threads of our fabric

Reflections on navigating between two cultures and understanding the self-awareness process

What about the youth?… May 30, 2011

Never have I been more certain of the critical importance of the voices of young people in society than yesterday…I had the privilege of presenting the Threads of Our Fabric Project at the annual Lebialem Cultural Development Association (LECDA). The theme “3C Convention” (Culture, Committment, and Construction) complemented my project quite nicely. My project focuses on examining the unique attributes of the African Woman and showcasing all her wonderful qualities with world. Along the way changing the representation of her image and encouraging young emerging African women to *Dream*Create*Live*Inspire*

In many parts of the world, the voices of youth, particularly girls, are continually silenced. To most being young is often associated with rebelliousness, inexperience, and simply a happy-go-lucky carefree unreliable character. I believe that all these supposedly negative attributions are the trademark beauty and blessing of being a young person. For example, rebelliousness can endow a person with a daring spirit and a creative outside of the box thinking. Such qualities are useful in situations where the status quo is a false substitute for the desire to be part of a great story… The longing to be part of something grander than self…

I remember quite vividly my teenage years; rollercoaster emotions, casual attitude towards everything, and trapped in a perpetual war with a good number of adults who I believed were always meddling in my affairs. As a teen the yearning to be an adult was an all consuming maybe borderline obsessed wish…I saw freedom from the influence of parents, independence and employment. To me being an adult was like heaven. Now as I reflect on those years, there was a critical element that significantly provided a buffer against many negative influences…a few adults who believed in my potential and always saw the best in me.

Throughout the 3C convention, I kept thinking “What about the youth?“…I hope that some of the information I provided during my presentation will offer some guidance as LECDA develops more youth-friendly and youth-involved programs. From focus groups with African Immigrant Youth, most of them thrive in an environment that encourages creativity and utilizes interactive engagement. Many adults shy from working with young people, I don’t blame them…it’s a thankless, challenging, nerve-wrecking, frustrating, unpredictable, intense task…but the most rewarding experience in one’s lifetime ! The more adults invest time, energy, and love in the lives of young people…the higher likelihood that the reward will be phenomenal…It’s been proven true countless times over…How do I know?…I am walking proof.    

Reflection: How can one nurture a love for culture, tradition, and heritage in youth aside from creative arts?

 

 

Fellowship announcement for Africa Day – May 25, 2011 May 25, 2011

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Many good things come from Africa and yours truly is a 100% product. My life and opportunities afforded me would not be possible today, if not for selfless humanitarians who tirelessly worked (in many places still working) to ensure that women have a contributing voice in society. I happened across this announcement that was extremely worth sharing. I wish you the best should you apply and let me know the outcome.

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Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights launching Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent, Geneva

Deadline: 15 June 2011

In the context of the International Year for People of African Descent, the Anti-Discrimination Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is launching a Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent from 10 October to 4 November 2011.

The Fellowship Programme will provide participants with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the United Nations Human Rights system and its mechanisms, with a focus on issues of particular relevance to people of African descent.

This will allow the fellows to better contribute to the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Afro-descendants in their respective countries and communities.

Who can apply?

– The candidate must be an African descendant.
– The candidate must have a minimum of 4 years experience dealing with Afro-descendant or minority issues.
– The candidate must be fluent in English.
– A letter of support from an Afro-descendant organization or community.

Selection Process

In selecting the fellows, gender and ensuring a regional balance will be taken into account. All documents submitted must be in English.

Entitlements

The selected candidate is entitled to a stipend to cover accommodation, basic living expenses in Geneva, basic health insurance as well as a return economy class plane ticket.

Application

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application by email to: africandescent@ohchr.org or by fax to 004122-928 9050 with a cover letter clearly indicating “Application to the 2011 Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent” with the following documents:

– An application form which can be downloaded at    http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Events/IYPAD/ApplicationFormIYPAD.pdf
– A Curriculum Vitae
– A letter of motivation (maximum 1 page) in which the candidate will explain his/her motivation for applying, what    he/she hopes to achieve through this fellowship and how he/she will use what they learn to promote the interests and rights of afro-descendants
– A letter of support from an organization/entity they are affiliated with.

The deadline to receive applications is 15 June 2011. Please note that only short-listed applicants will be contacted.

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Application for fellowship is available here

 

Shout out to Kenya May 23, 2011

Filed under: Community,Reflections — Sharon Asonganyi @ 5:00 pm
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Grace Kerongo - Hot Secrets

I absolutely “heart” the new world of web 2.0, enabling people connect on similar interests and form lifetime friendships without leaving the comforts of home. The internet opens one to the excitement and newness of different parts of the world, but how we use it depends on us…Today, I am giving a SHOUT OUT to an amazing, prolific, and entertaining blogger in Nairobi, Kenya – Ms Grace Kerongo.

