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Archive for the ‘Personal Empowerment’ Category

Vogue Warriors: Meet the social entrepreneur who is mobilising resources for the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis – VOGUE India

Posted: April 22, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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Since 2006, Rubina Nafees Fatimas Hyderabad-based organisation, SAFA, has helped thousands of women earn livelihoods through skill training. It has empowered several others with guidance on health, hygiene and low-cost nutrition. This year, they have a bigger challenge at handtheyre working with daily wagers and migrant communities and ensuring their safety and survival.

In partnership with Youth Feed India, a citizens group tackling hunger and food wastage, SAFA is working across multiple cities including Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Gurugram, to distribute dry ration packs to daily wagers, sex workers and transgender communities. Till date, they have distributed 48,000 relief kits across India, which have helped 2,40,000 individuals. Their work has found support in tennis player Sania Mirza, who helped them raise Rs 1.25 crore in funds in March. Apart from personal donations and fundraising, theyve also set up a petition with the government and other grant bodies. By the end of April, the organisation aims to raise Rs 5 crore, that would provide ration packs for five lakh people.

Nafees Fatima is cognizant of the fact that the issues on the ground will not end with the pandemic. We are working with daily wagersthe fruit vendors and tea sellers. Their one source of income has now closed down. Most of these families are already in debt not from banks or nationalised institutions, but petty money lenders who charge interest as high as 40 per cent. She continues, Just a couple of days ago, I heard about an autorickshaw driver who said he had to start driving again or he wont have money to buy petrol. Thats how bad it is.

While relief work is taking place at the NGO and government levels, many of these individuals dont have the means to access it. 30 per cent of the urban poor dont have a Jan Dhan account, through which the PM National Relief Fund is being distributed. Most of the migrant worker population isnt even documented. We are running surveys in all our communities to help them get linked to the account and avail the benefits of government schemes, she says.

What brings Nafees Fatima closer to the cause is the fact that a large part of this urban poor population affected in Hyderabad are the women and their families associated with SAFA. The organisation works towards the socio-economic empowerment of women and education of the girl child, whilst retaining the cultural fabric of the communities it is working in, according to their literature. The bit at the end is very important, stresses Nafees Fatima. Her father served in the Indian Army and she grew up in an extremely secular kind of an atmosphere, travelling across the country due to the postings.

But in male-dominated communities the organisation works in, trying to change existing structures and values could mean the end of their work there. Its slow and challenging work. For all the stories of women she's been able to empower, Nafees Fatima recalls a girl, who she supported since she was in fourth grade, was sold off by her mother into a physically and sexually abusive marriage. With some help, she eventually walked out of the marriage, got a divorce, and now at 25, works as a receptionist at a prominent hotel. But I couldnt stop the marriage from happening or her being sold off. Shes been my success, but its also a story of my failure, she says.

The pandemic, she believes, will likely cause an uptick in the cases of sex trafficking, especially in high-risk single women communitiesdivorced and abandoned women with children, who will end up in sex trade for lack of resources. SAFA is looking at a small capital infusion that will help them start afresh post the crisis. For this, theyve set up a sustenance fund of Rs 5,000 for three months, along with the ration kit.

The job is not easy, but Nafees Fatima finds strength in core family tenets. I grew up with four sisters, and for women to be empowered was a top priority in my family. I was very influenced by my grandfather. He was the kind of person whod say, Dont go for weddings, but if someones sick in the family, you must visit them. That has really stayed with me; that you need to be there for people who need your help.

As we self-isolate with our pantries stocked with essentials and little luxuries and wonder what well buy first when things get back to normal, it pays to bear in mind that for some, normal wont look anything like ours. Rubina Nafees Fatima knows this and will be there to help those who need it the most.

Vogue Warriors shines the spotlight on the women at the medical frontlines and essential servicesdoctors, nurses, scientists, innovatorsalongside behind-the-scene heroes working tirelessly to help us through the ongoing pandemic.

