Archive for 'Uncategorized'

Beyond Aung San Suu Kyi: Women in the new Myanmar

Posted on June 16, 2012, by Hanna Ingber, under Uncategorized.

YANGON, Myanmar – Zin Mar Aung’s friends told her not to get involved.

Everyone reminded her that if you joined the student protests breaking out in Yangon, you could face serious consequences. The army had beaten, arrested and even gunned down thousands of members of a previous generation of students during nationwide protests in 1988.

So when Zin Mar Aung along with hundreds of students decided to take to the streets in 1996, demanding the freedom to form student unions and release of jailed student activists, she knew she may have to pay a price. And she did.

In 1998, the military arrested her at the age of 22, and she endured 11 years in a filthy, bug-infested prison. But as soon as she was released in 2009, she began her pro-democracy work again, determined to do her part to resist the oppression of the military junta that had taken control of the country. It is work that she continues to this day.

At age of 36, she distributes relief to women and children who have fled fighting between the Myanmar army and Kachin rebels. She also works with other former female political prisoners to help them adjust to society. And she is learning how to properly monitor elections.

Zin Mar Aung is one of the many quiet voices of women who fought long and hard for justice in Myanmar.

And women, as many rights activists and political observers point out, have paid a disproportionately high price in this fight for democracy while they toiled under a half-century of rule by a male-dominated, repressive military.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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Uncommon Economic Indicator: Moving Help

Posted on October 25, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under Uncategorized.

I am moving out of my apartment in Brooklyn next Saturday, and I posted a note on Craiglist asking for help loading boxes and furniture into a u-Haul. Two hours, two people, $30 each. Within minutes, the responses started pouring in. Thirty-eight responses so far. As always with Craigslist, they are colorful.  Here is a selection:

hi, my name is Ro, me and my friend can help loed up your truck. we are two big guys. i a 6′3″ an 230, he is 6′4″ and 260. my number is xxx-xxx xxxx.

Can help name is Lou-xxx-xxx-xxxx call me interested??????

HEY HANNA…HOW ARE YOU !!   I JUST WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT THE GOING RATE IS $25.00 TO $30.00 AN HOUR FOR MOVING HELPERS.  $15.00 AN HOUR IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH….UNLESS YOU SWALLOW!  I AM HERE TO HELP YOU…LET ME KNOW WHERE & WHEN TO SHOW UP.  SEE YOU SOON !!

Good Afternoon,

My name is Dxxxx Txxxxx, I am replying to your job posting on Craigslist. I have 5 years of experience in moving and I am available anytime during the weekend. I have no problem lifting heavy things, I am very efficient with time and also I am able to do my work without you having to explain twice. I work pretty fast and in tight spaces, I am very hard working young man and I have references. I live in Coney Island only a few stops from the Q train, it’s only a forty minute train ride to your location and I am anytime on Saturday. My number is xxx xxx xxxx have a wonderful evening.

Greetings,

Attached below is my resume in consideration for the mover/labor position
advertised on craigslist.I currently work for a moving company called
the super movers & I’m looking to make some extra money, I am very
interested in the position because I have strong labor and
organizational skills.

I am also friendly, reliable and punctual. Please free to contact me at
xxx xxx xxxx at your earliest convenience to learn more about my
background.

Many Thanks,

This one is a bit depressing. Had I seen it first, I might have gone with it. It also had a pumpkin background:

hey me and friend well do this job real quick we live close to prospect heights please back this is hard times really need the extra cash thanks u god bless have a nice safe day

Another had a flower photo image and then a resume attached, complete with skill sets and references.

Eric provided seven references, including this one:

To whom it may concern,

Eric xxxx is a cheerful, friendly, reliable person who I met when he helped me move my belongings. I quickly established a rapport with Eric and a trusted to load my belongings into a truck unsupervised when I was called away to other responsibilities. He arrived on time and worked thoughtfully, steadily and cheerfully despite it being a blazing hot summer day.

I would emphatically recommend Eric for moving and other positions.

Sincerely,

Dr. xxx

I went with this one. He included a photo of himself (showing he is young and able) and three photos of his van (which I don’t need but appreciate the effort):

Hello: I am also in crown heights area and I am will and able to help out. I am very reliable and professional. I also have a large ford E150 van in case you need a mover. Otherwise still willing to lend labor only.

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Women of Ethiopia Part II: Escaping Child Marriage

Posted on September 30, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Uncategorized, women.

Cross-posted on the HuffPost here. Make sure to go to the HuffPost for the photos that go with this piece.

Editor’s note: Hanna Ingber Win, the Huffington Post’s World Editor, was recently invited by the UN Population Fund to visit its maternal health programs in Ethiopia, which has one of the world’s worst health care systems. In the U.S., a woman has a 1 in 4,800 chance of dying from complications due to pregnancy or childbirth in her lifetime. In Ethiopia, a woman has a 1 in 27 chance of dying.

