Peace Initiatives Uganda

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dear Don,

Always pleased to be in touch.

We are considering beginning production of peace

documentaries which we shall be sharing across regions

for intercultural understanding and to reduce the

negative stereotypes held against each other (Uganda

has 58 ethnic groups in only a population of 26 million

). I have donated a pledged a truck(peace truck) which

will be ready by January or December at the earliest.

Am beginning fundraising for a public address system,

video recorder, generator and television set. The

truck will move from region to region with shows in

schools including these documentaries (which we can

share with other youth out of the country)and include

other shows on environment, effects of war, peace

making and others which build compassion and critical

thinking in the youth. Am already in touch with some

groups which have contributed some tapes so far.

Thanks again.

Jessy

Claus Miller, Denmark

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Claus Miller, Denmark
 
A Ray of Hope also welcomes the affiliation of the wonderful Culture of Peace Project - "Signs for Peace" by the artist Claus Miller.

Senegal

A Ray of Hope welcomes the affiliation of the Sobo Home for 1000 orphans in Senegal.
Web site to follow.

Melanie's Visit to Hungary and Romania March, 2006

Melanie's Visit to Hungary and Romania March, 2006

This trip was not just about going out to visit the orphanages in Hungary and Romania, but it was also a training trip for Naomi, Betty, and Rita. Betty and Rita are the trustees of The Sunflower Trust. Naomi is a young woman, who just has a hunger and thirst for helping orphans. This was her first trip./ The weather was foul. It rained and snowed continuously, but that didn’t t deter us from our mission at hand. The second day we arrived we ventured on our journey by train to Bucharest, in Romania. The train journey took us 15 hours, and we arrived in Bucharest, at the dead of night. Everything was covered with snow, and it seemed that all life had ceased. We worked our way to the hostel, which was just 2 kilometres from the train station,

The next day, we went to see our orphans in Cirigioli. They were being threatened with eviction, because the "building didn’t t come up to standards", so the deadline was March 28, when the authorities were going to close them down. They are all girls in this orphanage, and they had all come in from off the streets. The tales of abuse, rapes, and violence, is too much for us to tell. We didn’t t know exactly what we could do, but we did know that we could give of our selves. We started by talking about music with the girls. Tash speaks English, so we had an interpreter. We then progressed on to dancing together,(I’m not really up to street dancing), but I had a go, and the girls laughed so much.......and then asked "how old was I".mmm well say no more. Each girl showed us their bed and locker, which held all their worldly goods. I asked the girls were they happy, as the place was a bit run down, they said, they were happier in the orphanage, than being out on the streets, where they suffered far worse things than  the cold or starvation.

The couple who run the orphanage are disabled and ill. Ron has prostrate cancer, and is quite ill. Sue has one leg, and is permanently in a wheel chair. Their love and passion for these sweet little girlsif far more then I can say in words. They have been dedicated to the orphanage for 15 years, and have had so many problems. Up to now all the court cases have been postponed, and the girls are still there. We don’t know when they will ask them to leave, or forcibly eject them . When we returned from Bucharest, via the train, we were ready to meet the poor people of Bag, just 30 kilometres, outside of Budapest.

We were not quite sure what to expect, as Erika and Lajois, who help these poor folk, hadn’t told us much about the village. When we arrived we found our selves at the foot of a mountain, where the bus dropped us off. We had to then cross the road, and head along a very dirty, dirt track, heading toward the mountain. There was a little steam that ran parallel with the dirt track, but it was flowing very violently over the boulders and rocks. They told me that the came to some "dwellings", that’s as best as I can describe them, with smoke coming from little iron pipes, that acted as chimneys.

Lajois introduced us to 2 little girls, who came running to meet us. Ezerbet and Suchie, were orphans, and had just lost their mother 4 months before. The extended family were looking after them for now, with the help of Erika and Lajois. We proceeded to go into one of these dwellings, and we were astounded at the simplicity and poverty in the house. Ishtvan and his wife lived here, and had called a meeting for us to access the needs of the village folk. The village is called Bag, (with 2 dots on the top of the B).  The natives of that village were very hospitable towards us, and were very happy to show us their babies. Most of the villagers could not read or write, and the children could not go to school because the nearest school was full and a long way away, and the parents would not allow the children to venture too far away from the village. There was many young mums who had been left, because their partners had gone away to the city to look for work, and consequently, had not returned, so there was a lot of broken hearted girls left behind. There had been some tribal feuding going on, with villagers in the next village, and so there was a lot of feeling of animosity shown toward some of the strangers that entered the village.

