It is easy to critisise than to appreciate, It is easy to judge than to accept, It is easy to react than to respond, It is easy to be impulsive than to be mindful, It is easy to stay stagnant with comfort than to take risk and flow with life, It is easy to escape from a situation than to face it, It is easy to confront than to console, It is easy to speak than to listen, It is easy to be serious than to laugh, It is easy to get caught by wordly activities than to relax, It is easy to blame than to take responsibility, It is easy to get discouraged than to rely on inner strength, It is easy to be fearful and worried than to trust, It is easy to be in the known than the unknown, It is easy to resist than to surrender.
Children grow at a blink-and-you-miss-it rate. An unlikely place to connect with them is the kitchen:) . Introduce your child to the art of cooking and bond with them better, whatever their age.
Children find kitchen work absorbing and facinating. Rolling tiny chapatis(rotis), or tossing a salad(however untidy it may be) makes them feel important and oh- so grown up...Do have patience with tiny fingers taking hours and hours over little things. Remember they are too young to do any chopping and keep them away from fire, oven and hot dishes!
Here are a few recipes that you can try out with your kids;
Fancy Puris (serves 2-4) 3 cups of whole-wheat flour, 1 cup left-over dal (lentil)or cooked veggies, salt to taste, 1tsp oil, water to knead and oil for frying.
Method:- 1)place flour in a mixing bowl, add dal(lentil) or veggies, salt and 1tsp oil, knead to make a stiff dough(make a dough before u call the child into the kitchen, so that he doesnt see the dal n veggies mixed into it). 2) Give him/her a ball of the dough and let them roll it out on a flat surface, with a cookie cutter n let them cut out interesting shapes. 3) Deep fry their master-pieces in hot oil, and watch them beam! (Children love to play with dough, and will eat what they make. An additional bonus;healthy dal and veggies are eaten by your child without them knowing :)
Steaming Veggie Soup (serves 4) 4 cups vegetable stock or a packet of vegtable soup powder;1 cup mixed vegetables, mushrooms, green beans, brocolli, spring onions - finely chopped -sauteed(use chicken slivers for children fond of non-veg); cream to garnish.
Method: Pre-cook the soup and veggies/chicken, help your child to ladle out soup and ask to drop the veggies /chicken into the soup. Then let him garnish with a dollop of cream. (This is a sneaky way to get your child to have a bowl of nutritious soup that they have made :)
Quick Pasta ( serves 2) 1 cup coloured pasta, 1 packet soup powder in any flavour, such as chicken, mushroom, tomoato or vegetable; 1 cup boiled shredden chicken; 1 cup sauteed veggies.
Method: Pre-cook the pasta till almost don and cool, let your child cut open the soup packet and add powder into the pot,measure out half of the water suggested in the pack to make a thick sauce-like consistency. In a plate let your child arrange the pasta in colourful rows. Pour over the ladle of soup and ask him to add as much chicken and sauteed veggies as much as he wants. Serve hot. (This colourful dish is sure to perk up his interest as well as his appetite).
You may lose bone strength, if u diet without exercising, In a study at Washington University, dieters who lost weight simply by cutting calories, lost 2.2% of bone density. to help yourself work out and get enough calcium , take recommended 500-1000mg(as per age) a day, then u can lose weight without losing bone.
Did u know that u need less than a tablespoon of salt everyday? But most adults end up taking in much more. Salt is not only found in the cooked food that we eat but lurks in form of sodium in almost all processed food. To workout the equivalent amount amount of salt, multiply the sodium value by 2.5(by this calculation, a little more than a gram of sodium is equivalent to 3gms of salt), Also buy food that states - sodium -free, low sodium or reduced sodium or unsalted - on their labels. Avoid high -sodium foods such as bacon, sausage, cheese, cold cuts, condiments, cooking sauces, pickls and salad dressing.
This is the one of the prettiest buildings in the east! The Mosque was built from imported Italian marble and special handicrafted stained-glass windows from England and carpets from Saudi Arabia, and was finished in 1958. There is an elevator going to the top of the 44 m minaret. In the artificial lagoon that surrounds the Mosque, there is a replica of an 16th century Royal Barge. The building is as impressive looking during the night when it's lit up by different coloured lights.Amazing in appearance, but too beautiful to be true, The Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is Brunei's proudest architectural achievement. It sits on an artificial lagoon near the Brunei River in Kampong Ayer, which is appropriately enough, known as a "water village." A structure in the water that resembles a ship was at one time used for official state ceremonies. The mosque is the largest in the Far East, and considered among the most beautiful in the world. It reaches a height of 52 meters and is topped with a gold dome supported by walls of Italian marble, which also forms the mosque's columns, arches, and towers.
The Palace On wheels is a splendid and enchanting royal journey through the bygone era of the erstwhile Maharajas. Though times have changed and the winds have shifted, the Palace On Wheels cruises along in royal style, the kind only the Maharajas of yesteryears could have perpetuated and enjoyed.
The exquisite and exclusive Palace On Wheels has luxurious cabins, wall to wall carpeting, a well stocked bar, two dining cars and a very personalized service... in fact, almost everything that could compromise of heaven on earth for seven days!
The Palace on Wheels comprises of 14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, equipped with world class amenities to enhance the pleasure of traveling.
The Coaches ::The 14 coaches are named after former Rajput states matching the aesthetics and interiors of the royal past. Each saloon has a mini pantry and a lounge to ensure availability of hot and cold beverage, and refreshments and a place to relax and get together.
Rooms ::14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, each a combination of 4 twin bedded chambers with channel music, intercom, attached toilets, running hot and cold water, shower, wall to wall carpeting and other amenities. The furniture with its inlaid motifs has been specially created for the Palace on Wheels.
