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Archive for September, 2011

This past Sunday, September 25, 2011, the world lost an amazing advocate for peace when Wangari Maathai died during treatment of her Ovarian cancer in Nairobi. Wangari worked tirelessly to help spread both economic prosperity and environmental awareness and change across Africa.

Wangari was born in Kenya and studied there until her college years, from which she was sponsored by a committee of John F. Kennedy to represent Africa and travel to America to attended Higher Education in America. During her studies Wangari focused on Biology and German and during her time witnessed the first hand effects of Environmental Restoration in Pittsburgh. She pursued her education to a Masters Degree in Biology.

Wangari was soon promised a job at a Univeristy in Kenya and when she traveled back to claim the job the offer had been withdrawn. Wangari believed that this was because of her gender and tribal bias. After a few months Wangari found herself work in Germany as an assistant researcher of microanatomy at the University College of Nairobi. Here she met her future husband and continued her studies to become the East African to obtain a PhD in Anatomy.

After her extensive Education Wangari sought out a political life and fought for equal rights rights for women working at her university. She began to fight and advocate for democracy in Kenya as well as pursuing official office. However even without actual government holding she worked to make Kenya an equal and thriving democracy.She finally achieved her position and fought hard in parliament before not being re-elected. However even after her loss she continued to serve as an Assistant Minister for Environmental and Natural resources under Mwai Kibaki until her removal for her radical policies.

In 2004 Wangari became the first African to obtain the Nobel Peace Prize for, “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” What contributed the most to her award was most probably her work in Green Belt, an organization which under Wangari helped higher women to plant trees across Africa for meager wages. This idea grew into creating tree nurseries and gained international attention. Wangari soon found herself escorting delegates and international figures to her work to raise awareness for her cause.

While there isn’t much that hasn’t been said about this incredible woman yet I believe it’s worth saying that there aren’t many women as bold, brave, intelligent, or cunning as Wangari Maathai. Her work helped define and grow a region and her impact will always be remembered. I ask that we all take some time out to look over her work, which can be summed up (if possible) in her extensive wikipedia page. Let your friends know and pass this around. Although her death is an unfortunate thing I believe her legacy should inspire everyone, including those here at Peace Train, around the world to do something positive and daring in our communities.

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This will be the first of our bi-weekly posts to clue you guys in on what Peace Train is doing for Imagine Peace Fest 2011. First things first, if you haven’t heard of imagine peace fest it’s a yearly drive to help raise funds for NPO’s that do charitable work across the world. We’re taking part this year with several events live in Second Life and some live events at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia!

This week I’d like to give you guys a little look into how we’re putting this together to make this a great and inspiring event for everyone included. Gregory and myself are each in the process of putting on two shows, both spoken word, to help raise awareness on campus and spread the word about Imagine Peace Fest and the plight of the charities which we’re supporting.

If you guys have any ideas as to an event you’d like to put on to support Imagine Peace Fest in Second Life or real life, or if you want to know how to help contribute to this wonderful cause feel free to reach us here:

Peacetraincharitabletrust@gmail.com

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The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) is one of the three Charitable organizations to which we will be donating during Imagine Peace Fest 2011. I think that it’s only appropriate that we provide a brief introduction to their work and purpose.

RAWA was founded in 1977 by Meena Keshwar Kumal in an attempt to fight for Afghan Women’s right to education, right to participate in political life, and be full members of the Afghan society. Through her work she visited France during a French socialist Congress to speak on the behalf of Afghan women. Meena also helped set up schools and medical centers across Afghanistan to help alleviate the plights of her people.

Sadly Meena’s activist role in the advancement for the women in her culture led to her assassination in 1987, a mere ten years after the establishment of RAWA. Her spirit still lives on as her legacy and work helped inspire generations of RAWA members after her death. The following is a message posted about her influence on the RAWA Website,

“Meena gave 12 years of her short but brilliant life to struggle for her homeland and her people. She had a strong belief that despite the darkness of illiteracy, ignorance of fundamentalism, and corruption and decadence of sell outs imposed on our women under the name of freedom and equality, finally that half of population will be awaken and cross the path towards freedom, democracy and women’s rights. The enemy was rightly shivering with fear by the love and respect that Meena was creating within the hearts of our people. They knew that within the fire of her fights all the enemies of freedom, democracy and women would be turned to ashes.”

Since Meena’s assassination RAWA has gain strength and continued to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan. By going against the law and filming the savage beating and killing of women at the hands of their government to show how these women were and are being treated. RAWA has protested occupations of Afghanistan and radical fundamentalist culture that berates their rights. They continue to build orphanages, hospitals, and schools to help protect and educate future generations of Women in Afghanistan.

To support RAWA go visit these sites to help raise awareness:
Twitter
Official RAWA Website

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