Reflections on Rwanda
My trip as a World Vision Youth Ambassador to Rwanda five years ago has left a lasting impression on me, and has helped shape the course of my life.
This experience exposed me to some of the gravest injustices of our world – poverty, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Through building relationships with our beautiful brothers and sisters from Rwanda, I learned about some of the challenges of everyday life that are encountered, and the impacts that this leaves on them. I will never forget the young children, without shoes, carrying jerry cans filled with water for miles between their water source and their home. I will never forget hearing from young girls, around my age of 18, sharing their experiences of gender-based violence and female genital mutilation. I will never forget entering into the genocide memorials, and seeing line after line of the human skulls of the victims of the genocide.
I had always been interested in human rights, but this trip allowed me to see the stark disparities between how human beings get to live. I get to come home every day to a fridge filled with food, go to different places on routes where I feel safe, and choose any program in school that I want to pursue. This is not the case for every human being that lives on our Earth. However, World Vision allowed me to leave Rwanda with hope. I got to see World Vision’s transformational development model in action, where they are empowering individuals and communities to gain skills for employment, pursue education, and have secure water and food sources. I also got to learn about World Vision’s role in facilitating post-genocide reconciliation initiatives, which have further strengthened relations in the country.
My experiences from participating in this trip will remain with me for the rest of my life. It solidified that a career in human rights was the path that I wanted to pursue, and gave me hope of the incredible opportunities that we have to work together to ignite positive, lasting change on our Earth. I am now in law school concentrating my studies on human rights, and am working this summer at the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which includes working on cases from the Rwanda Tribunal.
Alana Robert, World Vision Youth Ambassador
DO THE FAMINE
The 30-hour famine is a fundraiser focused on raising funds and awareness to end hunger. During the famine, participants fast and participate in different activities. Every year thousands of youth and students in Canada come together to advocate and raise funds for hungry children and families. The 30-hour famine started back in 1971. A 17-year-old girl named Ruth Roberts and 14 of her friends staged a “starve-in” in a church basement in Calgary to draw attention to the plight of African children suffering during a continent-wide famine. “We chose to stop eating for a day and a half so we could understand, even in a small way, what those children were experiencing,” recalls Ruth. The group of friends raised $600 for World Vision to help victims of famine.
The 30-hour famine is important because you are challenging yourself to learn more about the issues, raise awareness, fundraise for the cause and fast for 30 hours to experience what others are going through. Through the 30-hour famine, you have directly helped communities in Kenya and South Sudan, providing the essentials to over 90,000 people.
While talking to one of our super-star Youth Ambassadors, Hanna Lynch, she shared about her past experiences in doing the 30-hour famine with her youth group at Port Elgin United Church. Hanna’s advice to encourage people to participate in your 30-hour famine event would be to invite your community, send emails to friends and family to spread the awareness, and to not be afraid to ask for donations. During each one of Hanna’s events, they created a theme as a way to get the community excited about the event. Last year, the theme was Disney Pixar, all of the games and activities revolved around that theme. Aside from games, they also have a portion of time set aside for random acts of kindness, where they do different things for the community such as writing cards for nursing homes. Hanna says doing the 30-hour famine is important to her because it takes 30 hours out of her busy schedule to focus and do something that is foreign to her, but second nature to so many people around the world. While traveling to Kenya last year with World Vision, Hanna was able to see things first-hand: new farming techniques, new water pump stations, and less distance for people to travel for water. Talking with the beneficiaries showed her how grateful and appreciative these communities were, which helps to push and encourage her to help in whatever way she can.
Doing the 30-hour famine is a way to show that you are supportive and self-less. Being able to support the families and communities in Kenya and South Sudan by giving any small donation is helping in ways you couldn’t imagine. With any small donation that you give, we are one step closer to help end the famine. By being self-less you are showing the people in these countries that they are important and that you are thinking about them and are willing to help. Make a change by hosting a 30-hour famine with your family and friends in your community today to help make a difference in someone’s life. Be supportive! Be self-less!
THINK GLOBALLY, EAT LOCALLY
With more conscious food-lovers on the rise, we wanted to provide a hand-picked list of ethical, locally sourced restaurants in Toronto and the rest of Canada for you to try out.
Here’s our picks listed from priciest to least pricey:
RUBY WATCHCO –rubywatchco.ca
730 QUEEN ST EAST, TORONTO, ON
Ruby Watchco supports only local growers and producers. The eggs, dairy and grains are delivered by the farmers themselves! They like to call it Market Inspired Comfort Food.
Ruby Watcho supports only local growers and producers. The eggs, dairy and grains are delivered by the farmers themselves! They like to call it Market Inspired Comfort Food.
CAFÉ BELONG – cafebelong.ca
550 BAYVIEW AVE, TORONTO, ON
Building relationships with farmers is what Café Belong is all about. The entire operation, whether it be dinner or grab and go catering, has all been done by local Canadian organic growers. They aim to provide a sense of ‘belonging’ to the environment during your visit – “an awareness of our environment, how it nourishes us, and what we must do to have this relationship continue”
GLOBE BISTRO – globebistro.com
124 DANFORTH AVE, TORONTO, ON
Canadian, Comfort Food, Fusion Cuisine.
