Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hi! I'm Allegra, the summer intern for YEA!

Hello YUGA blog readers!

My name is Allegra and I am the summer intern for the YEA team here at Plan! I have been a part of YUGA for the past 5 years or so and absolutely LOVE it! I attended Cranston High School East where myself and a group of friends started the YUGA chapter there our sophomore year. Through all the struggles, we were able to develop an active group at our school and it continues to grow there today! I recently finished my first year of college at Clark University in Worcester, MA and although we do not have a YUGA chapter at Clark, I became apart of groups with similar goals to YUGA such as STAND (Students Taking Action Now; Darfur) and ONE Campus Challenge, a group who raises awareness and holds events dealing with global issues such as diseases and poverty. The skills I learned from being a part of YUGA have helped me to succeed in college and be able to hold leadership positions in the new action and advocacy clubs I joined at Clark.

I have also attended the summer YUGA Leadership Camp for the past 4 years so if you have any questions about YUGA or camp, feel free to ask! I hope those of you coming to camp are getting super excited!!! Can't wait to see you there!

I'll be updating the blog with interesting stories or articles I find for the rest of the summer so keep a look out!

peace and love,
Allegra! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

YUGA: A Year in Review!

YUGA members all over the country have been working hard all year to raise awareness and hold events concerning different global issues. Check out what YUGA members have been doing all year!

-YUGA Meets US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
YUGA members Luis, Angie, and Rachel spoke with US Senators Sheldon Whitehouse about the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. YUGA members also took action at last year’s YUGA Leadership Camp where a workshop was held about the international crisis of child marriage. Way to go YUGA members!

Above, YUGA members Luis, Angie, and Rachel stand with Plan USA's interim CEO, Audrey Bracey-Deegan and US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse at Plan USA's Warwick office.


-A Hand in my Future
Cranston East High School participated in Plan UK's A Hand in my Future campaign, collecting pictures of hands with a message about the importance of youth in decision-making.
-Recycling at School Football Games
Cranston East also collected cans to recycle at their school’s football game. "Not only are we helping the environment," says Luis, "but we're also able raise money by personally bringing the cans to the recycling plant." This is a great way to fundraise, raise awareness of environmental sustainability, and have a great time, too!


-Corrie and Kate Learn about Plumpynut
Corrie and Kate visited the Edesia factory in Providence, RI- the home of Plumpynut, a line of products that treat and prevent malnutrition for over 100,000 children. 195 million children are undernourished and every day 16,000 children die because of lack of food and adequate nutrition. Edesia is a great organization that dedicates their time and effort to the protection of children all around the world. Check out their website for more info about Plumpynut and other exciting things Edesia is up to at http://www.edesiallc.org/.


-Poverty Week at Cranston East
The Cranston East YUGA chapter decided to create a week at their school where they would raise awareness and money for poverty both locally and globally. They made 50 bagged lunches for Crossroads, a local homeless shelter in Providence, RI, and also had a bake sale where they raised about $60 to send to Crossroads as well.

Top: CHSE YUGA members with their banner and bagged lunches they made for Crossroads.
Bottom: YUGA members Rachel and Kaitlyn with the cupcakes they made to benefit Crossroads.

-Sisters Nadyah and Jana begin a YUGA Chapter in Maryland
Nadyah and Jana worked with their school principal to use some of the YUGA toolkits to help make their school a 'Green School,' an accreditation from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). If you want to get help with starting your own YUGA chapter visit the Plan website at www.planusa.org/youth or contact Corrie. If you are interested in starting a YUGA chapter at your school, check out this special toolkit! http://www.planusa.org/docs/yea/HowtoStart.pdf


-Annual Move to Stop AIDS Dance-a-thon a Huge Success!
Youth from around the state danced the night away at Plan USA's 5th annual Move to Stop AIDS Dance-a-Thon! We were thrilled to raise $5,500 for Plan's HIV/AIDS programs in Zimbabwe, thanks to the hard work of YUGA youth, raffle prize money, and a generous donor who agreed to match everything raised at the Dance-a-Thon. Thanks to all those who donated, performed, and all YUGA members who helped make the Move to Stop AIDS Dance-a-Thon a HUGE success!

