Saturday, 29 June 2013

Mud Runner Oblivion // Help for Heroes

My cousin and nine colleagues, all serving soldiers, training to be officers are running Mud Runner Oblivion 2013 to raise money for the incredible work of Help for Heroes. They ran the first leg today and are doing the next 10km tomorrow (30th June).  For those of you unaware of this event it is a 10k run with a difference.  It is held in Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire and approximately every kilometre there is some form of obstacle / challenge.  However they thought they'd go one step further (crazy!) and they're carrying a stretcher with a 'fallen comrade' on top.  This will prove to be quite a challenge and to my knowledge it has never been attempted.  Further to this they won't just do it once, they're doing it TWICE! Once today (Sat 29th) and again first thing tomorrow (Sun 30th)!  Any donations would help and it ALL goes directly to Help for Heroes.

Please support these guys in raising money for this amazing cause! Donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/potential-officers

Blessings!

Ronell x



The Sweet Princess Project

A big shout out to “The Sweet Princess Project” for its efforts to raise awareness against human trafficking and modern day slavery through music and video. Recently, the project released a mini-documentary and a music video on this grave issue, which are available for view here:www.SweetPrincessProject.com

Mother Theresa // Just Feed ONE

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Only ONE in 714...

'A mere fraction' of the victims of modern slavery throughout the world have been recognised by governments, meaning the majority aren't able to access the protection and support they deserve -http://1.usa.gov/19T78Vp

SHARE this graphic if you believe governments need to do more to recognise and rehabilitate victims of modern slavery.


Photo: 'A mere fraction' of the victims of modern slavery throughout the world have been recognised by governments, meaning the majority aren't able to access the protection and support they deserve - http://1.usa.gov/19T78Vp

SHARE this graphic if you believe governments need to do more to recognise and rehabilitate victims of modern slavery.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Can't wait for our next BIG The A21 Campaign UK awareness event! For more info to get involved email: info.uk@thea21campaign.org


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=593487777339899&set=a.198422790179735.45049.194115677277113&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf

Monday, 24 June 2013

Everyone Matters // Volunteer Opportunity!

Everyone Matters posted this exciting and important VOLUNTEER Opportunity which can be done from your own computer! Please read below for an opportunity to make a practical difference in the world!

Blessings!

Ronell x



The candidate will make a difference by supporting an idealistic dynamic global campaign, and impact youth to judge less, and open hearts to everyone’s differences.

About a dozen schools – middle, high, college - organized “Everyone Matters Day” in 2013. We are targeting 100 schools for the 2013-2014 school year.

This is PART-TIME ( 1 to 2 hours a day) from your own computer. Any age. Will require video interview, and 2 to 3-month minimum. Daily communication essential, and ability to participate in video conferences via Skype video and Google+. (NOTE: Unfortunately, we can only offer volunteer positions, because we do not yet have sponsors).

DEVELOP 100 SCHOOLS TO ORGANIZE "EVERYONE MATTERS DAY"
We are looking for a self-starting, detail-oriented person to help us engage 100 schools for the 2013-2014 school year who then organize their own "Everyone Matters Day." In 2013, about a dozen schools organized EM Days, with such activities as “I am!” VideoWall and PhotoWall; “24-Hour Challenge” to Not Judge; Letting Go of Judgment Tree, etc. We have a ppt/ pdf presentation of suggested activities for schools, which is continually updated. The candidate will create and execute a plan to involve more schools across the country, and beyond, using direct outreach, emails, as well as our social media presence. Creating a strategy to engage schools will involve research and outreach to organizations and individuals, using the candidates own understanding of the educational infrastructure (and possible contacts). We are aligned with a few leading academic organizations to build on, as well as our own social media outreach. Teacher/ professor/ academic career background is helpful – or marketing/ promotion/ organizational skills to engage teachers, schools and parents, to build engagement, for middle, high schools, colleges. Hours open. Work at home. Age irrelevant. Computer skills needed. Here is the school activities overview: http://goo.gl/qTmKz