Restaurants ::The train has two lavish restaurants "The Maharaja" and "The Maharani" with a Rajasthani ambience serving palate tickling Continental, Chinese, India and Rajasthani cuisines.
Bar ::The train also boasts of a well stocked bar offering the choicest of sprits of Indian and international brands. Each coach also offers a good collection of books to choose from.
Facilities ::The Palace on Wheels is regularly refurbished to a great extent. The decor in the saloons, bar lounge has been changed, keeping in mind the traditionally aesthetic yet modern, Palace on Wheels. Toilets have been redone and are maintained sparkling clean. Each saloon lounge has been equipped with color television and a CD player. A satellite phone is on the way to make you communicate anywhere in the world from the train.
Explore the romantic land of Rajasthan, while experiencing the luxuries worthy of the Maharajas of yore. Rajasthan opens its treasure chest and presents all its mystical charms for the astute tourists.
It offers a 7 day tour starting from Delhi to Jaipur then Jaiselmer then Jodhpur to Ranthambore to Udaipur to Agra and then back to Delhi.
Anyone going or planning a holiday whether from India or outside India i suggest that experiencing journey on this train is a must :)
Diwali, 'Festival of Lights', is celebrated with great fervor and gaiety. Deewali is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor, throughout the country to dispel darkness and light up their lives. The festival symbolizes unity in diversity as every state celebrates it in its own special way.
Diwali has many legends and religious accounts to it. Lights and diyas are lit to signifying the driving away of darkness and ignorance, as well as the awakening of the light within ourselves. Diwali is a time for family gatherings, food, celebration and pooja.
So may the festival of light bring joy and sparkles.
O you who believe, be steadfast; be supreme in steadfastness...
(The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, Verse 200)
God has revealed in a verse, "This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 14, Verse 1, thus drawing attention to the Quran's attribute of bringing people from darkness to light.
The Qur'an defines patience as one of the paths that lead people from darkness to light and as an attribute of morality that is superior to, wide-ranging, and very different from the daily behaviour of many people. True patience is a moral characteristic displayed in the face of difficulty and in every moment of life. Moreover, it requires the demonstration of determination and consistency during times of ease and hardship, and is a lifelong endeavour that never goes astray, even for a moment.
God gives the most striking examples of patience in the lives of the Prophets, because they showed patience while teaching God's religion and leading a moral life. They never deviated from their devotion to God, and were patient people who sought only God's approval. The Qur'an tells us that God loves those who trust Him and show patience in all circumstances:How many of the Prophets fought (in God's way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in God's way, nor did they weaken (in will) or give in. And God loves those who are firm and steadfast. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, Verse 146.
Life comes and goes just as quickly for those who live morally as for those who do not. Those who exhibit impatience when facing the tests that God creates while they are in this world, who revolt against them by becoming impatient, and who are not constant in their morality and worship one day will die and find themselves between Heaven and Hell. Those who choose patience and surrender to Destiny spend their temporary life here in the finest possible way and will enter Paradise due to their trust in God. Those who spend their life being impatient, and complaining about their difficulties and troubles will find themselves in the darkness of Hell, just as they lived here in the darkness of irreligion, and will realize that they have sacrificed eternal life for a short temporary life on Earth.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: Whoever remains patient, God will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.
Can you imagine raising your children in a place where milk costs about $8 a gallon? Or living in a place where your kids play outside in total darkness because the sun only shines 45 minutes a day? From Africa to Alaska, we're meeting moms from around the world!
The first stop on our trip around the globe is Kotzebue, Alaska, a small village 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle. For mom, Mary Swisher, an Inupiak Eskimo, life in Alaska can be challenging.For two months a year, Mary, her husband and two daughters, live in darkness because of a phenomenon called polar night. "We'll get only about 45 minutes of sunlight. The sun will actually rise about 10:45 and then it will set about 11:15," Mary says. "And then it's total [darkness] again."Surrounded by water, the only way to get to Kotzebue is by boat, plane or snowmobile. Like most families there, Mary lives in a small home to save on energy and fuel, which is brought on a barge in the summer before the Bering Sea freezes in the winter.Alaska's brutal winters last six months, with wind chills sometimes dropping to 100 degrees below zero. "If you threw out water outside in the sky, it would come down as powder. That's how cold it gets," Mary says.Because of transportation costs, food in Kotzebue is expensive. A gallon of milk can cost up to $8—four ears of corn costs $12!"The groceries are so expensive because the only way that you could get to Kotzebue is by flying in or by boat in the summer, so a lot of our groceries and our milk, they're flown in daily," Mary says.Mary says to keep warm and healthy, her family eats meat every day. The main source of protein for most Eskimos comes from their own backyards. "My husband hunts. He goes caribou hunting as well as moose hunting," Mary says. Two or three caribou will last Mary's family through the winter. The family also eats a lot of muktuk, a dish made from bowhead whale blubber and meat.Despite the high cost of living and brutal winters, Mary still feels Kotzebue is the best place to raise a family. "The culture here is very awesome. Being a little kid here, they like to celebrate life. I love this close-knit community," Mary says. "I'm proud to be an Eskimo, and so is my family.
