Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Everything a Girl Needs to Understand before a Relationship

This post was written by Karin via UN Online Volunteering Service.

Everything a girl needs to know before getting into a relationship

When you meet a person for the first time you put on your best behavior. So does the other person. You won’t completely reveal your flaws. Once you get to know the person better you realize what kind of annoying habits the other one has. But already in the relationship it’s too late. You are all tangled up with feelings and stuff…no way to get out of that situation that easily.

All kidding aside, there are some important things to know before getting into a relationship. Those will mainly help prevent that you wake up one morning and feel like in a nightmare.

If the guy truly likes you he will wait until you got it all figured out. There is no need to rush. Following points might help you to see the situation filled up with feelings a little clearer:

You are ready to do your best for someone, every day

We are all human. We can’t be happy, perfect, and loveable 24/7. We can’t always want what our partner wants. But we can give our best effort. Our best effort to be a good partner, a good friend, a good lover, a good listener…you get my point. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being and working together. Are you willing to compromise and sacrifice? Every now and then sitting down with something and watching a TV show you hate and he loves? Going to events you find boring but are important to him? You don’t need to be perfect to do your best; you just need to be willing to give your best.

People change.

This is a fact. The guy you meet won’t be the same after a couple weeks, months, or a year. He will change! At the beginning you have this awesome guy who always pays, makes you laugh all day long, who chooses an evening in front of the TV watching “Sex and the City” instead of going out with his friends, who basically does everything for you. Once we’re committed and invested in a relationship, you’ll see the real him. I’m afraid that includes occasional burps or nights out with his friends…but a true boyfriend will still be the funny, charming, and amazing men you fell for.

You need to communicate

One of the biggest issues between men and women is the lack of communication. If you are mad: Tell him! Don’t give him little hints and hope the poor guy will figure out the problem by himself. Don’t play games. If something bothers you: Tell him! Your answer when he asks “What is wrong?” should only be “nothing” if literally everything is fine with you. He might be the type of guy that answers with a one word text. If it bothers you, let him know. Your time together is way too valuable for the “I-have-to-figure-out-why-she’s-mad-game”.

What does this commitment mean for him and you?

It is important that you define what you are together. Does he “just” want to have someone to hang out with? Do you “just” want someone to talk to and have fun with? Or, do you guys really want to work on your relationship to make it stronger and more profound. Having an on-and-off relationship can be stressful and boundaries and rules are different for everyone. A healthy relationship means constantly working on it. If one of you doesn’t want to get into something too serious it might be better to stay “just” friends. 

If you want something long lasting and strong you will be rewarded with a partner who will stay strong at your side. If someone wants to be in your life, they’ll make an effort to be in it. 

About Author

Karin, 23, is a world traveler currently on search of a new travel goal. She is bilingual, having been raised by a German dad and a French mom - also reason for exceptional and unnecessary strict table manners. She is studying International Business Administration.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Heartwarming Perspective of Autism

Hello, I am Mark* It is nice to meet you.

There is something you would like to get to know about me. I am a man with autism. I was diagnosed with the condition when I was very young but I do not consider it a hindrance to my personal development. Rather, I look at it more as an opportunity to get better everyday whatever career I should pursue. To be frank, I do not have one yet but I am still striving for it.

I live by the quote, "Don't judge me until you know me. Don't underestimate me until you challenge me. And don't talk about me until you've talked to me."

It means you have to step back as you look into my sincere and honest words I am putting into before making judgment. I do not care if anyone hates me for whatever I do. I do not expect everyone to understand my journey, I am just saying how I feel.

Being happy is a part of my personality and is associated with instilling and exuding confidence in yourself and others.

I will end this composition by sharing a poem on autism and two Namaste quotes. I hope your analytic and critical thinking skills will help you digest and understand behind its meaning. I have a poem to share with you. I hope you like it.

Painful Autism by Katie Kagan

This is our life, not yours
If you care, Please do not stare
When you laugh, we break in half,
We are real, we can feel,
We understand that,
We were not planned,
We are human, My mind spins,
Like pins, Because we don't speak well... We are seen as shy
I cry for my girlfriend and I,
We try so hard,
To deal with our God-given card, I want you to understand...
Our autism was not planned,
We have autism from but, We have worth.


