Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Dead Aid

Posted: December 13, 2010 by brfrese in Africa, Charity, Education, Poverty

Hey everyone! I know I have talked about Dead Aid this semester, but I haven’t really gotten into it too much. So, I thought now might be a good time to do so.

Dead Aid is a book that was written by an extremely intelligent woman — Dambisa Moyo. She completed her undergraduate at American University, got her MBA in Finance at America, a Masters  from Harvard and a Doctorate from Oxford. Wow. Additionally, she worked for Goldman Sachs for 10 years prior to writing her New York Times Bestesller — when she talks, she knows what she is saying.



She is particularly critical about aid to Africa, she believes it creates a cycle of dependency that leaves Africa no better off than it was before foreign nations (or in our case celebrities) got involved. Did you know that nations in Africa have received over 1 Trillion Dollars in the past 50 years? How much better off is Africa because of it? Think about what that level of economic involvement could do to a developing country that needs to establish its own infrastructures!


So,  I just wanted to give you a little more background on who Dambisa Moyo was. She is extremely educated in her field and I trust her opinion as an international economist because well, she is one. If anyone is interested you can purchase her book, or maybe find it at a library and read up on the effects we truly have in Africa.


In light of my recent posts, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on an area where celebrity involvement has turned out to be helpful. But first, I’ll start off with a question: have you ever heard of Livestrong?

Of course you have. Now: have you ever heard of Stillerstrong (and not this isn’t about the Pittsburgh “Stillers”)?

My guess is, probably not. But it is something you should be aware of. Its a comical take on the Livestrong foundation created by none other than Ben Stiller — but its no joke. It helps build schools in Haiti as part of the Haitian School Initiative. Recently, Stiller’s charity has partnered with Artists for Peace and Justice to continue their work in Port-Au-Prince.


As you can see, Stillerstrong packs quite a punch when it comes to star power. Not only does Ben Stiller support it, but so does former president and humanitarian Bill Clinton! It built its first school in Cerevrine, Haiti in 2009 and the initiative really took off in 2010 after the earthquake.

This is the kind of charity our celebrities need to be involved with — helping build schools and hospitals for those who don’t have them, have been displaced, or need them to be improved desperately. It isn’t ruining a local economy, but rather building up a future one through the youngest generation. Everyone should show their support to Stillerstrong like they did to Lance in the early 2000’s…its a great cause to get behind!

Colombian singer Shakira has agreed to tape  a Christmas television ad for a Spanish sparkling wine under the conditions that the proceeds go to her Colombian-based charity, Pies Descalzos.

In addition to paying Shakira’s foundation $660,000, Freixenet, the company behind the ad, will also produce a video for Shakira’s “Sale el sol” and make a documentary about her charity. The money will be used to build a school in Haiti and another in Colombia.

As a child growing up in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira made a promise that one day she would help the children she often saw living on the city’s streets. At the age of 18, Shakira fulfilled that promise. In 1995, she launched  her Pies Descalzos Foundation,  which  is dedicated to improving education, nutrition, and the lives of the thousands of  children living in dangerous conditions because of the violent internal conflict in Colombia.

How is Shakira able to do this work?

Shakira asked former Minister of Foreign Relations and Minister of Education María Emma Mejía to preside over the Foundation in 2003. She wanted Mejía to help expand its works across Colombia. The first school was then built  in Quibdó, which is a city along the Pacific coast. the forced forced displacement rates in Quibdó  are 35%. Since then, Pies Descalzos Foundation has gone on to open six additional schools.

In 2008, Shakira founded the US-based Barefoot Foundation. It is a separate entity from Pies Descaloz, however the two organizations work close together to support the same universal mission. The Barefoot Foundation supports universal education in developing countries.

I think Shakira’s extensive efforts to improve the education, nutrition, and lives of the children in her homeland show a true passion for her work and the goodwill of Colombia. Her success thus far demonstrates a drive in the superstar. I think often we see people donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to global charities, however, we don’t see exactly where the funding is going and that makes us question whether the money is in fact being put to proper use rather than solely creating a good reputation for the celebrity.

With the groundbreaking work Shakira has thus far achieved, I applaud her with her and wish her success with the building of her new schools in Haiti and Colombia.

There is not much left to say that this video hasn’t said for me. The cast of the Twilight saga: Peter Facinelli, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen, Chaske Spencer, Tinsel Korey, Rachelle Lefevre, Edi Gathegi, Michael Welch, Justin Chon, Christian Serratos, and author Stephenie Meyer are all taking action to make the world a better place. What I find most interesting about all that the cast is doing is that their actions aren’t hugely publicized.

I, for one, am a major Twilight fan and I hadn’t heard about majority of the charities and causes that these celebrities take part in. That is not to say that these charities aren’t mainstream organizations, because they are. My point here is that it seems to me that the cast of Twilight genuinely cares. They are helping others without the need to put the spotlight all over what they are doing so that the world knows how amazing they are. I truly respect them for that.  I also found it very impressive that so many cast members took part in charities or non-profit organizations. Stephenie Meyer even started her own organization. Sure, you usually find that a few members of a major motion picture have charities that they have been helping for a while, but in this case, pretty much the ENTIRE cast of Twilight has picked up one cause or another. What’s more, all the causes are different! This video definitely threw me for a loop. Props to you Twilight cast. I commend you.


Posted: October 28, 2010 by kmw5211 in Children, Education
Tags: , , , ,

John Legend, Jessica Alba, and Matt Damon shed light on the importance of education for every child in this world. They came together in June with 1Goal: Education for All this world cup.

I can’t imagine what it would feel like to not have the opportunity to get an education. That is one of the many things we take for granted in the United States.


CNN interviews Selena Gomez about her help with UNICEF. At only 18 years old, Gomez is the youngest Ambassador for UNICEF. She has been working with them for 3 years and has already visited Ghana. How many celebrities can say that? How many PEOPLE can say that? If an 18 year old spare her time to help children in foreign countries, can we help too? I, for one, think that despite the fact that we don’t have Selena’s resources, there has to be something we can do to help.