Vogue Warriors: Meet the 38-year-old mother who founded the community-driven Caremongers India

Meet the Vogue Warriors: The 3 women of science behind Indias first COVID-19 testing kits

Vogue Warriors: Meet the real heroes behind-the-scenes and on-the-frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic

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Vogue Warriors: Meet the social entrepreneur who is mobilising resources for the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis - VOGUE India

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April 22nd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

To foster community and growth, Steamboat area visual artists turn to social media – Steamboat Pilot & Today

Posted: April 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm

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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS With art galleries, shops and in-person classes closed, local artists and arts organizations are focusing on showing their work and connecting with potential clients over social media.

Some are recalibrating the happenings in their studios onto video, where anyone can tune in.

Usually, when Julie Anderson of Warehome Studios fires her gas-firing kiln full of her students pottery, she hosts a kiln opening party, in which everyone sees the newest batch of finished pieces and learns from each others processes and outcomes. After the most recent firing Wednesday, Anderson was alone in the studio, but the party went on via video on Facebook and Instagram, with the camera panning over close-ups of brand-new bowls, mugs, plate sets, teapots, ashtrays and flasks, each shining its own distinct design and glaze colors.

Anderson is also looking into teaching pottery via video. While most of her students dont have pottery wheels at home to follow along with, Anderson has been renting out the wheels that usually live in her studio.

Becoming more comfortable with video has been an interesting process, and learning how to make money from these things is the hard part, she said, But at least now, Ill have the time to figure it out.

Over at Steamboat Creates social media pages, Program Director Sylvie Piquet has been hosting Young at Art @HOME video classes about crafts, yoga and other creative activities for all ages, since mid-March.

I have felt grateful to have an opportunity to offer a healthy way to engage with the community while encouraging everyone to stay safe during this challenging time, Piquet said. While sharing online doesnt come close to being able to share creativities in person, it feels like a relief to be able to offer some creative engagement.

Steamboat Creates is planning to expand its online class offerings with Pivot Point: Creative Tools for Personal Empowerment, which was originally scheduled to launch in September but will now go live this month.

Pivot Point will provide people an opportunity to connect with others, engage in creative and mindfulness exercises and develop coping and self-empowerment skills, Piquet said.

The classes, while free to participants, will also be an opportunity for local artists and creatives who teach a class to earn income through the Arts in Society grant.

Other arts organizations are using different social media strategies to try to grow.

Teddy Benson manages social media for the fine print studio Oehme Graphics. Hes been spending his remote workdays focusing on Instagram, uploading the studios inventory of thousands of pieces of artwork into Instagram stories reels of photos and videos that are available for 24 hours organized by artist.

This is a more interactive, highly trafficked platform than an actual website, Benson said. It allows the viewer to leap between an art piece to that artists page to other galleries they work with.

Benson noted he hasnt seen galleries or studios utilize Instagram stories and story highlights this way before.

We want to open up a conversation with viewers, Benson said. Were always available to answer questions about the price (of a piece) but also how that piece was made or information about the artist.

Several weeks ago, the Instagram page was getting an estimated eight pageviews per week; now, the page is fetching 150 views weekly.

At Pine Moon Fine Art Gallery, gallerist Dani Steeves also has been working on growing the gallerys online presence, focused on promoting its individual artists. One series explores the studios of the gallerys artists in photos; another highlights their individual pieces. Theres also a virtual video tour of the gallery, which will be updated monthly.

We want to stay connected to all of our clients and especially those who are used to coming to the gallery to not only see the new artwork and how the gallery transforms but to talk and connect to the individual artists, Steeves said.

Benson notes hes seen individual artists post more actively on their own social media accounts during the past few weeks of isolation, so theres more new content for viewers to explore across the platform.

Im excited to see how this evolves, he said.

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @juliabenasher.

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To foster community and growth, Steamboat area visual artists turn to social media - Steamboat Pilot & Today

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

KYOTO BOTANICALS and ROMP Announce Partnership During Limb Loss Awareness Month to Help Provide Prosthetic Care to Those Without Access – Yahoo…

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LONGMONT, Colo., April 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The KYOTO BOTANICALS and Range of Motion Project (ROMP) partnership will generate awareness and support for the two million Americans and 28 million people globally living with limb loss and its impact on their lives. Combining their mission and passion for improving quality of life, these two organizations hope to increase access to devices that enable personal empowerment and hemp products that help bring balance and harmony to body and mind.

