One act at a time https://blog.billionacts.org Inspiration starts here Tue, 09 Oct 2018 01:20:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 107178145 PeaceJam Profile https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/10/peacejam-profile/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/10/peacejam-profile/#respond Mon, 01 Oct 2018 18:10:37 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16614      I’m so thankful for my experience in India with the Loy Norrix branch of PeaceJam in the summer of 2018. There are truly no words to completely describe it, I can only try to convey it as best as possible. This was my first international trip as other opportunities had fallen through, but upon spending time in India I realized that I would choose this experience above all others. Its purpose and our immersion in the country and the culture were far above any other trip.     This trip opened my eyes further to many issues. When I returned […]

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     I’m so thankful for my experience in India with the Loy Norrix branch of PeaceJam in the summer of 2018. There are truly no words to completely describe it, I can only try to convey it as best as possible. This was my first international trip as other opportunities had fallen through, but upon spending time in India I realized that I would choose this experience above all others. Its purpose and our immersion in the country and the culture were far above any other trip.

    This trip opened my eyes further to many issues. When I returned some people asked me what stood out to me the most. I told them the vibrant colors, the welcoming people, and the amazing sights. In addition, I also mentioned one specific sight that left an impression on me. In India we traversed many roads to get to our locations in the itinerary, and while looking out the window of our little bus, just soaking everything in, I noticed that on the very same street the disparity between rich and poor was so clearly juxtaposed. I saw a worn down shack in shambles with its inhabitants sitting on empty cartons beneath tin roofs right next to a gated lavish house with its green stretch of lawn, another shack surrounded by ground littered with trash flanking its other side. We don’t see that in the U.S., we have separate communities that share a common average of income, so we only see our own reflection in our immediate vicinity and don’t always think of other walks of life. We have a disparity too, but it’s never right in front of our faces. I also drew similarities between the village Bandhwari, right outside New Delhi, and my own country, the United States of America. Their school struggled with getting all the students to attend because many parents did not see the point in it, much like my own school system and other schoolchildren across America who are not motivated or pushed to pursue higher education if their family doesn’t value it. Interestingly enough, when I mentioned to others that I was going to India, I got some unpleasant reactions. It seems there’s a mentality that as a developing country they have completely different and separate problems from us, of which we’ve somehow graduated from or become elevated above. But as I saw, we face similar problems across humanity. They have issues to fix within their country and we have issues to fix, as well. One of Ms. May’s, our program leader, requirements to come on this trip was to make sure you are participating in your own community’s needs, and I’m grateful for that principle because while it is great to go to other countries to help, it’s also vital to invest your efforts in your area. We all have improvements to make in our society, from India to the United States of America.

    One aspect I loved about this trip was the immersion in the country and culture of India. I loved the direct communication and interaction with the people; we weren’t just tourists, instead I felt we were actually part of their communities for the time. I got to meet and interact with many different people, from talking to people at historical monuments to bargaining in the markets on busy streets to laughing with the schoolchildren and women of Bandwari. At Bandhwari, the village near Delhi where we worked with the school teaching basic English, games, and just having fun making friendships, I remember fondly of a third grade boy named Nitu who was my buddy and always gave me a turn throwing the frisbee. Another fond memory of mine was when we spent a day at Ladli, a local non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides a vocational training program for abused, orphaned and destitute children, in Jaipur. One girl asked me if I liked to dance and I answered with an energetic yes, and the next thing I know they pulled me excitedly into the building to have a dance party. They were amazing dancers and we had so much fun!

     We also had some even further looks into the lives of different citizens of India. One man in Bandhwari showed us his home, and Anup pointed out he was the first to install a modern toilet in the village, one of the many projects of improving the living standards of the village. Anup himself is the head of The Incentive Foundation, an organization that has invested in Bandhwari’s well-being, including helping the school and starting the Bandhwari’s Women Group set up at a center in the village providing a source of income and a set of skills for the women to develop some independency. Anup was a perfect example of a person doing great things for the community they care for, and he was extremely humble as if it was just the thing to do. He didn’t make himself out to be a saint, which reminded me of the 2018 PeaceJam Great Lakes Conference Laureate Leymah Gbowee and how she insisted that we remember she was not the only woman of the women’s peace movement that ended the Second Liberian Civil War. We need more role models like that in the world. We can all contribute; their stories inspire me to do even more with PeaceJam and to find similar activities after high school.