Now I present you two Namaste quotes.

"On the mountains of truth, you can never climb in vain; either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow."
                                                                       - Frederick Nietzsche -

"Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success."
                                                             - Swami Vivekananda -

This concludes my composition.

*name has been changed for privacy.

Next time you meet a person with Autism, look beyond their condition and see the challenges they have overcome, the strength they bear and the person that they are. Pass this beautiful message on.

Friday, 5 December 2014

A Girl Grows Up: Puberty


As the girl turns 10, all over the world, her life is surely about to change. Depending on where she lives, she will be treated differently but mostly, all girls will pass trough the same thing. One thing is sure, life is life, whether you are born in the suburb of New York or in the jungle of Nepal. The needs life are the same, expectations are also the same.

Girls, wherever you are, someone somewhere on this planet is going trough what you are going through. The difference is how aware are you of yourself, your environment, your right, your duties, your future and the opportunities around you.

For sure by the time you are 11, 12 you know very little about what awaits you.
In these article we are going to talk about what happens during puberty.

The Changes You will Notice at Puberty


I am 10, 12, hurray! Happy birthday, What a wonderful day, the small girl is now almost a teenager. Little did she know that major changes are about to happen. To start with her body; she notices something popping on her chest, woaaah. Her friends too, they tease each other, maybe laugh about it, but for some it is devastating and they feel ashamed so they start to hide their growing chest. They put on heavy clothes to do so and can even withdraw from others especially if they are the first to develop breasts among their peers.

The good news is, all girls go through this and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is the first most beautiful thing happening to you, that chest has to develop because in you there is a woman and a woman is precious. So be happy, love it.


Then comes the period, also known as menstruation! What is that word again? Have you ever heard of it before? Shhhh, it is top secret, only the big girls talk about my little girl, we are going to tell you what it is so that you don't freak out when it happens. Shall we all go through it then? 

Yes, if you are a girl  (woman) there is no other way to it. We are created to carry future generation inside of us before it is born. For that they must be preparation, so we have in our womb a kind of oven, it is meant to carry a baby when we are old enough to support it. 

Every month, you will experience a flow of blood coming out from your private part, it comes out without your help. For urine, you feel the pressure and can go to toilet but this one comes out by itself. A normal period lasts 3 to 7 days. For some you'll feel nauseous, weak, uncomfortable and in some cases even to the point of vomiting and stomach cramps . I admit it is no fun but it is just one of the amazing things a woman's body does. 

Where is all that blood from? In easy word, as the womb is preparing to receive a baby, if there is no baby, the womb surface will die just as dead skin on our body and peels of. The cycle will continue until we reach menopause (age of not being able to have children) which is at about 45 - 50 years old.

What do you do  when it happens?

1. If you have a bigger person around preferably mother or sister, don't be shy to tell them.

2. Wear a pad or wool in your pants to avoid messing yourself. Change the sanitary wear once it is full. Dispose off appropriately (it cannot be flushed).

3. Keep clean at all time, bath at least  twice a day and change whenever you feel wet.

4. Be discrete, not everyone should notice that you are having your period by your countenance and your cleanliness.

5. check you bedding to be sure that they are not stained if yes, clean the spot right away.

6. Always check the bathroom,toilet to be sure you have left it clean for the next person.

The secret is to keep clean at all times. It will help you avoid infections, bad odor or embarrassment...

Before you know it, you'll be used to it. So don't feel sad.


The small girls skin, is changing too, becoming smooth, but her face oh oh, pimples. Disaster, my face, what do I do?

Don't worry my friend, they are not there to stay, they will disappear the same way they came, it is just a matter of time. Just find a simple soap which will not irritate your skin, avoid fatty foods and body lotion on your face. Use baby powder yourself and eventually, you will be fine.


Body shape, hum!  The small girl is becoming a lady, The hips are becoming large, for some it happens earlier than others. Doesn't matter, we are all getting there.

