Posts filed under ‘Poverty’

One Tin a Month?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I have joined a Community Committee in my department at work. You may think it sounds a bit naff but it has good at its core. We did our bake sale for Comic Relief and, with a generous ‘uplift’ from out Management, raised £1,500. And everyone had a great time doing it although I haven’t eaten much sweet stuff since.

We are now looking wider afield and this is where I hope I have had a good idea which I would like to share. I find myself appalled that food-banks are becoming a necessity for many people but am glad that they are there. There have been documentaries covering what they do and how they can help families in need through redundancy, ill-health, poverty. This isn’t just happening in the UK – if you watched the BBC documentary, America’s Poor Kids, you will have seen that the First World has Third World Issues. It baffles me that this can happen but we know it does.

Many may think that people shouldn’t rely on ‘the system’, they should be out looking for work. I agree that those who can work should but life ain’t that simple. There is unemployment, there is poverty, there are parents who don’t eat so that their children can. Yes, there may be parents who spend more on themselves and not enough on their children but that is a small minority, don’t let this colour your thinking.

More cuts are coming, services and jobs will be cut; this problem won’t go away.

So, my idea? It is simple – one tin a month. If you can afford it, why don’t you take one packet or tin, just one non-perishable item to your local food-bank once a month. I have been talking to a local food-bank and am proposing to organise this through my office. I will ask people to bring one tin a month. If 25% of the workforce does this we will have about 400 items a month. That will make a difference. The food-bank I talked to has to spend additional money every week to make enough food parcels. They try to help 300 households every week. If they had an additional 400 packets or tins it would make their work easier.

What do you think? Can you do the same? Will you miss one tin per month from your larder? I will be sending this post out on Twitter and will start a little hashtag – #OneTinAMonth. I am hoping you join my little party and of course you can also donate to a charity and write to me about it:)

Food

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please 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 older.

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

March 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm 2 comments

It is the Little Things….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I haven’t been here for a while. I should perhaps apologise but can only say that I lost my words for a while. Hard to lose your words, you know you should be writing but the letters will only float about in your head, they won’t come together to make anything coherent. Feeling like that I thought it best to be quiet, I write enough nonsense to know when to leave well alone.

But now it is the New Year, all hail 2013. I am feeling better, more refreshed and ready for what is out there. Have you made your resolutions? I have done the usual healthy eating promise to myself. You know the one don’t you? Eat less, move more is the mantra:) I have my low-fat dinner prepared and am enjoying the new exercise regime. When you get to my age walking isn’t enough, you need to get a bit more vigour into your life and so it’s me and Davina. I don’t plug on here but promise that the new Davina workout is good and I am enjoying it even if my stomach muscles are off sobbing in the corner.

Beyond that, what do I want from 2013? World Peace? Unfortunately, I think chances of that are slim. While we have people who know they are right and everyone else is wrong then compromise will never be part of the picture. Watching the news about my own country proves that to be so. (I am considering a blog about what we are going through at the minute but it will take time and effort so will be one you have to wait for, at least for now).

So, should we have an end to hunger? Please Sir, let them have more? Another one on my big list. Alas, again I think we aren’t going to solve this one in 2013. And again, doesn’t it come down to mankind? Politics, power, greed drives so much pain in this world and my feeling is that curing this will cure hunger, disease and poverty. Pity the big pharmaceuticals can’t make a pill to cure that.

What then are we left with? We are left looking at ourselves in the mirror. Take a long hard look folks. Are you happy with what you see? I’ll wager we all struggle with that long hard look, I know I do. How do we make ourselves feel better? I think it is simple. Do something that isn’t for you. Do something to make someone else smile or their life just a little better. I have read reviews of the new book by Lucy Mangan and how she worked through 2012 by doing one good deed a day. Lovely idea and a great book so why don’t we all take a leaf from Lucy’s book. Stick a pound in a collection box, visit an elderly neighbour, volunteer. These can all be done with only a little of your time or money. Perhaps that is what we should all aim for this 2013. Do the little things and hopefully they will start to impact the big…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please 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 older.

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

January 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Power and Reason?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I have been wandering round the news sites again this week. I like to read the news on that Interweb, it allows you to skim some stories and find deeper opinion articles when you are in that frame of mind. One article in particular caught my eye – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19842100, entitled ‘The psychology of the powerful’, interesting stuff.

