Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Skype Session with Kamable!

Ideas from the first Skyping session with Kambale!
School is offically over and I totally forgot about this post! I'm such a dork! :P Exams felt brutal......anyways, here's the post! Hope you enjoy it!

Kambale MusavuliSo a couple of days ago (quite a long time ago), we did our last Skype session with Kambale, the famous Social Activist. Remember our last skype session in March? If not, I'll fill you in! Kambale Musavuli is a Social Activist for the Congo. He currently lives in New York (I wish I lived there!). I felt like I was talking to a celebrity! He gave us tons of cool facts and ideas of how we can carry out our Social Activism projects. You can read his bio here!

Basically our last Skype Session was wraping our projects and summurizing our goals and successes and presenting them to Kambale. I was extremely happy when he said that he remembered my name! I feel special.........I actually talked the most because I was talking about the blog. I love talking how great the Congo blog succeeded. He asked questions like, "Where did you get your information", "Where did you put the boxes" and stuff like that. I of course answered them with a happy face. I'm so proud of my group!

After the mini presentations from each group, we presented a big cheque for the Congo. I smiled so much when Kambale told us he was touched. I can't remember what he told us exactly but it was along the lines of, "out of all the Social Activism groups I have known, none of them achieved what you achieved". Sorry if I'm wrong but this skyping session was quite a long time ago! I'm really happy when he said that to the class!
In total, the class raised (drumroll please!) $2541.66! If you asked me, thats pretty amazing! :D

The next day, Kambale tweeted about us! Did you read that? About us!!!

kambale @kambale
A campus of 500 students in a city of 5000 people in Canada mobilized to break the silence through 6 student groups in social activism class

Speaking to students at Wm. E. Hay Composite H.S. today gave me greater hope for Congo. Never seen any school do what they did for Congo.
Students at Wm. E. Hay Composite High School shattered the silence around +raised funds to support Congolese youth on the ground

I just checked my Social teachers blog and the Friends of the Congo sent an email to her! This is so exciting!! :D :D Also, our class is in the Newspaper!! :D

Hello Ms Shepherd

This is Maurice Carney, the Executive Director of Friends of the Congo. I wanted to thank you personally for the remarkable work that you and your students have done. It is not only encouraging but also inspiring. We are truly touched and grateful. Please let every single student, teacher and others who participated know that they have made a difference. We will feature this great work on our website and in our newsletter. At some point, we would love to arrange for you to speak directly with the youth on the ground via Skype. We can arrange for the youth on the ground to speak first to the key organizers and later to a large gathering at your school to thank you personally for your efforts to support their work on the ground inside the Congo.

Please send us the link to the article once it is published. We will look out for the check in the mail and we look forward to your participation in Congo Week.

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We look forward to continue building with you and the students.

Maurice Carney
Executive Director
Friends of the Congo

Our last day of Social class was really interesting. Unfortunetaly Mrs. Shepherd couldn't make it to the class because she had to interview teachers for the art position. favorite Art teacher is leaving me!!!! T_T That means there won't be a Sign Language club......sigh. :(

Anyways, in Social class, Mrs. Shepherd gave us Fair Trade chocolate (AMAZING!) and Fair Trade Sparkling Juice. > x < It tasted so good I could die! The food was great and it helped people around the world! The chocolate made me so happy! I'm going to miss our social class.......

Have a great summer!! Spread the Word!!!!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Congo Reflection #1!

I have decided to post my reflection on the blog! Everybody in my social class had to write one. It wasn't that hard and was actually fun writing it. I was extremely happy (I mean REALLY happy) when Mrs. Shepherd asked if she can have a copy of my Reflection. I never had someone ask that from me in my entire life! I think this proves my writing is getting better.........maybe not. :P My reflection is........11 pages long double spaced with pictures. I was getting into it!

Today, I had a study session for Social. Jen, Amy and Elly came over to study. Jen read my reflection and she was really touched. I didn't see why or how. Maybe because I wrote it. I don't know!

I edited some of it my reflection but I was feeling really lazy so I decided not to edit anymore. Studying for Social is really tiring! Good thing I'm only doing it for fun. I'm sorry if there isn't enough support.......I really fail at that when it comes to that! I tried!