Now my dear, you have seen how many changes have happened to your body alone, but in all this, do not forget to let your mind and soul grow with you. Keep reading, keep learning, keep knowing and keep applying, spread the good news.

This article was written by Mary Mwema.

You may also like to read:

Read more about Menstrual Hygiene here by Tahiya


Mary Mwema is an entrepreneur, wife, mother who has raised six (five girls) and Secretary of SAFIGI Outreach Foundation. She uses her experience as a woman to empower girls and give sound counsel.

Friday, 21 November 2014

5 Way to Avoid Drug Addictions

This post was written by Stefani via UN Volunteers

Women are often known to stress in their regular daily misunderstandings and unpleasant situations. After all it is in our nature to differ from men, coming from genetic predispositions to different way of thinking. 

As a consequence, others imagine that because of this we are a weak gender, who are subjected to various addictions coming from alcohol, drugs, pills and many others.

The truth of the matter is, every human being, whether male or female, faces challenges everyday and we may all sometimes give in to the temptation of taking a few drugs.

In this post I would like to give You some advice and help You on how to avoid getting stuck in the huge aquarium of drugs.

1.  Avoid Emotional Instability - The crucial thing is to avoid emotional instability. A lack of self-confidence can lead to emotionally instability. A person who does not have enough confidence, even though their world be objectively perfect, they may not be able to realize the good in their environment and circumstances under which they living. This can lead the person to be often elusive, misunderstood, lost in translation and cut out from society because of they see the world from a different angle. 

If you are that kind of person, try acknowledging the good things around you and make a point to appreciate everything that goes right and not only focusing on the wrong. Pay attention to real values and give them a purpose. It sounds difficult, but it is worth  a try.

2.  Take it Easy – Life is the way it is, full of ups and downs, which means that you are always going to face some disappointments one time or another. Often the things that can draw you to use drugs are some circumstances that are very hard to handle. It can be that you lost someone close to you, that you lost your job, that you got divorced, that you got a serious disease or you have gone through bankruptcy or are even depressed. There are of course many other things that may bring us towards the edge where we see drugs as our only solution. 

As we cannot change the life as it is, we have to take it easy and accept the things as they are. You also have to realize that those bad things are not happening only to you, but thousands of others are going through the same things as well, so hang in there because the bad won't last forever. 

3.  Avoid Bonding with a Drug User – We all know a famous quote: “You can tell who a man is by his company.” What it actually means is that you are most likely to become similar to the person with whom you are spending your time. It does not mean that you are instantly going to be a drug user if you are friends with one, but after a while you can start to accept this behavior as norm. In more serious cases you can also fall in love with a drug user, which will bring you towards two different options. One of them is to become one, because you love that person so you will assimilate. The other option is to make a huge effort trying to bring him out of this world which is very hard and stressful and also the success is not guaranteed. 

At the end better safe than sorry. So I would suggest you to take care with whom you are spending your time.

4.      Be Careful – My mother used to say to me at least thousands to times: “Be careful what you drink, someone can easily put something in it.” I always though she was overprotective and that could never happen to me. However, it can happen, it happens all the time. It happened once to a very close friend of mine. She was careful, but clearly not enough. She was in a bad company and someone put something in her drink which did not end well. She was in a rehab for a long time, because of everything that happened that night, but she is now fortunately good again. I have to say that she got out of it successfully, but you should never even come to the same situation. 

So I’m suggesting you to be careful, because that person can always be you.

5.      Don’t even Try it – Usually youngsters between 15 and 20 years of age encounter some social habits which are considered to be “trendy” of “cool.” It is not uncommon for youngsters to try drugs for the first time just to be accepted as “cool” enough. That first try is usually not just first try, but it can become your daily routine later and it is usually hard to get out of it. 

My advice to you is not to be curious at all regarding drugs, because trust me you are not missing anything. Life is beautiful as it is, and you do not need a miracle ingredient to make it better. Be yourself, because drugs can only make you “cool” for a short period of time and miserable for possibly the rest of your life. 

You may also like to read:

This post was written by Stefani Marjanovic

About Author

Stefani Marjanovic, 24, lives in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has studied International Law at the American University in Bosnia and this year is starting her Masters in Human Rights and Environmental Protection.

