samedi 20 juillet 2013

Nice quote

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

Les Brown

Holy Experience - The Research that Proves You Can Change the World

I have been meaning to post this article for you, from A Holy Experience for a while now. 
No excuses, but issues with the computer...
I was touched. So WEC CAN make a difference.


From the Front Cover article of Christianity Today this month, June 2013
The academic research that proves with data that child sponsorship works. Compassion was the only child sponsorship program that willingly agreed to having their long-term effectiveness studied — and here are the results from Dr. Bruce Wydick, professor of economics at the University of San Francisco. Startling:
“Have you considered researching the impact of child sponsorship?”
Joanna Chu, became interested in the topic, in part because she was sponsoring a child with Compassion International.
Chu put out some feelers with Compassion’s research director, Joel Vanderhart, who decided to risk what no other child-sponsorship organization was willing to risk at that point:
to allow its program to be scrutinized.
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And with that, our strategy for identifying the causal impacts of the program became clear.
We would obtain early enrollment lists from different village projects introduced during the 1980s, and track down the families of those who were first sponsored in these projects.
Then we would obtain information on the life outcomes of these formerly sponsored children—now adults—and compare them to their adult siblings who had been slightly too old to be sponsored when the program arrived in their village. In this way we would be able to control for genetics, family environment, and a host of other factors that the siblings held in common. The only difference that could affect adult life outcomes across the sample would be the fact that Providence had allowed some of these siblings and not others to be age-eligible for child sponsorship.
The Results
Chu found a partner for her research project: Laine Rutledge, now a doctoral student in economics at the University of Washington.
The two graduate students spent the summer of 2008 in Uganda, where they obtained data on 809 individuals, including 188 who were sponsored as children. A couple of months after they returned, Chu and Rutledge stopped by to share the results.
Looking at the results of Compassion’s impact on educational outcomes in Uganda — I stared at the statistics on my screen to make sure I was seeing correctly.
“This is … amazing,” was all I could mumble. We tried slicing the data different ways, but each showed significant educational improvements.
You could beat this data senseless, and it was incapable of showing anything other than extremely large and statistically significant impacts on educational outcomes for sponsored children.
A few months later, I presented the Uganda findings in the weekly development economics seminar at UC–Berkeley. The Berkeley seminar was familiar turf, but not a place to suffer fools gladly. We received a number of constructive comments, but the consensus was that the underlying methodology was sound. What was obvious was that the study needed external validity. Uganda was one country. We would try to expand the study.
By August 2010, we had obtained data on 10,144 individuals over an array of variables: primary, secondary, and tertiary education; type and quality of adult employment; community leadership; church leadership; assets owned as adults; and a number of other variables that would measure that slippery word that economists love, development.

The results in our other five countries confirm the positive impact of Compassion’s child-sponsorship program in Uganda.
In all six countries, we find that sponsorship results in better educational outcomes for children. Overall, sponsorship makes children 27 to 40 percent more likely to complete secondary school, and 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education.

To put it simply, thes educational impacts of sponsorship are large
—roughly equal to the substantial effects of the Rosenwald Schools program that from 1913–31 educated blacks in the Jim Crow South. They are roughly double those of Oportunidades, the celebrated conditional-cash-transfer program that gives cash to mothers in Mexico for keeping their children in school.
Compassion’s results extend beyond school attendance. We found that child sponsorship means that when the child grows up, he is 14–18 percent more likely to obtain a salaried job, and 35 percent more likely to obtain a white-collar job.
The academic paper containing the full methodology and results of our study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Political Economy. Edited by the department of economics at the University of Chicago, the JPE is comparable to, say, The New England Journal of Medicine for medical researchers, accepting only a small fraction of submitted papers whose results are often pertinent to the general population.
Compassion asked me to visit Colorado Springs to present the results of our research. I had an appointment with Wess Stafford, then president of Compassion.
Stafford greeted me with a warm handshake and ushered me into a comfortable chair in front of his desk.
“Your program works,” I said.
“I know,” he smiled.
“But I am analyzing this data as a dispassionate scientist, not as an advocate of Compassion like yourself,” I replied. “We’re not just finding positive correlations, but substantial causal effects from the program—in every country—especially Africa. I’m wondering what is happening here. You’re a former academic. I think there is something deeper going on in the program that would interest the greater development community. I need some leads.”
Try hope,” he said.
I raised my eyebrows. “Hope?”
Hope is a fuzzy concept for economists. I squinted my eyes. He explained:
For my dissertation, I asked a bunch of kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Some were Compassion kids, some were unsponsored. There was a little bit of a difference between the two groups.
But then I asked them later what they realistically expected to be when they grew up.
Here, there was a big difference between the sponsored kids and the other kids. You see, poverty causes children to have very low self-esteem, low aspirations.
The big difference that sponsorship makes is that it expands children’s views about their own possibilities.
Many of these children don’t think they are capable of much.
We help them realize that they are each given special gifts from God to benefit their communities, and we try to help them develop aspirations for their future.” ~Wess Stafford, Compassion

