Kendra Webber’s Hopes for Haiti

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Our very own Kendra Webber spoke at our last meeting about her one week volunteer experience in Haiti’s capital, Port Au Prince. She went through One Love International, a non-profit organization dedicated to short-term humanitarian trips abroad. For one week, Kendra and her organization lent a hand to New Mission and helped feed the children of Haiti. Her experience had left a lasting impact on her life and she shared with us exactly how dire the situation is in Haiti and what we could to help as well.

It has been ten months since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. Marked as the century’s worst natural disaster, at least 3 million people have been affected and conditions remain as if the earthquake has just happened yesterday. Prior to this catastrophe, Haiti was marked one of the poorest nations in the world. The results of the earthquake further accentuated its poverty with the destruction of buildings trapping its inhabitants in an endless pit of rubble, the absence of government to help rebuild their country, and its complete dependence on foreign aid. Along with the destruction of buildings, municipal records have been destroyed as well leaving many unable to identify where their land lies – however, majority of Haitians did not own land prior to the earthquake. Landless and with no apparent leadership by their government, the Haitians have become refugees in their own country. 80% of Haiti’s educated people have fled the country to the U.S., and leaving the rest blindly wandering for help.

The average life of a Haitian woman is now 46-48 years old, and for men it is 44-46 years old. Many children have been given up by their parents to orphanages so that they could be fed. As of September 1st, 2010 over 1 million refugees still live in tents and Haiti is still considered in its emergency phase. Gangs, crime, and sexual assaults continue to rise daily.

Here is Haiti through the eyes of Kendra:

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Kendra had an intense desire to help find a solution and to get the people of Haiti back up on their feet again. But the reality of her experience proved that the situation is far more complex than she had imagined. The efforts of humanitarian aid provided by non-profit organizations did an excellent job of providing the immediate needs of the people, but there was no apparent progress in the long-term reconstruction of the nation. Volunteers for the UN and the U.S. military were present, but what they provided for the people was nothing compared to the efforts of the non-profit organizations. For the future of Haiti, Kendra wishes to see education for all of Haiti’s children, family and sex education, an end to dependency on foreign aid, economic growth, improvement in environment, and removal of the rubble.

Followed by her presentation, we had a lively discussion about the censorship of news and media portrayal of world catastrophes and the controversies behind the reallocation of donations. Some students who were abroad during the Haiti crisis witnessed jarring and graphic media coverage on the television, whereas Americans had a more low-key version on our sets. Some questions that came up:

  • Does censorship play in a role on how it affects our views on the daily atrocities of the world?
  • Could reduced or no censorship push us to be more active in helping victims of atrocities?
  • Or … could it  actually make us more used to the atrocities of the world and as a result make us more passive?

Also, there have been some questions regarding donations and where the funds are actually being reallocated. Kendra advised us to avoid donating to Red Cross, because there have been cases where Red Cross would receive the money and have it looted by corrupt individuals. Instead, she encouraged us to research and make sure we know exactly where our money is going to. An alternative way of donating is to purchase products made by Haitians, since the profits directly benefit and help them to become economically self-sufficient. Apparent Products is one such company where 80% of your purchase goes directly to Haiti efforts!

What do you think are some other ways we can make progress happen? Do you have a similar experience as Kendra’s? If so, please share them with us by leaving a comment on this blog.

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And for some exciting club updates:

Our YO-GO fundraiser results are in! Thanks to the 72+ students and staff who supported our club by purchasing a YO-GO frozen yogurt, we made $32.50! Every penny counts, and it will surely support our future club activities. Special thanks to the members who took time out of their busy schedules to help promote this fundraiser.

Also, for those of you who pre-ordered a beautifully designed (props to Deanna Lam!) ISSA club t-shirt, please bring in $10 cash to our next meeting, Tuesday, October 26th at SPAA 111, 5:30 PMMegan Cutler will be our speaker and share with us a little 411 on East Africa.

Finally, please stay tuned for our upcoming film screening (click on the image below for details!):


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Coming Soon …

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Upcoming Film Event!

Mark your calendars for our upcoming  film screening , Tues, Nov 2nd @ 6:30 PM.
Join us at our meeting tonight, 5:30 pm, SPAA 111 for more information!

Click the above image for a detailed film synopsis.


WHO
: YOU (and friend or two … or three …)
WHAT: Reception, Documentary Film “The Art of Flight), & Post-film Discussion
WHEN: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 @ 6:30 PM
WHERE: CSULB University Theater (North Campus near the McIntosh Building)
WHY: To support CSULB ISSA for future events and to spread awareness of a global issue.
HOW: Support CSULB ISSA buy purchasing a film ticket from any of our club officers. $5 for STUDENTS (including non-CSULB students), and $7 for NON-STUDENTS.

 

Chris Mynt Shares His Bit of Burma

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You can find all your CSULB ISSA updates on this blog and on our Facebook Fan Page. Comment and let us know what you think! Also, if you look at the top of this page, you can see links to our Ambassador, COLA, Community Outreach, and IEC updates. To make your life a little easier with less clicks, why not subscribe to our blog so you get automatic updates in your e-mail inbox?

For those of you who missed out at our last meeting, we had a very special guest speaker. Chris Mynt, a CSULB student, who spoke to us about his native country, Burma (officially known as the Union of Myanmar). In recent times, Burma has been portrayed as a country heavily exploited by its current militaristic regime, and it has been a popular subject amongst human rights groups and activists.