Stefani Marjanovic

IN HER OWN WORDS: " I lived outside my country few years, I also went on several exchange programs so I could say I’m very intercultural. I have seen many things, sometimes good, sometimes disappointing but it was after all a big lesson to learn. Thanks to a free summer and good will, I decided to be part of this amazing blog and to help and teach young women how to fight, how to grow, how to enrich themselves and become what they always dreamed of. I always wanted to help and was always eager about justice so I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be."

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Hand Made Care #SAFIGIs


The latest SAFIGI project called #ShareYourCare challenged communities worldwide to share their care with girls who were facing or have overcome a challenge. The nomination event took a week even though the production took much more than 3 months to realize.

This is where the volunteer spirit comes in. With the help of UN Volunteers we worked with three illustrators from Kenya, Philippines and a nine year old artist from the USA contributed with the help of a caring adult.

More volunteers from the community took part and helped in making handmade bracelets, books and buying necessities to complete the project as well as shopping for whistles and small bags for the event.

It was hard work but the event was a success. We sent out 30 care packages to girls nominated in various parts of the world. We reach out to orphans in Cameroon, single mothers who are facing adversity, children who have overcome violence, combating abuse, fighting for their dreams and striving no matter the adversity in their life.

The point of the #ShareYourCare project is to make the community aware that there are young people struggling in our community and until we learn to share our care with them, they will only continue to suffer in silence. Besides that, the whistle in the care package was symbolic to help girls break their silence as well as for self defense purposes.

This project could only work when people looked around and saw who is in need of care then sharing that care. This is only an event but if we adopted this attitude everyday, we would be able to help lift heavy burdens from those who are suffering or facing challenges in silence.

The volunteer spirit put in to make this project, making sure that the product was at least hand made puts soul into the product. Each care pack was made with the receiver in mind.

Thank you for sharing your care.

Some photos of the SAFIGI volunteers at work:

Holding one of the Care books. It's a puzzle piece cover.

Making care bracelets, talented hands

Sorting the Care bracelets

Raw Care books

The bigger picture that is made when all the books were arranged together. A masterpiece puzzle.

The Care Book

The Care Bracelets

Shopping with volunteers

We care. #SAFIGIs

Thanks to our volunteers who worked for this event and helped promote it:

You know yourself ^_^
All the nominators

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Women Inspiration Series: Dr Catherine Hamlin

This article was written by Zenith via UN Volunteers

Chapter 4 – Dr Catherine Hamlin (Australia)

In this series, we shift our focus to another continent and country of its own – Australia. It is common for people to want to achieve comfort and stability in our lives and one of the easiest way to do it, is to live in a country of peace and stability. However in this series, we are going to hear the story of a woman who decided to dedicate her life to the ‘restoration of women’s dignity and health’ in Ethiopia.

Dr Hamlin at Fitsula Hospital

Catherine Halim and her late-husband Reginald are both physicians and they arrived in Ethiopia in 1959 to establish a midwifery school and they expected to return to Australia in 2 years time. But never did she expect that today, in 2014, she is still there, continuing the work that they began in their youth – giving young women of Ethiopia a second chance at life by repairing fistulas. They have opened the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in 1974 and have since treated more than 35,000 women.

Obstetric fistula is a degrading condition in which women who suffer traumatising labours are left incontinent and often ostracized by their community. Fistula patients are ashamed of their injuries and are often ostracized by their village communities, living alone and hiding from others, which contributes to the lack of awareness.

However, Catherine goes beyond saving the women from fistula, she also empowers recovering fistula patients to help in the treatment of others. Mahabouba Muhammad was sold at age 13 to be the second wife of a 60 year old man. She became pregnant and delivered by herself in the bush where she suffered a severe fistula. Villagers believed Mahabouba to be cursed and left her for the hyenas. But she fought them off and due to nerve damage from labour that left her unable to walk, she crawled for miles to get help. After undergoing the surgery at Dr Hamlin’s hospital, she is now a nurse’s aide at the hospital.

