Archive for the ‘Supported Organizations’ Category

The final charity that we’re sponsoring for this Imagine Peace Fest is doing big things globally with a great mind towards education and universal access to technology! So before I get started I think I nice way to plunge into OLP is with their own introduction video to show you what their about and what they’re doing!

So basically you can tell that their goal is to create a wider availability of education for all children, everywhere. This education comes, in their model, in the form of a durable, sensible, laptop that the children can use to access the internet and gain first hand experience with technology. OLP also believes that if these children get to have fun and access to a new way of learning and education that they’ll stay in school longer and work harder which will ultimately benefit their community when they get older.

Some people may say that their goals are unattainable or unachievable because of the lack of electricity to power these laptops but OLP works closely with several different manufacturers to make sure that these computers can be solar powered. Also some of the critics of OLP have given them a hard time for focusing on technology education when people in their communities may be starving and have a lack of water supply. OLP argues back that education cannot be thrown away for the sake of building the infrastructure of these communities and that when education is introduced these children may be the key to solving those problems.

OLP does not just believe that it’s goal should be to help the children in these poor, rural areas, but also to get the parents involved by having a new media between them to communicate. At the same time that the children are learning and adapting to new technology with their education their parents are gaining exposure just from the virtue that the child has the laptop in the house.

I think that OLP is doing a great job in their mission so far and it’s an honor to be able to contribute to their charity this year. but don’t take it just from me, check out their stories yourself at http://one.laptop.org/stories

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We’re so excited to keep bringing you guys news about the awesome events we have lined up for this years IMAGINE PeaceFest!

IF you haven’t done so already you can check out our previous posts for some details as to what’s going on when in Second Life and in Real Life! We also have some short biographies of the Organizations we’re supporting this year!

Check out the video below for some more information about IMAGINE PeaceFest and be sure to tell all you friends so we can make the biggest difference in peoples lives this year.

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The Rural Economic and Agricultural Development Agency’s was founded in 2004 with the sole mission, “to change the rural community people from a situation of poverty towards advanced socio-economic autonomy with professional skills that leads them to have their own sustainable small and medium business or livelihood activities with a high awareness of society and health.”

READA is revolutionary in the way it’s thinking about helping impoverished individuals. READA takes economic principals and mixes them with community environments to help create sustainable farming practices that help these communities raise standards of living and improve farming practices. Their model allows innovation on a base level; the farmers themselves implement and create new strategies to make their farming more successful. The idea is that when these farmers implement and begin to grow it pays back into the community as word spreads and their farming practices are re-implimented into other nearby communities.

Working with Non-Governmental Agencies and Local Governmental Agencies READA has spent the past 7 years using this method to help creating better communities in rural areas. Not only does this method improve the local farming culture but it also helps create a better sense of communal education as one generation passes it’s ideas on to the next.

Since READA has started they’ve expanded their operations into other parts of society such as HIV Awareness, societal protection, and helping create equality within their communities. READA is a model for what an amazing NGO is and we’ve chosen to sponsor them for this years IMAGINE PeaceFest because of all the great work they’ve done and continue to do.

You can find more about READA here.

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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:
Official RAWA Website

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As you all may know from reading up here, we collect money in Second Life and convert those virtual dollars to real dollars, combine that with whatever has been contributed through our PayPal donations and other events, and the total of all that is divided evenly among the 3 organizations and sent to them as a contribution.

Today, we have a financial update:  There are $132,000 linden dollars in our Second Life account – a HUGE thank you to all of you who contributed online.  ALSO, we have US $640 in donations from those attending our Dining on the Peace Train events.  This is the tally today – final tally will occur later this week.  For now, we estimate this to be about US $1,100 in total contributions.

For each of these orgs, this is significant help!  We’ll have sponsored a child at SafePassage for the better part of a year, ensuring good food, water, medical attention, shelter, and education.  We will have contributed to the materials development and provision for our friends at UMUSEKE, making a real difference in helping the children of Rwanda and surrounding regions have tools to bring people together in peace.  And we will have helped impoverished women in India have an opportunity to achieve financial independence through the Self Employed Women’s Association.

You have done this.

The connection of virtual world and online activities to creating real peace in the world is tangible.

Speaking of connections; I’m now sitting in the warm comfort of the Stockholm airport in snowy Sweden waiting for a connection to Addis Ababa and finally Kigali, Rwanda, where tomorrow I will have the pleasure of meeting Mariette Utamuvuna of UMUSEKE in person.  Stay tuned to this blog for pictures and updates : )

And thank you for helping make peace real.  It’s an ongoing construction.

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Update:  well this is better than last year’s timeline!!   Last year it took us MONTHS to get the banking thing sorted out – getting Linden dollars out of Second Life into a PayPal account (after having to set that up) and then getting PayPal connected to a bank account for our new non-profit.  SO.

  • Peace Direct:  The Escuela Project:  US $495.00
  • The Zion Project (for child soldiers):  US $495.00
  • The Edith Benson Babies Home:  US $550.00

Explanation:  the EBBH got an additional donation specifically to cover the wire transfer fees (of 50+ dollars).

Reflection:  On Friday of last week I left work temporarily for a quick stroll uptown.  The bank that holds Peace Train’s account has a prominent building there.  The sun was out, and warm, but the humidity was down!

I entered the bank and was greeted by the attending bank workers; I sat down at the desk opposite an older gentleman.  He inquired as to my needs, and I was only too happy to share more details than he probably expected or needed to know!

Sending the contributions of so many people from PeaceFest 09 to the Edith Benson Babies Home by wire transfer – it was a joy I hope in some way anyone reading this will imagine and experience with me.  The monetary donation, the result of months of work in sourcing and coordinating all the live events, and the kindnesses of so many contributors, I – ME – I was the one who had the privilege of making the final step happen in creating the real impact from the virtual endeavors.  I signed the papers with one name that represented all of you.

Thank you all.  You made my day.  I hope this little story made yours.

For those interested in learning more or doing more with Peace Train, please contact us.

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Today I finally had some quiet time to update this site.  It’s far from complete, but as you know, blogs are by definition ‘works in progress’.

To the right, in the sidebar is a refreshed set of links to both the organizations that we are supporting with your donations this year, and the organizations and other links that are from our past work.  Please do take some time to read about the Escuela Project, Amnesty’s work to end child soldiering, and the Edith Benson Babies Home.

That last one:  we don’t have a web page on the ‘net dedicated to the Babies Home.  SO, we are pointing you to the agency that oversees donations to help them out.  COME TO PEACEFEST 09 to hear direct accounts of what’s going on there, and in many other places in the world!

I’m particularly excited – and hope all the tech connections work! – to include a conversation with Mariette from Rwanda, an interview with Sammy from Ghana, a discussion with DarkLobo (av) in Bogota… oh it just goes on and on.  I’ll write more later…

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