Daily Archives: May 14, 2014

Boko Haram – another case of slavery?

Posted by Peter MUIR

It was great to see the solidarity and concern expressed by DC students in today’s White Ribbon day – an act to show support for the girls kidnapped in Nigeria.  Something to keep in mind though is that such acts of kidnapping in Africa happen a lot more than we realise.  According to this article the Boko Haram is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Africa’s slavery crisis.

slaveryThe article reports that that as many as six million Nigerian children had been trafficked at some time in their lives.   And it may well be that the we as consumers are purchasing products that come out of the slavery supply chain – children in West Africa are trafficked (that is, kidnapped and forced to work against their will – slavery) to work in the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms that supply about 40% of the world’s chocolate.  As pointed out in the article, there is no guarantee that the chocolate you enjoy has not been produced using young slaves.  Other products have slavery in their supply chains; the Slavery Footprint organisation produces a website that will help you work out how many slaves work for you. 

Slavery is indeed an issue in Asia, and is present here in Hong Kong.  Last December Matthew Friedman, an international human trafficking expert presented information about slavery in Asia and the work being done by groups such as Hong Kong-based Liberty Asia to address it.

If the kidnapping case in Nigeria did not get as much media coverage, what would your response be? Would you be as compelled to do something about it?  If you are keen to get involved in doing something about human slavery and be an agent of change, email Mr Muir – peter.muir@dc.edu.hk – to sign up.

Demand HK Government to Reduce Waste at Source

Posted by Peter MUIR

Over the past 30 years, Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste disposal rate has increased 80%, while our population has only increased by 36% in the same period. Before the government decides to go forward with landfill expansion and incinerator construction, we request the government to pledge to reduce waste and assure the public they will not slack off on the progress of waste reduction at source by relying on end-of-pipe treatment facilities.

Demand that the government do something about this issue – sign a petition instigated by the Conservancy Association, Friends of the Earth (HK), Greeners Action and Green Power.  Then further your action as an agent of change – spread awareness about this issue, aiming to get EVERYONE you know to also sign the petition.

Tree planing in DB Sunday May 18

Posted by Peter MUIR

Everyone in the family, from the oldest to the youngest is invited to get involve din tree planting in DB this Sunday – from 10 am onwards.

What to bring – Good footwear, long pants (not absolutely necessary but they help to protect the legs). A selection of indigenous tree seedlings, gloves, tools for digging, planting and watering will be provided on site.

For directions to the site, click on this document  Tree Planting Location – 18th May

For more information please log onto www.dbgreen.org.

Playing for change

Posted by Peter MUIR

ISFThe Indochina Starfish Foundation’s Football Program provides us with an example of using sport as a medium for social change. What ideas could you take form this and apply them in your Community Engagement efforts?

The Foundation
The Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) provides education, healthcare and sporting opportunities to some of the most disadvantaged
children in Cambodia. In addition ISF provides support services to the families of the children in our education program in an attempt to break the cycle of poverty they are currently trapped in.

The Football Programme
ISF, along with the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), plays a key role in providing grassroots foot-balling opportunities to some of Cambodia’s most disadvantaged children. Since its inception in 2006 the Football Program has been staggeringly successful. What started with 50 children in 2006 had risen to 3,500 in 2014. The female contingent of players grew from 48 in 2008, to over 1,400 in 2014 and since 2011 the program has expanded to include deaf and hearing impaired players and recently children with intellectual disabilities. It is often hard to describe what an effect this program has on the children. For most it is an opportunity to break the cycle of the harshness of life they have found themselves in. Importantly it gives them a chance. The program is run in a way so as to both educate and enthuse the youngsters The ISF football program teaches many skills the children can use in other areas of their lives, such as respect, teamwork and self confidence. The ISF uses the football platform to teach the children valuable life lessons such as the perils of drugs, alcohol, gambling and the dangers of prevalent social issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking and gender equality. The regular contact with the ISF coaches also gives the children access to experienced and trusted role models which are genuinely important in such disadvantaged societies.