Theosophical Order of Service
Dear TOS Liaisons and TS Group Leaders,
This month's first topic is a tough one to talk about, but if there's one thing theosophists know, it's the value of shining light in dark corners. Though it appears to focus mainly on challenges faced by women and girls in today's world, especially in developing countries, it's bigger than that. These aren't just women's issues; they are human issues. It's been shown again and again that when a woman in a developing country is given a chance to earn an income and live in safety, her whole community benefits, including the next generation.
Initiatives to improve and evolve the human condition by educating girls are gaining force, and they will not stop. The TOS is actively working on these issues around the world, and I've included a few fun ways below that you can lend your energy to the momentum, either as an individual or as a group.
I invite you to raise awareness of these issues by using the social media sharing buttons above, or share the online link (especially helpful if the photos are distorted in your browser). Oh, and be sure not to miss the video clip in the story, "What Would YOU Do?"
TOS Liaison Coordinator
|Educate me . . . and I will change the world
"The exclusion of girls from education is one expression of the lack of power that women and girls have globally." -- Ann Cotton, founder and chief executive of Camfed International, which supports the education of girls and the economic empowerment of young women in Africa.
"When we think about how do we make sure that the next generation of children are better off, girls' education is really key." -- Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children
A few of the problems:
Human trafficking: few people know that human trafficking is at an all-time high. As you read this, millions of human beings have been forced into and are being held in slavery. The vast majority are women and girls. Though the problem is more pervasive in developing countries, it thrives here in the USA too.
Gender-based violence: did you know that gender-based violence is the number one public health crisis for women in the world today? Women aged 15-45 are more likely to die from or be injured by male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, or war. Right now, 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not outlawed.
Economic: women comprise 70% of the world's poorest people. Yet women manage income well, when they have the chance. Statistics show that for every dollar a woman earns, 80 cents is invested in her family. For every dollar a man earns, 30 cents is invested in his family.
Education: more than 75 million primary school-age children are not in school. More than half of those children are girls. Yet, with primary and secondary education come job opportunities and higher wages.
The solution is education.
One extra year of education:
* makes women healthier, reducing infant mortality by 5-10% and reducing the spread of HIV and other preventable diseases.
* boosts a girl's future earnings by 20%.
With greater education and higher earnings, women have more choices and are less vulnerable to violence.
Worldwide, the TOS provides education to bring about long-term meaningful change in communities facing poverty and violence. A few examples:
TOS-USA: awards a scholarship to a Native-American nursing student at the Oglala Lakota College of Nursing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota.
TS/TOS-Philippines: Golden Link College provides theosophical education from preschool to bachelor's degree. Many of the students come from poor families who could not otherwise afford a quality education.
TOS-Pakistan: Workers provide Montessori education as well as literacy/home school programs.
TS/TOS-Adyar: The Social Welfare Centre provides long-term benefits:
1) Day Care Centre provides care, education and nutritious meals for 85 children ages 2-5;
2) Vocational Training Centre trains young women in tailoring and weaving and offers a certificate for completion of its one-year course; and
3) free medical care is offered for all children who attend the Social Welfare Centre, as well as their mothers.
These programs are possible because of your generous donations--thank you!
|Educate a girl, and everything changes. Fun ways to help:
Shop. At MadeBySurvivors.com, each piece of handmade jewelry or other item is a link to the survivor who made it. This international nonprofit organization employs and educates survivors of slavery and other abuses, including women and children who live in extreme poverty.
Check out their jewelry, bags, gifts and cards made by survivors. Your purchase makes a difference in the life of a survivor.
Play. Half the Sky Movement created a video game, hosted on Facebook, in which you can trigger real monetary gifts by corporate donors to nonprofits helping to bring education and healthcare to the world. I haven't played video games since PacMan, but in 15 minutes of play, I triggered a donation of a book to Room to Read which brings books, schools and education to children in developing countries. Play the game.
Catch a movie. Host a screening of Girl Rising (see the trailer) or Half the Sky (see the trailer). Have members donate popcorn, soda and bottled water, with viewers' donations going toward the cause of your group's choice. Increase awareness while supporting meaningful change.
Host a class. The Independent Television Service (ITVS) provides ready-made curriculum for educators based on the "Half the Sky" movie. Five lesson plans align with six short film modules that focus on gender-based violence in Sierra Leone, education in Vietnam, women's economic empowerment in Kenya, maternal mortality in Somaliland, and human trafficking and intergenerational prostitution in Cambodia and India.
Students will learn deeper context for issues affecting women and girls worldwide, make connections to issues in their own communities, and gain skills to get involved locally and globally. Access the course.
Intend a better world. This month's TOS Intention was proposed and written by TS/TOS member Jeffrey Forth. Please join us in sending powerful signals into the mental field that human trafficking and bondage must end now. The Intention is to affirm for oneself and all involved:
"I am valuable, simply because I exist. I am more than a captor, a user, or a slave. I am more than the conditions and patterns I find myself in. I am an Inner Self, whose growth and splendor has no limit. I have the strength to free myself from the bonds of my limited perception and see something greater for others and myself.
