13 articles Articles posted in Charity

AIDS vs. Christianity

Husband sent me an email the other day with a link to this photo in it:

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I’ll give you a second to absorb the information in that photo…

Can you see the message it’s putting across? The map on the right shows the distribution and severity of the AIDS virus in Africa. The map on the left shows the concentration of religions (notably Christianity, in red) by country. There is an ALARMING correlation between the two maps, is there not?

When are we going to realise that religion is responsible for almost every major world issue that we’re facing today? The Catholic church is sending missionaries to African countries and spreading the belief that not only will they burn in hell for eternity if they use contraception, but that condoms do nothing to halt the spread of the disease  which is grossly wrong. The Wikipedia page on ‘Religion and HIV/AIDS’ says “Pope John Paul II strongly opposed the use of artificial birth control, and rejected the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.[8] Pope Benedict XVI stated in 2005 that condoms were not a sufficient solution to the AIDS crisis,[9] but then in 2009 claimed that AIDS “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.””

The irony of the statement above becomes even greater when you factor in the fact that the Catholic church considers AIDS and HIV to be a ‘gay’ disease and punishment for promiscuous behaviour, yet actively blocks gay marriage and the concept of monogamy for gay couples. We’ve let religion dictate our political decisions for far too long.

I’m by no means lumping every Christian into this category, but there are extremists in every denomination and the western world needs to wake up to the fact that telling citizens of a country which has an AIDS pandemic that condoms don’t protect against AIDS is religious extremism in its worst form.

It’s being reported that rape is being used as a weapon more than ever in many African nations since the explosion in infection rates of HIV and AIDS. The Unitied Nations University said “One striking difference between the use of rape as a weapon of war in pre-1990 conflicts and in latter-day wars is the emergence and “willful” transmission of HIV to the victims. Serious questions have been raised in the social science literature about the actual time of transmission and infection, and whether the “intent” of the perpetrators could conclusively be to infect the victim with HIV. Nonetheless, there is evidence from the victims’ accounts confirming the deliberate nature of these acts.

In her 2004 book, The Right to Survive: Sexual Violence, Women and HIV/AIDS, Françoise Nduwimana reported the testimony of one of the many rape victims during the genocide:

“For 60 days, my body was used as a thoroughfare for all the hoodlums, militia men and soldiers in the district.… Those men completely destroyed me; they caused me so much pain. They raped me in front of my six children.… Three years ago, I discovered I had HIV/AIDS. There is no doubt in my mind that I was infected during these rapes.””

People may blanch at the term ‘pro-choice’ but for me, being pro-choice isn’t just about abortion. Pro-choice means that EVERYONE has the right to choose. They have the right to choose to protect themselves against disease and poverty just as they also have a right to follow religious doctrine if they choose to. Preaching anti-contraception propaganda to vulnerable masses is dangerous.

Marie Stopes is doing fantastic work in Africa and other Third World countries to try to eliminate HIV and AIDS by providing contraception and family planning advice, as well as access to safe abortions and sexual health treatment. If you’d like to help them by donating to their cause, or simply educating yourself about the work that they do, you can GO HERE.

Do me a favour. Take another look at that map. Really think about the implications. Then think about the fact that 12 years ago, some Muslim extremists flew a plane into some buildings. 2996 people were killed that day and the USA and UK went to war with Iraq, leading to around 655,000 excess deaths, 601,027 of which were violent, according to The Lancet.

Through reading various publications, I found the following facts: Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 68% of all people living with HIV, however is only home to 12% of the world’s population. The vast majority of people in the region acquire the viurus during unprotected heterosexual intercourse or through breastfeeding as newborn babies. Of the estimated 22.9 million people living with AIDS in the region, 59% are women. Between 1999 and 2000, more people died of AIDS-related diseases in Africa than all the worlds wars combined. In 2010 alone, HIV/AIDS related diseases killed 1.2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Almost 90% of the 16.6 million children orphaned by AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 2 million adolescents aged 10-19 are living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of them don’t even know they’re infected.

Why aren’t we going to war over that?

SOURCES

http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/assets/files/Materials%20-%20General/SLF_HIV-AIDS_factsheet.pdf

http://unu.edu/publications/articles/rape-and-hiv-as-weapons-of-war.html

issuebrief/760/
http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/epidemiology/2012/gr2012/2012_FS_regional_ssa_en.pdf
http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm
http://www.globalissues.org/article/90/aids-in-africa

How Poor SEO Approaches Can Damage a Brand and the Implication if That “Brand” is a Leading Cancer Charity

I don’t want this blog to turn into a long list of posts where I moan about SEOs, but I had an approach yesterday that had me bashing my head against a wall.

