Empowering Stories and Book Night

On March 10th, Warm Heart Initiatives gathered together with friends to have an evening of Empowering Stories and Book sales. It was hosted in Squamish, that the ledge Coffee shop.  Our story tellers, Miguel, Ian, and Amelia spoke incredibly well, and taught us incredible insights about how they view “Global Citizenship,” as well as how their experiences have influenced their perspectives. While I did not expect that every story would be about the continent of Africa, it was incredible how the stories came together.  Hearing three perspectives grounded us in different manners of engaging in community & expanding our world view.  I really like how the stories ranged from short-term crises relief, to long term engagement, to African’s creating change in their own community.

Following the stories, our audience engaged us with questions ranging from “If we don’t have time to spend abroad, how can we be global citizens?” to “what do we do with the slippery slope of empathy?”  The questions were thought provoking and interesting.
The videos of Miguel, Ian, and Amelia, as well as some of the questions asked at the end of the evening will be posted in the coming weeks on the Warm Heart Initiatives webpage.  Please take time to share these stories and use them to initiate conversation with your friends and family.
At the end of the day, events like this both bring us together and build roots to community.  However, the work continues if people continue to come together.  In the fall, WHI will be hosting an information night and a silent auction fundraiser.  However, between now and then, I would love to engage in evenings/dinners that bring us together to speak about partnership activities or initiatives that make a difference in the world.

What does it mean to be a “Global Citizen?”

I encourage you to think about that… what are examples that display global citizenship?

Every once and a while, the world comes together to celebrate a large event. In the past two weeks, the Olympics shed light on the opportunities that exist for this to happen.  While controversy always exists, I find that it is the small stories that hit home.  Did you hear about the women with Nigerian heritage forming the first sledding team?  They may have come last, but they stood up to be examples for girls to see what is possible. Did you hear about Chloe Kim?  The Daughter of a Korean Immigrant, who is the youngest woman to land back-to-back 1080s (that is 3 full rotations!) in international competition. How about Korean Athletes inspiring youth?  While the Olympics may not always be an example of how to reduce poverty in your neighbourhood, they are an example of what can inspire young people to greater things! For two weeks, every 2 years, the world comes together to celebrate hard work.

Global citizen… do the Olympics reflect that?  The Global Citizen initiatives says that a “global citizen” is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community, and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and actions. Does that resonate with you? 

For me, being a global citizen is about social change: opening your eye to your community to see how people move, how social situations impact well-being, and taking action on the small things that matter most.  For me, it’s about looking at your own context as well as looking internationally, to figure out how to impact change.  For me, it’s about shared capacity building, and learning:  what do people of other cultures, other social groups, or other experiences have to teach me?  What can I do to partner with them?

As such, we are excited to announce our first annual Story and Book Night!  On March 10th, join us at the Ledge Coffee Shop in Squamish to hear 4 Squamish residents tell a short personal story about how they have been empowered, equipped or encouraged to be global citizens.  Tickets are 10$ for an adult, and 5$ for a youth.   If you have any questions, please contact Amelia at 778-628-1909

Let me present our first three story tellers:

Amelia Birch is a board member and co-founder of Warm Heart Initiatives. After travelling to Sub-Saharan Africa 3 times in her late teens and early 20’s, she studied Global Health in Nursing during her time at McGill University. Amelia will share an story that has empowered her to recognize the power of being present & being a witness to global health partner’s lives.

Miguel Chiau is a Quest University student, and Mastercard Foundation Scholar in the Program at African Leadership Academy (ALA). He spoke at the Walrus Talks in Ottawa in September 2017, and will also sharing an personal story at our evening!

Ian MacKay is a nurse from Squamish who has spent time in both South America and Iraq, doing clinical work with an organization called Samaritan’s Purse. Ian will share about equipping for clinical services in crises areas.

Fall Update

WHI boothThis is very long overdue, but not forgotten. 

Back in July, we had the opportunity to present Warm Heart Initiatives in a booth at thier “Outreach Sunday.” It was such a pleasure to share with the members of the church the vision that WHI has to create partnerships to end poverty.   It was also interesting to hear and learn of other projects they support: the St James Music Academy is a music school for inner-city children.  PWRDF is the Anglican Church’s response for emergency relief, refugees, development and justice.  The Street Outreach offers pastoral services for residents of the DTES.  Even though we all have different ways of approaching similar goals, these are just some examples of small ways to make a difference to end poverty.  We can all learn from one another. 

WHI is a small group of folks doing about something about poverty… but believe that the partnership that we have created in Malawi is strong.  We cannot maintain it without strong partnerships here at home. In November we hope to have a story telling night in Squamish, to explore how local folks have engaged in global citizenship.  It would be lovely to have to join us!   We have also just started to build a relationship with a young woman from North Vancouver, in which we are mentoring in a project to learn about both opportunities in medicine, and health issues facing indigenous youth in Canada. We look forward in getting to know her, and learning with her in the journey of “global citizenship” right here in the lower mainland. 

If You are looking to hear more about how you can be kept updated, please feel free to email or call at any time! I am more than happy to talk more about WHI at any time. We have been quiet this year, but continue to be requiring donations to meet our budget goal of 6000$ for the year. We are only about 1/3 of the way so far this year.  Would you consider assisting us in our goal?  Please be in touch if you are interested in hearing more: the easiest way to donate is through paypal.

Keep you eyes here for the announcement for the November event!!!

Malawi in Media

Recently, a stunning and shocking Al-Jazeera Article came out, outlining some practices that are happening in East Africa.  It speaks about people with Albinism, and the stigma’s, risk and fear that they live with.  Beyond being quite a sad article, it has some very excellent conversation around a topic that has been on the rise.

As a group of people who are wanting to think about global development and initiatives to combat poverty, one may ask how can we use this information to engage thought and activity here in Canada?  How can we read something like this, and make an action to respond.  The first part is knowledge, the second part is action.   Please take a few minutes to read the article linked below.

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