There were two main threads to the article. First we had the theory that power can (literally?) go to a person’s head. This came from an extract from a speech from psychologist Guy Claxton at the Royal Society of Medicine conference this week. He talked about “a disorder of intelligence”. Mr. Claxton is Professor of learning sciences at the University of Winchester, has written many books and advised multiple organisations on how to help people learn.

He makes some excellent points, I know I don’t do him justice but my take from his words:-

  • When you gain a position of (Government) power you move into a different world. You are the person who decides.  This different world does not have its core in the day-to-day life that the rest of the world inhabits
  • There is a danger that this (cloistered) world gives a different reality wherein the decision-making and not the decision itself can become more important. You must be seen to act and the speed of your action, not the thought processes behind it will take priority
  • Doubt is a key quality in all of us. It makes us explore more angles before making a decision we can stand over. When we lose doubt we can lose clarity. One way to keep doubt fresh is to have friends who will challenge and even mock you.
  • If you don’t have humour or doubt you will lose the ability to see your own flaws. Acknowledge them and accept the new ones that others may point out. If you don’t do this? You will always be right and everyone else will be wrong. That way leads hubris, wonderful word, scary meaning.

Professor Claxton is well worth a Google or two. I particularly liked the two listed below:-

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/professor-guy-claxton/ebacc-life-of-tests-is-no-preparation_b_1890686.html

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/guy-glaxton-education-morality-character/

I did say there were two main points to the article. The second part covers empathy, another wonderful word and one I love. It is the risk from a lack of empathy that was discussed at the Royal Society of Medicine conference. When we like someone their pain becomes our pain, we empathise. Differing levels of status can impact this. Those in power become, by their position, high-status. This can impact the levels of empathy felt for those perceived to be of lower status; a real danger for all politicians. It brings me back to the cloistered world scenario above. A lack of understanding of how policies impact people is, to me, dangerous. The policy becomes all, the people not so much. I know unpleasant decisions have to be taken. Governments cannot hogtie themselves with hand-wringing and agony. However, they need to account for the impacts their decisions will have on normal people.’ The people’ is not an abstract concept, it is you and me. We have to live with the impacts of the decisions that others make, that is the way when you live in a governed society. I know this, I just hope the politicians do too.

Power and reason need to be bedfellows, arrogance and lack of empathy are normally fleeting in first world politics. Hubris is there but in small nuances. But other countries live with the impact of total hubris, where the people matter not at all. There are countries where it is all about the power and nothing about the reason.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please 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 older.

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

October 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Education – Facts and the CIA? That Internet is Amazing….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

The Internet is an amazing thing. Facts, the rambling of people (like me), Sights to shock and thrill, lies and half-truths can all be found. I try to be very specific in my searches and do have a decent virus checker for all those reasons. Today I wanted to blog about education and how much is spent per child by country. I was quite boggled when I came upon this website – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2206rank.html and what a little goldmine of facts it is…..

The site shows spend on education as a proportion of GDP. It also shows population breakdowns, GDP and a myriad of other facts about each country dated by year for accuracy. I decided to take a few of the facts and perform some small analysis on dollar spend per child on education; the table below is the result. You will have to double-click to see the detail:-

There is of course one big missing. I am not an economist, I cannot take it to the next level by balancing one economy against the other to give a deeper analysis. However, at face-value it does make me think.

I ask myself, what is education worth to you? What is it worth to your children? What is education worth to those in poor countries? We in the developed world take education as something that is always there. For those who are not as fortunate as me education is the escape for their children. Perhaps they realise it is too late for them but not for their children. What would teachers in poorer countries be able to achiveve with one or two dollars more per child? What would volunteering to help at your local school do for your community? I am hoping to do this shortly, I wonder what you would like to do?

I am delighted to have found the site above, I will be going back to it again. I know life is full of lies, damned lies and more statistics but sometimes it does one good to look at the numbers.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please 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 older.

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

April 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

When I Don’t Want to Write……

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I love blogging, I have been at this malarky for almost two years and have loved every minute. Well, perhaps not every minute. There are times when I struggle. Sometimes I lack inspiration. I know successful writers say you should put words down even when you aren’t in ‘that place’ but when I do I am always disappointed and trash the result. The other time I struggle is when I find the topic upsetting.

I read yesterday’s news about the latest Save the Children report on the risk that 500 million children could suffer from the long-term effects of malnutrition. Yes, this is a headline-grabbing figure meant to hit you between the eyes. Do people look at a figure like that and think no, that can’t be? I wonder. Would it be better that the figure was four hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine? Facetious perhaps but whatever figure is out there the story remains sadly the same.

