Kindness Around the World

Is Kindness really overrated? Or is it still one of the most powerful forces in the world?

For the MKB community blog, I have asked several bloggers what it means to be “kind” in their country and what they think about it, hoping for a snapshot of “Kindness around the world”. It was a real pleasure to read all their answers and feel their love for their peers.

Kindness Around the World | Multicultural Kid Blogs

My daughter, hugging a statue representing a victim of Nazism. Oberursel, Germany.

I would like to start with Bronwyn, of Journeys of a Fabulist, who lives in Singapore and has witnessed firsthand how important kindness was for the people in this Asian country:

Around the world, most cultures believe in some form of kindness. Singapore has gone one further and turned it into an official movement. The Singapore Kindness Movement – a non-government organisation inspired by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, housed in an old police building, and listed as an official “Institution of Public Character” – works to inspire “graciousness” in the Singaporean public. “Give up your seat for those in need,” their signs suggest on buses and subways. On their website you can take a quiz to find out how kind you are really, and get tips to improve your rating, from simple acts like smiling at your local kopitiam staff all the way up to major service roles helping out your community.

 

As a foreigner, it struck me as odd. I mean, a whole organisation whose job is not to help others, but to inspire people to help others? Isn’t that a bit meta? You have to see it in the context of Singapore’s rapid transformation from a series of Kampungs to a modern metropolis, coupled with its low-welfare policies. The village had its own social structures for reminding people to care for each other, and the Singapore Kindness Movement is the big city equivalent. It’s not a perfect system. I’m sure the Kampung wasn’t, either – it’s hard to keep people from falling through the cracks. But by and large, compared to similarly-sized places, Singaporeans seem readier to offer their seats to the needy or put some money in the charity tin. Graciousness indeed.

What a life changing experience it seems to be for Bronwyn! The same can be said for Florentine of Oxfrognews who lives in Oxford, UK and has encountered the British style of saying things in a gentle way. She wrote about the nicknames used to address one another in My love? Oh dear! (blog post in French) and explains to us some of the more endearing language expressions and groomed behaviors.

What I like a lot about England is the way people talk to you. It’s often very sweet, charming and pleasant. We speak to you by adding “my love” or “sweety” and right away that gives a cute note to the conversation and doesn’t build fences or distance. At first, we were quite surprised but frankly we became quickly accustomed and we appreciate this familiar way of communicating. It’s the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about the word “kindness”. But it has to be said that for the British, “kindness” is linked with “politeness” –in my opinion- and so with the importance of respecting someone else.

 

It could be a bit disturbing when the message is so polite and kind that we don’t really know what the other person thinks. Like in this instance: “It’s entirely up to you, please do as you like…” a sentence people use and sometimes abuse. These “ultra-kind” English formulations can on occasion be rather difficult to decode when you come from another country. Being at the end of the school year, a beautiful English tradition comes to mind: the children say “thank you” to their teachers. “Thank you teacher!” cards can also be found in the papershops.

 [Texte original en français:   Ce que j'aime beaucoup en Angleterre c'est la manière dont on vous parle. C'est très souvent doux, charmant et agréable. On vous adresse la parole avec « my love » ou « sweety » ce qui donne tout de suite un ton mignon à la conversation et ne met pas de barrière ou de distance. Au début on est étonné mais finalement on s'habitue très vite et on apprécie cette façon proche de communiquer. C'est la première chose qui m'est venue à l'esprit quand j'ai pensé à "kindness". Mais il faut dire que pour les Anglais "kindness" est à mon avis aussi relié avec "politeness" et donc l'importance du respect de l'autre. Cela peut aussi être un peu perturbant quand le message est tellement poli et gentil qu'on ne sait plus ce que pense vraiment l'autre. Je pense à des phrases comme "it's entirely up to you, please do as you like..." dont les gens usent et abusent parfois. Les formulations "ultra-gentilles" à l'anglaise peuvent parfois être difficiles à décoder lorsqu’on vient d'un autre pays. En cette fin d'année une coutume anglaise de toute beauté m'est venue à l'esprit : les enfants "disent merci" à leur maîtresse (ou pour les plus grands aux enseignants) pour l'année scolaire. Il existe même des cartes à acheter: "thank you teacher".]