During April 2020, which is Limb Loss Awareness Month, when consumers use the code EMPOWER at, KYOTO BOTANICALS will donate 25% of proceeds to ROMP and give consumers 20% their order. This partnership will support ROMP's mission to provide life-changing prosthetic and orthotic devices to those in need and bring the whole-body benefits of high-quality hemp extract to as many people as possible.

"We are excited to combine our belief that nature provides us what we need to help live happy, healthy lives and our mission to deliver products that are thoughtfully crafted to include only whole plant ingredients that are as close to nature as possible with ROMP's mission to increase the mobility, visibility, and dignity of all those marginalized by lack of access to rehabilitative technology," said Ron Morrow, CEO of KYOTO BOTANICALS. "This partnership will help people confront, cope with, and overcome the physical and mental barriers created by the loss of a limb."

David Krupa, founder and Executive Director of ROMP expressed, "ROMP is thrilled to partner with KYOTO BOTANICALS, a socially minded alternative health company. ROMP believes in partnering with innovative companies that drive local economic growth and employment while empowering their customers to drive social change through each purchase. 9 out of 10 amputees in the world do not have access to prosthetic care and we are excited that KYOTO BOTANICALS is joining ROMP in the fight to build a better future for amputees."

About KYOTO BOTANICALS KYOTO BOTANICALS delivers high quality CBD products to help bring harmony and balance to people's lives and positively affect the world and those around them. Grounded in family roots and a belief that small things make a big impact, we believe in giving back to the community and are dedicated to building a brand that can impact local and global needs. Through our line of innovative hemp-based products, KYOTO BOTANICALS thoughtfully combines the finest ingredients in nature to deliver quality, consistency, and results from batch to batch.

About ROMP ROMP is a technology-based, nonprofit organization, which provides high quality prosthetic care in underserved populations, thus enhancing mobility and unlocking human potential. ROMP believes that prosthetic limbs are not simply medical devices, but instruments of personal empowerment. ROMP recognizes the dual hardships of living in poverty with a disability and stands in solidarity with those who are made to suffer from an unequal distribution of care.

Contact: Mark Gillilan 7202357755

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KYOTO BOTANICALS and ROMP Announce Partnership During Limb Loss Awareness Month to Help Provide Prosthetic Care to Those Without Access - Yahoo...

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

The Idaho Press and Define American team up for a new immigration storytelling project –

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"Each storyteller had a uniquely personal experience to share, but they all came together to show each other respect, solidarity, and compassion."

NAMPA, Idaho Define American and the Idaho Press want to change the way Idaho talks about immigrants.

The two organizations joined forces on Feb. 1 to host a community storytelling workshop with about a dozen storytellers from unique backgrounds. The participants were asked to talk about how their personal or family immigration story informs the way they think about American and Idaho culture and identity.

On Monday, the videos created by these storytellers will be launched at, starting with Raquel Reyes, who grew up in Wilder and shares a touching story about her husband and his long-overdue reunion with his mother.

"Bringing storytellers from across the communities we cover into the newsroom was a powerful and moving experience and helps inform our coverage of the diverse communities of the Treasure Valley," said Idaho Press Managing Editor Holly Beech. "We are excited to bring you these stories and hope you will share them."

About a dozen folks from across Southwest Idaho spent the day sharing their experiences of immigrating to America, navigating the complex refugee and asylum program, living in Idaho as undocumented Americans, maintaining cultural roots while assimilating to a new country and employing immigrant workers in rural areas.

"Each storyteller had a uniquely personal experience to share, but they all came together to show each other respect, solidarity, and compassion," said Define American field organizer Adrin Escrate. "Through the art of storytelling I have felt a sense of self-empowerment and self-worth that I had never felt before, and it's my hope that this group of Idaho storytellers and their audiences will feel the same."