According to the Seventh Annual Mother's Index, Norway is one of the top spots for moms!With free healthcare for children seven and under—and paid maternity leave that lasts a year—this Scandanavian paradise makes sure family comes first."It's a very family oriented society and the family is very important to the government," says Trine Grung, a mother of two, who calls Oslo, Norway, home.Along with extended maternity leave—which can be divided between a husband and wife—moms and dads each get 10 days off with pay to take care of their kids if they get sick! Plus, during the first few years, families can get about $100 a month from the government to help pay nanny costs.If your day care provider falls through? No problem! Trine says it's okay to take the kids to work for a day or two.Trine says obesity is becoming a bigger problem in Norway, so she tries to make sure her two children, Frida and Kasper, have as healthy a lifestyle as possible."When they come home from school, they're outside playing soccer, going in the woods. I want them to be active. I don't want them to sit down just being paralyzed in front of the TV," Trine says.So what is her impression of American moms? "The impression we get from TVs and what we read in the papers, I think they should be more strict…the health issue and the eating and everything," Trine says. "I'm very strict with my kids. Like there's no peanut butter ever in the house…There's a lot of love behind a no."Despite being health conscious, however, Trine says the best advice she gives her kids is about their emotional well-being. "To believe in themselves…like my little girl, for example, … if she comes home and said somebody said something bad about her hair I said, 'Do you like your hair?'" Trine says. "That's the most important thing. To believe and be strong in yourself."
Talk about lifestyles of the rich and famous! We traveled way down south to meet Andrea Santa Rosa in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Married to well-known Brazilian actor Marcio Garcia, Andrea basks in the good life with their two children, Pedro and Nina. "I have a nanny. I have a cook. I have a housekeeper," Andrea says. "I think that Brazil is so [much] easier than America because the women [in America] don't have time for them[selves]. Just for the children. And for the house."In Rio de Janeiro, Andrea says looks matter. "It's very important to be beautiful. I love to work out. I like to buy some clothes," she says.But in a country with one of the world's highest crime rates, Andrea's top priority is keeping her family safe. "The violence here is terrible. I have security because I'm afraid sometimes. I have a bulletproof car."Like every mother, Andrea hopes that she is raising her children right. "When they grow up, I'd like them to be a good person and to do everything in the right way," Andrea says.
When Dina, a mom in Cairo, Egypt, began looking for a pre-school for her son, Aly—who was born with Down syndrome—she learned about the striking lack of opportunities for people with disabilities in her country. She says administrators at schools would ask, "Why do you want to send him here? Maybe you should send him to an institution."Though she had no business or education training, Dina opened the Baby Academy Preschool for Children, which provides top-of-the-line facilities. "I wanted a place that would treat every child as an individual, that would help him to achieve his maximum potential," she says.Now Dina has three schools, 1,000 graduates, and plans for further expansion!
Motherhood takes on a different meaning in Sudan's Abushok Refugee Camp. The camp, situated in the volatile Darfur region of the east African nation, is home to 54,000 displaced refugees. While visiting the camp, CNN reporter Jeff Koinange met Makha, a 25-year-old mother.Makha and her husband were living with their six children on a grain farm when their village came under attack by "Janjaweed," the ruthless mounted militias who have executed many of the atrocities in the ongoing genocide in Sudan. Janjaweed militiamen killed Makha's husband and two of her children, and raped her. She escaped and, with her surviving four children, fled 60 miles on foot.When Jeff spoke with her, Makha had been in the camp for seven months. She was building a six-foot mud wall in a desperate attempt to protect her children. "Perhaps if the Janjaweed come here, they'll see that wall and pick an easier target," Jeff explains.Despite everything the refugees of Darfur have been through, another mother at the camp named Fatima says she still has hopes and dreams for her children. "For me, life has no meaning. I just want my children to be able to live normal lives like children anywhere," she says. "Not as refugees."
In India, the legal age for marriage is 18, but more than half of the country's women are married and starting families by their 15th birthdays. On average, women make up only 6 percent of India's workforce—but that is changing.Over the past decade, hundreds of U.S. companies have outsourced jobs to India. Over 300,000 Indians are employed as customer service phone operators. One of these workers is 29-year-old mother Bharti, who works from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.—literally through the middle of the night. Bharti rarely spends more than 15 minutes at a time with her husband or son. She says she hasn't spent a night with her husband in two months."My ultimate dream is to have our own flat, and Ishu [her son] have his own room, and I'm not working at all," Bharti says. "I would love to teach dance. That's what I want—a simple, very small life."These jobs imported from the West are changing Indian culture, especially how families are structured, "Their lives are in reverse. They adopt these American, Western lives at night and come back and try to live their Indian lives during the day," she says. "The mothers are still obligated, even though they're working all night long, to come and cook first thing in the morning, pick up the kids during the day. Their duties have multiplied.
In Thailand, 65 percent of women work and the average household income is only $6,000 a year. Muhlee, a mom in Bangkok, Thailand, works six days a week as a masseuse—making just enough money to pay for the one-room apartment she shares with her 18-year-old daughter and husband. In addition to her busy work schedule, Muhlee says her husband also expects her to do all of the housework.Because they do not have the room or the money, Muhlee's 9-year-old son does not live with his parents in Bangkok. Instead, he lives in the country with Muhlee's parents. She rarely gets to see him, but they talk every day."She would do anything for her kids," says Muhlee's translator."Muhlee is actually very lucky because she talks to her son every day," Lisa says. "She's one of millions of women around the world who are from the countryside, but have to leave their homes in search of work. Some of these mothers in China, in Mexico, in Thailand see their kids maybe once a month. Some see their kids maybe two times a year.