So — Did sponsored children have higher aspirations than nonsponsored children who were just like them in other ways?
We carried out three studies—in Bolivia, Kenya, and Indonesia—with 1,320 children. The sample included sponsored children, their unsponsored siblings, and other unsponsored children from the same communities.
In each of the studies, we found that sponsored children consistently had significantly higher expectations for their own schooling than unsponsored children, even when controlling for family and other factors.
They also generally had higher expectations for adult employment. (Years later, a disproportionate number of Kenyan kids still wanted to be pilots.) Many of these findings came close to mirroring the adult differences we measured between formerly sponsored children and nonsponsored children.

The puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place: the patient nurturing of self-worth, self-expectations, dreams, and aspirations may be a critical part of helping children escape poverty.
Overall, when we combined these characteristics into aggregated psychometric indices, controlling for other factors, we found that Compassion children’s drawings displayed significantly lower levels of hopelessness, higher levels of optimism and self-efficacy, and higher levels of overall happiness.
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We can’t yet establish a clear causal link between the increased levels of hopefulness and aspirations among sponsored children and their improved adult lives.
But the puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place: the patient nurturing of self-worth, self-expectations, dreams, and aspirations may be a critical part of helping children escape poverty. It is a holistic approach that secular antipoverty initiatives have largely downplayed, but an approach that Christian development groups have championed for decades.
The traditional approach to development work has been to provide things for people. If people lack education, we build them schools. If they are unhealthy, we build them hospitals and provide doctors, or we drill a freshwater well. If their small businesses are stagnant, we provide microcredit so they can borrow.
While each of these interventions can be helpful in the right context, mere provision fails to address the root of poverty: the behaviors, social systems, and mindset that are created by poverty.
The key to ending poverty resides in the capacity of human beings—and their view of their own capacity—to facilitate positive change.
Indeed, every time we provide something for someone else in need, we send a subtle message to them that we believe they are incapable of providing for themselves.
While some interventions are necessary, especially in the area of health, they come at a cost of reinforcing an inferiority complex among the poor. Good development organizations understand this. Along with providing some basic resources that allow children to progress farther in school, the child-development approach advocated by Compassion appears to get under the hood of human beings to instill aspirations, character formation, and spiritual direction.
In short, it trains people to be givers instead of receivers.
When someone asks me what an ordinary person can do to help the poor in developing countries, I tell them about our research.
Compassion works.
Sponsor a child for only a bit more than a dollar day — and the hard data proves that you change the world.
And us who get to give sacrificially — are the one who get to live richly.
You get to give the ingredient that makes a difference: HOPE — in Jesus’ name.


Coming — stories of #FarmgirlsinAfrica with Kisses from Katie  … and how we fell in love…
Related #FarmGirlsinAfrica :

 11.6 
Will you take one moment today and look into one face here and pray for just one by name, right now
your real way of reaching out to a child and not turning away–
pray for the beginning of a real-life love story:

samedi 22 juin 2013

Spring kids' events in the parc

Once the nice weather (theoretically) comes, the Mairie (city hall - in this case, the village hall) organizes a set of events in the parc. There are sometimes concerts, theatre plays and games for big and small alike. This year we have had a lot of rain around here (and still do). Even with the raindrops sprinkling down the little ones have really enjoyed a cute pantomime and music piece.

Then the school organizes their end of year 'kermesse' with games and food and poney rides. Everyone likes that one. And then there are birthdays we have starting attending since, we are bigger now, you know. The one below at one of the appartments in a nearby castle, sweet picture.

Often I think about the chance we have to live in a pretty area, in a house with garden and in a country where health insurance is really good. Although we have had mainly only rainy weather since October last year, and we, I mean I, feel isolated sometimes from my friends and family and roots and native places and memories that come every once in a while, I still thank God almost daily for taking care of me. I do however think sometimes about how my life would have been had I never left wondering the world. If a crystal ball existed, this is the only thing I would like to see.
Nonetheless, so many of us are so much better than so many others who don't even have a mother, or a roof, or food, or simply love.
Isn't life a riddle....





















jeudi 20 juin 2013

Paris in June/July

Happening in Paris 
A little late for some of the ads, but posting this nonetheless from Prete Moi Paris, since, if you are here, you might still get a chance to attend some of them. For the rest, well, the SALES are starting in a few days! 

Pink Paris by Prête-Moi Paris
While the city offers plenty to do throughout the year, Paris in the summer is particularly pleasant. And it’s not just the weather that’s heating up – there’s a variety of events from festivals to frivolities to look forward to as well. Here are some favorites to catch if you get the chance.