Define American is a narrative and culture change organization that uses media and the power of storytelling to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America.

News outlets are welcome to share these stories with their audiences as well by embedding the YouTube videos or sharing the links on social media. Please contact Ashley Miller at the Idaho Press or Nathaniel Hoffman at Define American for more information about the workshop or any of the storytellers. Subscribe to Define American's YouTube channel for more videos.

If you enjoy reading articles like this one from our partners at the Idaho Press, please considersubscribing to them for newspaper delivery or digital accessto help ensure stories like this are told.

More from our partners at the Idaho Press: Reporter's notebook:What it means to be an American

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The Idaho Press and Define American team up for a new immigration storytelling project -

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

57% of Canadians Say Household Income Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 – Benzinga

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TORONTO, April 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly three out of five Canadians (57%) said their household income has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly released research from TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) found that an additional 10% of Canadian adults said they expect their household income will suffer in the future.

Alberta (63%) and Saskatchewan (67%) were the provinces which reported the highest percentage of household incomes negatively impacted with both already dealing with economic shocks before COVID-19 as a result of oil price declines.

TransUnion has initiated a survey of adults in Canada and abroad to better understand the financial impact of COVID-19 on consumers. The survey (commenced March 31, 2020) of 1,064 adults marked the first for the country in what will be an ongoing series. Additional details as well as resources for consumers looking to minimize the potential negative impact of the pandemic on their credit, and access to self-serve, educational materials can be found at

"Whether it's their health, financial well-being or changes in day-to-day living, the lives of millions of people in Canada and abroad have been dramatically changed. The situation is evolving at an incredibly fast pace and we need to come together as a nation to solve the unique problems and situations that arise," said Todd Skinner, TransUnion Regional President for Canada, Latin America and Caribbean. "The aim of our weekly consumer research is to better understand the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and better inform consumers, businesses and government decisions during these unprecedented times. It is important that businesses and consumers are able to continue to transact with confidence and we will do everything in our power to help facilitate the provision of lending and commerce during these uncertain times."

TransUnion's research found that the youngest generations, particularly Millennials (those born 1980 to 1994) and Gen Z (born from 1995 onwards), felt most impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. While 70% of consumers who have had their household income impacted by COVID-19 are concerned about paying their bills, this increased to 78% for Millennials and 74% for Gen Z. On average, Canadian respondents said they will be short about $935 in the near future.

"Our focus is on supporting Canadian consumers, businesses and the wider economy as a whole. We know this is an extremely difficult time, and we're committed to helping people navigate any financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are facing many unexpected challenges and it's natural that people are concerned about their finances. It's really important that there is a dialogue between businesses and their customers at this time of uncertainty. Equally, we encourage consumers looking to minimize potential negative impacts of the pandemic on their credit to visit TransUnion's COVID-19 website," concluded Skinner.

TransUnion's research and credit education tools will be updated weekly on its COVID-19 website as the company continues to support consumers and businesses from around the globe.

About TransUnion TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good. TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people in more than 30 countries. Our customers in Canada comprise some of the nation's largest banks and card issuers, and TransUnion is a major credit reporting, fraud, and analytics solutions provider across the finance, retail, telecommunications, utilities, government and insurance sectors.

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57% of Canadians Say Household Income Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 - Benzinga

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Diana Gordon is the Grammy-Award Winning Artist You’re Sleeping On & Need In Your Life Today – Just Jared

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Diana Gordon oozes talent from her fingertips and her list of collaborators is a testament to that. In the past, shes worked with Mark Ronson, Dua Lipa, Diplo, Ciara, Florence Welch, The xxs Romy Madley Croft and last but not least, Beyonce (Lemonades Sorry, Daddy Lessons and Dont Hurt Yourself).

