Archive for November, 2011

Ask the Obvious Question?

A little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I had, as is my wont, a wander through the news pages today. I found this – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15904408, NASA has launched the most ‘capable’ machine ever built to land on Mars. Read the full text, it is a great story and evidence again of man’s committment to exploration and science.

I am in awe of the brains that drive these scientific initiatives. Knowing our brains are mere neurons sparking small electrochemical signals I am astounded that we have such variety in the Arts and Sciences. I envy all great brains that bring beauty and new discoveries day after day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the talent to move or astound? I always wanted to possess artistic talent but alas have none. I literally struggle to draw a straight line using a ruler. I am told I have some talent with words but I just witter away on here and hope to make people think. This is not false modesty, I have read too many great words from others, I know my place:)

Back to the NASA Rover, aptly named Curiosity. Launched today, they hope it lands safely next August. If it does, it will roam Mars sending images and collecting samples from the planet’s surface. Hopefully it will allow the scientists who monitor the output to determine if the Red Planet can or could have supported life in any form. Mind-boggling eh? It is stirring stuff.

However, (you must have known it was coming), this one mission is costing $2.5 billion. Two and a half billion dollars. Whoa Nelly. That is a lot of cash. All that money and brainpower. I wonder. If that funding and those brains were put into ending poverty and cruelty to children how much difference could it make? They say that it would take $30 billion a year to start the agricultural programs to end world hunger. The costs for the Curiosity module wouldn’t cover a month but does that mean we shouldn’t consider it?

I add another link for you. This is a link to an article on the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s website. The article is a few years old but the figures still have the power to shock me as I know the sitation hasn’t changed that much. Please read – http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000853/index.html

Once you have read this then answer me one question. Which do you prefer?

This?

Courtesy of BBC website

Or this?

Perhaps we can have both; I would like to think so…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

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November 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Oh Mr President, Please….

I wanted to open with a little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I am reading the latest book by John Connolly, The Burning Soul. Some say Mr Connolly’s books are not for the faint-hearted but I am a big fan. True, his themes can be hard but the writing and plotlines are just excellent. However, it was one sentence within the book that has given me the theme for this post. I didn’t know this fact and can’t help but wonder both why I didn’t know and why no-one is talking about this?

The sentence that stunned me? I don’t want to spoil the book so cannot quote directly but I read that one action was in contravention of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which only the USA and Somalia have failed to raitfy. That made me sit up and take notice.

I started a little Google-fest to research this post.

Most of my research has come from Unicef. Unicef’s mission is to advocate for the rights of the child. They are guided in doing this by the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I will quote from their website to give you the full message, this always deserves to be heard.

‘Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic standards—also called human rights—set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every human being everywhere. With these rights comes the obligation on both governments and individuals not to infringe on the parallel rights of others. These standards are both interdependent and indivisible; we cannot ensure some rights without—or at the expense of—other rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.’

Great words, all of them. I agree with them completely. So, what is the status of this Convention?

I caveat this next paragraph by saying that this is based on my research. You may think it is limited, that could be true but I could not find any words to contradict this post. I am happy for anyone to comment here with more detail and even to tell me that I am wrong. I would happily be wrong.

The current status of the Convention is that only two countries, Somalia and the United States have not ratified this agreement. Somlia cannot ratify the Convention as it has no recognised Government. This tells a tale of many more underlying issues. However, the United States has an established and recognised Government but has not yet ratified. What puzzles me is the US Government were actively involved in the drafting of the Convention. They have signed the Convention but full acceptance requires ratification.

I understand that there may be concerns within some political groups with regard to this ratification. Apparently some feel that it might chip away at the US Constitution. The Constitution is an amazing thing and I can see how many seek to protect it above all else. Also,  I recognise that it would be embarrassing to propose ratification and lose. However, does that mean you shouldn’t try?

This is my message to President Barack Obama. Please try. If you don’t succeed, then keep trying. Try until you succeed. Try until we see this –

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

November 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm 4 comments

I know, I know, Seven Weeks and Counting?

You know why I do this but if you don’t know why I do this please read the About Lesley page….

It is that time of year again, Christmas is coming over the horizon. For most this thought makes us happy, for some it causes pressure and depression. If you can afford to buy all those items your children want you can look forward to the Season of Goodwill. If not then you have that sickly feeling of dread in your stomach. You know what I mean; we have all had that feeling. It is normally fleeting, most get this it only in moments of great fear or danger but it passes quickly leaving ‘just’ that lingering nausea. When it is constant life is painful…

So, have I created a little guilt yet? Have I hit the collective conscience? I jest but only slightly. Christmas is after all the time when we should be thinking of others. With this in mind I am going to make a few suggestions.

  • Buy charity cards but I add a note of caution. Make sure you check the pack of cards to see how much of the money will be going to the charity. Charities do like there to be at least a 10% donation but, from the little research I have done, there doesn’t appear to be any legislation. You can also buy direct from the charity to maximise the amount they will receive. Look closely and let your motto be check the pack and get the most charity bang for your buck!
  • Consider purchasing some gifts of goodwill? It has become more popular to donate as a gift and present your family member/friend with a certificate about the donation. There is a wide choice of charities you can do this with, I have added a few links at the bottom of this post.
  • When you are battling your way through the crowds with ‘that’ list full of names, ideas, strikeouts and ticks, why not buy one extra present for families in need in your area? There are always local collection points who will be happy to take these from you. In my area the Post Office and banks always participate. One note from me, please remember the teenagers, you can always find presents for young children and we all love buying toys but teenagers love gifts too.
  • Lastly, a concept that is new to me but one I am going to take advantage of. A kind friend on Twitter, @Pancake_One, sent me a link to a site (Easy Fundraising) that donates to charities for every purchase you make. They link you to the major retailers and you select a charity to benefit from your on-line spending. I have registered with the site and have asked that Barnardos be my chosen charity. I picked Barnardos as I donate monthly to two other childrens charities and thought I would spread the love. You don’t have to use this site, there are others out there. Please check and be happy that any site you use is secure before you purchase anything, I am always cautious online and would urge you to be the same.

I hope this post finds you happy about the upcoming Holiday Season, I also hope you will think before you buy? Enjoy! 🙂

Links

I have included a selection of charities and sites here but please have a look for your favourite. Remember – check the sites out and only use if you are comfortable….

Easy Fundraising – http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/

Save the Children Wishlist – http://shop.savethechildren.org.uk/wishlist/

NSPCC Online shop – http://www.nspcc.org.uk/donate/donate-and-buy/

Barnardos Online Shop – http://www.barnardos.org.uk/shop.htm

Unicef Online Shop – http://shop.unicef.org.uk/

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

November 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm 2 comments


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