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Blog Action Day – October 15th

Last year, Kuwait bloggers were amazing in their support of Blog Action Day, which is October 15th. This year the theme is POVERTY. This is just a reminder, we still have time to think about our blog action day articles. Please go to their website (click on the blue type above) and sign up, indicating you will participate. So far, over 4,500 bloggers worldwide have committed to participate this year.

This is reprinted from their Blog Action Day 2008 page:

How to Make Blog Action Day 2008 Unforgettable
September 23rd, 2008 by Easton Ellsworth

1. Ponder.

Think about poverty.

Ponder the plight of the world’s poor and your place in the grand scheme of things.

Consider the things you have that others have not.

Let the numbers appall you. Let the images disturb your sleep. Let the complexities of the causes and solutions vex you.

Let the depth and emotion of this sensitive subject rock you to your core.

2. Believe.

Do you really think that you can make a difference in the global conversation this October 15 just by blogging about poverty and doing something about it?

We believe you can.

Do you?

3. Dream.

There is no such thing as a lack of opportunity – only a lack of vision.

This is not a pointless exercise. This is a chance to grab the world by the ears for one day.

You have the power to rally hundreds of people around you in your family, friends and community to do something on October 15 that calls attention to the issue of poverty.

There is no limit to what you can do – unless you think there is.

So dream up a brave, original way to make the world a little richer, even if only in knowledge, through your participation in Blog Action Day 2008.

4. Act.

Make Blog Action Day not just a day of blogging, but also a day of action.

Our worldwide impact will be great if we all talk about this issue, but far greater if we do something about it and talk about what we are doing.

5. Share.

Let the world know your true thoughts and opinions about poverty on October 15.

Use your blog, your social media accounts, and any other means you can to spread your ideas.

Join with other Blog Action Day participants to generate a collective noise far louder than any you could could muster on your own.

6. Change.

Decide to care a little more about poverty from now on. When it comes up in conversation, take it seriously. Changing the conversation is the first step toward changing the people in it.

Please join us in making Blog Action Day 2008 an unforgettable experience for thousands – maybe millions – of people across the world.

Your Turn

What other ideas do you have? How can Blog Action Day 2008 actually make a real difference to the world of tomorrow?

photo by Franco Folini

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Charity, Community, Cross Cultural, Family Issues, Fund Raising, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | 7 Comments

Compassion Fatigue

At the book club meeting, the topic turned to the feral cats and dogs. I saw one yesterday, a beautiful little dog, long haired. He still looked pretty good, but a little frantic, running along a busy road. I worried – and I couldn’t stop.

One member was telling us her experience with a local animal rescue group – “I called, and asked them to come get a group of cats. I’ve been feeding them for months. They asked if I could touch them and when I said ‘no’, they told me to taper off feeding them, that if they were going to survive, they needed to learn how to forage for themselves! Can you believe it? They are there to HELP the animals!”

Another, quieter member of the group chimed in “But they only have so many people, so many hours in the day, and so many resources. They can’t save them all.”

The group fell into a silence for a short while as we all thought about that.

I have worked most of my life with people who need help. It made a religious person out of me – I had to pray all the time against hardness of heart. When you work for a charitable organization, there are people who know your system even better that you do, who come in with all the right information and get help that they may – or may not – really need. There are people who will lie to your face without blinking an eye. To survive, you have to focus on the successes, not the failures.

To survive, charitable organizations have to define what they want to accomplish narrowly. For example finding homes for abandoned pets is a limited, manageable goal. It doesn’t help all the the starving feral cats and dogs, etc., but it helps a small segment of the animal population, those least able to care for themselves – animals who have been dependent on human beings. Tackling the larger problem really needs the resources of a nation, state or city – and a professional Animal Control Unit. When I hear of police trying to track down a lion escaped from a private citizen’s collection (and that really happened in Fintas!) I shudder in horror – how would YOU like to corner a lion in a dark cement basement somewhere? Do they have any training in animal behavior/ animal control?

I worked for a year with the homeless, as part of a transitional housing program. We coordinated with state and local agencies, got single mothers into school, found babysitting, gave them the tools to become employed and have a better life. You would be amazed at the women who wanted the freebies – the nice housing, the babysitting, etc – but didn’t want the skills that would enable them to provide for themselves, or, more heartbreakingly, for their children.

I worked for a foundation providing scholarships and educational benefits for needy children – many of whom had parents who sabotaged their success. We opened a door of opportunity, and some parents were jealous or resentful – and slammed it shut.

In every case, we had to focus on the successes, and there were many. The successes kept us going on dark days, when we lost a client we had hoped would make it.

But here is also what happens. When organizations exist to help with a problem or situation, then we call them and expect them to solve the problem. We complain about them when they explain their limitations. Sometimes, it may even be a big donor who wants a favor – a favor that just can’t be done. “After all I’ve done for you!” they exclaim, not understanding that there has to be a line, and that the boundary protects the organization from going under because they try to solve too many problems at once. They can’t come out to pick up the outdoor cat who has been in a fight – they ask YOU to care. They ask YOU to take that cat to the vet and pay for it’s repair. They are doing all that they can do already; your request is outside the limits of what they can do.

When you know people are in trouble – step up to the plate – don’t just say “someone ought to do something”, BE that someone.

Find your talent – packing up bags for Operation Hope – Kuwait, or finding donations of coats, socks, shoes, scarves to keep the poorest of the poor warm through winters that can be bone-chilling here in Kuwait. Organize meals from your local mosque – what better way to teach the goodness of God than by feeding the hungry?

Help organize a fundraiser for the blind, or the autistic, or the charity that pulls at your heartstrings. Work to have a bad law changed. Find one small way, like blogger 3baid’s PaperDump to reduce paper usage in Kuwait. Organize a beach clean-up. Set the example by throwing your trash in the trash bin. Organize a re-use program for eyeglasses. Walk a dog. Socialize a cat. Feed and clothe the poor. Trust me, it will do you at least as much good than it does the recipient.

Back to the problem of abandoned and unwanted pets in Kuwait. No one wants to see animals in pain, abused. No one wants to see suffering. You can help there, too.

There are two animal welfare organizations in Kuwait, PAWS and AWL. Both have passionate and committed supporters, and they could also use your help.

The organizations can’t do it alone. They need YOU. Next time you find yourself about to criticize an organization for not being helpful, please, ask yourself “how can I make a difference here?” Inconvenience yourself a little. Take that first step. You’ll be happy you did.

Photo of a very content rescued cat:

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Community, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships, Social Issues | 4 Comments