Congo Reflection

The conflict in the Congo dates back to the 1880's. Unfortunately, the conflict is still happening as we speak and there are millions of people that do not know around the world. In 1880, fourteen countries gathered together to a conference called the Berlin Conference. It was organized by Otto Van Bismark. This conference was during a period known as the Scramble for Africa. During this conference, each country (France, England...) would claim a part of Africa like it was a piece of cake. The country that took the Congo was King Leopold II, the king of Belgium. He personally owned the Congo. That would be nice to own a country. During that time period, King Leopold II only wanted ivory tusks and rubber from the rubber trees. There were massive murders of villagers and violence among each village. The reason for this was if a village failed to reach the quota, then a villager would get his/her hands cut off or worse, murders of an entire village. Cutting of the hands is known to be the Currency of the Severed Hands. It is the price to pay for doing a poor job.

            King Leopold II would just sit in Belgium. He wouldn’t get his hands dirty. His henchman would just do the work for him. Thanks to King Leopold, over 10 million Congolese people died from the hard work, poverty and harsh environment they had to live though each day.

             As the world advances, people start to discover the vast resources of the Congo, not just ivory tusks and rubber. Sometimes there are just some things the world shouldn’t know but the world ended up discovering it anyways!

You name it; countries around the world want gold, diamonds, oil which the Congo has. Anything can be practically found in the Congo. Thanks to the vast amount of resources, the world wants it all! Just like that, the Congo is the center of resources, selling enough resources that can last for years.

The Congo is known to be one of the richest countries in the world. But that’s just the surface or the mask of the Congo. If you look deeper into the Congo, you will see poverty, hunger, pain, fear and violence. 50% of children under the age of 5 die. That percentage is just out of 1500 Congolese people everyday.

Sometimes we take for granted the limit of resources we have in the world. One day we will run out of resources. Everybody wants more of everything. The more we take in, the more we use up the resources. We, the people in North America, keep demanding resources from the Congo. For example, a popular mineral people in North America want are Diamonds or Coltan. Coltan is a mineral that is used to make our cellphones, laptops and digital camera’s. The more we demand it, the more is required to mine from the Congo. It comes at a price.

            Its just a chain that dates back from the 1880`s. In a way, we are like King Leopold II that want the resources and not caring of the Congolese people. The actions of King Leopold II became the history of the Congolese people. King Leopold was either seen as a devil or an angel, depending on who you talk to in the Congo. King Leopold used his riches that he got from the Congo and built beautiful structures in Belgium. French is one of the official languages in the Congo because the Belgians came in the 1880`s and colonized the Congo.

The result of Historical Globaliztion are women being raped and children from the age of 12 to 18 are taken from their own home and brainwashed to become child soldiers. The Government is unstable and the money the Government has, isn’t going to the people. The conflict is still happening because of the never ending of resources.

            We were introduced to the situation in the Congo through Social Class. We got into more detailed of the subject during project week. We even talked to kids from the Congo after project week and asked them questions about their life there. Our first Skyping session was with Social Activist, Kamabale Musavuli.

First off, it was really cool Skyping with a famous Social Activist. I didn't know what to expect from this Skyping session. I was prepared for his thick accent and it wasn't so bad talking with him. It was an amazing experience talking with a live Social Activist. He shared a bunch of information about the Congo. It was a good thing we talked about the Congo before hand so the class actually knew what Kambale was talking about. The things Kambale said were extremely inspiring. I even wrote them down.

"You have the power to change the world. I believe you will change Canada"- Kambale Musavuli

“I want to touch your heart” Kambale Musavuli 

“What do you like to do? Use your talents..."- Kamable Musavuli

“Get the word out”- Kamabale Musavuli

On project week the class was introduced to social activism and more information about the Congo. We talked about the history and impacts of the Congo. Kamabale suggested a lot of things our groups could do for the social activism projects we were about to do. He even told us when his birthday is! We were invited to his birthday because by the time his birthday comes, Kambale wants there to be peace in the Congo!