The singer-songwriter just released a new stripped-back EP called Wasted Youth. [Its] mostly about my love life and experiences with men, Diana shared. I didnt have my father to learn from, so his absence was a great opportunity to learn from life. Most of the songs represent my phases of maturity and the types of men I was attracting at those times: from fuck boys with bad intentions that seemed good and tortured artists to intelligent, well-spoken savants. The lyrics in a few of the songs are not a journal, but more so a mood. Diana continued, The EP is called Wasted Youth because for the better half of my twenties and years after, I dated one guy. If this was High Fidelity, that relationship would be, the #1 most hurtful. The one that left the biggest imprint. Our story didnt have the fairytale ending I was promised. He defined my literal youth for me, and although I am forever young and my inner child is still happily thriving, I cant help but feel that the time I spent with him was wasted time that Ill never get back.

And if thats not enough, give her whole discography a listen. You wont be disappointed! A personal favorite is the female empowerment anthem Woman.

You can download Diana Gordons new EP off of iTunes here listen to Wasted Youth below!

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Diana Gordon is the Grammy-Award Winning Artist You're Sleeping On & Need In Your Life Today - Just Jared

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

The ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is Fit for a Pandemic 81 Years Later – Black Girl Nerds

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The movie starts in the black-and-white humdrum existence of Kansas and soon switches to glorious technicolor when our intrepid heroine Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) gets carried away in a tornado, ending up in the magical Land of Oz. Even now with the advent of high definition screens more than eight decades later, The Wizard of Oz and its incredible effects are just as vibrant as they were back then. In fact, maybe even more so, as digital retouching has allowed for the films radiant color palette to shine even brighter.

The Wizard of Oz follows young Dorothy in Kansas where her biggest problems are boredom and the nasty woman Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton), who is at war with Dorothys dog Toto. After Toto attacks Miss Gulch one more time, Gulch goes to the police and gets permission to seize the dog, who she plans on euthanizing herself, with gusto. Toto escapes, and, thinking she has no other way to save his life, Dorothy packs a suitcase and runs away from home. But while shes on her journey, a huge tornado makes its way toward her aunt and uncles house. In her efforts to find them, Dorothy, Toto, and the house get swept off into the skies to land with a solid thump in an entirely new world.

In Oz, Dorothy learns she accidentally killed the Wicked Witch of the East by dropping her house on her. Big oops. Vowing revenge, the Wicked Witch of the West (also played by Margaret Hamilton) tries to kill Dorothy, but cannot because the Good Witch Glinda (Billie Burke) has bestowed upon Dorothy the enchanted ruby slippers once worn by the Witch of the East. Dorothy must make the arduous journey through hallucinatory Oz in order to ask its highest ruler, the Wizard (Frank Morgan), to get her home. Because as marvelous as Oz might be, Dorothy cannot stop missing the Kansas she once wanted to escape so badly.

On her way down the Yellow Brick Road, she collects a strange coterie of friends: the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who also have requests from the Wizard. After more wild hijinks that include Dorothy killing the Witch of the East, she discovers that the power to get back to Kansas was with her all along. Theres no place like home, Dorothy Gale says once she finally returns home after a whirlwind adventure to the Land of Oz. Im not going to leave here ever again! Dorothy promises her family and friends.


Its Over, Isnt It?: Saying Farewell to Steven Universe with Eternal Love

While The Wizard of Oz closes with a message of personal empowerment and realizing how much power we have in ourselves if we would access it, it also includes a disturbing nativist lesson of not straying too far from your own back yard a concept that resonates with the MAGA America First crowd which also continues to hold strong eight decades later. In these years, and in particular, since 2016, we have seen the US government exit historic international treaties such as the Paris Agreement, NAFTA, UN Human Rights Council, UNESCO, NATO, and even the G7 in the guise of making America stronger, but this withdrawal has only painfully damaged Americas participation in global politics as well as necessary international oversight, especially with regards to issues of human rights violations and climate change. This nativism has led to increased attacks on immigrants of color where the racist phrase Go home to your country is used against even generations of American-born immigrants. For many of those, the only home they have known is the United States. And with these assaults, the idea of there is no place like home takes on an even more disturbing spin.