Cultural kindness can be even more ingrained in a society. While dealing with a terrible illness, Lana, who lives in the Philippines, recognizes that her friends and the people she meets are giving her an amount of love and help that she would have never thought possible. She tells us that she is “showered with so much goodness” and is now able to see more clearly the good acts realized everyday around her. Her article In the midst of Goodness, written in her blog Smart Tinker, teaches the reader how Filipinos define the concepts of Goodness / Kindness and Shared Identity. Language, philosophy and communication are intertwined in the definition of these concepts. To journey into her post is to learn a new path for kind interpersonal relations, a path made of wisdom and love.

Sheila from Pennies of Time shares the observations she has made in the USA. This dynamic woman participates in a group who helps people to go serve others. She says that everyone deals differently with how to be kind, and that’s good because we are all different. Each one of us can be an example for someone, and that cheering one another to do good strengthen our relationships.

 Here is what I thought about kindness in the US: In the United States, I find that much of our culture is focused on being quicker and better. With a capitalistic market, products and services are designed around how to make our personal experience better. Make your personal appearance younger, more beautiful. Get places or information faster. Entertainment is focused on the fleeting experience of a few minutes of pleasure.

 

On the outset, it can seem overly selfish. What I have discovered, though, is that kindness is celebrated and appreciated by others. People have a strong need to experience and witness acts of kindness.  Those displays of kindness go viral, and people want to feel connected to the deep emotion that occurs when another is compassionate and loving.  When a disaster strikes, or a tragedy occurs, there is no hesitation for our communities to come together and for people to reach out across long distances to help fill a need. In 2012, when the tornadoes struck Oklahoma, I drove 3 hours with my family to help with the disaster relief.  Do you know what I found? Others there that had driven much further, even days, hauling trailers full of clean-up supplies and equipment. At the holiday time, I volunteered with my 5 year old to help distribute toys to homeless shelters and there were others right there with me, strangers that wanted to help those in need. 

 

Pennies of Time - Tips for Clean a Creek with Kids

Sheila’s boys cleaning a creek

Book Drive to Help the Hospital - Pennies of TimeIt seems that Becky (founder of Kid World Citizen) has the same approach to this topic. In an inspiring post, she relates how her multicultural family has challenged themselves to do as many Random Acts of Kindness as possible in one day. What is particularly delightful is that her children were at the core of the project. As she said in her post: I told the kids to think of ways we could be nice to others, and show them kindness and gratitude without expecting anything in return. The kids had great ideas!!

Children are eager to do things that will make people smile. They thrive at being creative and generous. Kindness is an expression of love, and children are loving (and lovely) creatures.

Sophie is offered a cookie

A boy around Sophie’s age offered her a cookie. They spent ten minutes watching the fountain nearby, climbing up and down the bench and sitting together in silence or laughter. Children can be so kind… and cute too!

Like Becky, Leanna’s family had a Random Acts of Kindness day, which she wrote about here. She was so happy with her experience that she decided to run a series on her blog (All Done Monkey), featuring other bloggers narrating their days of Kindness.

She also shared with me a prayer the children of the Bahá’í Faith love to recite. To be kind is one of the requests of this prayer.

As Farrah (Global Advocacy) expresses in her Random acts of Ramadan Kindness post, many religions hold the value of Kindness as one of the most precious interactions with another being. The Golden Rule echoes in me when I think of Kindness and Goodness. Inasmuch, the hadiths ending Farrah’s article remind us that Islam is in fact a religion in which charity and kindness are clearly rooted:

“He who is deprived of kindness is deprived of goodness.”

“God is not kind to him who is not kind to people.”

As for me, at the beginning of this year 2014, I pondered on what I could share with my readers and what would be a main topic in my writing life for the following months. As you can read on my Projet Smile page, the words “Kindness”, “Generosity” and “Service” have been chosen to highlight this year on my blog. I have given challenges – the TWC: This week challenge – and carried them out (and I will do it until the end of December), written about some aspects of being kind, and shared good deeds people in the world have done.