In Uganda, Lisa Ling introduces us to one woman who is almost single-handedly raising her country. Bakoko Zoe, a former government minister, has personally adopted 40 orphans whose parents died of AIDS. "Virtually that's all I do with my income," Bakoko says.As she raises these 40 children, Bakoko simultaneously lobbies to change laws that give men unlimited power over women. And she starts changing those laws at home…with her 20 sons. "In the future, when we have our wives, we must learn how to give them the freedom and how to empower them to look for their own survival," one of her sons says."Even if I am poor, even if I don't have what others have, I have fine young men who will transform our society,"
It is a path of experiences, Of happiness and joys, Of sorrows and tears, Of give and take, Of learning from ones' experiences, Of evolving as a better person , over the years, And growing intellectually with each day, Therefore; make the most of it, Life is a gift of God, So Live it up!
Fight against Global Warming - Start by making small chnages , its easier than you think.
Disconnect Let's start with a no-cost step. About 75 percent of the energy consumed by home appliances occurs while they're turned off but still plugged in. Unplug everything in your house that doesn't need to be connected full-time, or plug cords in to surge protectors, which can be flipped on as needed.
Curb Your Temper(ature) Every degree you lower the thermostat in winter and raise it in summer can reduce your heating and cooling bills by 1 percent or more. Install an automatic, programmable thermostat that allows you to set specific temperatures for different times of day. For example, in winter you don't need it as warm when you're sleeping, and in summer you don't need to cool the house while you're at work. While on the subject of temperature, make sure your water heater is set at the mid-range of 120 degrees; anything hotter and you're wasting energy. And if your water heater is at least three years old, wrap it in an insulation blanket (newer models are better insulated), and will save enough energy to prevent the release of up to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, as per climatecrisis.
No Pane, No Gain Replacing single-pane windows with energy-efficient double panes can reduce your heating and cooling needs by close to one-third.
Go with the (Low) Flow A low-flow showerhead—which uses less hot water—can reduce carbon-dioxide emissions 376 pounds and lower your utility bill annually.
Lighten Up About a quarter of the energy needed for our homes goes toward keeping on the lights. If a household replaced one traditional lightbulb with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), we would save $600 million in utility bills and enough energy to light 3 million homes each year. CFLs cost more, but they use nearly 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer than incandescent lightbulbs.
Erase Your Footprint If you can't afford to convert every square foot of your home into a paradigm of energy efficiency—and let's face it, very few of us can—then try the next best thing: Purchase carbon offsets. For every pound of carbon dioxide your home releases, you can fund an environment-friendly endeavor that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air.
As this great month dawns upon us, its value is more than can be told.May we find ourselves making use of it. Allah is waiting to grant us what we ask from him...May you be granted Abundant Rizq, Good Health, Surrounded by Love and Laughter,Iklaas in Imaan and Happiness beyond compare. May all that we wish of be 'Granted'... Amen.
The holy month of Ramadan enjoys a special importance in the Islamic calendar. As the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "It is Allah's Own month." It is the chief of all months and the most glorious one. As we already know, 'Fasting' is one of the important pillars of Islam and it is the very month of Ramadan during which fasting has been made obligatory for all adults and sane Muslims. By fasting during Ramadan, a Muslim besides discharging an obligation imposed upon him by Allah, becomes entitled to great reward in the Hereafter. On the other hand, any lapse in the matter amounts to a great sin. Fasting is an article of worship, the knowledge about the performance or otherwise whereof rests only with Allah and the person concerned. Hence, it is Allah alone who will reward that person for it, on the Day of Judgment.
The blessings of Ramadan are not limited to fasting alone, because the performance of all sorts of worship and good deeds during this month is also a source of great Divine favor. The revelation of the Holy Qur'an commenced during this very month and it is therefore the duty of every Muslim to read and try to understand the meaning of the Holy Qur'an and thereby gain an insight into the Divine secrets enshrined therein. It brings peace and illumination to the mind and imparts purity to the soul.
Ramadan is the month of fasting, intensive prayer, sacrifice and Divine worship. Throughout this month a devout Muslim fasts during the day in the true sense of the word, that is, he had merely denies himself food and water, but as explained by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), exercises strict control over his tongue, eyes, ears, thoughts and deeds and does everything possible to seek the pleasure of Allah.
Devout supplications to Allah and repentance of one's sins during Ramadan are the sources of Divine blessings and mercy. Some nights, among the last ten nights of Ramadan, are called the 'Nights of Glory' (Laylatul Qadr). Muslims keep awake during these nights and offer special prayers. Even among these nights, the 23rd and 27th enjoys excellence over all the others. It is accompanied by great blessings, and he usually grants the supplications made to Allah during this night.
The holy month of Ramadan, besides being the month of worship and Divine blessings, carries a historical importance as well. As already mentioned above, the revelations of the Holy Qur'an commenced in this month. The epoch-making 'Battle of Badr' and the 'Conquest of Mecca' also took place during the holy month of Ramadan.
UNICEF has been working in India since 1949. The largest UN organisation in the country, it is currently implementing a $400 million programme from 2003 to 2007.
UNICEF is fully committed to working with the Government of India to ensure that each child born in this vast and complex country gets the best start in life, thrives and develops to his or her full potential.
The challenge is enormous but UNICEF is well placed to meet it. The organisation uses quality research and data to understand issues, implements new and innovative interventions that address the situation of children, and works with partners to bring those innovations to fruitition.
UNICEF uses its community-level knowledge to develop innovative interventions to ensure that women and children are able to access basic services such as clean water, health visitors and educational facilities, and that these services are of high quality. At the same time, UNICEF reaches out directly to families to help them to understand what they must do to ensure their children thrive.
UNICEF also wants them to feel a sense of ownership of these services. That same knowledge and interface with communities enables the organisation to tackle issues that would otherwise be difficult to address: the complex factors that result in children working, or the growing threat that HIV/AIDS poses to children.
UNICEF knows that key to addressing these challenges are its partnerships with sister UN agencies, voluntary organisations active at the community level, women’s groups and donors.