This is the second of a five-part series on what she learned on her trip.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The first time Tadu Gelana’s mother suggested she get married, Tadu thought she was kidding. Only 14 years old, Tadu had not yet finished school or had her first menstruation cycle. Tadu laughed at the suggestion. The second time her mother mentioned it, Tadu told her she wasn’t interested.

Her mother did not relent.

Tadu’s brother, who was about twice her age and had taken care of her for many years, had recently passed away. Tadu felt she should be grieving for the loss of her big brother, not preparing for a joyous wedding ceremony.

“My beloved brother died at that time, and I had that sorrow in me,” she says, wiping away tears. “I was very much against [getting married]. I wanted to continue my education with my friends.”

Tadu, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and black T-shirt, looks like a typical teenager. Her braided hair is pulled back into a bun and small shiny earrings add a sparkle to her face. She tells me her story as we sit in Biruh Tesfa (”Bright Future”), an informal school for runaway girls in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The school receives funding from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which has sponsored my trip, is operated by the Ethiopian government and gets technical support from an international non-governmental organization called Population Council.

Tadu never formally met the man whom she was assigned to marry but she saw him in her small town in central Ethiopia. He was tall with brown skin. She does not know how old he was - only that he was “an adult.”

“When I was alone, I was afraid of him,” she says. “When I was with other girls, they protected me. We all laughed at him.”

Tadu solicited her uncle to try to convince her mother to let her stay in school and not get married. Her mother agreed. But after Tadu’s uncle left, her mother again demanded that Tadu get married.

“My mother told me, ‘Either you have to marry, or you leave this house,’ ” she says, as she stares down at the school’s metal desk.

Tadu decided to leave her mother, friends and school and move from Ambo to Addis with her aunt and uncle. Her aunt found her a job as a domestic worker with her neighbor. Tadu, now 16, lives with her employer and spends her days cleaning the house, washing clothes and dishes and cooking for the family.

I ask Tadu about her friends in Addis and what they do for fun. I try to get her to smile and laugh like other girls her age, but she does not. She maintains a solemn look, staring down at her hands or the desk, quietly answering my questions.

For a few hours every day, the family allows Tadu to go to Biruh Tesfa, where we meet one morning in late August. Two centers in Addis serve about 600 girls between the ages of 10 and 19, says Habtamu Demele, the project coordinator of the center.

Most of them have escaped early marriage. Even though the legal age to marry in Ethiopia is 18, more than 30 percent of girls living in rural parts of the country are married by age 15, according to the Population Council. In Amhara region, where most of the girls at the center come from, almost half of the girls have married by age 15 and close to two-thirds by age 18. Ethiopia ranks among the top 10 countries for child marriage, according to the International Center for Research on Women’s analysis of the country’s Demographic and Health Survey data.

Families marry their daughters early due to cultural beliefs and practices related to attempting to keep a girl’s chastity, ensuring a young bride’s obedience and subservience, maximizing childbearing years and enhancing a family’s status, according to UNFPA.

Early marriage can cause higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, abuse, isolation and long-term psychological trauma from forced sex, according to UNFPA.

Girls aged 15 to 20 are twice as likely to die during childbirth as women in their 20s and girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die of maternal causes, according to UNFPA. This is because girls’ bodies are often too young and undeveloped to endure child birth. When a girl gives birth before her body is fully developed, she often has difficulty during labor and a higher chance of developing a maternal complication such as hemorrhaging or obstetric fistula. (See tomorrow’s installment of this series on battling obstetric fistulas in Ethiopia.)

A 2005 UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on child marriage also found that girls who marry young have a much higher chance of being victims of domestic violence.

The majority of the girls at the Biruh Tesfa center fled their rural villages, took a bus to Addis and got off at a bustling, chaotic station close to the program site. They arrived in Addis alone without access to services or support, says Habtamu.

“These girls are the invisibles. No program is covering them,” he says.

So-called brokers found the girls at the bus station and got them jobs as domestic workers for low-income Ethiopian families in Addis. They often work under demeaning and difficult conditions, with no time to go to school or make friends.

The Biruh Tesfa project employs mentors, young women who come from the community, to go to the homes where the girls work and convince their employers to let them participate in the program.

Aynalem Kibebew, 25, lives in a tiny house made of corrugated metal across the street from the center and serves as a mentor for about 30 of the girls. Since the employers often do not allow the girls to attend school, the mentors like Kibebew provide them with informal education for an hour or two every day at the center. They also teach the girls life skills like reproductive health, HIV education and hygiene. Once the girls finish the program, they are eligible to enter formal school in the fourth grade, Habtamu says.

Another girl at the center, Kelemua Wondimu, says she fled her village in Amhara region to Addis when she was 17 because she too did not want to get married. She had seen what happened to her older sister and did not want that life for herself.

When her sister turned 15, Kelemua says, her parents prepared a wedding ceremony and made her marry a man she had never met. She then had a baby within a year.