Please respond to EveryoneMattersEditor@gmail.com with short letter outlining interest, experience, skills. Candidates with skills and experience preferred, but will consider those making a transition from related work, with excellent skills. We are a global initiative growing quickly, with impressive pedigree which will serve the candidate on his or her resume. Pending eventual sponsorship, the unpaid internship could transition to remuneration.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Morden vicar set to cycle across Europe for anti-slavery charity

Did you know that human trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry in the world? Now is the time to abolish slavery, in all its many forms, once and for all. (US TIP Report)

The A21 Campaign promoted the following article today:


Rev Gav Murray, minister of Morden Baptist Church, in Crown Lane, Morden, will be pedalling 2,500km across mainland Europe for the Zoe Challenge.
The challenge is named after one of the first girls rescued by British anti-human trafficking charity Hope for Justice.
Zoe was trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation, suffering from violence at the hands of her controllers.
Mr Murray will be joined by CEO of the charity Ben Cooley and former Emmerdale star Tom Lister.
AdChoices
The team will cross six countries, taking on a gruelling trip from Riga, Latvia to the Dutch port of Rotterdam.
Church members Tim Pollen, Andrew Sadler and Sam Young will join in the ride from Hull to Southampton, arriving in June 1 for an end party.
Mr Murray said: "Hearing Zoe’s shocking story and realising this goes on in the UK inspired me to help Hope for Justice rescue victims of human trafficking. 
"That’s why I’m going through the pain barrier for three weeks to raise £15,000."
To make a donation visit justgiving.com/Gavin-Murray2

I was really challenged again by this story that it really is not simply in sympathy, but through action that we can actually change the world! I am helping my friend Sharmila with her Run3KForFreedom event on 6th July in support of The A21 Campaign- support this online by donating here or get involved! Research local events in your area and get involved with fundraising and raising awareness today!

Blessings!

Ronell x


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." {Margaret Mead}



Friday, 21 June 2013

Google Is Fighting Sex Trafficking With Big Data

I found an article on Fast Company about how Google is using Big Data to fight sext trafficking. I was really encouraged to read this and thought I would share.

Michael Grothaus writes:

"For years human traffickers have used the latest technology to profit from the slave trade, but now software engineers at big data companies like Palantir and Salesforce are enabling anti-trafficking organizations to fight back--thanks to a little funding help from Google.


The latest estimates about human trafficking, which include individuals held against their will in the sex trade and forced laborers in agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing settings, are that at least 21 million people on the planet are currently in slavery. To put that figure in perspective, that’s the equivalent of the entire populations of New York City, London, and Singapore combined. And it’s an industry that generates over $32 billion a year.
I have a particular interest in sex trafficking. I know that's a weird thing to say, but it's because I was first exposed to it during the Cannes Film Festival many years ago, only I didn't realize it at the time. Years after, when I finally made the connection, I began writing a novel about it. Since then, I've talked to trafficking victims in Poland and Italy and France. I've spoken to a girl who was a source who has disappeared. I know of victims who are so traumatized they hear voices in their heads. In Krakow while researching sex trafficking, I was assaulted and told to leave the city or I would be killed. And in America, I've been laughed at when I've told people the subject of my novel because many here don't believe that modern-day slavery exists--or if they do, they think it's only something that happens in Asia or Eastern Europe or Africa. They have no clue that it goes on in big American cities, and in suburbs, and at truck stops across the country.
The billions of dollars are being made off the backs of people no different than you or I--they’re just living in hell. Slaves in Asia who have literally been born and raised in a rice mill and have never stepped outside of it. Seven-year-old girls abducted in Russia or Brazil or America who are taken to foreign countries where they don’t speak the language and are told that going to the police is pointless, because the police are in on it; that if they try to escape, their family at home will be killed. These are people who don’t even feel like people anymore. They are property. Like your iPhone.
The thing about human trafficking is that it is not as “underground” as you might think a slave trade would be. Human traffickers use the latest technologies to their advantage--and do so exceptionally well. But now, thanks in part to a $3 million grant from Google, a group of three anti-trafficking organizations--Polaris in the U.S., LaStrada International in Eastern Europe, and Liberty Asia--are using innovative technology from big data partners Palantir and Salesforce.com to launch The Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network, which aims to turn the tide in the fight against modern-day slavery.