With the motto of “Think Global. Eat Local!”, you can expect their passion for local movement is found in their locally sourced ingredients. They offer something for everyone, even weekend brunch from 11AM. Globe Bistro represents fine dining with ethical standards.
ME & MINE
1144 COLLEGE ST, TORONTO, ON
American, Canadian, Comfort Food, Fusion Cuisine.
Serving only fresh and local food, this couple creates new twists on your favourite meals. Rated one of the top 10 Best farm-to-table restaurants in Toronto, it is the place to go when craving your grandmother’s cooking with an ethical, but still funky, approach.
BEAST – the beastrestaurant.com
96 TECUMSETH ST, TORONTO, ON
Canadian and Fusion Cuisine.
Celebrating local farmers and producers, the chef Vivian Scott who spent much of her career cooking under Jamie Kennedy, offers dinner and brunch for meat lovers in particular – you can even reserve a “whole animal” dinner using all of the BEAST for you and your friends. Weekends are when you can get a sweet taste of specialty doughnuts with flavours posted the morning of on their Twitter page.
Living in or visiting Ottawa and want to find the best ethical restaurants and bakeries? Ethical Tree features the best fair trade, organic, vegan, vegetarian, and woman-owned restaurants to make ethical eating easy! ethicaltree.com
Living in or visiting Vancouver, BC? Enjoy an ethical meal at:
- Ethical Kitchen – ethicalfoods.ca
- West Restaurant – westrestaurant.com
- Cibo Trattoria – cibotrattoria.com
- Fable Kitchen – fabekitchen.ca
- Aphrodite’s Organic Café & Pie Shop – organiccafe.ca
Living in or visiting Calgary, Alberta? Enjoy an ethical meat at:
- The Coup – thecoup.ca
- The Weal – theweal.com
- Notable – notabletherestaurant.ca
- Raw Eatery & Market – thecollectiveraw.com
- Blue Star Diner – ca
If there’s one belief that all these restaurants stand behind it’s that you should be proud of where your food comes from!
Oh, how meaningful.
My sister and I were reunited in Toronto after I moved back from Kingston and together, we committed to creating a space that was inviting for anyone to stop by, grab a bite and hang out. Out of the many commonalities we share, this is a top favourite: gathering people together (eating is a close second). When World Vision Canada launched the Meaningful Meals initiative, I knew it was just the thing for us. And it’s probably just the thing for you, too.
Meaningful Meals is a HungerFree initiative that is all about celebrating food while helping create a hunger-free world. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or your birthday, isn’t food one of the first things considered when planning a celebration? The idea is super simple: enjoy a meal and cover the cost of your own plate as well as another to help support long-term food projects. You can have a Meaningful Meal at a fancy restaurant, your favourite fast food chain or the comforts of your own home. You can choose to donate the cost (or part of the cost) of your plate when eating out or suggest a donation as you prepare a meal for your friends.
Our plan was this: invite friends, cook up a storm, start some great conversations and give people the opportunity to be generous with their finances. Recent graduates don’t have a lot of disposable income, but we have enough to treat ourselves to good food once in a while – so instead of going out to eat, we invited people to come over and give what would have been spent elsewhere for food. We decided to set a target goal of $1000 and committed to hosting dinner parties in our apartment every single week until we reached our goal.
9 dinner parties later, we reached our goal! We also made new friends, engaged in important conversations and created unique recipes along the way. Committing to a dinner party every single week was not easy, but the opportunity to gather friends from all walks of life supporting one, important cause made it so meaningful. Global poverty is not on everyone’s mind, but I learned that people are willing to hear out what their friends have to say about it – and for me, that was worth the messy kitchen and the piles of dishes.
I say that this campaign is just for you because you probably enjoy food almost as much as I do and while a huge dinner party may not appeal to you, I bet you can think of at least a couple of people you enjoy eating with. Host your own and post it on social with the hashtag, #HungerFree.
Nelly Video Series
Check out the Nelly video series for your 30 Hour Famine event! The following video series follows a young girl named Nelly from Kilifi, Kenya. We will be releasing new videos each week, so check back every Monday to find more.
Nelly #3 – Becoming HungerFree
Nelly #2 – A Day In The Life Of
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EQUIP: January Speakers
Daniel is passionate about equipping students to take concrete action to change the world for victims and the marginalized. He spent the past five years living among the urban poor helping youth overcome poverty, hopelessness, and drug addiction. He works with Voice Found equipping adults to protect kids from sexual abuse. Previously Daniel served as a speech writer for Members of Parliament combatting human trafficking and abuse.
Hello, my name is Fion and I am studying at the University of Waterloo’s Architecture undergraduate program. I want to use the skills I learn from university to create architecture that is more socially and environmentally conscious. Shave to Save is a campaign in which funds were raised to go towards World Vision, specifically allocated to helping women in Bangladesh experiencing the negative effects of the sex trade.
My names Miranda, I’m 19 and currently studying at Red Deer College to get my Bachelor in Secondary Education. I’m passionate about social justice, history, and my conscious consumerism and want to help inspire a generation of youth to be passionate about changing the world for the better.