I am not done with this project! I have many posts waiting to be finished (whining in the draft folder…), one of those will be about the worth of “Service” in religions. As a Christian, being good to my neighbor, showing Kindness and changing any of my “too individualistic” habits to charitable ones, are the expression of a true change of heart. It’s what we strive for, being more loving and kind as Jesus Christ is. Of course, I won’t be like Him in a snap of fingers. It’s a life’s journey!

Right now, there are a lot of men, women and children from various backgrounds who live their lives in an altruistic form, refusing to be enslaved by the egoistic ways of the “modern and developed society”. Kindness may have been attacked and blamed for how people deny their personal “desires” and think only of the others… But in doing so, the society has lost the essential link between its members. The common good and the shared experiences and responsibilities, for far too much people, are not anymore the key for happiness in their community. It’s tragic. And it’s up to us dear readers, to bring back more Kindness in the world. Starting today by doing ONE Kind Act, even a very small one. And day after day, continuing on the road of Love and Service, doing your part and witnessing what is done in your neighborhood. By your kind deeds, you can be the flapping of the wings that will create a storm of loving smiles!

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Finding the Ramadan Feeling…or Not

I don’t remember that first Ramadan with him, except that he fasted through the short days of winter while I awaited the arrival of our first child. In fact I don’t remember much of the first years save for a memorable argument here or there. I know it was all new and I had a lot to learn. I wanted to do things right, just like I think most newly married women do (and maybe men too).  I knew he was a long way from home and I felt whatever I could provide would barely hold a candle to what he was used to. How could I recreate this important Muslim holiday month in the middle of the Midwest?

A Moroccan grocery store prepares for the month of Ramadan.

A Moroccan grocery store prepares for the month of Ramadan.

One year, I can’t remember which, I learned enough to know what the traditional foods were. I spent hours researching, procuring ingredients and in the kitchen making things ahead of Ramadan. Silky harira soup, crispy briouats stuffed with ground meat and onions, cheese, and seafood, and cookies the likes of which were nowhere to be found for purchase and no Toll House wouldn’t cut it. I made the flaky msemmen breads, thick avocado juice, and stocked our fridge and pantry for pre-dawn breakfasts. It was through this compulsion to make things “right” I hoped to achieve a smidge of what he’d left behind.

Everything he’d left behind for me.

Ramadan came and went every year. Some things became second nature. Some things were added as Ramadan moved closer and closer to summer. Fresh fruits and salads replaced fried foods. Less meat appeared in favor of healthier options. Of course we had the staples because it wouldn’t be a Moroccan Ramadan without then. But they weren’t the focus. I put up lights one year, we always tried to invite non-Muslim friends to celebrate with us, and we went to our mosque for potlucks and hosted iftars but that feeling still weighed heavy above me.

A usually busy street in Marrakech at the time for breaking of the fast.

A usually busy street in Marrakech at the time for breaking of the fast.

Something was missing.

I never felt whatever it was my husband did. I couldn’t make the special connection. Feel the spirituality. All I felt was hungry and crabby. I didn’t get the bubbly joy so many friends proudly proclaimed. I didn’t look forward to this time at all. But for him and for our kids I kept on trying in my own way to make it special. I also couldn’t escape hearing “oh, in Morocco it’s so wonderful. There’s a special feeling. It’s the best.” So I came to the conclusion that was what I was missing. It must be the place that adds to the excitement.

Fast forward 10 years to our first Ramadan in Morocco. This year. I waited for the cannon that signifies the end of the fast only to learn we can’t hear it where we live. I waited for the lights to go up or the holiday feeling to fill the air. Nothing. I anticipated an iftar table with special dishes. What I discovered was maybe it wasn’t so. After the first day of fasting my husband took me for a ride around at midnight. I waited to see people outside, visiting and sharing with neighbors enjoying the evening. What I saw was mostly empty streets and business as usual. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I blurted out;

“For 10 years I attempted to make this special for you, to make it even 1/10th of what I imagined it was like at home. I’m so let down!” It was utter disappointment. I felt sick to my stomach. I let myself feel terrible year after year for not being able to capture the “Muslim world Ramadan experience” only to learn there’s nothing special that was missing!