8 June-28 July – Jazz It Up

The saxophone by Javier Parra
The saxophone by Javier Parra
Address: Route de la Pyramides, 75012 Paris
What’s a summer without a bit of jazz? The Paris Jazz Festival, which kicked off 8 June is not to be missed and continues on through next month too. Taking place in the city’s Parc Floral, the concerts are free and easily accessible – making for the perfect pick-me-up if you ever hit a blue note this summer. For the full program and itinerary, have a look on the website: www.parisjazzfestival.fr

10-21 June – Drive-In Us Crazy

If that’s not enough États-Unis in Paris, this next event will be sure to strike a chord with you as from the 10th-21st, Paris will be home to its very own drive-in cinema. Just like a scene from the movie Grease, Cinema Paradiso will be screening all your favourite classics at the Grand Palais for 12 days only. You can either watch them from the comfort of a vintage Fiat 500 or on a grassy hill depending on your group size.

21 June – Midsummer Night’s Scene

Fête de la Musique by Becky Uline
Fête de la Musique by Becky Uline
21 June marks the shortest night of the year and what better way to celebrate than avec some musique. La Fête de la Musique. This marks the 32nd edition of this nationwide event and there will be events and concerts all over the city, all day and late into the night. Some events go ALL night! Plus certain metro lines will remain open all night. (Also, speaking of music, the pianos have returned to Paris this Summer until July 8th pianos placed around the city are available for anyone to play).

26 June – Hit the High Street!

Paris shop by Ignacia Bernal
Paris shop by Ignacia Bernal
Finally, every fashionista knows the savviest times to bag a bargain in Paris is during Les Soldes (the summer sales). Kicking off from the 26th of June, it’s the best time of year to add to your wardrobe. However, to avoid further chaos and stick to your budget, it’s best to plan accordingly before you set off to the shops. Have a look at our tips toParisian Chic on a Budget and Shopping In and Around Paris.
If you need a place to stay in Paris that won’t break the bank or you’re looking for cheap flights, click here to browse the deals from Holiday Discount Centre.

Meanwhile...

Hello there!
Ah, it's been quite a while...and quite a bit has happened around here. 
I had finished my English teaching classes back at the end of May and right away to Romania for Easter! And my birthday at the same time:) The petite princesse enjoyed it, my parents live in the appartment I grew up in, surrounded by other appartment buildings and parks and lots and lots of kids! You get down a flight of stairs and bum, you're in kiddos' land. The city is not big so you can even walk everywhere and the world there is almost paradoxical: people are stressed because of the job situation yet at the same time they don't look like they give a d..n; the streets are full, they fill the terrasses, they chat, they live. I am bummed not to have the pics but I can't find that camera!

Then, back home for a little while and off to my sister's marriage in Spain, close to Barcelona. Awesome weather, the beach and a small pretty wedding.

 The best chocolate covered almonds ever!






And back home. 
In the meanwhile, the business thing is in progress. Awaiting for a draft of the website, getting ready to order the labels, ordered lots of fabric and working on patterns. It should all be ready for September- October, in time for Christmas :) I still need to get more organized....my girl says that my studio is a" dezastru" - yeap, disaster area. Should I post a picture of that maybe...
Soon :)




mardi 2 avril 2013

Design - Eve collection

I have previously told you about my ambitious business project, in fashion design that is. Initially planned to kick off this May, now more realistically scheduled for September, thought I'd just make a note of the process and progress.
The website is in the works! So excited I cannot realize it's actually going to happen...well, also that I really have to (really) get to work on this one.
I have been designing since...can't remember what age, after my graduation and onward, so here are some of the pieces of a previous collection called Eve / black lace evening.

Would so appreciate your input...

(Front, and back at the lower left)





Please let me know what you think :)

vendredi 29 mars 2013

Spring is in the ...thoughts


We- the people living in France, the French and especially the Parisians are desperately awaiting spring.
In Paris a few weeks ago, I snapped a very 'smart' pic:


As you can see, there is a small star at the top of the line (I found that brilliant), like in those contracts with fine print meaning, in my interpretation, 'virtually'!
It is still very cold here. Spirits are nonetheless filling up with spring. Here is a pic from the back of our garden :)

And how pretty are these trees - below- in chocolate! 
Easter is this weekend and chocolate is out of control.  Literally. I don't know if coloring (real) eggs was ever a tradition here for Easter, but cholcolate has become an Easter synomim. 
If you want to see some really cool and really big - huge - chocolate eggs, visit the blog 
Eye Prefer Paris, they have hunted the major chocolate boutiques in Paris and ...well, there is some serious cholcolate there let me tell you.

And this pic just because I found it pretty and...it is green; kind'a like the spring green, you know :)



 Happy Easter  :)