#Kony2012: Should You Donate? How NGOs Work

When working on projects, we often say, “Chaos will ensue” and we’re happy when it does because it means we’re making progress. It’s also often said that “Inventions should cause disruption.” Sometimes that disruption is good and sometimes it’s bad. The kind of chaos and disruption Invisible Children’s #Kony2012 campaign has caused is good. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, you can’t argue against awareness about child soldiers and child sex slaves. If we don’t know, we can’t do anything. But there’s more to it than that, isn’t there? The concern is, “Should I donate?”

I serve as the treasurer for an NGO, as co-chair for a government set-up advisory board, and as the president of a church.

Ugh! My Electronics are Hurting People

Two passions of mine collided this week in my email; Congo and ending slavery today. I received an urgent email message from Free The Slaves, an anti-human trafficking organization that I follow to stay updated on the movement here in the US and abroad. The subject of the email is Urgent Action - Help us stop Conflict Minerals from the DRC. According to Wikipedia, conflict minerals refers to minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by the Congolese National Army and various armed rebel groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda. My email said minerals that come from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo turn up in electronics, in light bulbs, batteries and other everyday items. It would be hard to escape our connection to slavery and conflict in Congo. 

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Messengers of Peace

"Oh my goodnes!  I sat on your parakeet!"  I jumped up as the bird began flying around the room. 

"It's not my bird.  It's been on your back since you came in."  My neighbor said calmly as if it were perfectly normal to visit someone with a parakeet on your back.  It was my first time visiting her and when i felt the bird under me, i thought I had sat right on it.  Her son told us he saw it on my back as I approached the house.  To this day I have no idea where it came from.  As it flapped around her living room the thought went through my mind, 'She must think I'm crazy or rude or dirty.'   Instead, as the bird flew out of the apartment, she said, "It must be a sign." 

I'm not sure what she thought that bird was a sign of, but ever since that strange incident when a random parakeet rode my back into her living room, she has held me in high regard.   That bird helped me win a place in my neighbor's heart.   

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Bloggers in Child Soldiers


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