International Day

Last week, Fagerlia high school organized both an International Day and Operation Day’s work. This year’s project concerns helping Palestinian youth who deal with mental health issues, practise democratic and non-violent ways of changing society, and promote gender equality. We listened to a very wise lecture held by Hilde Henriksen Waage, a professor specialized in Middle East studies. It was a pleasure to be given such important information and down below, I will tell you a bit about how the Israeli-Palestine conflict started. After the informal lesson, I met a refugee whose experienced living Palestine. He told me he used to work for 18 hours a day. To me, it is difficult to understand because my school day only stretches for 8 hours.

Right after world war 2, many countries wanted to give the Jewish people a homeland. Britain was in charge of a piece of land called Palestine. Since there was already many Jews living in that country, it seemed like a good place to stay. In 1947, the United Nations created a plan to give Israel 55% of the land and Palestine 45%. On May 14th in 1948, Israel was created. Palestine and the other Arab countries felt the plan was unfair. The day after, Israel was attacked by the surrounding Arab countries to take back the Palestinian land. Israel won and took control of the Palestinian area. Israel considered themselves, as powerful although Palestine felt defeated. Both Israelis and Palestinians also have historical religious claims to the area. Peace talks have provided temporary peace at times. Then groups like Hamas and Plo have used terrorism to try to fight for an independent Palestine. Now, Palestine want the land that was supposed to be theirs, back. Israel responds with military force and peace falls apart. The cycle has continued for decades.

There is no simple answer to this conflict, but I think it’s significant to inform everyone about the ongoing struggle between the countries. From that we can learn and maybe prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/20436092

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Girl Rising

Girl Rising is an interesting and educational documentary about nine remarkable girls living in developing countries. The education plays a critical role in each of their lives and is hard to afford. The film highlights the unsafe inequalities that girls and young women face in several parts of the world. Harsh topics such as rape, human trafficking and child marriage are brought up, but nothing graphic is shown. Girl Rising showed me what life is like in challenging living conditions. Therefore, the movie made me appreciate my own freedom and schooling.

The story of Wadley made the greatest impression on me. Haiti’s earthquake of 2010 devastated her home. After the destruction, Wadley and her family were living in a tent-camp for several weeks. They saw and experienced a lot of things, including a hostile environment. Incidents of rape in that tent-camp made it a very precarious situation. Despite living in danger, there was a spark in Wadley that the earthquake hadn’t destroyed. Even though being out of school for a while, she was still hopeful and overcoming obstacles. For instance, she refused to leave school even though her mom didn’t have enough money. Her ability to dream made me realize to never give up, no matter what the circumstances and for this reason Wadley’s story made the greatest impact on me.

“One girl with courage is a revolution” implies that even though girls and women are slave workers, victims of rape or abuse, they can still make a change if they believe in themselves. Women are half of the world’s population. Because of that, developing countries should consider educating a girl as a powerful and useful resource. How can a country or a community possibly succeed if only half of its citizens are educated? Yet many countries don’t see the importance of women in the workplace. The traditional belief is that we belong home in the kitchen, not in an educational institution. Due to this, there exist millions of girls that can’t read nor write because they are prohibited from going to school.

The girls of Girl Rising live in difficult circumstances and do not consider themselves as victims. I rather sympathize than empathize with them, because I have never experienced human trafficking, slavery or abuse myself, but I can see how they feel left behind and hopeless through all tough times because they have no one to help but themselves.

The message from the film, that I think resonate most strongly with people who are not already familiar with this issue, is that many girls around the world lack access to education. They are often seen as weak and less powerful compared to boys, which makes the whole situation less-fortunate. Poverty in developing countries makes it all worse. In Haiti, 20% of a family’s income would be spent sending a child to school. Thus, very poor people must choose among which one of their children that will attend school. In these circumstances, many families will often send the boys instead of girls, and that is when the girls get left behind. It is hard for me to relate because I am given a free education and do not have to struggle to earn enough money for my schooling. I also live in an industrial country were girls and boys are treated equally.

Sources:

https://girlrising.org/

Gender eqality is your issue too

Gender equality is a comprehensive issue in many parts of the world. Women and girls suffer discrimination and domestic violence in several countries. Among these are Northern Africa and Southern India. For instance: Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. Nevertheless, the paid employment among women outside the agriculture has increased with 6 percent in 25 years. Still, the improvement is extremely slow.

On the other hand, we have goal number 4, quality education. It deals with universal primary teaching but also the disparities between rich and poor families and how the income can prevent the poorest households from schooling. Besides, education is totally essential for a sustainable development. The goals I have written about are absolutely intertwined because in numerous developing countries, women or girls don’t receive a secondary education. The reason for this is probably because gender disparity is mainly set on females because from ancient times, they were the one’s supposed to be home and take for the children.

