FOLLOW FOR PICTURES OF TRAVEL, FASHION, FOOD, DECOR & MORE ON INSTAGRAM.
FOLLOW FOR PICTURES OF TRAVEL, FASHION, FOOD, DECOR & MORE ON INSTAGRAM.
“Skateistan, a skateboard park in Kabul, Afghanistan, is giving young girls the chance to be cooler than you’ll ever be. Started by Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich after kids in the streets of Kabul were using his own skateboard, he teaches the girls to “develop skills in skateboarding, leadership, civic responsibility, multimedia, and creative arts, exploring topics such as environmental health, culture/traditions, natural resources, and peace.”
THERE ARE COOL YOUNG GIRLS SKATEBOARDING IN AFGHANISTAN VIA THE CUT BLOG.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE COVER SHOT OF STORM SANDY BY IWAN BAAN VIA FASHION COPIOUS.
Brenda Thomas with Timmy the donkey at Wishing Well Sanctuary
For the past few years, Brenda Thomas has had a vision – of an Animal Sanctuary in Bradford West Gwillimbury, that would take in and provide a loving home for rescued farm animals.
“We’re taking animals that are typically raised for food, and promoting a vegetarian lifestyle,” Thomas says. Wishing Well Sanctuary has 51 acres on the 10th Line of BWG, 9.5 of them fenced – and on October 14, received its first residents, 5 sheep and 9 cows.
The sheep are part of a flock of 32, that had been used for research at the University of Guelph, and rescued by Animal Alliance Canada. Most of the flock was adopted out – except for the five that were brought to Wishing Well.
The cows were purchased from a farmer by Animal Alliance, to save them from the slaughterhouse.
Thomas is hoping that all of the animals will find “joy, and open pasture,” at the Sanctuary. “They’re going to live out their lives.”
The sheep posed a particular challenge. “High Health” sheep, bred to be pathogen-free for research purposes, they had to slowly be acclimatized to their environment, and to pathogens, over a period of months, says Liz White of Animal Alliance. The tricky acclimatization was accomplished with the help of Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, located near Stratford Ontario, and a skilled sheep farmer.
Since “these sheep have never been outside,” Thomas will have to introduce them to pasture slowly – starting with an hour a day.
Besides providing shelter for rescued animals, Thomas has another goal for Wishing Well Sanctuary. Recognizing the connection between humans and animals, she also plans to focus on mental health and healing, using the farm’s buildings for seminars and programs geared towards children, youth and their families, with the animals playing a role. As it says in her brochure, “Animals nurture our awareness of the interconnectedness of all and help us in our healing process.”
She wants to provide art therapy, music, meditation, yoga, dance, tai chi, as well as horticultural therapy and animal therapy, in a safe and peaceful environment. “I really see it as a sanctuary for all animals, human and non-human,” she says, adding, “I’m very into promoting mental health, not treating mental health… There is certainly this big need around here. There are some great things we can do.”
Wishing Well Sanctuary has applied for charitable status, and Thomas has been putting together a portfolio of facilitators to work with families and children. “The wheels are in motion,” she says.
In the meantime, the truck loaded with the rescued animals rolled slowly up the winding drive, to the barn and fenced paddock that will be their new home. The animals were quickly unloaded – the sheep finding their way into a warm stall, the cattle outside into the field – as Thomas and supporters, including Lesley Sloan, also a member of Wishing Well’s Board of Directors, watched.
“It’s the happy side of animal protection,” Thomas says. “These animals are ambassadors, for all the other animals” – being raised for food, at times in less-than-humane conditions.
“I’ve visualized this for so long. It’s just amazing they’re here.”
For more information about Wishing Well Sanctuary, call 905-775-9179.
Read this article in The Bradford Times here.
Celebrated The Price is Right icon and passionate animal advocate Bob Barker told Toronto on Friday that it’s time for the city’s zoo elephants to pack up their trunks and journey south.