It started well –

“Hope you’re well. I just wanted to get in touch to ask about your policy on guest posting on Mum’s the Word. I’m working with Cancer Research UK, to build awareness of the breast cancer help and resources offered on their site. We’re doing this chiefly by putting together some informative articles on related topics and working with bloggers like yourself to publish them on selected sites around the web, and I was wondering if you’d be open to running such a post?”

Then took a rapid turn for the worse –

“I do appreciate that it’s a difficult topic, and that it’s not the sort of subject matter that you’ve typically covered on Mum’s the Word, but it’d be great to work with you on this if you would be willing to consider publishing the piece.”

See, if this SEO guy had done even a modicum of research then he’d have realised that this is EXACTLY the sort of post I publish on my blog, in fact I already have several on this very topic.

If he’d used the tiniest amount of initiative or imagination, he might’ve typed the word ‘cancer’ into the very simple and prominently placed search bar at the side of the page and come up with no less than a dozen posts around the subject.

If he’d thought to engage his, no doubt, elite search skills he’d have realised that in 2011, my Stepmum lost her battle with cancer and I spent a long time trying to get my head around it, trying to work out how to process it, how to guide my infant daughter through it all and how to get our lives back on track afterwards. He’d have seen that I now run Race for Life every year in Lorraine’s memory and that I do as much for Cancer Research as I can.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with poor marketing from this particular charity and I can’t help but wonder who makes the decisions regarding their marketing budget, given that they’re using aggressive telephone sales people and insensitive SEOs.

The sad part is, (as my friend Ruth mentioned after I shared with some blogger friends how sad I was about all of this) if they were to be a bit more sensible and use what would probably equate to a minute portion  of their marketing budget to employ bloggers to help them with their blogger outreach programme I’m 100% certain that they’d be a lot more successful and would circumvent the very real risk of alienating a lot of people.

As I pointed out in my reply to this person, just off of the top of my head I know one blogger who’s child is battling leukemia, one who’s Mum has beaten breast cancer and several others who lost friends or family to this horrible disease and I hope to goodness he hasn’t used the same approach with them that he did with me.

Over to you, Cancer Research

(I’m including follow links to the Cancer Research page in this post. Despite me criticising their approach, I think they’re a great charity and support them wholeheartedly)

International Women’s Day – Sightsavers

Because today is International Women’s Day I have a guest post from the charity Sightsavers for you all to read. 

Today is International Women’s Day. We’d like to celebrate a very special group of women, lady health workers, who, in developing countries, go door-to-door to provide access to free eye care services made available by us and our partners. These women work tirelessly to help prevent avoidable blindness, travelling to some of the poorest, hardest-to-reach neighborhoods, striving to improve the health of their community.

Case study – Jeba Ansari, Mumbai, India

Jeba a Young Muslim health worker shows the right way of wearing specs to one of the resident in Dharavi slums in Mumbai to find who has eye problem.

Hirabai Bayle, living in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India, shares a tiny home with her mother, teenage son and four sisters. Her husband left her and her son and now Hirabai earns £13 a month to support herself and her son, selling bananas and stitching gloves in a workshop. 20-year-old lady health worker, Jeba Ansari, visited Hirabai and diagnosed her as long sighted. By providing her with glasses, Jeba ensured that Hirabai could continue to work and remain financially independent.

Case study – Sarwar Kausar, Pakistan

Inspired by a need to support her community, Sarwar Kausar became a health worker after finishing school. In countries like Pakistan, many women must be chaperoned to appointments with male health workers, which can be hard to arrange. Thousands of women go without examinations, suffering from eye health problems like cataract and trachoma. Lady health workers can visit women at home when male family members are away, passing on key medical advice to prevent eye diseases and infections.

Case study – Samina, Karachi, Pakistan

Having trained as a doctor, 33-year-old, married Samina decided to become a lady health worker, and eventually trained to become a Lady Health Supervisor (LHS) in the Karachi district of Pakistan. One of around 100,000 lady health workers in Pakistan, Samina overcame prejudice from within her own village, as a women receiving professional training, and now continues to work hard to free her community of eye health problems.

Please visit the Sightsavers website to find out more about their work and to donate to the cause.