            One way of learning about Social Activism projects was actually doing one. Soon after the skyping sessions, the class split into different groups and began planning our Social Activism projects.

Kamabale gave us ideas of using our talents. “Use what you are passionate about to spread the word of the Congo.”- Kamabale Musavuli

            I did exactly what Kamabale said. Through Social Media, I used my talent of blogging to draw attention of the Congo. What I basically got out of the Skyping Session is this: there are people in need. Plus, nobody knows about it! Learning about the Congo made me realize that there are actual problems where the people of the world don’t know. It was time to take action!

The project was about raising awareness about the Congo. We decided to use the power of blogging to spread the word because I was keen in posting on blogs. If I do say myself, I'm a genius when it comes to blogging.

Our main goals were raising awareness about the Congo. A minor goal was to raise money for the Congo. Each person in our group had one or two responsibilities on the project. My group had five female members in total: Amy, Elly, Jen, Me and Alex. I was responsible for posting on the blog. I encouraged everyone to post on the blog but it was mostly me who posted for the first couple months. Jen picked up the pace and posted one or two posts for the past month. At times she would finish my posts whenever I left them unfinished. Amy and Elly were responsible for the donation boxes and posters. Alex was responsible for planning. Jen was responsible for pinging and Art walk.

Time Line

March 17- whenever, 2012- Blog posts
March 19, 2012: 8 AM- Congo Conference
March 18, 2012- Make boxes for Congo fundraiser and place in Amy’s store
Spring Break- Gather as a group and create posters to put up in town.
June 2 2012- Art Walk

There would be times when our group wouldn’t function. We would need some kind of motivation to actually get around to do blogging or getting together and make posters. However, we still did very well. I would keep pushing the members of the group by telling them about what I posted on the studentsforthecongo blog. I would brag about the amount of people or followers we have on the blog. That way, I somehow motivated them into getting them to do their responsibilities. Amy and Elly got boxes out to our local businesses and posters around town. Jen gave us viewers and Alex planned everything out very well.

The blog did extremely well. Near of the end of the project, the blog has gotten over 1,000 views and seven followers. It felt like we were just getting started but it was just only a project. Of course, being the person I am, I wanted to keep the blog going.

The boxes that Amy and Elly put in their store and other local businesses got a lot of money. We raised over $700 dollars. Jen did a huge success at the Art walk and spreading the word through her talent of playing the piano. She even got two of our friends who aren’t in our social class to get involved. The names of our two friends were Maggie and Aaryn. They both have beautiful singing voices and they sang with Jen at the Art Walk. Amy and Elly took pictures for proof and handed out pamphlets about the Congo.

The group would fail to get together and take action in what we planned in the timeline. If we were to do something individually, for example the blog, then it would be fine. When it came to actually doing together, we just couldn’t find the time to do it. Alex lived out of town and I had worked half the time. If we were going to do the project again, we could have gathered more as a group and make time for our meetings. The Social Activism project felt more like an individual thing at times so I want to do things more with other member of my group.

Today, society has been using 82% of their time of either checking or updating Facebook, Youtube or Twitter. That means, news can travel pretty fast and the world can know what is going on.

Just posting the link to our blog ( on Facebook would boost the pageviews to the blog. Even posting it on my own personal blog, viewers would eventually start checking out the Congo blog.

Without social media word wouldn’t spread as fast. Social Media can impact Social Activism projects greatly. Sorry but without Facebook or Twitter, or even internet for that matter, nothing can get out. Social Media can give power to a helpless woman somewhere in the Congo. She can be heard and people will know.

“Without Twitter the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy,” Mark Pfeifle, a former national-security adviser, later wrote, calling for Twitter to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools. Facebook warriors go online to push for change. “You are the best hope for us all,” James K. Glassman, a former senior State Department official.

Taken from:

            If the world knows what is happening in the Congo, then surely, the world will do something about it. The money the class raised goes to the men, women and children of the Congo to help them get through the day. The silence of women being raped will be broken and child soldiers will become normal children again. Giving hope to people in the Congo can change them. If I lived in a place where women are raped each day by rebels, I would have lost hope that anybody would care. But if I knew a normal teenager from Social class is raising money and awareness for me then that would truly touch my heart. I know there is someone who knows my story and what I’m going through. That would give me hope.