We have a global recession, fact. We are seeing the impacts of this recession. Food and fuel prices rising and for most salaries not keeping pace with these increases. We see stories every day of families struggling in the developed world. It may be easy to dismiss stories of the previously affluent now struggling due to redundancy but isn’t it a sense of scale and expectation? You start to struggle when bills go up and you don’t have the income you had before. You must adjust and that adjustment is painful.

However, the sense of scale takes on a whole new level when you struggled before the recession hit. Poverty has levels of desperation. There can be enough food and shelter but nothing spare to give life joy. Hard but at least you survive? Then there is not quite enough, where to have enough food means some other necessity will be sacrificed; perhaps heat or shade. And then?  Then you get to the level where no matter what you do there isn’t enough to eat and what you have will not provide the nutrition to maintain good health. Beyond that lies starvation, not something any of us want to dwell on.

I have written before of my love of words. There are words that make me smile. Thrive is one of those words. Children should thrive. Those two words put together give me that mental image of toddlers taking their first steps with chubby baby cheeks and half a dozen white teeth showing as they smile. I know that sounds like a Hallmark card but that is the image in my head, baby curls and all.

There are words that I don’t like. Malnutrition is one. When you look up the definition of mal you get this – a combining form meaning “bad,” “wrongful,” “ill,” occurring originally in loanwords from French. Combine mal with nutrition and you get bad or ill-nourished. The effects of malnutrition are well-documented. Stunted growth and development leading to long-term poor health. An inability to fight disease thus shortening life expectancy, sometimes dramatically. Even when malnourished children reach adulthood they are more likely to live in poverty and so their children will suffer this same fate.

Lastly, we should not forget the ‘here and now’ effect of malnutrition. That is hunger. Not enough food and not enough nourishment from the food you have means that you never feel well. You exist with an ache that never goes away, it is there when you wake and is the last thing you feel before sleep. I have always believed that children need joy to thrive, that joy must be hard to come by when you exist with that ache……..

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please 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 older.

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

February 17, 2012 at 12:28 am Leave a comment

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

I Want!

You know what I want, please donate to a childrens charity and write to me! More details on the About Lesley page….

I had an exchange on Twitter last week about my long-held longing for an Audi. I haven’t got one but one day perhaps. It got me thinking about our ‘I want’ culture. We all want, fact. Be it stuff, feelings, opportunities, change, we all want that ‘one’ thing or many things, if we get those things then perhaps life will be perfect? We assuage any guilt by telling ourselves we need to ‘want’ to be able to strive. That is true to some extent but I ask you, when do we reach ‘enough’?

When children are small they do not recognise anything beyond their own wants and feelings. When they cry they are lifted, fed, cuddled, changed and their crying stops. As they become toddlers they want to explore, touch, possess and see no barriers to having what they want. I do love this stage in children, they have total freedom and happiness in believing that everything is theirs. Of course we must teach them otherwise. We teach our children the word ‘No’, we teach them to share, a lesson hard-learned but a lesson that must be learned. It is all necessary to allow a child to develop but I do remember the sheer disappointment on my own children’s faces as this became painfully clear.

We are in a consumer culture and are continually bombarded with the next best thing. Adverts, product placement, even the news broadcasting the top twenty toys for children. Is it any wonder that our kids feel deprived if they don’t have those trainers, that game, this burger? When we combine this with the immediacy of a credit-driven economy it is too easy to say yes when we should be saying no. I have tried to raise my children to save before spending but it is tough. I know I am not immune to the charms of the advertisers either. If I am out ‘browsing’ I inevitably find myself drawn to admire handbags, a weakness I am very aware of. I contain and control it; I can admire and walk away but every now and then I succumb. My friends are very aware of this character flaw and steer me gently away from the pretty, pretty bags:)

However, there is more than one definition for want, I thought this summed it up for me –

1: to be needy or destitute
2: to have or feel need
3: to be necessary or needed
4: to desire to come, go, or be
The first definition is to me the most important. It is that which makes me keep my love of handbags and Audis in check. You know I hate to sound ‘goody-goody’, that is not my way but do I really need more when so many don’t have enough? I will continue to ask myself this when the handbag pangs get too strong. However, I won’t stop saying ‘Hello Baby’ to every beautiful Audi I see……
In the meantime, I can always look, can’t I?

Oh my, isn't it pretty!

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

October 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm 4 comments

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