How Good Guys Are Using Technology Against Traffickers


“The traffickers are very savvy on the use of technology and the good guys need to get more savvy. We need to enable them to use the tools of the 21st century to take this on.”
That’s what Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google Giving, tells me when I ask her how software can help fight trafficking. Fuller’s interest in trafficking stemmed from her time at the Gates Foundation. She was in India helping launch an HIV prevention initiative when her research into the commercial sex industry there opened her eyes to the realities of sex trafficking.
Upon returning to the States, Fuller joined Google.org--the philanthropic arm of the search giant that develops technologies to help address global challenges. “We look at how can we attack real-world problems through our engineers, through tools that we actually build and develop ourselves,” she says.
Part of Google.org is also its charitable funding arm, Google Giving, which runs the Global Impact Awards that support nonprofits using technology and innovation to tackle tough human challenges. “I’m a big believer in the power of technology for social impact,” Fuller says. “I think that’s an area that’s very underfunded.”
And this year the Global Impact Award went to anti-trafficking organizations Polaris Project, LaStrada International, and Liberty Asia due to their burgeoning work with using big data to build an interconnected grid of modern-day tools to fight human trafficking.
“Trafficking isn’t a very static or a very monolithic thing. There are uses of technology that traffickers are using that we haven’t even learned yet. It’s very fluid and the folks working on trafficking need to be as nimble as the traffickers are in our ability to innovate, in our ability to leverage new technologies to make our work more effective,” says Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project, one of the recipients of the grant.
Myles tells me that traffickers use technology like everyone else does--to make their lives easier. They use social media to recruit victims, they use mobile devices with built-in GPS to track women under their control, so they always know where they are and if they are servicing clients, and they even use Internet groups as a marketplace to buy and sell women and forced laborers.
Traffickers also use technology to get online customers via porn sites--even if those customers don’t know that the women they’re watching are being held against their will. “There are webcam sites that exist where traffickers force women to be involved in live online shows. Traffickers are forcing women and girls to strip and do sex acts over webcams for sex buyers that are in another country but are interacting with the women nonetheless,” Myles says.
So given the traffickers’ skills with using technology to their advantage, what do Google, Polaris, and the rest think the answer is to fighting the tech-savvy slave trade?"

To find out and to read the rest of the article, go to the full article at: http://www.fastcolabs.com/3009686/how-google-is-fighting-sex-trafficking-with-big-data?partner=rss 


Blessings!

Ronell x



Related articles:

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/google-impact-award-given_n_3101663.html

The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/google-gives-3-million-to-fight-human-trafficking/274834/

Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report 2013: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm





Thursday, 20 June 2013

TIP: Trafficking In Persons Report 2013

US State Department has released its annual "Trafficking In Persons" Report -- also known as "TIP" Report. See how your country is doing in its fight against human trafficking: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm


"Ending modern slavery must remain a foreign policy priority. Fighting this crime wherever it exists is in our national interest. Human trafficking undermines the rule of law and creates instability. It tears apart families and communities. It damages the environment and corrupts the global supply chains and labor markets that keep the world’s economies thriving. We also have a moral obligation to meet this challenge head-on. Human trafficking is an assault on our most dearly held values of freedom and basic human dignity. American leadership means protecting those values at home and working to advance them around the world. We will continue to do so through our diplomacy and development efforts. ... And we will continue to do so through our Trafficking in Persons Report." --Secretary of State John F. Kerry

The Report

The 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report report is available in PDF and HTML formats. Due to its large size, the PDF has been separated into sections for easier download. To view the PDF file, you will need to download, at no cost, the Adobe Acrobat Reader.




