The logo Orenda Tribe

The Orenda Tribe Turns Refugee Children’s Art into T-Shirts

Writing

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist”. Through introducing children in underprivileged communities and refugee camps to art and then printing that art onto T-shirts and sharing them with the rest of the world, The Orenda Tribe helps children discover art and the artist within. Orenda is “a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world, or to effect change in their own lives.” When asked.”Why Art?” The Orenda Tribe says:

Why art? Art is a neglected subject in most distressed communities although it is very important in building skills in children that will allow them to build a better future for themselves. Skills such as creativity, problem-solving, communication and confidence. Add to this, that art spreads smiles and happiness into children’s lives.

In addition to the art lessons given at Jerash refugee camp in Jordan, The Orenda Tribe has also held an art workshop for SOS Village mothers, art therapy sessions in cooperation with Art Therapy International Centre, and winter clothes drives for the children of the camp.

 

orenda tribe t-shirts

Photo credit: theorendatribe.com

 

Want to help The Orenda Tribe fund their art activities? Here‘s where you can a T-shirt.

To hear more about The Orenda Tribe from Zaid Souqi, watch this video from A Minute Marvel.

For more information visit The Orenda Tribe’s website and Facebook page.

 

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ResQ Club: The Cool App from Finland on a Mission to Fight Food Waste

Writing

After bringing us Nokia phones and Angry Birds, Finland newest technological innvation is ResQ Club, a smartphone application and website that offers a solution to food waste. ResQ Club connects people looking for restaurant food and restaurants with a surplus of meals offered at a discount price. It’s a win-win situation where both parties save not just food that would have gone to waste, but also money and energy. The application uses your location to help you find a participating restaurant near you. Once you find the restaurant you would like to eat from a menu of the dishes on offer today and their prices are shown.  You can then arrange to pick up your meal at whatever time suits you.

According to its website, there are more than 400 participating restaurants (mostly in Europe) and more than 125,000 meals saved (40,000 kilograms of food!). That’s equal to 5,000,000 km of CO₂ emissions driven.

ResQ Club, can you please make your way to the rest of the world? And can the Arab world be your next stop?

Copy of resq_press1

For more information or to oder your next meal from ResQ Club: Visit ResQ Club’s website and Facebook page.

Hotel Zaatari: A Short Film That Brings the Human Back to the Refugee

Uncategorized, Writing

Hotel Zaatari is a short film written and directed by two Jordanian filmmakers, Mais Salman and Zaid Baqaeen. The film shows four Syrians from the Syrian city of Daraa near the Jordan-Syria borders who settled in the world’s largest Syrian refugee Camp, Zaatari. With beautiful cinematography and poignant, poetic narration, we are introduced to 13-year-old Ali, 64-year-old Abo Abdo, 52-year-old Hayat, and nine-year-old Sarah. In 17 minutes, the word refugee is stripped of all the politics, the numbers, economics, and pity and the human is re-seen.

According to the film’s website, “the film aims to raise awareness and change perceptions towards the displaced Syrians, and shed light on their plights, fears, hopes and dreams. Challenging the notion of ‘the other’, the film hopes to express and reveal the core of what it is to be human, and what it is to be humane.”

Hotel Zaatari is not only a film but an initiative. Forty limited edition prints from Zaatari are sold to fund programs in the camp in association with Save the Children International.

Watch the film and visit the website.

Zakiya Kurdi Paints Women From Around the World Using Sand and Seashells

Uncategorized, Writing

Syrian journalist, scriptwriter, and now artist Zakiya Kurdi was watching TV one day when a report about an African artist who paints using sand came on. She was taken by the art form and began exploring and experimenting with it. Her first painting took several months to be finished. The process is quite lengthy; Kurdi begins by drawing with charcoal and colors the sand before using it in her pieces. Her portraits show women from different parts of the world. Although each is unique, what they share in common is that they all had a great effect on Kurdi, begging her to draw them.