We took some much needed baby clothes, and urgently required pain killers and paracetamol, antibiotics. We took pens and writing books and various educational tools. Erika and Lajois are teaching in the newly founded school, funded by The Sunflower Trust. A little goes a long way here, and so we are paying for Erika and Lajois s bus fare to take them twice a week to this remote village, which is not the most desirable place to go.

I thank this couple so much for their efforts in helping these people, who are from Roma origins. Life is so harsh for them, and unless the Government intervenes soon, then their plight will go on for another generation. We aim to make a difference in the lives of the children of Bag. We are setting up a programme, where we can distribute a little money each month for food. The School is already in operation, and Erika and Lajois are in Teacher training college in Budapest. They themselves are struggling, while they are training. It is people, like Erika and Lajois, who have  a passion to help the poor, that will change nations for the future. Many a child from humble beginnings, when given a chance, has overcome the poverty trap. and gone on to be, Dr s and  Politicians and Presidents. We aim to help these people to develop them selves, with a little help from their friends. We will keep you updated on this work.  Hungary, is up and coming, because now it is in the EU.   This generation will carry us on into the next, remembering that some one gave them a hand ,up on to the ladder of success.  

Melanie’s visit to Hungary/Romania April, 2006

I am privileged to have be given  the  opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and my visit to Hungary was no exception. This  was a follow up trip to take out supplies and money, and to do discuss strategies on how best we can support. And develop programmes.

 The trip to Hungary on April 3 this year was only made possible by the generosity of British Airways.  We were allowed to take 90kg, and that was a lot of luggage. We went to assess the needs of the orphanage in Romania, and the poor children of Bag, in Hungary.   I took a 15 year old girl with me, on a training mission. She was sponsored by her School in Middlewich.  It was the best education a teenager could have. She saw and experienced things that people only dream of.

  The trip to Budapest was wonderful. We flew from London had good seats and excellent service. We were met by Lajois Csiki, who looks after the children in Bag. The next day, we took the train up to Nyirbeltek, were all the children came meeting us with smiles and shouts of excitement. In the village a new baby was born. 2 new foals, and an abundance of chickens and pigs. The baby clothes were distributed by Kizzy, who was so delighted to nurse some of the babies. The older children were proud to show us their school work and their achievement.

  It was still quite cold. The Danube had burst its banks, and many villages and homes were flooded all over Hungary. Dani and Kati were happy to see us, and quickly showed us the improvements to the home. Work had to be stopped, because of the weather, it had been a very cold and wet winter. We have united some of the other poor villages, by having social evenings and sing songs. While we were there, we were able to join in on the traditional  Roma Dancing. I lasted 5minutes.its very much like Irish river dancing. Kizzy was proud of me for having a go, and I was happy when the locals laughed, well, wasn’t I there to make them happy.

Baby clothes are like gold dust in these remote villages, and we enjoyed it so much, distributing the baby clothes and toys. The eyes of the mothers were just as big as the little children who grabbed them, and tried hard to put them on, over their existing clothes.

In the little school,in Nyirvishvari, the children showed us their school work, and what they had achieved over the last year. Many of them had learnt a few English words, and were eager to try them out on us. We took books, and pencils, rubbers, and English children’s books. Michlosh is trying out his new guitar, he is only 4, but in this country, music is the first language.

Our programmes are all about giving, teaching, and befriending, and networking. In one week we were able to make new friends and new contacts for our growing work. In Budapest, we found friends of Lajios running the Salvation Army, a whole family, of a husband, and his wife and his 3 daughters. We are now trying to do an exchange for Barbra to come and work with the street people of Manchester, while we send her English counterpart to Budapest to work with the many destitute people of that city.

We are comparing the education methods of the rural villages to that of the city, and good communication has been set up between the people of Nyirbeltek, and the people of Budapest. We work with the poorest of children, in the most remotest of villages, but very quickly, the two are becoming closer.

The trip was also so beneficial to Kizzy, who has taken her experience back to her School in Middlewich, in a view to the School communicating with the children of Nyirbeltek........wooooosh.how much can one do in a week in Hungary, well, this is only a taster. So many friends were made, so much expressions of love was expressed, and many new ideas and projects have been suggested, and put forward for our Trustees to look at.

In a nut shell.we took out,

Medical supplies  Baby Clothes Educational Supplies Musical Instruments  Toys

We set up connections between the villages, 4 talks in 4 different areas, sung and danced with the local villagers, exchanging different methods of Roma dancing(.mine was very different, a lot slower).