YUGA members gather with Congressman David Cicilline and the plaque that YUGA presented

YUGA members Clare, Arisa, Livia, Angie, and Carissa

YUGA members danced all night long to the beats of DJ Tatu

-Blake Middle School Skypes with Haiti
Nearly 750 students at Blake Middle School, a school in Massachusetts who was dedicated to raising money after the Haiti earthquake, joined on a Skype call with Haitian youth and Plan staff to ask questions about their peers in Haiti. This shows that youth can connect all around the world and relate their life experiences!


-Commission on the Status of Women
Corrie, Sara, and Kirby went to the United Nations to join girls from all around the world to speak to members of the UN about women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social, and educational fields. They used their voices to urge UN members to make sure they know that girls’ rights are human rights. You go girls!
YUGA members gathered with girls from all around the world at the UN!

-World Water Day
Walk for Wells was developed to simulate the walk that many girls in Niger have to do everyday in order to reach clean water for drinking, bathing, washing, and cooking. You can host this walk-a-thon at your school and help to raise awareness and money to fund projects that help girls get clean water in their villages. Check out the Walk for Wells website for information on how to host our own walk-a-thon! http://walk4wells.com/


-Earth Day
YUGA members celebrated Earth Day by getting outside and helping to better the environment in their own communities. Check out YUGA’s Top Ten Ways to Live Green here! http://yugacentral.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html


-World Fair Trade Day
May 14th was World Fair Trade Day and was a time to take a closer look at the products we buy and how the workers who have made those products are treated. It is your job to check the labels and advocate for fair trade products. Hold an event or fundraiser at your school with all Fair Trade Certified products!

-YUGA Leadership Camp Planning
Camp planning is underway and we are very excited for this summer! Check out the YUGA Camp page on the Plan website for a look at a typical day, view pictures from past years, and read about what camp is like through the eyes of a camper! http://www.planusa.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/171646

YUGA members from a past YUGA Camp!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

World Against Child Labor Day!

June 12th was World Against Child Labor Day celebrated around the world by million of children that organizations like Plan USA were able to save from hazardous working conditions. According to the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor, there are 115 million children currently working in hazardous working conditions making this issue of great significance. There has also been a recent rise in the number of older children working in hazardous conditions- an increase in 20 percent within 4 years! This issue MUST be given urgent attention in order to help reduce the number of children and adolescents suffering high rates of injury when working in unfair working conditions.

What do organizations suggest we do to address the problem of child labor in hazardous conditions?

We must take a life-cycle approach when dealing with the issues of child labor. This involves a stronger focus on ensuring that education and training policies prepare children for work life so as to acheive an effective school-to-work transition. If adolescents enter the workforce, there must be adequate safety regulations in place to ensure their safety and health. There must also be a wider knowledge of the internation labor standards spread throughout the world. Laws and regulations along with proper education for children, workers, and employers must be established and put into place.

Organizations like Plan USA are taking strides to ensure safer working conditions for many children in the workforce. Children in Shebedino, Ethiopia were celebrating World Day Against Child Labor now that a Plan project has helped protect them from hazardous work and enabled them to go to school. These children used to spend their days at the local clay makers crushing soil for hours with just sticks and stones. Because the soil and dust were so overwhelming, the young children would cough for hours because of this tiring work.

Plan USA provided this community with 1 diesel and 2 manual clay grinding soil machines and now many children do not have to hand crush the soil and can attend school full time! These manual crushers are safer and less tiresome than using a stick to crush the soil.
Here is a woman demonstrating how to operate the clay crushing machine provided by Plan!Check out the full article about Plan's work in Ethiopia here: http://www.planusa.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/2068673

Spread awareness about this issue at your school or tell your family and friends. Many of the companies that we buy clothes, food, and other items from support child labor and have many children working in sweat shops or under other unsafe working conditions. Check the labels and buy clothing that is made in America!

YUGA also has a FULL toolkit on what you can do in your school or at home to help stop child labor and get educated about the facts.
Check it out!