    One final, but certainly not the last, thing I want to share is how our wonderful tour guide, Ramesh Nambiar, contacted one of his colleagues, Annapoorna, to make an incredible experience possible. We were invited to her home for dinner–which was so, so beautiful and awing as we ate under the stars in the open courtyard in the middle of the house–and she taught us how to dress in a sari. I learned the technique of the folds before placing the length of material over my shoulder, and it was really fun having her and her friend show me. Before sitting down to dinner I talked with her for a bit and got to ask about her view on me buying and occasionally wearing a sari, if it would offend her concerning cultural appropriation, as I did not want to mistreat this culture I had grown to love. She was so open and kind, and I could not have asked for a better chance to improve upon my knowledge.

    Along with our working with children and the people of India, we also got to see briefly on our ride from Delhi to Agra an organization that works with animals. Wildlife SOS is a nonprofit organization that ended the 400 year old practice of “Dancing Bears” in India, and is currently tackling the issue of elephant mistreatment found in commercial use for rides and other forms of entertainment. We saw both locations of the separate facilities for elephants and for the remaining bears under their care. Sadly, we did not get to stay and help out, although we did learn a lot about the unspoken truths behind the facades of industries involving the use of animals for entertainment. Ella and Mia— my two best friends who were also on the trip—and I hope someday to go back to India and volunteer with wildlife SOS.

  I’m truly awestruck that I went to India. I fell in love and I’d go back tomorrow if I could.

-Tess, Grade 12

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Stop the division https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/09/fight-the-division/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/09/fight-the-division/#respond Sat, 15 Sep 2018 18:27:52 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16694 Every day we hear stories about the partisan divide in the United States.  We are calling on those who are concerned to join the #VehicleforPeace Challenge.  Help us fight against this division by highlighting those who are doing great things in your community.  Peace and Kindness are not partisan, and spreading fear and insults helps no one and solves no problems.   THE VEHICLE FOR PEACE CHALLENGE We challenge YOU to become a Vehicle for Peace!  Create a post on social media using the hashtag #vehicleforpeace and mention three people or organizations you know who are promoting peace in your community.  Tag them in your post, […]

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Every day we hear stories about the partisan divide in the United States.  We are calling on those who are concerned to join the #VehicleforPeace Challenge.  Help us fight against this division by highlighting those who are doing great things in your community.  Peace and Kindness are not partisan, and spreading fear and insults helps no one and solves no problems.

 

THE VEHICLE FOR PEACE CHALLENGE

We challenge YOU to become a Vehicle for Peace!  Create a post on social media using the hashtag #vehicleforpeace and mention three people or organizations you know who are promoting peace in your community.  Tag them in your post, then challenge them to do the same!

Many of the stories shared will be featured in our weekly social media spotlight segments and all participants will be considered for the annual Billion Acts Hero Award.  Let’s shine our light on those who are working to bring peace to us all!

 

 

 

Are you willing to take a stand for Peace? Become a #VehicleforPeace

Donate $10 to promote peace in the U.S. (and you could win a 1968 Corvette)
Nominate up to 3 people or organizations doing incredible things in your community
Learn more about the #VehicleforPeace challenge

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How do I add an Act of Peace? https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/09/how-do-i-add-an-act-of-peace/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/09/how-do-i-add-an-act-of-peace/#respond Sat, 01 Sep 2018 20:00:30 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16794 Just two simple steps, and you can be part of the Billion Acts community. We hope you will join us today.  So far everyday people have created over 53 Million Acts of Peace in 151 countries.    

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Just two simple steps, and you can be part of the Billion Acts community.

We hope you will join us today.  So far everyday people have created over 53 Million Acts of Peace in 151 countries.

 

 

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Just for teachers https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/08/just-for-teachers/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/08/just-for-teachers/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 22:14:23 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16894 Thank you to all the amazing teachers around the world. We see you, support you and are thankful for all that you do to educate and inspire the next generation. We know that your job is not easy, so we’d like to help. We would love to help guide you through creating a campaign that can unite your classroom or school around a shared mission. Campaigns can help celebrate and reward Acts of Peace and kindness, combat bullying, create a more inclusive community, or focus on an issue chosen by your class or school. There is no cost to join, and […]

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Thank you to all the amazing teachers around the world.

We see you, support you and are thankful for all that you do to educate and inspire the next generation. We know that your job is not easy, so we’d like to help.

We would love to help guide you through creating a campaign that can unite your classroom or school around a shared mission.