We shared about how Hungary will be moving forward in the EU, and how we want to further our knowledge of their culture, and do some exchanges.

We will also be arranging for a group of 12 singers to come to England to sing in concert and organising  work exchanges, with the Salvation Army, and  street projects.

May 2006, London

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dear students and teachers

 

It gives me great pleasure to write to you today to offer you a free copy of the DVD of the feature documentary Peace One Day. 

 

As you may know, the Peace One Day film project documented and inspired the unanimous adoption by United Nations member states of the first ever day of global ceasefire and non-violence, 21 September annually.  Since the Day's creation Peace One Day has been committed to informing the global community of the Day's existence, with a view to manifesting an annual moment of global unity, as Peace Day is envisioned to become.  As part of this effort, this year, Peace One Day will instigate Peace Day activities in all 191 member states of the United Nations.

 

On my journey to establish the Day, I wanted to speak to young people. I wanted to find out what they would think of a day of peace. Since 1999 I have spoken to over 30,000 young people and teachers in every continent, recording 417 hours of their thoughts.  It was clear when showing the film in the classroom that young people wanted to act on 21 September; I hope that the DVD is the first of many global education tools that will support young people to become the driving force behind the vision of a united world. 

 

Simply by watching the film as a class on Peace Day, 21 September 2006, you are making an important commitment to peace, raising awareness of the Day and supporting Peace One Day’s ‘191 member state’ goal.  Whatever you decide to do as a class on Peace Day, thank you so much in anticipation of your support. To obtain your copy of the DVD and make your schools commitment to Peace Day 2006, please e-mail us at web@peaceoneday.org. 

 

Now you know about Peace Day, and now that you know we want to create a moment of global unity on the Day, 21 September, perhaps you would like to think about how many commitments you could generate in schools in other countries for Peace Day!

 

Whatever you are able to do on, or in the lead up to 21 September, please let us know so that we can post your school’s commitment on the website (www.peaceoneday.org) to inspire others to get involved.  The scale of your Peace Day activity is not important-the commitment of individuals to act on the Day is everything. Any images that you are able to send us of your activities on the day, be they still or moving, would be very much appreciated.

 

I do want to say a final word about the term ‘non-violence’, and why its inclusion in UN GA Resolution 55/282 was so important. I realised early on, that a call simply for ‘ceasefire’ on 21 September, was one that could easily be dismissed as relevant only to those living in ‘conflict zones’.  The inclusion of the term ‘non-violence’, coupled with an invitation to ‘individuals’ to observe the Day, means that 21 September becomes relevant to us all, since every one of us has had some experience with one form of violence or another, whether in our home, school or local community.

 

Thank you again for your support and best of luck with your Peace Day activity.

 

 

In peace

 

 

 

Jeremy Gilley

Founder, Peace One Day

Signs For Peace

Kindly to Don McBurney,
Deeply appreciating your commitment to culture, Peace and Human Rights I am asking you kindly to consider to include in your Culture of Peace Campaign the SignsForPeace-project.

I'm Claus Miller, a Danish artist working on an ambitious Art&Peace project. Two years ago I started to contact people with a culturally significant biography; Nobel Prize Laureates, Mayors, Scientists, Actors, Musicians, Artists and Sports-people from all over the world, asking them to send me their fingerprint as a sign - in order to reflect on human identity and the need of human right, peace and democracy in the world -, through art.

The creative idea was to translate and transform the original fingerprints into artworks representing the identity of the portrayed person on large surfaces. Even though they could seem abstract paintings, the portraits are empirical events, stories, short biographies, warnings, and creative human thinking formulas.

The idea was well accepted and the exhibition "SignsForPeace" featuring fingerprint-portraits of famous spokespeople for humanity was born.