Thank you for your support of the Threads of Our Fabric Project when it was just ideas wrapped in a simple survey – Hot Secrets: FOR THE STRONG AFRICAN WOMAN IN THE DIASPORA. Continue dishing out all the latest in gossip, entertainment, and news in Kenya!

As I count down to the 1-year anniversary of the Project (July 1, 2010), I am overjoyed, hopeful, and determined to bring forth the vision to life.

 

U.S. Gov’t Press Release:Cameroon’s Anniversary/Unity Day May 20, 2011

Filed under: Community — Sharon Asonganyi @ 11:12 am
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Not only did this week feature Secretary Clinton’s Global Diaspora Forum, but it also marks the 39th  Anniversary of Cameroon’s Unification as one. May the spirit that brought us together, guide us especially with the upcoming elections. May we learn lessons and strategies from our neighboring countries that can be peaceably and fairly implemented. Here is the press release below or you can visit the State Government’s website by clicking here: Cameroon’s Anniversary 

 

 

Cameroon‘s Anniversary of Independence

 

 

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 19, 2011

 


 

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Cameroon as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this May 20. Our two nations share an enduring partnership that reflects our long history working on behalf of common causes.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps this year, we honor the Peace Corps volunteers who have partnered with Cameroonians in rural villages and urban towns. Since 1962, more than 3,000 Volunteers have worked with Cameroon to help improve the quality of lives and empower individuals and communities throughout the country.

The United States remains committed to working with the Cameroon Government as it seeks to strengthen democracy, governance, and rule of law. We look forward to seeing the people of Cameroon exercise their right to vote later this year in a free, fair, and credible Presidential election.

As you celebrate this special occasion, know that the United States stands with you. We are committed to this enduring partnership to help build a more peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.

 

PRN: 2011/791

 

Life in ANIMATION May 19, 2011

Map of Africa indicating Gross Domestic Produc...

Image via Wikipedia

HELLO!!! I took a long hiatus and now I am back… It certainly was not a loss of words or ideas to freely write about…life has just been happening in high-def animation too quickly to pause and process. I apologize for the brief pause because that is a diservice to you and many other transient readers. Let us try to re-cap some hot-happenings in my world and continue full force ahead! 

As usual, since Africa is always on my heart and all its causes integrated into my fibers, I have been heavily advocating and supporting African-led, African-sponsored, and Africa-focused events throughout the Metro DC area. One of them that has my fingers tweeting like crazy ( @threadsofrfabrc) is Secretary Clinton’s Global Diaspora Forum that is going on in Washington D.C. from May 17-19th, 2011. (Follow them on twitter @DiasporaAtState) It is all very exciting and I kept hearing the echo of Horace Walpole’s statement “Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion” in the shadows of my mind. There were a number of great initiatives launched but my top three were:

  1. IDEA – International Diaspora Engagement Alliance
  2. BOOM – by m-Via. (global mobile banking services launched in Haiti and Mexico) 
  3. African Diaspora Marketplace – USAID and Western Union (Our African atm service system, lol)

All of which should radically spark a faster globalization movement built on connecting immigrant linkages with their native country roots. It is incredible how all of this is based on using extended relationships to leverage opportunities. As Africans, we have a huge extended family network who often depend on us for financial support. Over the years we have sent significant sums of money for school fees, household support, funerals, investments, housing etc… In fact, in 2009, $20,742 million USD was received in the form of remittances by countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, constituting about 2.2% of that area’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

It’s great that the Diaspora is being recognized in powerful ways, politically for diplomacy and peacebuilding, economically for innovative development and businesses ventures, and socially…well we know how to party and have a good time! But more importantly, in Africa, the way we do business is through relationships, people to people without intermediaries… Our sense of connectedness has always been our strength and now our opportunity!

It’s feels great to be an immigrant!

Stay tuned for information on Africa’s representation/image in the media – I will be twitting from tonights African Diaspora for Change event “Media Check: Africa”…follow me  @threadsofrfabrc

 

“Sweet Mother” – Tribute to the Daughters of Africa! May 5, 2011

I have come to appreciate the NECESSITY of an event planner. The amount of coordination that has consumed my life the last few days has been intense and overwhelming to say the least. What motivates me to continue is that the occasion is a small tribute to GREAT women who tirelessly give of themselves daily without complaint – Sweet African Mothers…

Here is one of my classic tunes by Prince Nico Mbarga…”SWEET MOTHER”