But with the current COVID19 global pandemic 81 years later, The Wizard of Ozs notion of theres no place like home has certainly taken on a new meaning as quarantine and stay-at-home orders dominate our lives in the battle to stop the exponential contagion of this viral pathogen. For some, the idea of no other place like home in the midst of a global crisis is a positive one that signifies protection, health, and safety. For many others, though, home has become a new prison as domestic violence reports have spiked dramatically since the first stay-at-home orders were announced.


Its Over, Isnt It?: Saying Farewell to Steven Universe with Eternal Love

Theres also a tragic irony in the message of no place like home today: We have thousands of homeless folks who have no place to shelter. Thanks to the toxic capitalism that drives America, they remain homeless and at risk. The city of Las Vegas drew social distancing markers in an empty parking lot as temporary shelters where homeless folks can sleep instead of opening even one of their now-empty hotels for this vulnerable segment of American society. And, just as horrifying, in America 2020 we have concentration camps at the southern border where asylum seekers and refugees are being held with no home to go back or forward to, who are also particularly at risk for coronavirus infection thanks to the degrading conditions theyve been left in. Theres no place like home indeed.

Home isnt just a place, as Dorothy finds out in The Wizard of Oz. It is also the social networks that keep that place thriving and supporting everyone who lives in it. Home is also where we feel we belong, whether that be a country, community, or something else entirely that gives us a sense of connection and can even contribute to our identity. At the same time, the physical shelter of a home, literally speaking, is also vital to our survival and good health. For segments of vulnerable Americans across the spectrum of economics, race, gender, and immigration status, unfortunately, the idea of having no place like home has become a messy notion steeped in many levels of uncertainty. Eighty-one years after The Wizard of Oz first enchanted audiences with its escapist fantasy, theres no place like home has become a multilayered statement for our current times.

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The 'The Wizard of Oz' is Fit for a Pandemic 81 Years Later - Black Girl Nerds

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Feature: Therapy can take you back to the future Feature – Inverness Courier

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Art historian Andrew Stewart Mackay.

Our bonds to the past and to our ancestors can be a powerful driving force in our lives.

And not only can these links be fascinating, they can also provide sense and context to our present and future paths.

This sense of wonder for times gone by comes through particularly strongly when talking to art history expert and writer Andy Stewart MacKay.

A globetrotter for almost two decades, he studied art history at St Andrews where one of his fellow students was Prince William and went on to work, teach and write while living in cities such as London, Venice, Paris and Berlin (just to mention a few), as well as New York and Dallas, eventually qualifying and working as a cataloguer at the British Library in London and becoming a family constellations practitioner.

At 40 years old, he took a step towards his own ancestral roots and made Inverness his home.

My family is from the Highlands, and I have always wanted to return and live here so, when my partner was offered a job at Eden Court, we jumped at the chance and moved in here last autumn, he said.

I love Inverness and its a great place where I can write.

My studio is nice and quiet, but I also like the energy here, which is perfect for creative writing, and there is a great community of writers here, with many people doing interesting things. I am glad to be part of it.

His latest work, The Story of Pop Art, was published in January and explores a variety of aspects of the first post-modern cultural movement and its impact on our culture today.

He said: I feel like the purpose of this book was to be as inclusive as possible and include as many women artists as possible in a movement that is so often very male-dominated.

Mr MacKay has already started to get involved in the local community through various activities, including giving a lecture on Pop Art as Queer Art to University of the Highlands and Islands students as part of the Winter Pride programme in FebruaryHe also interviewed local artist Jim Mooney in a talk surrounding his recent exhibition at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

However, his most recent work digs into a more personal perspective of the past; Mr MacKay is in fact a qualified family constellation practitioner, the latter being a form of systemic therapy that focuses on healing ancestral trauma to treat issues affecting people in the present.

As a historian and an archivist, and working all over Europe surrounded by ancient buildings, I have always been fascinated by the past and my own family history, he said.

Constellations therapy considers the individual not as an island but as part of system; the foundational system being that of the family.

Out of deep love and loyalty we, as individuals, can unconsciously repeat the traumatic experiences of our ancestors in surprisingly varied ways, and in ways that can adversely affect all aspects of our lives.