:: The Debut
The first SignsForPeace exhibition started as the opening ceremony of the VI Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome. The Nobels Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan with Mayor Walter Veltroni introduced the exhibition to a large public and the media representatives. The event was made possible thanks to the advocacy of the President of the Italian Republic, the Mickael Gorbachev foundation and the City of Rome.
The SignsForPeace portraits participating in 2005 was:
Albert Einstein (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1921)
Betty Williams (Ireland. Nobel Peace Laureates 1976)
Carlos Santana (USA. Musician. Spokesperson for peace)
Cora Weiss (USA. President of International Peace Bureau)
Dalai Lama (Tibet. Nobel Peace Laureate 1989)
Dario Fo (Italy. Nobel Laureate in Literature 1997)
Desmond Tutu (South Africa. Nobel Peace Laureate 1984)
Franca Rame (Italy. Actress. Spokesperson for peace)
Harry Kroto (UK. Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1996)
Herbie Hancock (USA. Musician. Spokesperson for peace)
Joan Baez (USA. Musician. Spokesperson for peace)
Jody Williams (USA. Nobel Peace Laureate 1997)
John Lennon (UK. Musician. Spokesperson for peace)
Joseph Rotblat (UK. Nobel Peace Laureate 1995)
Luciano Pavarotti (Italy. Opera Singer. UN Messenger of Peace 1998)
Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Ireland. Nobel Peace Laureate 1976)
Malcolm X (USA, Spokesperson for Civil Rights)
Martin Luther King. Jr. (Nobel Peace Laureate 1964)
Mia Farrow (USA. Actress. Unicef Goodwill Ambassador)
Mohammad Ali (USA. World Champion. UN Messenger of Peace 1998)
Peter Gabriel (UK. Musician. Spokesperson for peace)
Rosa Parks (USA, Spokesperson for Civil Rights)
Susan Sarandon (USA. Actress. Unicef Goodwill Ambassador)
Walter Veltroni (Italy. Mayor of Rome. Spokesperson for peace)
Achille Bonito Oliva (Italy. Art Critic. Spokesperson for Peace)
Zucchero Fornaciari (Italy, Musician. Spokesperson for Peace)
.....
The very first idea foresaw the participation of SignsForPeace-portraits of children living in conflict areas to be staged in line with the above icons. Unfortunately the budget was too low, but this is one thing I would like to fulfill in the very next future.

The personalities in the project state a strong and important message of humanity toward the visitors. The exhibition is a colourful, and innovative eulogy of profound values, suitable for visitors of all walks of life, ages and beliefs. It is a flexible medium and can be personalized for any needs of communication and space.
The idea is to implement the collection of portraits: each new host can invite their local spokespersons to add a sign-for-peace.

:: Education
The exhibition suits well to educational visits for students. They will learn about the involved personalities and matters about individual identities versus global identity.
March 2006, during a panel discussion at the Goethe Institute in London featuring the legacy of Joseph Rotblat, with Nobel Laureate Betty Williams, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus and Chairman of British Pugwash Prof. Robert Hinde, the SignsForPeace project was included in a wider inter-disciplinary European project forming educational work for schools in Italy, Sweden and UK.

:: Mayors for Peace advocacy:
The International Mayors for Peace Organization, counting more than 1200 member cities in the world, has included the exhibition as a project that has immediate relevance to the "Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign".
See: http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/campaign/2020vision.html
Your local Mayor may be pleased to get involved.
:: Future Venues:
Vancouver City has booked the exhibition for the "World Peace Forum 2006", 23-28 June. The artworks will welcome thousands of delegates arriving in Vancouver for the forum.

Chicago has booked the exhibition from October 2006 to February 2007. In that period the city of Chicago features an important Humanity Festival.

We will promote different venues in North America in 2007 and create other venues around the world.

:: Opportunities:
First of all the project is an opportunity to speak about peace and human rights in a creative, joyful and positive way.

The theme of the exhibition suits well to create additional educational coordinated events, animations and visits for students of all ages.

The exhibition is an opportunity to create social awareness and media exposure for the sponsors and advocacy organisations.

Your participation by supporting this project with advocacy, assistance and coorporation would represent an important statement for all of us.

Thank you in advance for your kind support and for taking your time to read this.

You can see the exhibition at:
http://www.clausmiller.com/SignsForPeace.html
You can download the exhibition catalogue at:
http://www.clausmiller.com/SignsForPeaceRome.pdf

I would be pleased to send you a copy of the documentation.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.

Yours sincerely
Claus Miller
SignsForPeace

LECT commonwealth schools study visit.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thank you for your interest in participating in LECT commonwealth schools study visit.
Please read the following information carefully.

I am putting together a bid to take up to 10 teachers to a commonwealth country to the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers. This bid must by submitted by Friday.

The primary focus of the visit will be Student Voice and Citizenship.
This will look at raising student participation in school and local community projects, such as setting up schools councils and student initiated activities. It will aim to address developing the skills of responsible action and raising political awareness for informed citizens.
The bid will also highlight the value of visiting an ethnically diverse commonwealth country, aiding our understanding of global institutions and provide a broader perspective of other cultures to which we are affiliated.