The organisation also works with an array of celebrities, including members of the Indian cricket team and leading actors from the Indian film industry, as well as hundreds of thousands of unnamed volunteers who tirelessly give their time and influence to ensure that, together, they are able to help every child realise his or her full potential.
Join the Campaign Today! Please join the hundreds and thousands of caring people who choose to UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS. Together, we can make a real difference!By becoming a monthly donor to this five -year Campaign, or by making a financial contribution whenever you are able, you will help UNICEF to help the millions of children who are missing their childhoods because of HIV/AIDS.
Every Minute of every day ,AIDS costs the world another child's life.
Its time for all of us to unite for children againt AIDS .
Donate Now. Log on to :http://www.supportunicef.org
A growing number of Iraqi children are being driven onto the streets by poverty. – Afrah and her brother Bilal were barely teenagers when they were left to fend for themselves on the streets of Baghdad. Shy and awkward, the young brother and sister still carry the scars of their frightening separation from their family.
“My father lost his job and my mother could not care for us,’ said Afrah, 13. “We were too poor to eat or stay in school, so we had to leave home, and this is how we ended up in the institution.”
Afrah’s story is all too familiar in Baghdad’s urban slums, ravaged for so long by conflict and economic hardship. Poverty is a persistent enemy of Iraq’s working classes, a force almost as destructive as violence.
By 2003, at least 15 per cent of Iraqi children under the age of 14 were working to support their families in some way. Today, the figure is likely to be far higher. Tens of thousands of family wage-earners have been killed in sectarian violence. Many more are fleeing to new areas in search of safety and jobs, disrupting family life and eating up household savings.
As violence in Iraq continues to fracture communities and families, children are increasingly being asked to take on adult burdens. For the poorest children, this usually means begging on the streets, or trying to scrape a few dinars by dodging traffic in an effort to persuade motorists to buy sticks of gum, sweets and cigarettes.
Many street children end up trapped in even more desperate situations, drawn into drugs, prostitution and violence. The more fortunate ones find a refuge in government institutions. The unlucky ones end up in trouble with the police or permanently damaged by the worst forms of economic and sexual exploitation, their childhoods lost.
“We are seeing more and more street children in Iraq’s cities, a tragic side-effect of conflict and poverty,” said the Chief of Child Protection Officer for UNICEF Iraq, Patrizia di Giovanni. “They are the forgotten vulnerable of Iraq’s society – less likely than any Iraqi children to go to school, receive emotional support, benefit from health care and stay safe.”
Most of the children working Iraq’s streets are not orphans, Ms. di Giovanni said. Afrah’s case – in which her family could not afford to keep her – is typical of an Iraqi street child.
Other street children are runaways, unable to cope with the stress and domestic violence that infects so many Iraqi families in the heart of the conflict zones. Displacement increases the risk that children will become separated from their parents in transit, or be pushed into work if the hoped-for family income fails to materialize in their new location.
“There was a time when extended families, or even community leaders, would have taken in children in need of help,” Ms. di Giovanni said. “But with pressure growing on all Iraqis, fewer are able to care for children beyond their immediate family. And so a frightening number of children are being left out in the cold.”
Afrah was one of the lucky ones. She found her way into the UNICEF-supported Child Re-integration Project. This initiative aims to bring children living without their parents back into a family environment, with the assistance of an NGO partner working in Baghdad. Children have the chance to stay in one of six ‘transitional’ centres throughout the city, where they receive counselling, psychosocial support and the chance to share experiences with their peers.
Eventually, with the aid of social workers, these children are offered the opportunity to return to a family home.
The Child Re-integration Project is a step-by-step process for children. Where they are orphans, the project finds relatives or members from their former community to foster them. In Afrah’s case, the project was able to trace her family and bring her back to them.
“I asked girls at the centre what going home was like,” said Afrah. “They said that in their own homes they can wake up and sleep freely and they are relaxed. I said to myself, why don’t I go to my family so that I can be free and calm like them?”
Going home can be hard after a long separation, but Afrah and her family had help. The Child Re-integration Project provides children and families with counselling and financial support for several months after a child returns home, to help the family adapt and make sure the child can go back to school.
“We are thankful for the rations provided by the social worker because we are very poor even now,” said Afrah’s mother. “If it were not for this I could not have had my children home, despite my love for them.”
So far, 150 children like Afrah have been re-united with a family by the Child Re-integration Project. Within the next few months it will roll out across Iraq to give other displaced and lost children the chance to change their lives for the better.
“When I was without my family I missed them. I could not imagine living a moment more without them,” said Afrah. “I hope that this project can bring other children back home and help their families.”
“All Iraqi children deserve the care of a family home,” Ms. di Giovanni said. “A family is the best chance they have to grow into confident, educated adults – and to contribute to the nation-building that Iraq needs.”
For today, Afrah is safe and dreaming of becoming an engineer.
“I will build my family a home first, before I work on any other building,” she says, as her mother and brothers sit beside her.
Sometimes we walk along a path, beneath a cloudy sky, There's nothing to the right or left,to lift our spirits high, Then , at last, we turn a corner, and there bursts into our view - A scene of light and beauty , and the world seems fresh and new. So always hold this little thought, that cares are bound to end, And there's a brighter day ahead - just waiting round the bend.
LONDON—Princess Diana's family solemnly marked the 10th anniversary of her death Friday, with her younger son eulogizing her as "the best mother in the world."
The bishop of London used his sermon at a memorial service to call for an end to the sniping between Diana's fans and detractors, and a priest who has led an annual remembrance said it may now be time to let go.