I’m sure every kid in the Congo wants to live a normal life, not a life of violence. Children deserve a future.

            Also, the money the class raised will go to buying generators for Congolese communities for electricity. I’m pretty sure the communities there would really appreciate it. I would die without electricity! If there is no electricity, then there is no internet! Electricity can connect Congolese communities to others and make them stronger and in tuned of what’s going on.

            My first piece of advice of creating a meaningful and sustainable Social Activism project is, finding a good problem in the world to fight for and spread the word. Don’t just pick something you aren’t interested in. Our Social class had no choice but chose the Congo but that isn’t a bad thing. After learning the situation there, I was determined to get the word out to the world. If you aren’t determined, energenic or passionate about the subject you are fighting for, what’s the point in fighting? Have tons of enthusiasm!

            You also need to have great members in your team that are pumped to be Social Activists. You need to find the time and information about the situation and it would the Social Activism project worthwhile and meaningful. You will feel great after what you’ve done for the poor people! Spread the word by using your talents!

            Time is a very important piece when doing Social Activism Projects. Don’t waste your time when you have a Social Activism project to do. The amount of time you put into it, the more you get out of it.

We teenagers and kids have a voice. We can impact a society. Our role in a globalizing world is to make the world a better place. We can imagine what the world would look like without war or inspire women in different countries to fight aids or deforestation. I can turn the heads of people in society by creating a blog so I can raise awareness of the Congo. I can reach out to a teenage girl like me half way across the globe. I can tell her that I care and want to help her situation, where she is.

We teenagers can influence the economy and be active consumers. Without teenagers or kids, half of company’s profits would go down. Once a teenager has money, they want to spend it on something. By the time that teenager becomes an adult, he or she would want to spend that money wisely. Teenagers and kids can impact a lot and change something, even a life of poor woman in the Congo.

One method I will use is being energenic and passionate about what I’m fighting for. I continue to post on the blog as much as I can and make sure I’m supplying a lot of information about the Congo. If I find another problem, for example, Saudi Arabia, I can create another blog about Saudi Arabia and what’s going on there. I want to change the world!

The second method I’m going to use is, managing my time.

I will keep in mind that I’m not the only person on this planet. There are other people that are in need and struggling to stay alive each day. I will be empathetic and put myself in others shoes to know what it feels like to be them.

Spread the Word!

If you want a Congo Bracelet.....

Alright! We had some comments about ordering Congo Bracelets. I'm sorry for not getting to any of you or answering your comments because it has been an extremely busy week at school. We have been wrapping up projects and such. I'm quite sad......but I'll continue to post about the Congo during the Summer!

If you want to order a Congo Bracelet, you can email us your mailing address. Please don't post your mailing address on the blog because I'm sure you don't want stalkers mailing you weird things. You can trust us with your mailing address! *This offer is available for a limited time only. Get your free Congo bracelet now!*

Our mailing address is, Go ahead and email us if you have any questions or comments!

This is how it works. You email us your mailing address and we send one free Congo Bracelet plus a Thank you letter for your support. On behalf of the bracelets, you can donate to the Friends of the Congo. It will be greatly appreciated! :D

If not, you can just tell people about the Congo! Wear your bracelet everyday! I wear mine all the time! People soon started to see the bracelet and asked about them. It was really cool to see the amount of people getting aware about the Congo. Once people starting to notice your bracelet, you know you have the chance to change someone's life by telling your friends, parents and siblings. Join the movement!

"Get the word out"- Kambale Musavuli

Spread the Word!

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Here is an update from what our classmates are doing with the social activism projects!

This group is called BAAMM4CONGO and they made a Youtube video for you to watch!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Congo Health

I would love to thank all our viewers that have been reading our blog! We have reached 1,000 views! Yay! Thanks so much for spreading the word! I believe we made a difference in the world just by doing this!