International experience is an extremely effective form of continuing professional development for teachers. This visit (if successful) will offer a unique opportunity to see how major educational issues are addressed internationally.

The visit hopes to be an collaboration between the Association of Citizenship, Kent Schools and CCCUC. The final group of participants will be structured to include individuals from all of these groups and we hope to have a range of individuals from different educational establishments working in differing roles.

The trip will take place in the school holidays sometime between 29 May ‘06 - 31 March ‘07  (although is likely now to be next academic year) and will include 5 study days plus travel. The bid asks for a request for most favorable dates.

There is a lot of interest in this project but I am keen to hear from everybody. Please can you reply with the following information:

Your Name,
School Name,
LEA,
Contact address (can be school address)
Email (essential)
Subjects / or role within your school
Whether you are a member of ACT or work with CCCUC in initial teacher training.

Additionally (not essential) if you have a moment some comment on how you could make use of this visit could be very useful.

I fully appreciate how busy you all are but I need this information no later than by 10 O’clock FRIDAY to ensure the bid is submitted in time.

If you have any further questions please respond by email or contact me at Invicta on 01622 755856
Information on LECT is available at
http://www.lect.org.uk/lect/

I look forward to hearing from you very soon,

Keira Price

--
Lead Teacher for Citizenship
Invicta Grammar School
Kent
01622 755856

(NB, You will need to have a valid passport!!)

Educational and Medical Supplies sent

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Moldova

Substantial amount of medical supplies. Including crutches, Zimmer frames, walking aids, sanitary items, curtains, sheets, glassware, hospital and operating theatre implements, stainless steel ware, miscellaneous hospital and health clinic items.
 
 
Sierra Leone

Hospital glassware, hospital stainless steel, drip stands, education packs, teachers' resource material
jotters, paint brushes, CDs and videos, books, hospital trays, operating theatre and hospital equipment,
funnels and accessories, miscellaneous items.
 
 
Belarus

Hospital uniforms, small toiletries, blankets, sheets, gowns, protectors
Medical small equipment, trays, bandages etc.
 

UNESCO

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jeff, member of A Ray of Hope, meets Pele and his wife in Nashville.
Pele also of course having the accolade of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Nepal

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ray of Hope - Report of visit to Nigeria by Pam Maclean
 
 

Don from Ray of Hope and Unesco has been in touch to let us read a report of Pam Maclean's recent visit to Nigeria. She met students that had taken part in an art competition which had attracted nearly 400 high quality entries, pictures of which can be seen on the Unesco website www.unesco.co.uk. She also met with teachers and local leaders.

Don writes, "Pam Maclean is an exceptionally gifted individual who is driven by the need to succeed, accomplish and impart ideas. Her great desire is to share her knowledge with others and in particular with those who may not have the educational opportunities as those experienced by pupils and teachers in the United Kingdom. It is a wonderful asset for A Ray of Hope to have harnessed the interest of Pam in Nigeria and we are assured that much more will develop."

To read the whole report click here.

Ghana

Dear Don,

Good Afternoon. I visited Ghana in March 2006 to see the project in Ghana and I send the greetings from the children in Boamah Kwabi Memorial School to you. I observed a lot of progress in the School.

Whilst in Ghana, I had an opportunity to meet members of the above organisation in Kumasi. The name Sinapiaba means Mustard Seed and the organisation is involved in providing small loans to poor entrepreneurs, majority of them women with household income below the poverty line. The organisation also organises HIV awareness Programmes, Youth Apprenticeship Programmes and other Community Development Programmes which are aimed  at alleviating poverty and life deprivation.

They have expressed an interest in receiving support for their youth apprenticeship programme. I made mention of your programmes and activities and a possible opportunity for a future partnership working between your organisation and Sinapiaba Trust.

I wish to request if I can forward your details to the organisation for a possible contact from the Leaders. The Programmes Manager for the Non-Finance Sector is Mrs Josephine Adams.

Thanks for your assistance in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely,

Benjamin Ofori

Uganda

Hi Don

Competition is seemingly right. Stanbic bank organized "Inspiration Lives in Africa"  project where one would nomination a project they think has greatly improved the lives of the people in the area it serves. I was delighted to nominate Kabubbu Library. The prize was 10 million Uganda shillings.

We won. Unfortunately, without consulting us, the bank donated books in the place of money. This surprised Vickie, Charles and I. We are now to contact the bank to see if they can reverse their decision.The library desperately needs money to help run for the next two years.

Beautiful times,
Seguya