In a constellation session my clients have the opportunity to see their systemic blindspots and can acknowledge and honour their ancestors experiences, and very respectfully leave those experiences where they properly belong.

In this way the client both lovingly dignifies their ancestors, peacefully freeing themselves, and those that come after them in the family order, to live their own lives well.

I approach the past and in a sense the future too in two complementary ways: intellectually through the study of art history and emotionally or spiritually through the practise of constellations.

Despite their often well-founded elitist or niche reputations, for me art history and constellations are both about and should be about personal and collective empowerment, and making art history and constellations more accessible is something I want to do in Inverness.

I am offering a free constellation session to anyone in the Highlands who identifies as queer because, as a queer man, I know that life can be difficult.

I would also like to start working with charities who work with homeless people as I believe constellations could be beneficial to them.

I do sessions online too, and I think this is really important to reach people who live in very remote areas, which is often the case in the Highlands.

n To contact Mr MacKay or for more information on his work, visit

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Feature: Therapy can take you back to the future Feature - Inverness Courier

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

How ARCC can be applied in pandemic to improve the lives of millions of urban poor – Elemental

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The speed at which Covid-19 has spread across the world has sent shockwaves through financial markets sending investors scrambling to liquidate their investments for cash. Even traditional safe haven assets, such as gold, have fallen into negative territory in the past couple of weeks as investors liquidate whatever they can to cover margin calls. But nowhere will the economic impact of Covid-19 be more keenly felt than in South East Asia where, out of a total population of 650m people, 15% live below the poverty line [1].

The economic toll on these developing nations is already beginning to show. For example, in Vietnam, the countrys tourism industry is expected to lose between $5.97.0 billion as international flights are cancelled and tourist bookings fall by 60%. A survey conducted by the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Council showed that hotel bookings and occupancy rates are down by around 35% compared to the same period last year. The stock market too has taken a hit, shedding 18% of its value in the last 2 weeks alone. Its a similarly bleak picture in other ASEAN countries. In Manila, Philippines, a 4 week government imposed enhanced community quarantine came into effect on 15th March, directly impacting over 12 million people, many of whom live below the poverty line. A further 3 million informal workers who commute from outside Metro Manila to find casual day labour are also affected by these draconian measures as only those who can show letters of employment are allowed to travel into the Metros borders.

Unlike in Western countries where there are more developed social security infrastructure and welfare systems, the vast majority of the urban working poor in Manila eke out a meagre income with little or no personal savings and no social security infrastructure to act as a safety net in times of emergency. For those who are lucky enough to be employed, for example in low paid jobs such as construction or security, a minimum wage of 540 pesos, around $10, is all their hard days work affords them. No wonder, then, families in impoverished Manila neighbourhoods like San Roque are confused and nervous about what the immediate future may bring.

The reaction by the central government has been somewhat predictable, albeit tinged with an element of inevitability: military and police control of the streets rather than targeted healthcare intervention such as testing and protective equipment for healthcare workers. History, rather ominously, has shown that governments have used crises to significantly increase their power. Of course, we are told at the time that these extended powers are only meant to last during the time of the crisis, but somehow they end up never being removed. Covid-19 is already starting to leave its mark on nations and its economies for years to come.

It is in times of acute crisis and uncertainty that ARCC can have a significant impact on the lives of millions of people. ARCC proposes a decentralized approach for the inclusive economic development for the urban working poor. By providing the urban poor with a new economic development model based on the power that cryptocurrencies have for financial inclusiveness and empowerment, millions of people can benefit from an inclusive economic framework for long-term capital gain and entrepreneurial investment. By participating in a range of socio-economic surveys as well as reporting on points of malfeasance, such as incorrect Covid-19 testing kits or inadequate protective gear for healthcare workers, this data, after being verified by other users in the network, can then be used to scope and map out the extent of governmental shortcomings and corruption. The collected data is recognised as a grassroots public mandate for government from the most prevalent but least recognized group of society. Users are incentivised to report on instances of corruption and to complete the surveys by being issued with ARCC. ARCC is crucially structured as a macro crypto-reserve currency and is positioned as a long-term regional microasset, in other words as an accessible store of value that can be used for entrepreneurial capital investment and business development. Not being reliant on centralized systems, such as the value of cash, provides a level of financial independence that is empowering and humanising.