Chris wanted to temporarily steer us away from the media’s portrayal of Burma and, instead, learn about it from a first-hand source. He started off with sharing a brief history of Burma’s past wealth and high status in Southeast Asia, and explained why it is the continent’s poorest country today (mainly due to economic stagnation, isolation, and mismanagement).

Click to see more photos of Burma (Time).

Did you know that …

  • Burma was once under British colonial rule (hence Chris’s lovely English accent)
  • Independence from British rule was followed by a brief period of democracy as an independent republic, 1948-1962
  • Since 1962, Burma has been subject to a militaristic regime. Today, many human rights groups and activists are fighting to take down military rule
  • Was the 2nd wealthiest in Southeast Asia during British rule, thanks to its once abundant natural resources and rice exports. Today, it is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia
  • 90% of the world’s rubies come from Burma
  • Theravada Buddhism, which is intertwined with local elements, is the Burmese’ main practice of religion
  • Bordering neighbors include India, China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh. Therefore the country’s culture has been greatly influenced by its surrounding neighbors
  • Despite our belief that their government has absolute control over their media, they enjoy American and Asian dramas as much as we do!
  • Burma was a popular subject in many pieces of literature, such as George Orwell’s Burmese Days
  • There are more than 135 ethnic groups living in Burma!

Thanks Chris for sharing a bit of Burma with us! What do YOU know about Burma?

Posted by Janice Kim (Webmaster)

YoGo! Fro-Yo Fundraiser! Support ISSA!

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Thanks for all those who joined us at the SOLO+ISSA mixer meeting! SOLO (Students of Life Organization) presented an awesome ice breaker game of “Human Bingo” followed by some inspirational words of  wisdom by Deux Bowles (SOLO Club Founder), Daniel Eachus (SOLO Club President), and Tina Camera (SOLO Club Vice President).

If you weren’t able to join us to attend CSULB Invisible Children for hosting the “Face-to-Face” tour after the meeting, you missed out! We received an update on the situation in Northern Uganda, which was once occupied by the Lord’s Resistance Army, the guerrilla group of child soldiers led by Joseph Kony.  Click here for the update!

Following the update, a young Ugandan woman, whose parents were killed by Joseph Kony’s Lords Resistance Army (LRA), spoke to us about the former child soldiers and young victims affected by LRA who are now in dire need of support for their education. If you’re interested in supporting a student, your monthly contribution of ONLY $35 will suffice the educational needs of a young student in Northern Uganda. Click here to help.

Speaking of help …

We need YOUR HELP TODAY! ISSA will be hosting a fundraiser at YoGo! from 10am-7pm. Grab a fro-yo on the go, and part of your purchase will help benefit ISSA. Remember, your support will help ISSA with future activities such as film screenings and other fun events!

Missed our meeting this past Tuesday? No worries. Come join us next Tuesday, 5:30 PM @ SSPA 111. Bring a friend!

Welcome to ISSA Fall 2010!

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Welcome to ISSA Fall 2010!

If you missed our first two meetings, don’t fret! Come join us every Tuesday, 5:30 PM at SPA 111. All majors welcome!

Stay updated with upcoming ISSA meetings and events through our blog and Facebook Fan Page!

We were glad to see many fresh faces at our first meeting of the Fall 2010 semester. If you haven’t yet, e-mail one of our newly elected Ambassadors for weekly updates  on recent news,  campus events, and community events specified to your region of interest. They will also serve as your main source of contact for your questions and concerns regarding your region and ISSA.  If you are interested in receiving weekly e-mails from our ambassadors, please e-mail them at:

  • Asia (Janice Kim): asia.istassociation@gmail.com
  • Latin America(Mayra Vasquez): issa.latinamerica@gmail.com
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (Megan Cutler): issa.africa@gmail.com
  • SWANA (Cookie Partansky): issa.swana@gmail.com
  • Western Europe (Claudia Muntean): issa.europe@gmail.com

Our next meeting on Tues, Oct 5th will be a mixer meeting with SOLO (Student of Life Organization) at 5:30 PM, USU Room 305.

After the meeting, we will head on over to the Beach Auditorium, 7 pm to attend “Face-to-Face,” hosted by Invisible Children. There will be FREE admission, food, and prizes!

This week is also the National Ethnic Studies week! From October 4th-7th, various events will be promoting the intellectual, political and social contributions of the various fields of ethnic studies to knowledge and a democratic society. Click here for a complete list of events!

Congratulations to the newly elected ISSA officers for Fall 2010:

  • Logistical Meeting Planner: Katarina Eleby
  • Social Meeting Planner: Hanna Lee
  • Webmasters: Kim Conchada & Janice Kim
  • Historian: Claudia Muntean
  • Career Networking Assistant: Elia Magana
  • Publicity Assistant: Kevin Langdon
  • Cola Meeting Chair: Karen
  • IEC Meeting Chair: Len Vorhis
  • Asia Ambassador: Janice Kim
  • Latin America Ambassador: Mayra Vasquez
  • Sub-Saharan Africa Ambassador: Megan Cutler
  • Western Europe Ambassador: Claudia Muntean
  • SWANA: Cookie Partansky

Coming up in November we will be hosting a documentary screening fundraiser event! Details are TBA. Drop by our meetings, blog or Facebook page for updates!