"To lose a parent so suddenly at such a young age, as others have experienced, is indescribably shocking and sad," Prince Harry said at the memorial service at the Guards' Chapel near Buckingham Palace.
"It was an event which changed our lives forever, as it must have done for everyone who lost someone that night," said Harry, who was 12 when Diana died.
"But what is far more important to us now and into the future is that we remember our mother as she would wish to be remembered, as she was: fun-loving, generous, down to earth and entirely genuine," he said.
Diana's admirers, many of them suspicious of the cause of her death and resentful of Prince Charles, tied bouquets, poems and portraits to the gates of her former home.
Friday was a day for broadcasting video snippets of her wedding and funeral, for rehashing the rights and wrongs of her failed marriage.
For Harry and his older brother, Prince William, it was a simple tribute to an adored mother.
"To us, just two loving children, she was quite simply the best mother in the world," Harry said. "When she was alive, we completely took for granted her unrivaled love of life, laughter, fun and folly.
"She was our guardian, friend and protector," Harry said. "She never once allowed her unfaltering love for us to go unspoken or undemonstrated."
Harry and William were credited with organizing the noontime service, but Charles was blamed by many for the furor over an invitation to his current wife.
A poll commissioned by Channel 4 television in Britain found that 25 percent of the public
believes Diana was murdered, but 59 percent thought it was an accident. The telephone poll of 1,016 adults conducted this week had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The royal family, which clearly was caught by surprise by a national tidal wave of grief 10 years ago, had refrained from any public remembrance of the anniversary of the princess' death.
This year, however, William and Harry took the lead in organizing the memorial service, as well as a rock concert on Diana's birthday, July 1, which drew 70,000 paying fans.
Its time for girls around the world to realize that how beautiful they are....... inside and out. "What I know for sure is that you really dont become what you want. You become what you believe". (Oprah)
A businesswoman, a mother of four, an international fashion icon, a woman committed to making the world a better place for women and children—Queen Rania of Jordan is truly changing the world. Rania Al-Yassin was born in Kuwait. Shortly after Saddam Hussein invaded that country in 1990, her family fled and settled in Jordan. After graduating from business school, Rania began working her way up the corporate ladder. When she was just 22, she went to a dinner party where she met Jordan's Prince Abdullah—considered one of the world's most eligible bachelors. He didn't remain one for long after that night. Six months later, Rania and Abdullah had a royal wedding and started a family. And, though they planned for a life as royals, Abdullah assumed he'd remain a military officer for life. In 1999, while on his deathbed, King Hussein of Jordan stunned his country by announcing that his son Abdullah—not his brother—would succeed him as king. That made 29-year-old Rania the world's youngest living queen.
A QUEEN'S LIFE :
Rania says that being queen is not the trait she defines herself by. "I am not at all conscious of it," she says. "I make a conscious effort not to be conscious of it. Because I'm Rania, you know? People call me 'Queen,' but, you know, that's not me…I'm Rania." There are many perks to being queen, of course, but Rania stresses that there are also responsibilities. "One of the major misconceptions about this position is that people think that I might be far removed, that I might not be in touch with reality," she says. "The honest truth is that my life is very much about dealing with issues on the ground, dealing with … the problems that our country faces. That's something I do on a daily basis." When most people think of queens, they probably think of what they know from fairy tales. "For me, it's just real life," Rania says. "I am a mother. I care about my children. I worry about what they eat. I worry about the influences from their friends."
RAISING ROYAL CHILDREN :
Rania is not only sitting royalty in Jordan, she's raising the next generation of royals, too. She is the mother of four children—12-year-old Hussein, 10-year-old Iman, 6-year-old Salma, and 1-year-old Hashem. Rania says her family tries very hard to remain down to earth. The family has relaxed much of the ceremonial pomp and circumstance of their position. Rania prefers that people not refer to her as "Your Majesty"…and King Abdullah loves to barbecue! The family never discusses the possibility that Hussein, their oldest child, could be the future King of Jordan, Rania says. Instead, she says that the family strives to remain like any other family. For instance, to get the things they want the children have to clean their rooms and do well in school. "The most important thing is to instill them with the right values," Rania says. "I just feel that values are the shield that you carry with you throughout life. It protects you from whatever life throws at you."
EDUCATION AND POVERTY :
Rania has become famous around the world for her efforts to improve educational opportunities for girls and the rights of women. "In my mind poverty is a 'she,'" Rania says. Helping others is something that Rania says she feels compelled to do. "Once you feel that others are like you, then you want for others what you want for yourself," she says. "And that way you start helping others." Rania explains that there is a direct relationship between increasing education and eliminating poverty. "You can change the course of a nation through education," she says. "One of the most important things you can do for a girl is empower her with her education. Once she has the education, she can then have control over her income, she can change her life, she can have choices."
GETTING PAST CULTURAL STEREO TYPES :
Rania says that when people focus on differences between cultures—especially stereotypes and things like veils—they fail to realize just how similar all people are. "Once you go beyond the mannerisms, the language, the cultural idiosyncrasies, you realize that you're basically the same, you know?" she says. Rania also wants to break down the stereotypes the West holds about her culture. "I would like to dispel the misconception that Arabs are all extremists, that Arab people are violent, and that women in the Arab world are oppressed and suppressed," she says. The struggle we feel today is not really Middle East against the West, Rania says, but rather it is between extremists and moderates of all religions. "We need to speak up," she says. "The biggest nightmare for the extremists is for us to get along, and that's why we have to get along. We have to communicate more."