The Toronto Zoo has three gentle giants in captivity — Thoka, Thika and Iringa — who are all at risk for myriad devastating health problems if they continue to live in their cold, cramped quarters. But the zoo doesn’t want to let them go.
Barker led a press conference with Zoocheck Canada and world-renowned animal experts on Friday to persuade city councilors and Toronto Zoo board members to send the elephants to the PAWS animal sanctuary in San Andreas, California, where there are vast tracks of land on which they can roam free and where it is much warmer. The zoo fears that already worrisome attendance rates will plummet without the presence of the elephants, a supposed star attraction, but the evidence suggests otherwise.
Read the full article on The Huffington Post.
This year I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and interviewing so many amazing figures, from so many different worlds. From fashion to photography, Bollywood to comedy, and sports to royalty to charity, 2010 has truly been an incredible year! Here are a few of my favorites…
I saved the best for last! Meeting and interviewing Aamir Khan on the red carpet for the debut of Dhobi Ghat: Mumbai Diaries was a privilege and really quite an honor. Considered by millions to be the finest Bollywood actor of his generation, Khan has also proved himself as a very talented director and producer. He has had immense critical and commercial success on nearly all of his various projects, and has shown no fear by moving into the future with challenging films like Dhobi Ghat and Peepli Live. I can’t wait to see what Khan will give us in 2011!
Soni is in class 8 and her favorite subject is Sanskrit. She hopes to become a lawyer and dreams of visiting Mount Everest.
For over 50 years World Literacy of Canadahas understood that education is the best weapon for combating poverty and inequality and have committed themselves to educating and empowering women, children and whole communities in Varanasi.
The power of education to effect meaningful and lasting change is no secret – New York Times columnists and Pulitzer prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn wrote about it in the best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity; Queen Rania of Jordan champions the efficacy of proper education on her blog, YouTube channel and during speaking engagements around the world; Greg Mortenson’s best selling books Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan prove that peace has been possible in these dangerous, remote regions because of education, especially the education and literacy of females. These are but three examples of many that illustrate how important global education and literacy is to each and every one of us.
Anshu is in class 1 and at the top of his class. He loves parrots and hopes to become a police officer so he can serve his community.
World Literacy of Canada dedicates 90 cents of every donated dollar to their work — almost unheard of in the world of charity — and are consistently rewarded the highest grade from the Canadian International Development Agency. And WLC doesn’t stop at the classroom — their mobile library provides books to women and children who might otherwise never have access, they drive to remote classrooms in Varanasi delivering fresh fruit to children who otherwise would have to go without food, they organize free tutoring for students who need help but whose parents are illiterate or too busy to assist — and so much more.
Neetu wrote an essay about Ghandi and won first prize! She loves south Indian food and wants to be a doctor when she’s older.
World Literacy of Canada works so closely with the community they can easily help you choose a student to sponsor. Perhaps your son is at medical school — why not sponsor a child who dreams of becoming doctor? Maybe you enjoyed reading as a child — why not sponsor a child who’s a voracious reader but cant afford books? Consider sponsoring a child not just for a year but for all of grade school, or high school. These children in India don’t have much but they have their dreams — turn one of those dreams into a reality this year by donating to WLC.
Read this article on The Huffington Post.
2010 kicked off with a fabulous trip to Barbados in January, for the Sentebale Polo Cup. Sentebale was founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, to raise funds for and bring greater awareness to the plight of Lesotho’s vulnerable children.
Read the article on The Huffington Post.
Thursday night’s STRUT FOR A CURE was a spectacular success, with hundreds of Toronto’s fashion pack out at Berkeley Church raising money for children’s cancer and having a roaring good time.
Literally packed to the sweltering rafters we watched supermodel Coco Rocha strut her stuff in international design darling Todd Lynn, bounced to the beats of Dragonette, danced to music by a handful of DJs – all in support of Coco’s cousin Erika who at only 11 years old dreamt of raising money for children diagnosed with cancer.
