At the end of every month, I summarize local, national and international “stories of need” from news sites, blogs, press releases and editorials. The following are some of July’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:
HAITI — The United States is not the only nation in the Western Hemisphere struggling to solve an immigration crisis. Many Haitian migrants are returning to their country from the Dominican Republic, are living in “tent cities” with little access to basic necessities.
YEMEN — Fighting continues in Yemen despite a five-day ceasefire declared by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
BURUNDI — While, military leaders who led a failed coup against Pres. Pierre Nkurunziza’s government have begun a rebellion in Northern Burundi, other opposition figures who oppose Nkurunziza’s re-election as unconstitutional have tentatively accepted government posts in the hope of avoiding civil war.
At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, are ordinary people, communities, businesses and other groups doing extraordinary things. Here are a few I’ve heard about recently:
DHAKA (Bangladesh) — When a factory collapsed in his city in 2013, Redowan Ahmed Srabon took a bus to the site to help with recovery efforts. Now, other ordinary citizens like Srabon have undergone training to serve as “urban volunteers” in the event of disasters in their area.
NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana) — Identical twin sisters (and Sisters) Canise and Canisius Lastrapes of the Sisters of the Holy Family just celebrated 75 years of service as nuns. Seventy-five of their family members from around the country arrived in New Orleans to help them celebrate their anniversary.
BEKAA VALLEY (Lebanon) — Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 18th birthday by opening a secondary school for 200 Syrian girls who are refugees in Lebanon.
KANSAS CITY (Missouri) — Needy moms having problems breastfeeding their babies are increasingly getting help in the form of breast milk donations from online social media groups and official milk banks like St. Luke’s Heart of America Mothers’ Milk Bank.
TUAL (Indonesia) — Myint Naing returned to his family after years spent as a slave.
JAMESTOWN (Colorado) — Volunteer veterans from the University of Colorado at Boulder helped Habitat for Humanity rebuild a home destroyed by floodwaters in 2013.
AUSTRALIA & GREECE — When corporate executive James Koufos saw a photograph of 77-year-old Greek retiree Giorgos Chatzifotiadis crying on the street after unsuccessfully waiting at four Greek banks to withdraw his pension, Koufos enlisted the help of his mother to identify the man in the photo, and Chatzifotiadis turned out to be an old friend of Koufos’s father. Koufos has since promised to pay Chatzifotiadis’s pension for a year.
AFRICA — Jena Lee Nardella graduated from college with an unusual goal — build 1,000 freshwater wells in Africa.
LUXOR (Egypt) — The Egyptian government recently honored Sisa Abauu Dauh El-Nemr as the “ideal mother” for defying societal norms to work outside her home. The catch: she disguised herself as a man to work for 43 years as a shoe-shiner.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mamie Parker pioneered a new path for African-Americans to become a high ranking official in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Stories worth reflection:
HOW TO SPOT TRAFFICKING AT AIRPORTS — Here are seven signs that someone is being trafficked — for you to be aware of the next time you fly. Didn’t know trafficking was an issue in the United States? Watch this trailer.
SELLING FETAL TISSUE FOR PROFIT? — The release of a fourth undercover video documenting the alleged sale by Planned Parenthood of fetal tissue from abortions have brought a long but quiet scientific practice into the public eye.