HIGH HOPES FOR THE FUTURE :
In the future, Rania says she hopes for a more open and secure world. "We look at problems happening halfway across the world and we think, 'Well, that's their problem.' But it's not," she says. "When you solve somebody else's problem, you're solving a problem for yourself because our world today is so interconnected." Rania says solving problems that stem from intolerance—like terrorism—require cultural dialogue, education and increased opportunities. "We have to create opportunities for our youth so they have a chance in life," she says. "Whenever you're frustrated and you feel like you don't have a future or you can't get a job, then you're more susceptible to be influenced by terrorism and extremist ideology."
"When [people] can eradicate complaining from their lives, they truly become happier. … It's like if you're not articulating the complaint, if your complaint has nowhere to go, your mind stops creating the complaint."
— Pastor Will Bowen, who challenged his parishioners to stop complaining .
What do you think your children will remember from their childhood? Experts say the littlest thing from parents can make the biggest difference in the life of a child. Learn how you can build strong connections with your children. Show Them How Much You Care.
Ways to build Connections.
Create Keepsakes :
One of the greatest gifts you give to your children is the gift of memories. A small keepsake from Mom or Dad can bring a smile to a child's face, or help them keep their chin up on an especially bad day. Here are some ideas for creating memories with your kids:
Take a picture of your child each year on their birthday. To help chart their growth, have them wear one of their mother's dresses, or their father's shirts. Then you can create an album that both you and your child will treasure.
Every year, write a letter to your child. In the letter, tell them what they were like at that time, who their friends were and what they liked to do. The letters will give your child a complete picture of their life, and will make a great birthday or wedding gift in the future.
Sit down in front of a video camera and record messages to your children. Share your words of wisdom, reinforce important lessons about life, and tell them how much you love them. Having your face and voice on videotape could mean more to them than you'll ever know.
Gather recipes that have been passed down through your family, or that are your kids' favorites, and make a family cookbook. When they're cooking their first meals on their own, they'll be thinking of you.
Tuck little notes in your child's lunch each day. Whether it's a joke, some encouraging words or just saying "I'm thinking about you," your kids will appreciate the thought.
Have Bedtime Rituals
When it's time for your kids to go to bed, take the opportunity to create some daily rituals with them. Having a familiar routine with parents at the same time each night can create a sense of closeness and comfort for your children.
Say the same thing to your kids each night before they go to sleep;
When your children are very young, rock them to sleep with a lullaby. As they get older, they will still like to hear the song, and it will take on a special significance to them.
Set aside an amount of time (15–30 minutes) to spend with each child when they go to bed. Let them tell you about their day, or talk about whatever is on their minds. They will appreciate this special time with you.
Read to your child before they fall asleep. Set a time limit, or a number of books you'll read. Not only will this time help you bond with your child, it will help them become better readers in the future.
Begin a Family Tradition
Traditions are great ways to strengthen family bonds and get your child to participate in activities. The more traditions you have, the more opportunities you'll have to come together as your child grows older and goes out into the world!
Many families come together to celebrate major holidays. Include foods that have been passed down from generation to generation. Tell stories about where the recipes came from to give your children a sense of family pride.You don't have to wait for a major holiday to build a tradition around food! Whether it's pizza, spaghetti or hot dogs, designate one night a week for your kid's favorite dinner.
Try taking a picture each year on the same day, like a birthday. Dress them in your own favorite outfit and watch how they grow into your clothes over the years!On the same day each year, write your child a letter and let them know what they were like at that age. Then, create an album made up of these photos and letters.
Make your child feel special by creating a secret handshake only the two of you know.
Include your children in your anniversary celebration! Just as many kids enjoy making their parents breakfast on Mother's Day and Father's Day—maybe they'd like to play restaurant and serve the two of you dinner!
Planting a memory garden in your backyard is a great springtime activity for you and your child to do together. Include flowers and trees that match your child's personality.
Create One-on-One Time with Family
If you think that you're giving your kids what they need by packing their schedules with after-school activities, think again. What they need is a little quality time with you! Learn to limit your kids' activities and carve out time to make your children feel special.
Ask Your Children What They Need
Ask your kids what they want out of your family lifestyle. Give each child a piece of paper. Ask, "If I could give you three things in regards to time and activities together, what would they be?"
Institute Date Night
Create "date nights" for each child. On a regular schedule, one or both parents should take each child to a movie or out to dinner. This simple time with you will mean a great deal to your child.
"Special Time" at Bedtime
Set aside at least 10 minutes of "special time" for each child every night when they go to bed. Use this time to read, talk about their day or sing a song together.
Sit Down for Dinner
Make it a priority to eat at least one meal together as a family each day. This will give you time to reconnect before or after a busy day.
Teaching manners to your children gives them the tools to function and succeed as adults.
1. How to Dine :
When invited to a pre-arranged meal, always use your utensils from the "outside in." After all, utensils are set in the order that food will be served.
2. Telephone Manners :
When calling a friend, identify yourself to the person who answers the phone before asking to speak your friend. By doing so, the parents or other family member who answer the phone will appreciate this courtesy and see you as friendly.
3. On Correspondence :
Anytime it takes someone more than 15 minutes to do something for you, send the person a thank-you note. By doing so, the person will know you really appreciated what was done for you.
4. Be Gracious :
When you are sent an invitation that requires an RSVP, be sure to let the person know if you will be able to go to the gathering. After all, "RSVP" means "respond if you please."
5. Shoes Are Important :
When getting dressed each day, be sure that your shoes are well-maintained. People associate the way you take care of your shoes with the way you handle detail in the rest of your life.
6. Be Open to New Foods :When you are invited out to eat and are served a food that is not your favorite, try a piece of it anyway. You may be surprised and find that you end up liking it.