PDF Format
-Introductory Material (PDF)  [11546 Kb]
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF)  [6408 Kb]
-Country Narratives: D-I (PDF)  [4496 Kb]
-Country Narratives: J-M (PDF)  [5128 Kb]
-Country Narratives: N-S (PDF)  [6309 Kb]
-Country Narratives: T-Z and Special Case (PDF)  [4059 Kb]
-Relevant International Conventions/Closing Material (PDF)  [2445 Kb]
HTML Format
-Letter from Secretary Kerry
-Letter from Ambassador Luis CdeBaca
-Victims' Stories
-Victim Identification: The First Step in Stopping Modern Slavery
-Definitions and Methodology
-Topics of Special Interest
-Global Law Enforcement Data
-2013 TIP Report Heroes
-Tier Placements
-Country Narratives: Countries A Through F
-Country Narratives: Countries G Through M
-Country Narratives: Countries N Through Z
-Special Case
-Relevant International Conventions
-Trafficking Victims Protection Act: Minimum Standards for the Elimination of Trafficking in Persons
-Stopping Human Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation, and Abuse by International Peacekeepers
-International, Regional, and Sub-Regional Organizations Combating Trafficking in Persons
-Glossary of Acronyms
-A Closing Note: Lift Every Voice and Sing

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pictorial Inspirations...





Sevenly // Sweet Nectar Society


THIS WEEK'S SEVENLY CHARITY

Sweet Nectar Society

Sweet Nectar Society is a new organization that brings together a network of talented photographers throughout Central California for one important mission—to capture the hope, courage, and strength of children undergoing treatment for serious illnesses, disabilities and injuries, and provide their families with lasting memories.


Can a Nation be Changed?

Apologies, it seems some of my posts have registered as 'posted' but not gone through. I posted this yesterday and found out tonight that it didn't actually post in the end, so here goes!

I received this email from HTB's Bible in One Year mailing list this week and found it very inspiring, so I thought I would share!

I always think 'I'm only one person, what difference can I make?', buy then I read these stories and testimonies and God reassures me that, if I'm diligent and obedient, He will bless what I do to try to make a difference in this world. Enjoy!

Blessings!

Ronell x




Can a Nation be Changed?

‘Ten thousand prostitutes plying their trade on the streets of London, widespread heavy drinking, gambling and immorality.  London life was licentious and decadent.’  This is how William Hague, former leader of the British Conservative Party and current Foreign Secretary, describes eighteenth-century London in his biography of William Wilberforce.  Anglican congregations had declined sharply.  Parts of the English church had virtually descended into paganism 250 years ago. 
Yet, the nation was changed.  The preaching of Wesley and Whitefield began to take effect.  Thousands of people responded to their message and gave their lives to Christ.  Robert Raikes started his first Sunday school in 1780.  The growth from this one idea touched 300,000 unchurched children within five years.  By 1910, there were 5,668,760 children in Sunday school.  God raised up Wilberforce, Shaftesbury and others.  Not only were individual hearts changed – but the nation was also transformed. 
As we look at our world today, we see it is changing faster than ever before.  In the last twenty-five years there has been massive change – politically, economically and technologically.  We have seen the virtual collapse of communism, the rise of global terrorism and a shift of power from West to East.  Massive change is taking place in many countries around the world, especially in China and India.  Is it possible for the spiritual climate of a nation to be changed?  In our passages for today we see that spiritual change is possible.  But how?

1.  Peaceful People

Proverbs 14:25-35
The writer of Proverbs says, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people’ (v.34).  (‘God-devotion makes a country strong’, (v.34, MSG).)  Sin destroys a nation.  Righteousness exalts a nation.  Righteousness involves a range of right relationships:
Lord, we pray that our nation will turn back to you.  We pray that the name of the Lord will be respected again in our national life; in parliament, government, schools and law courts.  Help us to prioritise the poor and be kind to the needy. 