Today I found out that we soon unfortunately have to wrap up our social activism projects. That kinda makes me sad. I enjoy posting on this blog and I'll admit, I get a bit competitive when it comes to blogging. :P There's still a lot of things to do before we wrap up this project!

Spread the Word!

Although Rosanne started this post, I believe she deserves a slice of karma. So I, Jen, am going to finish it for her! Mwahaha.

Two weeks from now is the official deadline for our activism projects (well, according to Mrs. Shepherd that is). But, the glorious thing about a blog is we can leave it unattended, and people will still be able to read all the fabulous information we have posted! And who knows, maybe we will be back once in a while.

To be honest, I have really no idea what Rosanne meant by the title. So I am going to interpret it as the health care available in the Congo.

One of the causes of mortality in the DRC is malnutrition. Unfortunately, this accounts for 11% of total deaths. This is due to ongoing violence preventing the young and weak from adequate nutrtion. This is especially upsetting, because you don't need to be a doctor to know how to "cure" it!

The majority of victims of illness suffer from infectious diseases such as malaria, which is not uncommon in third world countries. Of course, these can be avoided as well as treated under normal circumstances. But unfortunately limited health care hinders this.

According to this source, the mains barriers to access of health care are:
  • inadequacy or non-existence of healthcare provision
  • patients’ inability to pay for healthcare
  • non-availability of quality medication
  • lack of supervision and training of medical personnel
  • non-payment of health workers’ and officials’ salaries
  • geographical inaccessibility and non-existence of the communication structures
needed for the long distances between patients’ homes and the nearest health

Another need for health care stems from the ongoing violence. Out of an interviewed 986 families, fiftey cases of rape were reported, as well as 72% had admitted that a member of their family was a victim of violence.

Here is a frightening quote I found while I was researching:

Most Congolese people live in absolute poverty on an average of just $0.30 a day. In the rural areas most of the families are vulnerable and sickness or disease are regarded as a tragedy. Just like four years ago, most of the victims are still dying in silence, while the world’s attention is elsewhere.

According to this source, only 20% of the DRC currently has access to health care. The two major reasons are poverty and terrain. Not only do two thirds of the people live on less than $1 a day, but the country is vast and with no paved roads. This doctor goes on to talk about various cases, which is really quite interesting!

I hope as the world becomes increasingly globalized, ordinary people like us will have the ability to make a significant difference in Congolese lives. The first source I read was from the Doctors without Borders program. This has always been a dream of mine, to be able to treat sick children and young people in poor countries. If I worked as a doctor in Canada, I would inevitably be dealing with cases of drunk driving accidents, drug abusers, gang members, and careless accidents. Although these people should not be denied care, I would much rather help people who value their lives much more. Why are we spending so much money on people who throw away their lives and who are likely to repeat the same actions, while so many deaths are caused by a lack of funds for basic health care.

Well that was my rant for the day. I better leave it at that. I hope it gave you some food for thought.

Spread the word!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Music to Empower

Hey, it's Jen here!

This has been a successful weekend for Students for the Congo, that's for sure!

As Rosanne mentioned before, about a month ago we had the chance to have a video conference with real live Congolese youth! We learned that they are also working to educate the world about the Congo! They are using music and dance to bring awareness and to send the message. The organization "Friends of the Congo" is raising money to send recording equipment and other technological advancements to assist them in this project.

Inspired, we decided to take the same idea, and apply it to our own situation. Yesterday, a couple of friends and I (Yay! More Students for the Congo!) set up at the local Art Walk, and busked for donations towards this cause! Along with having posters explaining our group, we also handed out pamphlets letting people know where they could donate and how else they could help.

Although we didn't raise as much money as we had hoped ($31.36.... It's a small town!), we are hoping that we spread the word to many people!

Here are some quotes from our pamphlets!

"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." - John Lennon

"A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things." - Barack Obama

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only things that ever has." - Margaret Mead

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel

"We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history" - Sonia Johnson

"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours." - Cesar Chavez

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Here is a video of us playing 21 Guns by Green Day. It's only the middle part, my apologies. Oh and if it doesn't play, it's my fault not yours! (I always look so serious while playing piano... -_-)

Spread the Word!