Khaled Hourani's The Blue Figure. Darat Al Funun

Self-Rediscovery via Khaled Hourani’s Exhibition at Darat al Funun

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

Rediscovering passion is rediscovering the self. Khaled Hourani’s A Retrospective exhibition nestled in the beautiful villa and garden that is Darat al Funun helped me rediscover that mind-captivating exhilaration and wonder at the beauty that surrounds us — the mind that thinks the art, the artist courageous enough to make the art, the Creator’s art: the bee pulled by the magnet of rosemary bushes and lavender, the sun as it warms the cold stone of the Roman columns standing tall in the backyard.

In this space of art and beauty one finds acceptance, universality; we are all one and the same, stripped of all the backgrounds that tell of differences.
That is the essence of Khaled Hourani’s newest work, The Blue Figure. By removing the refugee, resembled in the UNHCR logo as a blue figure, from its context, Hourani challenges our conception of a refugee. Seen in different settings: on a balcony, in the lap of a parent and in a tent, the figure’a individuality and humanness is returned. Each becomes one, all a part of the whole.
khaled hourani the blue figure

Photo credit: Dima Masri

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Photo credit: Dima Masri

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Photo credit: Dima Masri

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Photo credit: Dima Masri

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Photo credit: Dima Masri

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Photo credit: Dima Masri

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Photo credit: Dima Masri

Watch a report and interview on Al Ghad about the exhibition.

Three Reasons You Should Spend More Time Outside

Writing

Whether it’s because of the winter or the temptation of screens, we, old and young, aren’t spending enough time outdoors. Here are three reasons to get out and treat our self-inflicted Nature Deficit Disorder.

  1. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun-  Spending time out will boost your vitamin D levels and that in turn, will boot your physical health. Studies have shown that vitamin D lowers blood pressure and regulates our immune system. But don’t forget that sunscreen!
  2. De-stress and lighten up- Being in nature can improve our mood and help us unwind, enjoy the present moment and connect with nature as we marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. Try forest bathing or hiking or simply taking a stroll in a park or along the beach and breathe in the fresh air.
  3. Heal- A study conducted by Robert Ulrich showed that patients who underwent gallbladder research who viewed trees withstood pain better and spent less time in the hospital compared to patients who looked at the wall.

Bottom line- Enjoy your Saturday and spend time in the great outdoors!

The Fed Up Challenge: No Sugar For 10 Days

Writing

After watching the documentary Fed Up directed by Katie Couric, I was surprised to learn just how much influence big companies in the food industry influence the food policies the government adopts that have a direct effect on the health of children and families and how it’s really just about the money- not the health of the people. They are willing to do anything, from convincing Congress that pizza is a vegetable to targeting  children through advertisements, to bring in the big bucks. With sugar-laden junk food popping up at every corner from school cafeterias to pharmacies, it can be very difficult to avoid sugar. And having more than 50 different names for ingredients that are essentially sugar and have the same dangerous effect in the body doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s time to take things into our own hands. Enter the 10-Day Fed Up Challenge aka No (Added) Sugar for 10 days. Below is an introduction and details form the Fed Up movie website:

The Fed Up Challenge is a national campaign to break loose from the sugar industry’s powerful grip – with a particular focus on kids and schools! We’re asking individuals, kids, schools, parents and communities to join us in going sugar free for 10 days. Giving up sugar will be tough because sugar is everywhere and we all crave it, but setting that kind of healthy example for your kids is all the inspiration you’ll need to get through.

Start by cutting sodas and other sweetened beverages and foods that have ADDED sugars. EAT real, fresh, whole foods and lay off all products that contain added sugar including honey, molasses, agave, etc., and all liquid sugars, such as sodas, bottled teas, fruit juices, and sports drinks. This includes all artificial sugars and sugar substitutes.

No exceptions, so don’t ask! Artificial sweeteners slow your metabolism and make you crave and eat more food. Also, be aware of foods that may have hidden sugars, like yogurts, canned foods, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup. Watch for hidden names of sugar. Also try cutting out all flour products that turn to sugar in your body.

Sounds challenging, but our health is worth it. Show your body some love and it shall reciprocate. Let’s give it a shot!

Visit the Fed Up movie website to learn more about the movie and challenge.

 

Photo credit: fedupmovie.com