Mamitu Gashe, who helped doctors during her recovery, was soon recognized as a first-rate talent. She was illiterate but learnt to perform complex fistula repairs and because the hospital does so many, has now become one of the world’s experts in fistula surgery. She also often trains distinguished professors of obstetrics from around the world who come to the hospital for training in fistula repair.

At her 90th birthday party this year, former patients cheered as she blew out 90 candles on her cake. Her son, Richard, referring to the patients she has helped, declared: “Catherine has one son and 35,000 daughters.” Giving the crowd a pep talk about the need for a big push to improve the world’s maternal care, “we have to eradicate Ethiopia of this awful thing that’s happening to women: suffering, untold suffering, in the countryside,” she said, “I leave this with you to do in the future, to carry on.”

A woman, who could have well lived happily ever after in Australia and lead a comfortable life, dedicated her life to giving a second chance at living with dignity for the women in Ethiopia. This story shows us that one need not be extremely talented or gifted, but knowing how to tap on your skills and capabilities and be willing to move out of comfort zone, to bring about a change to others’ lives. Nothing is impossible, in the face of strong resolve fused with a dosage of love and care. 

Written by Zenith Chua, UN Volunteers

About Author

Zenith is in her senior year at Singapore Management University, majoring in strategic management and organizational behavior & human resources. Beyond school, she learns from various MOOCs (massive open online courses), so as to satisfy her seemingly ever growing desire for knowledge. Setting academics apart, she is an active UN Volunteer with various NGOs around the world, as well as a dragonboat paddler. 

Firmly driven by her life motto, "To Live, Not Just Exist", Zenith is always on the move for new ideas and opportunities to fulfill her not-so-humble ambition of changing the world to be a better place for all.


NY TIMES: This Doctor is Still Calling

GUARDIAN: Fistula Women Ethiopia

Most Inspiring Person of the Year 2007: Dr Catherine Hamlin

Women Who Inspire

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Womans Changing Role in Society

 Letters to Ms. 1972-1987

This post was written by Stefani via UN Volunteers

Throughout history the role of women has changed a lot. About 100 years ago women were not allowed to work, study, vote, drive and many other things depending from country to country, or from religion to religion. Women were or are associated with domestic duties such as housekeeping, food preparation, and child care.
After reading a very interesting article on I decided to share some interesting things with you. It is about a book called Letters to Ms. 1972-1987 edited by Mary Thom with an introduction by Gloria Steinem.
I chose this because the letters that were shared in the book were written by regular everyday women during 70s and 80s. I will share some of the most interesting one's with you so you can see for yourself the differences between the woman from past times and today woman or even find something that is still the same.
I always insist that women should always stick together, and always trust each other, but this woman was mostly mistrusted by women. This is something most women can still relate to today. This is her letter:

“I work part time at a gas station in Oakland. I pump gas, wash windows, put air in tires, check and charge batteries, check transmissions, change oil, hub jobs, and other basic things. I don’t claim to be a mechanic; I’m not. But I’m getting a little tired of women asking me to get “one of the men” to check their tires, water, and oil. I have been trained on the job to do these things. 
Men seem to trust and accept my service much more willingly than the women. One woman asked me to check her transmission. I did and found that she was completely empty and suggested she add a quart of transmission fluid. She didn’t believe me and asked that I get “one of the men” to check it out. So I did, and he told her the same thing. 
This happens every day. I wish there was something that could be done. It is hard enough for women to seek positions in fields that are dominated by men without having to deal with mistrust and lack of support from other women.

Name Withheld
September 1973

I believe this story tells us a lot and I believe that even today they are things that we would still trust men men that we would women. Why is that? Does that actually mean that we do not trust ourselves?

The next letter is about a woman who decided to change her work environment. Let’s see what she did:

"I finally got up the courage to challenge an old established male tradition in my office. I do telephone sales. Our working area in the office has always been covered with “girlie” pictures and photographs of devastating (and devastated) maidens. This made us few women in the office feel terribly uncomfortable.
When the majority of the male staff was out to lunch, we proceeded to rip the latest issue of Playgirl of its best. Over my desk now hangs one gorgeous specimen of the male species, the centerfold. Everywhere there was a girlie picture there are now beautiful stud photographs.
I think the reactions of the men in the office could best be summarized in terms of shock. Although everyone tried to be good humored about it, jokingly or otherwise, they all compared themselves in some way to the models. 
It was a marvelous experience to see super-duper macho stud types go all to pieces when confronted with the same thing we have had to face for years — images of ourselves as we could never hope to be, images of ourselves as seen only in the minds of men.

