September 2010


Yesterday, IJM completed a National Call-in Day for the Child Protection Compact Act (CPCA). Thanks to voices raised around the country, the CPCA was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (S. 3184) yesterday afternoon!  This urgently needed legislation would help eradicate child trafficking in target countries around the world.

Your voice is important!  The CPCA will now move to the Senate floor for a full vote and I’d urge you to take three minutes and call your Senators to ask them to vote YES on this important piece of legislation.

IJM Institute has even made the process simple with a link to find out  who your senators are (Type in your state in the upper right corner and then look for the “contact” section on your senators’ websites.) and a sample script to make the call.

There are a lot of things you could do in three minutes.

Will all of them have a global impact?

From ijm.org:

“The Child Protection Compact Act, which was introduced in the House on June 5 by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), will provide assistance to select “focus countries” through the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP). These focus countries will receive support in building public justice systems that effectively investigate crimes against children and prosecute perpetrators in numbers sufficient to deter and eventually eliminate the crime. The legislation also authorizes increased assistance for care of survivors of trafficking.

On March 25, 2010, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sam Brown back (R-KS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a similar bill in the Senate, called the Child Protection Compact Act (S.3184), legislation designed to increase U.S. support to eradicate child trafficking in countries that have the will to end the crime but lack resources.”

To learn more about the CPCA please visit www.ijm.org/justicecampaigns/cpca.

Thanks!

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But I’m loving the jacaranda trees blooming in my neighborhood so much that I just had to share!


Korogocho, like its counterparts, is an overcrowded slum that is rampant with flies, sewage spills, poorly constructed sheet metal homes, crime and disease.  Those things, which may be obvious to the eye (and nose), are often reported on.  The stories that are less often told are of ebullient, happy children running to give you hugs, cozy homes that are a testament to the love and care of family despite harsh circumstances, and indefatigable men and women who are working toward a safer community.  You don’t need a particularly keen eye to witness these inspiring tales unfold before you – you just have to go and see for yourself.

Yesterday was my turn to go and really see.  I have been to Korogocho a number of times before, but today I had the opportunity to walk through the community with a woman named Naomi, someone who is quickly becoming a hero of mine.  Naomi lives in Korogocho and works as a community health work officer for a CBO called Ujamma.  As we walked through her neighborhood she told me about the eight children who are currently living in her single room house and the day-care she started next door to take care of other young children who were idle or left alone during the day.  In the middle of our conversation she turned away when a small girl ran up to her who was, like most Kenyan children, totting down the street completely overdressed for the weather in a ski cap and mittens.  Naomi laughed as she picked her up and then gave a coy smiled as she asked me, “What do you think of our home?  People say we are poor because we are in the slums, but I don’t see that…”

After an hour with Naomi, her neighbors and her many children, I commented that she was a richer women than most I know.

Naomi’s tiny home is a revolving door of children, and many of them who have been abused would otherwise still be left in a vulnerable situation.  You see, Naomi is also an IJM referral agent and is a previous winner of IJM Kenya’s Champion for Justice Award, which is given annually to a member of the community who would not otherwise be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty to seek justice for others.  Not stopping at just taking children into her home, she reports cases to the police, brings them to the hospital if emergency medical treatment is needed and contacts organizations like IJM who can help in the areas where she can’t.  She is a shining example of one women doing extraordinary things with the little resources she has been blessed with.  Now that’s infectious – and a reminder to me that more resources should be directed toward identifying and empowering these men and women, but especially women, who are renewing communities from the bottom up.

Best of all, Naomi also has a fabulous laugh and exudes a warmth that instantly puts you at ease.  It’s hard not to see her community through her eyes after spending just a few minutes with her!

Here are a few shots from today, and a few more reasons why I believe it is quite possible to live in poverty without being “poor”, at least not in the way we typically tend to understand their lives from our idyllic telescope in the West.

Naomi and her spunky smile.

Korogocho “rowhouses”.

Miriam playing outside of Naomi’s house.

Like sidewalk chalk!

Naomi’s home is always full of children.

Little boys in the home day care.

Brothers playing after school.