“I saw that and decided not to marry at that age,” Kelemua says, clutching her notebook as she sits at a desk in one of the center’s classrooms. Charts teaching numbers and punctuation marks cover the walls. “Instead, it is better to continue my education and learn more.”

Tomorrow: Battling pregnancy complications in Ethiopia

Read the first installment here.

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Leaving for Ethiopia, with Piles of Cash

Posted on August 27, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Uncategorized.

I leave tomorrow for Ethiopia. One of the things I love most about going somewhere new is the anticipation and excitement the night before. And the ignorance. No matter how much you read about a place, you have no idea what it will feel like until you arrive.

And given that I have done a lot of reading about maternal health for my trip, and very little (ok - none) about tourism in Ethiopia, I have no clue what to expect. (Mental note — Add “buy Lonely Planet Ethiopia” to the do list.) In many ways, though, the not knowing will make the arrival all the better. What will the airport in Addis Ababa look like? Will it be basically one large, dusty room like in Rangoon? Presumably minus the soldiers and men in longyis grabbing your suitcase and then demanding “tea money.” Will it be modern like in Bangkok, where you can buy a Starbucks after collecting your luggage?

The Addis-based communications consultant at the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which is sponsoring my trip, told me that I should bring plenty of cash. I will be arriving on the weekend, and ATMs might be out of money.

She also told me Addis will be cold, and I should bring a warm jacket. Oops. I guess I can remove the bikini from my suitcase. Wishful thinking.

I will spend about nine days traveling around Ethiopia with the UNFPA, visiting their maternal health sites and then writing about my trip for the HuffPost. We are going to look at how UNFPA is teaching midwives to do surgeries because of the country’s lack of doctors. (Only 6 percent of pregnant women in Ethiopia have access to skilled birthing attendants, including midwives). We are also going to visit a fistula hospital, meet women who have faced gender based violence, and chat with girls who have been victims of early marriage and are trying to rebuild their lives.

Plus, I hope to eat a lot of delicious Ethiopian food — with my fingers, enjoy the Addis nightlife and meet women who have gone through great hardship but are surviving. Hopefully some will even be thriving.

No matter what lies ahead, the trip is bound to be fascinating. I can’t wait to arrive and be overwhelmed by culture shock, and so inspired and in awe of this new place that I want nothing but to snap photos and write stories home.

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Aid by Force?

Posted on May 10, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under Uncategorized.

TIME magazine has an article asking if the international community should invade Burma in order to provide humanitarian relief.

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Leave Information Here

Posted on May 9, 2008, by Aung Moe Win, under Uncategorized.

Burmese around the world are visiting this site. Please share information on the cyclone that you have received from inside Burma here. Leave a comment.

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Tiny Bits of Information

Posted on May 6, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under Uncategorized.

It’s been near impossible getting any information out of Burma since Saturday’s cyclone. The junta - almost as paranoid about natural disasters as it was about democracy protests last fall - refuses to allow foreign journalists into the country. Western news outlets have relied on information from media groups like Democratic Voice of Burma, which is run by Burmese exiles. Toe Zaw Latt, the DVB Bureau Chief in Chiang Mai, Thailand, told me their reporters can’t access the areas worst hit by the cyclone in the Irrawaddy Delta.

The government says 22,500 people have died, and 41,000 remain missing. But with areas cut off from communication, it’s impossible to know the real numbers.

Phones are working in parts of Rangoon, though irregularly. My husband and I talked to his uncle living in Rangoon last night. He said he and the rest of the family survived the storm, but they are still badly affected by it. The electricity has been out for four days. They have a small generator so can use it to pump water. The price of gas has doubled. Not that one can drive when fallen trees still litter the streets.

Toe Zaw Latt said the government has started helping but very slowly. Soldiers cut the trees, but then leave them in the streets.

Most people in Rangoon rely on government electricity to pump their water. They now must buy bottled water that has jumped in price, or bathe in public areas like parks and water fountains.

We have emailed numerous friends living in Rangoon, but no word yet.

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NYT Journo Tells His Jail Story

Posted on April 26, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media, Uncategorized.

The New York Times has an excellent piece in tomorrow’s paper by Barry Bearak, its Johannesburg co-bureau chief who was arrested and jailed while reporting in Zimbabwe earlier this month.

The floor was filthy. The odor of human waste infected the air. More bothersome were the bugs. “Cockroaches the size of skateboards,” I quipped. This was hyperbole. The insects were mostly tiny and black, others short, white and wormy. We were soon sharing our clothes with them.

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Introduction

Posted on April 15, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under Uncategorized.

Welcome! Please check out my new website. You can read a selection of my past articles and commentaries, listen to my radio stories, see my photos from around the world and learn more about me. I’ll also have a blog here. Now I just need to come up with some brilliant things to say.

Wait - before you go - don’t forget to subscribe to this blog. See the links on the right.

Thanks for your interest.

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