Name Withheld
October 13, 1975

This one was my favorite, because as she said in the last sentence of the letter it clearly shows images of woman seen only in the minds of men.

I shared these two letters with you girls because I wanted you to see and realize that changes are being made and we are making them. Even a small thing can change the whole course of the history. 

You should all know Rosa Parks and how important she was in the world of human rights, and what she did was simply refuse to stand up from her seat reserved for white people. From today’s perspective the action seems too simple, but from the perspective of that time it was a huge step that has made a difference even today. 

Each day I see women are no longer willing to be silent and sit in the back of the room, but slowly are coming forward and speaking out, and that makes me so proud. I’m proud of all of you and I’m encouraging you to share stories of yourself and the positive changes that you made in your own environment. 

You may also like to read:




Written by Stefani Marjanovic via UN Volunteers

Stefani Marjanovic

Stefani Marjanovic, 24, lives in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has studied International Law at the American University in Bosnia and this year is starting her Masters in Human Rights and Environmental Protection. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Stress Affects your Health

Image from:
This post was written by Diana via UN Volunteers

Women’s stress

Has it happened that when someone tells you that you are stressed you get defensive like “No I’m not stressed, I have no worries (I mean I have… but I can manage them, they do not affect me). But believe me somehow, although you do not “feel it” this is not always true. 

Last year I was diagnosed with "Arnolds neuralgia," a medical condition characterized by chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the eyes. Ways in which they can be damaged include trauma (usually concussive), repetitive neck contraction, flexion or extension, and all these are as a result of - guess what: Stress. It was only then that I decided to accept that I was stressed! But up to what point do we let the stress progress in our bodies and our lives that it causes disease?

Stress is a feeling you get when faced with a challenge. In small doses, stress can be good for you because it makes you more alert and gives you a burst of energy. But feeling stressed for a long time can have a toll on your mental and physical health. 

Stress happens when people feel like they don’t have the tools to manage all of the demands in their lives. Missing the bus or arguing with your spouse or partner can cause short-term stress. Money problems or trouble at work can cause long-term stress. Even happy events, like having a baby or getting married can cause stress and even though it may seem hard to find ways to de-stress with all the things you have to do, it's important to find those ways because, as in my case, your health depends on it. 

Do Women React to Stress Differently than Men? 

One recent survey found that women were more likely to experience physical symptoms of stress than men. We do know that women often cope with stress in different ways that men. Women "tend and befriend", taking care of those closest to them but also drawing support from friends and family. Men are more likely to have the "fight or flight" response. They cope by "escaping" into a relaxing activity or other distraction. 

Can Stress Affect my Health?

The body responds to stress by releasing stress hormones, These hormones make blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels go up. Long term stress can cause a variety of health problems including: Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart beats, menstrual problems, acne and other skin problems. 

How Can I Help Handle My Stress? 

Everyone has to deal with stress. There are steps you can take to help you handle stress in a positive way and keep it from making you sick. Try these tips to keep stress in check:
  • Develop a new attitude. Become a problem solver, be flexible and get organized (set limits). 
  • Relax. Take deep breaths, stretch, massage tense muscles and take time to do what you want to do. 
  • Take care of your body. Get enough sleep, eat right, get moving, don't deal with stress in unhealthy ways (alcohol, peels, drugs, etc.) 

Finally, I will add a personal recommendation based on my own case and how I am dealing with stress: "Connecting with others." Just share your stress! I mean with your friends, with your friends and family, spend time with them and enjoy those moments. 

Also get help from a professional if you need it and take time to help others as well. Volunteering in your community can help you make new friends and feel better about yourself. I am volunteering right now and I do feel less stressed already!