Campaigns can help celebrate and reward Acts of Peace and kindness, combat bullying, create a more inclusive community, or focus on an issue chosen by your class or school.

There is no cost to join, and the set up is easy.  This is a great opportunity to bring your school or community together to create an impact and highlight the goodness that happens everyday.

 

 

 

SAMPLE CAMPAIGNS

School Campaign (K-5)  https://billionacts.org/campaign/DayofPeaceandKindness
School Campaign (K-12) https://billionacts.org/campaign/gemschicago
University Campaign https://billionacts.org/campaign/ConflictResolutionMonthatMSUDenver

 

Reach out to us at info@billionacts.org if you’d like more information.

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Win a car for $10 and Become a Vehicle for Peace https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/08/raffle-for-a-cause-win-a-1968-corvette/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/08/raffle-for-a-cause-win-a-1968-corvette/#respond Wed, 01 Aug 2018 20:53:52 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16434   Many of us are watching as our communities become more and more divided wishing there was something we could do. There is now. Win the Vehicle for Peace. Become a Vehicle for Peace.   Buy Tickets

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Many of us are watching as our communities become more and more divided wishing there was something we could do.

There is now.

Win the Vehicle for Peace.

Become a Vehicle for Peace.

 

Buy Tickets

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World Premiere of Contagious Courage https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/06/world-premiere-of-contagious-courage/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/06/world-premiere-of-contagious-courage/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 20:12:04 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16364   More about the World Premiere and more on the 2018 Billion Acts Hero Award Winners. Watch Contagious Courage today!

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More about the World Premiere and more on the 2018 Billion Acts Hero Award Winners.

Watch Contagious Courage today!

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Nobel Laureate’s Call to Action: #WomenPeaceKorea https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/05/nobel-laureates-call-to-action-womenpeacekorea/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/05/nobel-laureates-call-to-action-womenpeacekorea/#respond Fri, 25 May 2018 21:10:33 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16204 Nobel Women’s Initiative’s #WomenPeaceKorea: A New Era delegation with Women Cross DMZ begins tomorrow to promote peace, disarmament, and the inclusion of women in mediation. Join a group of extraordinary women, including feminist activist Gloria Steinem, and Nobel peace laureates, Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee, to call on President Moon, Chairman Kim, President Trump and President Xi, to ensure that women’s movements are included in the Korean peace process. Let’s remind them of their government’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which states that women must be included in mediation processes to ensure prevention, […]

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Nobel Women’s Initiative’s #WomenPeaceKorea: A New Era delegation with Women Cross DMZ begins tomorrow to promote peace, disarmament, and the inclusion of women in mediation.

Join a group of extraordinary women, including feminist activist Gloria Steinem, and Nobel peace laureates, Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee, to call on President Moon, Chairman Kim, President Trump and President Xi, to ensure that women’s movements are included in the Korean peace process. Let’s remind them of their government’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which states that women must be included in mediation processes to ensure prevention, diffusion, and resolution of major conflicts. Decades of research now show that women’s inclusion in peace processes leads to a peace agreement and a far more durable one when women help draft it. We will be in South Korea this week for the #WomenPeaceKorea: A New Era delegation to amplify this message!

We would love for all of you, to sign the petition (see link below) calling for peace on the Korean peninsula. Please also share widely on social media!

Sign the petition for peace talks in Korea

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Presenting the 2018 Hero Award Semifinalists https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/04/presenting-the-2018-hero-award-nominees/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/04/presenting-the-2018-hero-award-nominees/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 20:14:29 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=16014 Since last April, more than 10 million Acts of Peace have been added to Billion Acts in over 151 countries! 12 were chosen as this year’s 2018 Hero Awards semifinalists in 6 categories: Best Youth Act Best University Act Best Social Enterprise Act Best Community Act Best Nonprofit Act Best Up and Coming Peacemaker Act   Countries Represented: South Africa, Chile, Timor-Leste, Netherlands, UK, USA, West Africa, and Germany   Organizations: Techo, Rethaka, IKEA Foundation, Little Sun, Rotary International, Mercy Corps, Ba Futuru, We Dine Together, Peace is a Lifestyle, Climate-Smart Villages, Asian University for Women, and Student Action for […]

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Since last April, more than 10 million Acts of Peace have been added to Billion Acts in over 151 countries!