7. Ask Questions :
When talking with friends and family, always make a point of asking them questions about themselves. People will see you as interesting if you are interested in them.
8. At the Table :
When eating a roll, be sure to break off a bite-sized piece at a time. No bread-and-butter sandwiches, please.
9. Be Friendly :
When you are in school, be cool by making a point to talk with that new kid in your class. If the tables were turned, wouldn't that make you feel good?
10. The Rule of Twelve :
When talking with others, always use a form of thanks and the person's name in the first 12 words you speak.
We must communicate to our children every day that they are loved, says Sandra Magsamen, an expert on living your life with heart. But, sometimes words alone are not enough to express what we most want to say. Here are some ways Sandra says you can make lasting bonds with your children that will last a lifetime.
The Basics :
Hug! Never stop hugging your child. A hug connects physically and emotionally like nothing else. You should also read lots of books to your children. Put time aside each day to look at, read and share stories. You can read the same ones over and over again. Dance, sway and move as you hold your child and provide the comfort and connection that gentle rocking and movement brings. Get down on the floor and play, make puzzles, finger paint, roll around and laugh together. And tell them you love them, that they are special, that they are unique and that they are a gift.
Sing Out Loud :
Find your song and sing it. Don't worry if you don't have the pipes of Aretha, just sing and I promise your child will love it. Find "your song," the song you love to sing to your child. It will soothe them—and you—on those days where everything seems to be going wrong. Smile, It's Your Birthday :
Every year on your child's birthday, take their picture while they hold a sign with the number of how old they are. Find a book or a place in your home to display these wonderful reminders of your child's growth.
Share What Matters :
There is no end to the ways in which we can share what's in our hearts. Teach your children at a young age that what they think matters. This is a short and sweet example of a family that created a book for a special celebration. Celebrate the Firsts, the Lasts and Everything in Between :
Every September, sure as clockwork, summer comes to an end and the first morning of school arrives. Lazy days, swimming pools, flip-flops and vacations are exchanged for alarm clocks, book bags, school buses and schedules. In my house, we have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of school. We hate to see summer come to a close, but we love to start a new year, filled with possibilities and friendships.
It's not always easy to talk to a child, says WebMD's Dr. Charlotte Grayson Mathis. They are always on the go, they have short attention spans and it's often hard to explain things to them in a way that makes sense. There are some important lessons though that you can teach your preschooler or big kid.Most importantly, make a habit when your child is young to talk to them every day about their life and activities. Don't judge them, just listen…and learn. Developing the habit now will serve you well for the years to come.
Controlling Their Temper :
Thankfully, tantrums are far less common than when your angel was a terrible 2. As they get older, it's much easier to talk to your child and teach them how to handle his or her anger and frustration. Just remember to avoid conceding to their demands, and defuse any physical outbursts toward a sibling or others by removing the child from the situation. After the storm's passed, talk to your child about what's troubling him or her.
Why They Shouldn't Use Swear Words :
It's shocking to see your precious child say the "s" word. It may even seem a bit funny, but don't laugh. Tell your child to not use the offensive word and offer alternatives to help him or her express themselves. If that doesn't work, consider punishing the child for the behavior.
Eating Right :
The battle over what your child will or won't eat is a familiar and frustrating problem for most parents. Remember this: Try to offer your child a variety of healthy choices at each meal, including one thing they definitely like. Don't worry if they eat nothing one day, and pig out the next. And recognize that while their diet may be awful and one dimensional for a few days, over time, it usually balances out.
At different ages, kids have different capacities to share their toys and personal items—and every kid is different. So, set a good example, show your kids how you're cooperative at home and reward good behavior. It will come in time.
Recognizing a Stranger :
One thing's for certain, our idea of a stranger is very different than our child's. Explain "stranger danger" in an age-appropriate way. For instance, use the movie Finding Nemo to introduce the topic to a preschooler. Tell your child that a friendly face doesn't mean that a person's not a stranger. A stranger is anyone your child doesn't know.With an older child, review the scenarios in which they may be lured away from you, including offering candy or requesting help finding a lost pet. Tell your kids to always stick with their friends and not go off alone. Teach your kid how to shout "NO" and run away from a situation that's uncomfortable. Make sure to teach them their address and home phone number.
The purposes for which people meditate vary almost as widely as practices. Meditation may serve simply as a means of relaxation from a busy daily routine; as a technique for cultivating mental discipline; or as a means of gaining insight into the nature of reality, or of communing with one's God. Many report improved concentration, awareness, self-discipline and equanimity through meditation.
Many authorities avoid emphasizing the effects of meditation — sometimes out of modesty, sometimes for fear that the expectation of results might interfere with one's meditation. For theists, the effects of meditation are considered a gift of God or from the Holy Spirit/Ghost, and not something that is "achieved" by the meditator alone, just as some say that a person will not convert to Christianity without the influence of the Holy Spirit/Ghost's presence.
Commonly reported results from meditation include:
1. Greater faith in, or understanding of, one's religion or beliefs .
2. An increase in patience, compassion, and other virtues and morals or the understanding of
3. Feelings of calm or peace, and/or moments of great joy .
4. Consciousness of sin, temptation, and remorse, and a spirit of contrition.
5. Sensitivity to certain forms of lighting, such as fluorescent lights or computer screens, and
Some traditions acknowledge that many types of experiences and effects are possible, but instruct the meditator to keep in mind the spiritual purpose of the meditation, and not be distracted by lesser concerns. For example, Mahayana Buddhists are urged to meditate for the sake of "full and perfect enlightenment for all sentient beings" (the bodhisattva vow). Some, as in certain sects of Christianity, say that these things are possible, but are only to be supported if they are to the glory of God.