I chatted with Coco after the show and it’s clear she’s passionate about STRUT and Canadian fashion. Born in Vancouver, she shot to international fame after being spotted at an Irish dancing competition but she has never forgotten her roots and is lauded by everyone who knows her as being incredibly grounded.
With plans to make STRUT bigger and better next year, Coco is also hard at work on her own clothing line Rococo and mentioned with a charming smile that she’ll be married to her sweetheart James Conran in less than two weeks. This stunning supermodel has strutted her stuff on countless runways in the world’s most glamorous locales but don’t write her off as just another pretty face – an ardent supporter of STRUT and an emerging design talent in her own right, Coco is not just a supermodel, but in fact, quite a superwoman.
Many thanks to my friend Nolan Bryant for taking fabulous photos all night, a few of which I’ve used here.
Morning fruit delivery to young school children is yet another fantastic program run by World Literacy of Canada in Varanasi. I hopped in their rickshaw this morning and went to see how the program operates. Once a week, sometimes more, WLC goes out and distributes fruit to children in school, providing them with a nutritious start to their day. First the children’s hands are washed, then the fruit, and a signature from the teacher is entered into the WLC record book. A number of different schools in Varanasi are visited during a time span of approximately 3 hours.
The day after International Women’s Day and the Kabaddi Tournament, World Literacy of Canada launched their Teacher Role Model curriculum. After many months of dedicated hard work, WLC has carefully chosen 400 rural women from more than 1000 who applied to become empowered teachers and role models in their communities.
With new curriculum books in hand, these brave young women met on March 9th and 10th for two full days of orientation and training. What a site it was! The auditorium was alive with a rainbow of beautiful saris and once the 400 split into smaller groups some real personalities started to shine.
These women have a lot of work ahead of them but they are on a path that will forever change the course of their lives and the lives of their families and communities!
World Literacy of Canada could not have celebrated International Women’s Day this past March 8th in any better way than by hosting their 2nd annual women’s Kabaddi Tournament in the holy city of Varanasi, just seconds away from their office on the steps to the Ganges.
This tournament is a perfect symbol of the incredible work WLC has done to promote education and empowerment for women in the area – not long ago these fierce females were decked out in saris and relegated mainly to the home, now they’re fighting for glory on a kabaddi field in front of thousands of onlookers!
Spirits were high and the players really put on a show, what dynamos!
World Literacy of Canada is a real force to be reckoned with – they literally are “turning the page on poverty” through literacy and their passion for promoting play among women who never dared to dream but who are now reaching for the stars.
World Literacy of Canada hasn’t just created a better world for women in India, they’ve opened the door to a universe of possibility.
In Whistler for the Olympics and want to know where to chow down? Here are the TOP 5 places for delicious, quick eats!
Throughout Whistler you can find a number of fun Nation Houses, many open to public. Check out what they’re offering and when you should pay them a visit.
I am so excited to launch my new blog while in Whistler, B.C. for the 2010 Olympic Games!
Inspired by fascinating travels, interesting encounters and a love of writing I decided to create this space to share my adventures. In addition to regularly contributing to The Huffington Post, my blog will feature day-to-day tales, anecdotes, tips, guides and much, much more!
In less than two weeks I’ll be taking off for a luxury tour through India – from the Taj Mahal to the Himalayas, from the Ganges to the wilds of Rajasthan – I hope you will join me as I share entertaining stories, beautiful photos, cultural clues and illuminating videos.
The trip will also feature a stay on the banks of the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi where I’ll be joining World Literacy of Canada as they launch a number of extraordinary programs to advance education and empowerment of women in India.
I’ve been in Whistler for two weeks already and the Olympic spirit is growing stronger each day in this gorgeous mountain town! Stay tuned for Olympic coverage, village fashion and style, skiing and snowboarding, dining and nightlife all in beautiful Whistler, B.C.!