You may also like to read:






Written by Diana Huaman via UN Volunteers

About Author
Diana, 21, from Peru is an International Business student and a teacher too. She would love to travel the world, study translation to learn different languages, start her own company one day and contribute to society through education.

Diana Huaman
IN HER OWN WORDS: " My name is Diana and I am 21 years old. I have a small family I love: mum and brother, and a boyfriend I adore.  I’m Peruvian and I have lived all my life in Peru and haven’t finished knowing it. My country is so big, so beautiful; I’m so in love of my country! – think you could notice that. I’m studying international business administration, although in fact I always wanted to study translation since I love learning languages, but I decided to do business because someday I want to start my own company so I can show everybody what beautiful things we have here and travel and travel around the entire world doing that, while at the same time I can help my compatriots by giving them work. I could define myself as a woman committed to every goal she sets, that loves meeting new people and very competitive!  In addition to my studies I am a teacher, which I discovered it’s kind of my real vocation. I teach children and adolescents and I believe it’s the best contribution I can make: education."

Friday, 10 October 2014

Tell-tale Signs of An Abuser

This post was written by volunteer blogger Karin via UN Volunteering Service.

Meeting a new potential partner is always exciting and emotional. You meet this guy/girl and s/he is THE perfect one. You don't see anything wrong in them because you just met a couple of weeks ago. But sometimes those new relationships with people you just met can go in the wrong direction and soon you find yourself in an abusive relationship. Before getting into a relationship ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does s/he always blame you when there is a problem?
  1. Is s/he going through your phone without asking and without reason?
  1. S/he doesn't want you to meet up with your friends and doesn't want to meet them.
  1. Is s/he calling you up multiple times a day to know where you are?
The questions may seem simple but if you have answered "yes" to any of those questions, it is important that you take a lot of time to evaluate your partner to be sure you are not in an abusive relationship.


Abuse is defined as the systematic pattern of behaviour in a relationship that is used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another. Someone who uses you in every possible way or form to attain happiness or satisfaction at your cost.

A lot of people perceive that an abuser is a mean looking man who physically abuses his girl when comes home and pushes them around. That is abuse but there is much more to abuse than that. Abuse can be verbal, mental, emotional as well as physical.


  • The most obvious abuse is physical abuse. The abuser is hitting, punching, choking or pushing the victim. 
  • Emotional abuse which involves an attack on self-esteem, blaming, cursing and criticizing the victims feelings among other forms. 
  • Psychological abuse involves threatening the victim, throwing and smashing things, punching walls and hiding things. 
  • Any non-consenting sexual  act or behavior falls under sexual abuse.


JEALOUSY: The abuser will question you on who you are going out with, who you are talking to, accuse you of flirting and becomes jealous when you spend your time with other people.
Never let anyone control what you are allowed to do and who to meet.

CONTROLLING: In the beginning the abuser will attribute controlling behavior to concern for you. For example, wants to make decisions for you because s/he's highly concerned about your safety.
Be wary of situations where your significant other controls all your decisions.

QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Often the abuser wants the relationship to progress very fast and before you know it, you are living together. Once you live with the abuser, it is easier for him/her to isolate you from your friends and family. 

Take your time to know someone in and out.

PUTTING BLAME ON OTHERS: The abuser will blame everyone else, including you, for all his problems. Someone is always an obstacle in the abuser's achievements. 
You should be concerned if your significant other is always blaming you and others for his personal failure.

BREAKING OBJECTS: Everyone can lose their temper every now and them, but most abusers will break things because they view this behavior as punishment especially when breaking items of value. This behavior may come up after a while but in stressful situtation, it is important to observe your significant other. Is s/he breaking the pen s/he's holding in their hand? Is s/he slamming their hands on the table? Do they exhibit road rage?

BEFORE INVESTING IN A RELATIONSHIP sure to know the person. If your partner does or says something that makes you feel weird, take time to talk about it. Even after you've known each other for a couple of weeks, your partner should never disrespect you or make you feel worthless. Don't fall for the "I am sorry, this is the first and the last time this happened" trick because the abuser perceives that once you forgive once or twice, they can do whatever and you will tolerate it and forgive them anyway.


