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By Sophie Newsome, edited by Jim Luce.

Olongapo, Philippines. The Jeepney’s engine is roaring up the streets that tie up the hills of Olongapo.  I am commuting to the PREDA Boys’ Home – a Social and Human Development Center.  PREDA is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) that has been active in the Philippines for 38 years.

The Boys’ Home, also known as Bukang Liwayway (BL) meaning “dawn” in Tagalog, is a rehabilitation center for boys currently ranging from 12 to 19 years old.  There is an average of 48 boys per year at BL.  These boys have been rescued from jails, the streets, drug use, or harmful family dynamics.  Most of the boys were imprisoned and accused of committing crimes ranging from theft to murder or rape.  With the help of PREDA paralegal officers, 70% of the boys’ cases get dropped.  Because children are easy targets they are often framed to appease victims.

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Waiting for Freedom by Aimiee Louise Laphan.

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New York, N.Y. Summer in New York City is a special time with heat, rain – and outdoor festivals!  On July 26, the Wan-Luv 2012 Summer Music Series will present a “Pre Carnival des Fleurs” celebration at The Ritz Plaza Park on Times Square.  Sponsored by Stonehenge Properties and produced by Hip Hop Saves Lives, the festival will highlight Haitian music, dance and culture.  It will bring together a festive crowd and include live music, D.J.s, and special guests.

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The Drum Circle of the Wan Luv Concert Series at The Ritz Plaza Park. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

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New Orleans, LA. I spoke this week with Sallie Ann Glassman who told me how proud the New Orleans Healing Center (NOHC) is to present an “Evening with Joan Rivers” next month in their facility.  “Uncensored.  Unscripted.  Unpredictable.”  How could I imagine anything else?  “This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ benefit performance for us and a rare opportunity to see the legendary comedian in such an intimate setting.  And the show is already completely sold out!

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By Pierre-Richard Bercy, edited by Jim Luce.

I was born and raised in Haiti. I moved to the U.S. to further my studies. Haiti’s educational system is very poor; many fortunate students like me tend to move overseas once they obtained their high school diploma. When I first went to college, I was enrolled into a nursing program mainly because my uncle persuaded me that the medical field was the best fit for me because I was on a student visa. Growing up in Haiti, I always had a passion for math, and believe me, there is a huge gap between math and medicine.

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A $1,200 loan for a new water pump enabled Entreprise Parole d’Ecclésiaste (EPE) to grow and sell fresh organic vegetables in Ladigue, Jérémie. The agricultural bounty that resulted has enabled the business to make timely payments on its loan. Photo: Zafèn.

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By Paul Roy Barigayomwe, edited by Jim Luce.

Haiti, categorized among the world’s poorest and least developed countries, has in recent years grappled with political instability, health crises, an annual barrage of hurricanes and a devastating earthquake, the worst in the region in over 200 years. In the midst of this trail of unending stories of trauma, pain and hopelessness emerges an untold story, a rainbow after a stormy day, In the Eye of the Spiral.

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The renowned Haitian author and artist Frankétienne with Raynald Leconte Executive Producer and co-Director of “In the Eye of the Spiral.” Photography by HCF.
 

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By Cynthia Artin, edited by Jim Luce.

New York N.Y. Shortly after the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Dr. Lauri Grossman, a New York City-based homeopath flew into Port-au-Prince with a team from Homeopaths Without Borders.  Together with other nurses and doctors she wished to bring healing and comfort to the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by the earth’s tremor.  Lauri (as she prefers to be called) left behind her successful Upper West Side practice, her teaching responsibilities and her speaking engagements because she’d worked in disaster areas before – for many months with trauma teams at Ground Zero in NYC – and because she knew she could make a difference by training health professionals in Haiti and by treating people- one man, woman, and child at a time.

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By Vanessa Cabezas, edited by Jim Luce.

New York, N.Y.  “Music is my Activism, Human is my Brand” are words MTV’s Made award-winning, soul-singer Maya Azucena lives by.  Maya’s mission to sing started when she was only four years old and has not stopped.  Most recently, Maya sang a tribute to Blues singer Bessie Smith at New York’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center and later ended the weekend headlining the women’s empowerment Red Hook Fest with her live band on a Pier in Brooklyn, Maya’s heart and home.  She just released a new music video of her fan-fav The Half - And that’s just a quarter of her activities this last month.  It’s always a busy season for Maya.

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New York, N.Y.  The most powerful, influential and international Indian leaders gathered in New York City recently to see who amongst them were worthy of award.  Why should we care?  For many reasons. Because India is the most populous democracy.  It is the second-most populous country anywhere, after China.  It is the world’s twelfth largest economy.  And it is big as well – nearly twice the size of New England.

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Pooja Batra and Sendhil Ramamurthy - Co-emcees for the Light of India Awards.
Photo: Michael Toolan.

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By Ambassador H.E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, edited by Jim Luce

The United Nations’ Secretary-General’s ninth report on civilians in armed conflict in 2012 states that the five core challenges for the protection of civilians continue to “remain urgent.”  It states that despite some progress, the ground reality has not qualitatively improved.  Particularly worrying is that gender-based violence, including sexual violence, attacks against children, schools, health facilities, and humanitarian access to affected populations, continue unabated.

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The Sri Lankan government provided care and medical assistance to the IDPs during the conflict.

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By Trevor H. Paul, edited by Jim Luce.

Tianjin, China.   I came to China just over eight months ago to provide an American education experience for Chinese students in Tianjin.  Since then I have had the opportunity to become the director of U-Excel International Academy and to develop a program that assists Chinese students in attending universities and high schools in America.  Our role as an institution is to educate and by educating to make the relationship between China, the United States, and the world better for everyone.  However, we are facing immense challenges to that dream.

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New York, N.Y.  I recently had the opportunity to attend The Osborne Association’s 2012 Annual Lighting the Way Breakfast where I heard an array of speakers, both polished and grassroots, speak on the need for prison reform here in New York and across these United States.  “Osborne,” as it is known by insiders, is an 80-year-old nonprofit that has pioneered programs that empower individuals with current or previous involvement in the criminal justice system to lead positive, healthy and productive lives, and to deepen connections to their families and communities.

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Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, whose father went to prison when she was a
teenager, shared her experience with the audience.  Picture with Donovan Clarke
Photo: Osborne Association.

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By Ralph DePalo, Ph.D.

New York, N.Y.  Leaders of the David Lynch Foundation (DLF), the Global Stress Initiative (GSI), and The Water Initiative met recently at the home of business leader and philanthropist Kevin McGovern to highlight the remarkable successes of these charitable organizations to overcome traumatic stress among at-risk youth, veterans and abused women and girls – as well as to purify the contaminated drinking water of billions of people worldwide.

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Host Kevin McGovern, the David Lynch Foundation’s Bob Roth, and Ed Schloeman.
Photo: Rose Billings.

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