2.  Powerful preaching

Acts 8:4-40
The early church was made up of ordinary people like you and me.  Yet it changed the world.  The whole known world was transformed following the death and resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The book of Acts tells us how this happened.
Everywhere they went they preached the message about Jesus (v.4, MSG).  In this passage we see that they preached to crowds and to individuals, like Simon the sorcerer and the Ethiopian eunuch.
Nations are comprised of cities, towns and villages.  They preached the gospel in all three.  Philip preached to a city in Samaria (v.5).  Peter and John preached the gospel in many Samaritan villages (v.25).  Philip preached the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea (v.40).
Their preaching was accompanied and indeed accelerated by three factors:
The early church was characterised by enormous effectiveness: ‘When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.  With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed’ (vv.6–7).
They were totally reliant on the Holy Spirit.  Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian was not the result of a strategic planning meeting.  Rather, ‘the Spirit told Philip …’ (v.29).  The result of him following the leading of the Holy Spirit was the remarkable conversion of the Ethiopian, which has affected the whole nation of Ethiopia right down to the present day.  The church that was birthed that day has never died out in that nation.
The Holy Spirit is the agent of change.  He can bring about change in a nation.  That change starts with the change in the lives of people.  It is worth noting the factors involved in the change in this Ethiopian.
First, the Spirit of God prepared his heart.  The Ethiopian is honest about his ignorance (v.31), searching for answers (v.32) and not too proud to ask for help (v.34).  There is no shame in not always understanding what we read in the Bible.  It is wise to get help from trusted people or Bible commentaries to help us apply it to our lives.
Second, the Spirit of God is at work through the word of God.  It is as the Ethiopian looks at the book of Isaiah that he begins to find answers (vv.32–33).  Often, the Holy Spirit uses a human agent to help open up, explain, and apply the Scriptures.  This is what happened here, beginning with Isaiah 53 Philip explains ‘the good news about Jesus’ (v.35). 
The Holy Spirit changes the heart of the Ethiopian in such a radical and complete way that he believes immediately and asks to be baptised.  There is no more powerful an agent of change than the Holy Spirit.
Lord, help us to be more like the early church.  Help us to pray more and to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit day by day.
Thank you that you have given us the most powerful message in the world – the message of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (v.12).  Help us, like Philip, to expound the Scriptures and tell people the good news about Jesus (v.35).  We pray that our nation would be transformed as people come to know you.

3.  Passionate prayer

2 Samuel 20:1-21:22
The battles in David’s life never seem to come to an end.  In today’s passage we see two further battles. 
First, there is ‘a troublemaker named Sheba’ (20:1).  The people of Israel seem extremely fickle: ‘All the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba’ (v.2).  The Lord gave David victory over Sheba but immediately there is another battle around the corner. 
There was a famine for three consecutive years (21:1a).  As the nation faced disaster, ‘David sought the face of the Lord’ (v.1b).  Sometimes it takes a real disaster to get us on our knees.  God spoke to him as he prayed. 
He held Israel to the promise that was made to the Gibeonites (see Joshua 9).  In spite of the promise, Saul had tried to annihilate them, but the oaths that are made to God are very important and cannot be broken lightly.  (The most common oaths today are in the marriage service and oaths in court.)  Only after David had put things right and honoured the oath made to God did God answer prayer on behalf of the land (2 Samuel 21:14).
Lord, we seek your face on behalf of our nation.  Have mercy upon us.  Help us to be a nation that honours you with faithfulness to our marriage vows and truthfulness in our law courts.  Lord, would you once again answer prayer on behalf of the land.  May our nation be turned back to you.  May your name be honoured.  May your kingdom come.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Troubling Statistic

I read a statistic on Facebook today that stated that, according to the US TIP report, 120 people are trafficked every hour of every day!!

To find out more about this horrific statistic, how you can help fight against it, and about this amazing organisation (The A21 Campaign)go to : http://www.thea21campaign.org/

Blessings!

Ronell x

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A21 Campaign // Welcome a Survivor Home!

The A21 Campaign posted the following on their Facebook today:



When we rescue girls from the sex trade, we welcome them into our transition houses to begin healing. Would you consider writing an encouraging letter to a survivor? Here’s how: http://a21.cta.gs/02i

We would love for you to write a letter or card to the girls in our shelter. Address your letter along the lines of "Dear Beautiful" or "Lovely," and write an encouraging note that places value and worth upon the girls.
In the contents of your letter, be sure to refrain from stating your own beliefs or talking too much about your job or lifestyle, as these girls have all come from differing backgrounds and deserve to be respected and not made to feel bad about their situations. Obviously, they have been through a lot, and we ask that in your letters you do not claim to understand their situations or try to relate to what they have been through.
Please end your letter by signing with your first name only, and do not include any personal details. These letters are for the purpose of encouragement and support.
These letters can be mailed to the Greek Office.