It is hard to make the first step and reach out to people - and most importantly, the right people. But wherever you are there are people willing to help you, it could be a neighbor, a support group online or offline, an organization and yes, even the police is their to help you.

Silence protects the perpetrator and imprisons the victim. Break the silence.


Karin Philippczyk
Karin, 23, is a world traveler currently on search of a new travel goal. She is bilingual, having been raised by a German dad and a French mom - also reason for exceptional and unnecessary strict table manners. She is studying International Business Administration.

In her own words: "My friends would describe me as spontaneous, happy and highly organized. These traits are probably a consequence from being a full-time nanny in addition to my studies. I use a calendar meticulously; however, my calendar is my brain, which I carry around like a holy book.  Every event/birthday/random appointment will end up in there. I love nights out with friends and reading for hours on rainy days. Additionally, I am a Quarterback on a local American Football Club."

Feel free to Contact Us if you have any question, queries, suggestions or criticisms.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Women Inspiration Series: Lou Xiaoying

This article was written by Zenith via UN Volunteers

Chapter 3 – Lou Xiaoying (China, Eastern Zhejiang)

In this series, we move back to Asia, and in specific, China, the country who has been branded by both positive and negative tags. Beyond the strong economic growth and huge potential as a country, many around the world has also raised concern regarding the huge inequality gap that has become impossible to ignore over the years. 

The inspirational woman of this series has come from probably the least expected background; a rubbish collector. Ms Lou Xiaoying has been hailed a hero by media and many people around the world, after several reports sprung up around the world 2 years back, carrying her story of how she and her late husband having saved more than 30 orphaned babies.

“…I realized if we had strength enough to collect garbage
how could we not recycle something
as important as human lives?” — Lou Xiaoying

Lou’s journey of saving orphaned children began back in 1972 when she was out collecting rubbish and there she found a baby girl lying amongst the junk on the street, abandoned. Lou brought her back home and raised her as her own. To Loy, watching the young girl grow and becoming stronger brought immense happiness and made her realize her real love of caring for children.

Lou and her husband kept 4 of the children they rescued, and the rest were passed onto friends and family members to start new lives. Her youngest son Zhang Qilin was rescued by Lou when she was 82. In Lou’s words, “Even though I was already getting old I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me.”

Though Lou could not afford to send her eldest 3 children to school, she managed to send Zhang Juju and another daughter through junior high school. Zhang Juju, one of Lou’s adopted daughters, said that despite her mother’s extreme poverty, she has always tried to provide the best life possible for the children she rescued.

So often we’ve heard the excuse or reason that people give for not giving – “I am not rich enough”, or “When I get richer, I will give more”, or simply, “I am not free”. Lou, being a garbage collector is definitely not someone who will be ranked anywhere near the “well-to-do” category of society. But nothing has stopped her from saving these children off the fate of dying in dumps. She may not have been able to provide them with a life of riches, but has definitely gave them a second opportunity at living.

Despite being old, ill and poor, even at 82 years old, Lou still rescued Zhang Qilin off the streets. Despite the one-child-policy and social norms of gender inequality, neither has stopped Lou from doing what she finds right. In her life, she has become a hero not only of the children she rescued, but also as society hero to show that through human determination and love, nothing is impossible.

Lou’s story reminds me of Mother Teresa’s quote: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” All big change begins with a small step, and every step matters. 

Written by Zenith Chua, UN Volunteers

About Author

Zenith is in her senior year at Singapore Management University, majoring in strategic management and organizational behavior & human resources. Beyond school, she learns from various MOOCs (massive open online courses), so as to satisfy her seemingly ever growing desire for knowledge. Setting academics apart, she is an active UN Volunteer with various NGOs around the world, as well as a dragonboat paddler. 

Firmly driven by her life motto, "To Live, Not Just Exist", Zenith is always on the move for new ideas and opportunities to fulfill her not-so-humble ambition of changing the world to be a better place for all.


DAILY MAIL: 88 Year Old Saves Dumped Babies

HUFFINGTON POST: 30 Babies Saved by One Woman

ASIA STUDY: Lou Xiaoying and One Vile Woman - A Study in Contrasts