To work with these goals, I think it is important that we stop defining a person by their gender, no matter how they identify. Personally, I don’t get in touch of inequality between the sexes too often, but many do. I was born a woman and I am proud of who I am, but that is no way gives me the feeling that the other gender is inferior to me. We are all equal. We all share the same earth. It is about time that we start making the necessary actions to achieve gender equality. For example, we need more men to be advocates for women’s rights. I don’t find it helpful to exclude the other gender from feminism entirely.

Sources:

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/

http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-4-quality-education.html

Why water is a women’s issue.

700 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. 2.4 billion lack access to a toilet. This is a crisis. A global water and sanitation crisis. It affects billions of people in dire situations all over the world: men, women and children. However, it is mostly a women’s issue because the greatest impact is on women. There are some reasons why.

The first is time; the burden of time of women and girls collecting water and bringing it home. This happens in the majority of households in developing countries. Hours a day, miles a day, they go to places like creeks and collect enough water for their family’s survival. They even bring their babies and daughters, so they can fill their jerry cans too. It holds twenty liters. Not only is that heavy, but you must walk for miles till you reach your place of living.

Bilderesultat for water crisis jerry can

Picture borrowed from Inhabitat.com

On the handout “The Importance of Water”, ten-year-old Zambia tells her story about waking up before sunrise to fetch water for her sister, grandmother and herself. She dreams about going to school and becoming a doctor which has really changed my perspective on life for the better. It made me appreciate the fact that I can attend school every day and drink clean water from the sink without being afraid of my family members to get sick of various diseases.

In addition, lack of toilets and water at school puts girls’ education at risk.

20120514-Primary_Laos.jpg

Picture borrowed from Factsanddetails.com

If my daughter had to walk for water day in and day out, I can’t imagine what this would do to her schooling. Nevertheless, carrying water is not the only thing that affects a female’s child learning. Most schools in developing countries don’t have access to reliable water or decent toilets. It means that girls, when they hit puberty, often drop out of school, because there is no place they can change pads. In several countries, it is unacceptable for women to relive themselves during the daytime. Thus, they are forced to wait until dark in fear of getting raped.

2030 is an important year. That is the year that 193 member states of the world have agreed upon to get water and toilets for everyone according to the United Nations General Assembly.

To help solve the global water and sanitation crisis is to share the virtues of toilets and taps and how they improve the quality of life, save life’s and help create livelihoods. I want to fast-forward to the future when no one has to die of bad water.

Sources:

“The Importance of Water” handout.

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/

http://www.un.org/en/member-states/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/lack-toilets-water-school-puts-girls-education-risk/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/shail-khiyara/why-the-global-water-cris_b_12450260.html?guccounter=1

 

Human-induced climate change

Leaving the world a better place is one of my main ambitions whilst living. The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations Development Programme – are a collection of 17 global targets. These are made to transform our world into a better place dealing with social and economic development issues, including hunger, education, environment and more. Thus, I find the targets inspiring and want to mention two of them. Both number 13 and 14 deal with the current climate change we are facing today and the destruction of life below water.

Starting with the first point, climate action, which takes urgent act to combat the impacts of climate change. The greenhouse gas emissions from humankind are driving at its’ highest level in history. If we don’t reduce the carbon dioxide, we will surpass a 3 degrees Celsius increase in average temperature this century. This is a severe problem as the sea level rise and more extreme weather events occur. As a solution, it requires international cooperation to help the most vulnerable countries move toward a low-carbon economy.

Se kildebildet

Picture borrowed from Topnews.net

When it comes to decreasing extreme gas emissions we can all contribute travelling by train, tram or bus. The fewer cars on the road, the more it reduces pollution. Regardless, public transport is more economic than owning and operating a car.

Let us not forget life below water. Close to 3 billion people depend on marine resources for their livelihoods, and fisheries employ more than 200 million people. If 300 million tonnes of plastic waste continue to be produced every year, a lot of it poured in the ocean, we could by 2050 expect more plastic than fish in our common deep waters. As a consequence, we must intensify our plastic recycling system. In 2008 the United Nations declared June 8th to be the official World Oceans day. Now, with the sea facing more threats than ever, it is a great measure to prevent plastic debris from leaking.

Se kildebildet

Picture borrowed from Sott.net

High School graduates against plastic waste here in Norway would be a nice opportunity to clean local beaches and this way improve the nearby environment. It is time for all of us to come together to protect our treasured marine habitat.

Sources:

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2018/06/world-oceans-day-2018-focus-cleaning-plastic-oceans/

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/oceans/

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change-2/

http://www.un.org/en/events/oceansday/