Mackenzie Bearup

Mackenzie_BearupA 16-year-old girl, Mackenzie Bearup contracted a painful disease that would leave most children hopeless and resentful; instead she was prompted to soothe her pain and share a glimmer of hope with the homeless and abused children around her.

The disease, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, leaves the patient in excruciating pain and has no cure. During her treatment, she found that reading books was the greatest escape to help her through. She decided that other children experiencing pain, emotional and physical, could relate so she decided to find a way to help others.

“Reading isn’t just an escape, you can learn a lot, too, and that’s very important for homeless and abused children,” said Bearup. “Staying in high school is one of the things that will help you most in life, to be able to get a job and be able to support yourself.”

Since 2007, Bearup has collected and donated more than 38,000 books for homeless and abused children in six states.  Recently, she launched “Sheltering Books” as she hopes to continue sharing her remedy with the world.

To read more about Mackenzie, visit http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/04/08/cnnheroes.mackenzie.bearup/

The Forgotten Victims: Women and Girls in Uganda

womenugandaKampala — The fate of thousands of women and girls held as sex slaves and child soldiers by Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army rebels hangs in the balance.

Since the insurgency began in 1986, the LRA has abducted thousands of women and girls. Some find opportunities to escape their captors, but according to a 2008 UNICEF Humanitarian Situation Report, approximately 3,000 women and children are still held by the rebels.

The delay in signing a peace agreement between the government of Uganda and the LRA has raised fresh concerns about their fate.

Forgotten victims of war

“The women in captivity have actually always been forgotten. We must advocate for them. They are still suffering,” says Jane Adong Anywar, Legal Officer at the Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice, an organisation advocating for justice for women in armed conflict and war through the International Criminal Court….

To read the rest of this article please visit http://allafrica.com/stories/201004201051.html.

Two Hugely Successful Events in Texas!

VAMOSIn February and March a few extremely generous hosts organized fundraising events for Shine to raise funds for The Harvest. We raised an incredible amount of money that is integral to finishing this documentary and putting together a marketing plan! We are so grateful to all of the attendees and our remarkably giving hosts. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In addition, we want to highlight The Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities & Scholarships (VAMOS),  a nonprofit organization run primarily by devoted volunteers. Its goal is to provide renewable scholarships to all deserving Hispanic students in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Starr counties (Texas) for the purpose of completing a post secondary education. VAMOS is run by many of our generous donors, and we are so proud of the work that they do. Please check out their website, http://www.vamosscholars.org/index.php.

Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa, Child Worker Turned Brain Surgeon

drquinoneshinojosaAlfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa transformed himself from former child migrant worker to renown neurosurgeon. In the San Joaquin Valley, Quiñones-Hinojosa worked the vegetable fields seven days a week, sunup to sundown. He balanced his hours working long days while also taking night classes at a local community college. Excelling in all his science studies, he applied and became a new candidate at Harvard Medical School. “Someone asked how I’d come to Harvard. ‘I hopped the fence,’ I said. Everyone laughed. They thought I was joking.” Quiñones-Hinojosa accredits his success to his hard-work ethic he learned in his childhood and the incredible mentors he met along the way. He now resides at the John Hopkins Medical Center as the neurosurgery clinic head, teacher/mentor, and practicing neurosurgeon. He nearly 250 brain operations a year, with a high success rate.

To read more about Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/science/13conv.html?_r=1

Uganda Enlists Former Rebels to End War

ugandanytimesOBO, Central African Republic — The night is inky, the helicopters are late and Cmdr. Patrick Opiyo Makasi sits near a dying cooking fire on a remote army base, spinning his thoughts into the darkness.

“It was either them or me,” Commander Makasi said of the countless people he has killed. “Them or me.”

The Lord’s Resistance Army, a notoriously brutal rebel group, snatched him from a riverbank when he was 12 years old, more than 20 years ago, and trained him to burn, pillage and slaughter. His name, Makasi, means scissors in Kiswahili, and fellow soldiers said he earned it by shearing off ears and lips.

But now he has a new mission: hunting down his former boss.

In an unorthodox strategy that could help end this seemingly pointless war, the Ugandan Army is deploying special squads of experienced killers to track down the L.R.A.’s leader, Joseph Kony, one of the most wanted men in Africa, who has been on the run for two decades.

To read the rest of this article please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/world/africa/11lra.html?scp=1&sq=kony&st=cse

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