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. 

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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