I grow in understanding the Divine Plan of evolution, and make a conscious, determined effort to change what I am able, and to be more in harmony with that plan, every day and in every way. I see that which I have in common with all people, an evolving Inner Self. I choose to be kind, helpful, tolerant, humane."
Jeffrey reminds us that "One can choose to work as an Invisible Helper to aid those that they can reach while sleeping, and on the other side." Read "Invisible Helpers" , a short book by C.W. Leadbeater, for more information on this topic.
|TOS Animal Healing Network Launches
The Theosophical Order of Service is delighted to announce the launch of its newest healing network. The Animal Healing Network is now up and running and is hosted on the website of the Washington D.C. Theosophical Society. To submit a pet's name, contact Network Director Rozi Ulics using this contact page: www.theosophicaldc.org/
Please see Rozi's announcement below.
Theosophy acknowledges the important role animals play in our world. Especially in today's society, our pets are often just as dear to us as any other member of our family or circle of friends. So when illness or injury strikes, we often feel helpless, alone and scared about our ability to help our beloved pets when they need us most.
In response, the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) has launched an Animal Healing Network devoted to providing daily healing meditation for sick or terminally ill pets and their owners. Just as with the "human" Healing Network, these healing meditations call upon the angelic hosts to send loving, healing power over time and distance to the suffering animal and to stand guard until health returns or the soul departs. By providing this service, we hope to shoulder some of the burden pet owners feel when faced with a pet's illness.
If your pet is suffering from an injury, medical condition or terminal illness, please visit this contact page to send an email. The Healing Meditation is offered free-of-charge regardless of affiliation with the Theosophical Society. Your pet's name will remain on the list for 40 days' duration. And of course, neither your information nor email address will ever be shared outside of the Network.
Calling all Healers and Animal Lovers: Would you or your group like to become part of the Animal Healing Network and conduct healing meditations for animals? Contact Rozi to become part of this new TOS healing initiative.
"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures." --His Holiness the Dalai Lama
|April 27, 2013: National Drug Take-Back Day
The national Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) invites you to safely dispose of all your unwanted, unused prescription medication on April 27, 2013.
Click here to find a collection site near you.
If there's no site near you or you can't get to a take-back facility on April 27, the FDA offers information on how to safely dispose of your unwanted medications. Hint: if you have no coffee grounds in your household, you can ask for grounds from a local coffee shop--they have an abundance!
|What would YOU do?
Dominick Giamo in action
ABC's program "What Would You Do?" is a modern-day version of Candid Camera, with an ethical dilemma twist. Actors set up seemingly real situations where it appears that someone needs help. It's a social experiment to see how or if people will get involved, while the hidden cameras roll. Watch what happens when an actor poses as a young Muslim man with a flat tire. When a helper appears out of nowhere, he is bursting at the seams with theosophical teachings about tolerance, love, and service. Watch the clip (2:27).
|How to Make a Difference on Vacation
|Want to take a vacation you'll never forget? Something that gives you a chance to do things you would never ordinarily do, with people you would never ordinarily meet, and make a difference you could not have otherwise imagined? Consider a "Volunteer Vacation." Here are a few ideas to fire your imagination. Browse more options here.
Copyright: Elaine R. Wilson
Protect Wild Horses and Burros: Long-time symbols of freedom and the pioneering spirit of the American West, these animals are now in danger. Because they compete for grazing land with cattle and other livestock, the Bureau of Land Management rounds up many horses and burros, breaking up families and putting them up for adoption. Older animals that do not get adopted are sold for slaughter and consumption overseas.
By spending your vacation volunteering at a sanctuary for wild horses and burros, you can help ensure the survival of these magnificent animals. Browse horse/burro vacations here.
Preserve Hiking Trails at home or abroad: Helping to clear and maintain usable hiking trails combines the pleasures of a hiking trip with the purpose of preserving a legacy for future generations to enjoy. Many first-time hikers become lifetime environmentalists as they connect with the beauty and peace of nature.
As soon as a hiking trail is cleared, nature begins to take it back. Strained government budgets are not adequate to continually repair damage from people, storms, erosion, overgrowth, and fires. Accommodations on these vacations are usually primitive, and thus affordable. In fact, hiking vacations are among the most affordable volunteer vacations, ranging from $50 to $130 per week. Browse hiking vacations.
Save bottlenose dolphins: Experts say dolphins have a level of intelligence comparable to humans, and all species appear to be especially skillful at cooperating with each other when looking for food or caring for their young. Yet every year, humans and a polluted habitat kill tens of thousands of beautiful dolphins.
You can be part of a team privileged to work with these gentle creatures and prevent extinction. Opportunities await you in Spain, Scotland, Italy, Kenya and Brazil. Browse dolphin vacations.
"a union of those who love in the service of all that suffers"