNHCR is apolitical and helps all the refugees uninterested in their race, religion, political oppinions or sex. They focus on humanitarian needs and rights, especially for women and children.

2.Who is considered a refugee?
The Convention from 1951 regarding the refugees, defines the refugee as being a "person which, because of a certain fear to be persecuted for its race, religion, nationality,
being part of a social group or a political oppinion, beyond the borders of its country and because of this fear, doesn't want to remain under the protection of its country."

3.How many refugees are under UNHCR's care?
In 2005, the number of people assisted by UNHCR were almost 19.2 million.
These include almost 9.2 million refugees, 1.5 million repatriated persons, 840. 000 applicants for the asylum,
 over 5.5 million people inner displaced and over 2 million apatriated
 and other persons of much interest.
More then a half are women and children.
UNHCR operates in 116 countries.
They are active in almost every situation that leaves refugees and parts of the world that are in conflict.
From Columbia to Kosovo and from Angola to Afganistan, UNHCR is there to help people in need. They provide basic services, judicial protection and they want to develope long-lasting solutions for the refugees and other people in need.

It's about being human and trying to help other people that are in danger and need us to CARE!
Personally, I'd be excited to be a part of UNHCR and I'd love to do something for the others..


Every day, on average, more than 26,000 children under the age of five die around the world, mostly from preventable causes.
Nearly all of them live in the developing world or, more precisely, in 60 ’priority’ developing countries and territories.

Many developing countries have achieved some remarkable advances in reducing child deaths over the past few decades. However, much remains to be done. Concrete action must be taken to improve primary health care for mothers, newborns and children. Communities, governments and international health organizations must work together and unite their efforts for child survival.

The State of the World’s Children 2008 reviews the current state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children. It also examines the main threats to and solutions for improving child survival today.
The report states that in order to achieve these objectives, the key stakeholders – governments and communities, donors and international agencies, non-governmental organization and private sector collaborators will need to unite their actions and partnerships in support of maternal and child survival and health. Working together, we can ensure that mothers, newborns and children receive quality essential health services, improve their health and nutritional status, and place the survival of children at the heart of global efforts to advance humanity.
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    Try to make the world a better place for our children,
and our children's children so that they know it's a better world for them!