Crises often bring out the best and worst in humanity. It is our sincere belief that the current pandemic and the days afterward represent a unique opportunity to adopt an alternative approach to economic development. By partaking in a bottom-up decentralized approach that provides radical social transparency and fair inclusive access to assets which can be used for entrepreneurial investment, the lives of millions of urban working poor are not in the hands of a centralised system which, at best, has priorities that are not always totally aligned with the economic betterment and advancement of the urban working poor.

The time for a new approach has arrived. It is time for ARCC. This is our moment and as we ramp up development, we hope to create equality in both economic and humanitarian priorities.

Author: Cyrus Afkhami

Head of Research of & ARCC

Editors: Eric Tao, Head of Media & Sinjin Jung, Managing Director

[1] ASEAN Statistical Leaflet 2017.

See more here:
How ARCC can be applied in pandemic to improve the lives of millions of urban poor - Elemental

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Covid-19: Kitui Textile plugs in supply of preventive gears – Kenya News Agency

Posted: at 8:45 pm

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As the world grapples with dwindling supply of Covid-19 preventive gears, Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEC) is plugging in the gap producing 30, 000 face masks daily.

KICOTEC is also making Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) as the country stares at empty shelves and those who need them most feel the effects.

KICOTEC is among local companies identified by the government to ease the shortage of the preventive gears in the country.

These local companies have started making face masks and other preventive gears as the government heightens measures to fight the rising number of Covid-19 infections.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said this move stamps the countrys manufacturing sector as a crucial component in spurring the fledgling economy against the ravages of Covid-19.

Fear and panic are causing members of the public to purchase and stockpile masks and other PPE supplies and people are paying dearly for them.

The PPE is used every day by healthcare personnel to protect themselves, patients and others when providing care, and by depleting supplies, those in the front line will be at risk and could contribute to the spread of coronavirus.

The humble beginnings of the textile centre started off as a simple embroidery outfit stitching uniforms before inking a lucrative deal in 2019 to tailor over 6, 000 uniforms for chiefs and their assistants countrywide.

Ngilu thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for making it possible for the county to tailor the government uniforms adding that the move was in tandem with the Big Four Agenda and her vision on wealth creation.

We have employed over 350 young people. We will continue to offer capacity building through skill improvement amongst the youth to enable them create job opportunities not only for themselves but open avenues for others, said Governor Ngilu. She said that the county was no longer relying on consumerism but is now turning tables with regard to the countys fortunes through the construction of similar textile outfits in Mutomo and Mwingi.

Can anything good come from Kitui? We have the capacity to create our local export processing zones in the county to ensure the manufacturing pillar in the Big Four Agenda is fully realized, she added.

KICOTEC is now offering a paradigm shift for the countrys textile industry by ensuring a ready market for cotton framers locally and beyond. The re-opening of RIVATEX will address the gap of material shortage locally rather than importing, she said.

Similarly, the outbreak of coronavirus has opened opportunities for KICOTEC to play in the league of big boys who have been manufacturing PPE and masks for export worldwide.

The big industry players could not meet the global demand for face masks and preventive gears to combat the threat posed by Covid-19 pandemic.

Local outfits are plugging in the gap and becoming innovative as PPE shortages in the country pose tremendous challenges to the weak healthcare system in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Kitui County Commissioner John Ondego said that the countys vision on wealth creation was clearly aligned with the Big Four Agenda touching on manufacturing.

This textile factory is an enabler in Kitui to create wealth and address unemployment among the youth, women and people living with disabilities, said Ondego.

The County Commissioner said that skill empowerment among the youth is a milestone on creation of employment opportunities, This move will help the county emerge victoriously out of the shackles of poverty, he said.

By Yobesh Onwonga

Covid-19: Kitui Textile plugs in supply of preventive gears - Kenya News Agency

Written by admin

April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

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