12 were chosen as this year’s 2018 Hero Awards semifinalists in 6 categories:

  • Best Youth Act
  • Best University Act
  • Best Social Enterprise Act
  • Best Community Act
  • Best Nonprofit Act
  • Best Up and Coming Peacemaker Act

 

Countries Represented:

South Africa, Chile, Timor-Leste, Netherlands, UK, USA, West Africa, and Germany

 

Organizations:

Techo, Rethaka, IKEA Foundation, Little Sun, Rotary International, Mercy Corps, Ba Futuru, We Dine Together, Peace is a Lifestyle, Climate-Smart Villages, Asian University for Women, and Student Action for Refugees

 

Working in all of the Billion Acts 10 Focus Areas:

 

Watch the videos for each nominee on the voting page, and vote for your favorites every day until May 18th! 

Climate Smart Villages from PeaceJam on Vimeo.

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5 trailblazing women you’ve never heard of https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/03/5-trailblazing-women-youve-never-heard-of/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/03/5-trailblazing-women-youve-never-heard-of/#respond Thu, 15 Mar 2018 20:57:48 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=15894 From the farmer’s daughter who set up the only safari resort in the world run solely by women, to the first female Dalit to win a seat in Pakistan’s parliament, women who have challenged stereotypes and refused to give in to fear or discrimination tell their stories. Originally posted on theguardian.com Zaman runs a schools’ roadshow under the Extremely Together programme, travelling across Britain to teach young people how to resist violent extremism, and to question hate and propaganda. Namshali says, “As a woman, working in this kind of environment, you have to be very tough and very strong,” she […]

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From the farmer’s daughter who set up the only safari resort in the world run solely by women, to the first female Dalit to win a seat in Pakistan’s parliament, women who have challenged stereotypes and refused to give in to fear or discrimination tell their stories.

Originally posted on theguardian.com

Zaman runs a schools’ roadshow under the Extremely Together programme, travelling across Britain to teach young people how to resist violent extremism, and to question hate and propaganda.

Namshali says, “As a woman, working in this kind of environment, you have to be very tough and very strong,” she says. “Be confident and believe in yourself, even if the world doesn’t, and the rest will follow.”

In Pakistan’s 70-year history, a woman from a low-caste Hindu background has never reached this upper echelon of political power. This month, however, Kohli became the first female Dalit member of Pakistan’s Senate.

In 2013, Meza, 55, was forced into exile in the UK, and was accepted on the University of York’s protective fellowship scheme for human rights defenders.

Amid violence and drought, Loitaruk struggles to get parents to value education. Across the country, three-quarters of adults are illiterate, Unicef estimates, and many schools lie abandoned in the towns and villages.

Read more about these incredible women here

 

 

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Us vs. Them https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/03/us-vs-them/ https://blog.billionacts.org/2018/03/us-vs-them/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 20:24:34 +0000 https://blog.billionacts.org/?p=15734 Many are complaining about the growing divide in our communities. We blame our problems on each other, our leaders, the news, people standing up for issues we disagree with, our education system, and ‘the other’. Are these fair assessments?  Do we bare any responsibility for creating this culture? Does finding fault do anything to propel us forward to finding solutions that just may benefit us all? Have you clicked on a link whose sole purpose you know is to divide you against another group?  Are you pushing your local news to report stories focusing on the good that happens everyday […]

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Many are complaining about the growing divide in our communities. We blame our problems on each other, our leaders, the news, people standing up for issues we disagree with, our education system, and ‘the other’.

Are these fair assessments?  Do we bare any responsibility for creating this culture? Does finding fault do anything to propel us forward to finding solutions that just may benefit us all?

Have you clicked on a link whose sole purpose you know is to divide you against another group?  Are you pushing your local news to report stories focusing on the good that happens everyday in your community?  Are you debating others with viewpoints very different than your own in a healthy manner?  Have you thought about the behavior you are modeling for the youth and future leaders of your community?

Billion Acts is not just a campaign, it is a movement for open dialogue, a place to celebrate all who are doing their part to create a more peaceful and equitable world. It is a platform to highlight the incredible human beings who walk and work amongst us, and do their part to change the world every day.  It is a vehicle to make Acts of Peace a part of all of our daily lives and honor unity and kindness over conflict and fear.

With more than 38 Million Acts from over 151 countries, it is apparent that grassroots efforts are uniting change makers worldwide to become the leaders that we need.

How can you bring your community together?

 

It is up to us to stop finding fault elsewhere, and instead be accountable and take action. We need your voice too, if we are truly going to create the change that we need.

 

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