Marrakesh's Djem al Fna square on a Ramadan evening.

Marrakesh’s Djem al Fna square on a Ramadan evening.

For two days I thought and struggled with my feelings. I confided in some close friends and realized maybe I hadn’t wasted all that time and effort. I was making things special for my kids, my family. Even if the holiday wasn’t the same as my husband remembered, or thought he remembered. My time and effort would be a real memory for our children. I’m still disappointed and not sure when or how I’ll get that “Ramadan feeling,” but one day maybe it will show up. For now, I’m okay with keeping up the traditions we started ten years ago, because now they’ve become special to me.

 

Amanda from Maro Mama
About Amanda:
Amanda is curious, world traveling mom of 2 boys. She currently lives in Marrakech, Morocco with her husband and kids. Amanda is the publisher of MarocMama a blog about raising multicultural kids, food, and travel. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Get Outdoors And Make Some Music! Favorite Outdoor Music Activities

Although you might not think of playing music as an outdoor activity – there are quite a few creative ways to get outside and make some joyful noise at the same time. Here are some of our favorite outdoor music activities that come from world cultures.

bullroarer - realMake An Australian Bullroarer

Both the Apache people and Australian Aboriginal people discovered that a spinning object makes the most amazing sounds. We’ve created one made from a plastic water bottle and you can read all about it or make your own here.

 

 

Musical Play With Water – A Mayan Style Water Drum!

Playing water gourd drumThis amazing-sounding gourd drum dates back to the times of the ancient Mayans! But, you don’t need a set of special dried gourds to make one at home.   You can use a few basic supplies found around your kitchen. Then go outside and try this drum that can be heard quite a distance away!

 

A Piece Of Fabric Becomes A Native American Style Pow-Wow Drum

musikfest largest drumOriginal pow-wow drums were larger skins played by holding the drum in one hand and the drum beater in the other. If you’re out camping, you can use a sturdy piece of canvas or a similar fabric to recreate this unique form of unison group drumming.

Hear a real pow-wow drum or find step-by-step instructions to make this type of pow-wow drum and beater right here.

 

do the limbo at core creekDo The Limbo

Do you know the background of this popular dance tradition? It’s a story that starts with slavery but transformed over the years into a more joyous celebration of Caribbean culture. Check out different ways to make Caribbean-style steel pan drums or learn more about the limbo here.

 

Turn A Tree Into An Instrument

rhythm tree - playgroundGather your recycling and make a free form sculpture that not only looks good, but sounds good as well. You can adorn a tree in your park or backyard or create a clothesline that can be a perfect place for kids in your community to explore music, get creative and jam.

 

 

 

 

What else sounds like fun outdoors?  Check out the other great posts here at the Multicultural Kids Blog for lots of other wonderful ways to explore the world with your children this summer!

By Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou

World Music children’s performer DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has spent the last two decades performing in the USA and around the world, creating music to inspire all the world’s children.  Along with numerous national awards for her culturally diverse music, Daria’s website (www.dariamusic.com) was given a Parent’s Choice Award and offers many great resources for teachers, parents and kids of all abilities.

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Musical Tribute to an Inspirational Man: Nelson Mandela

July 18th is Nelson Mandela Day, the celebration of one of the most inspirational persons of the century. Mandela spent 27 years in prison under the apartheid government of South Africa. While in prison, he meditated and reflected upon the hatred and discrimination that held the people of South Africa captive. Mandela understood that it was only through love, forgiveness and the power of personal example that people could be liberated from this most grievous of prisons, and he dedicated his life to ending prejudice and injustice in all its forms.

When he was released from jail, 100,000 people gathered to celebrate his freedom. A few years later, in 1993, Mandela was given the Nobel Peace Prize, and in the following year he was elected the first Black African president of South Africa. As President, he worked to promote the unity of all South Africans – whether black, white or other background – as he believed that in the eyes of God all were equal. Although Mandela passed away on December 5th, 2013, at the age of 95, his spirit lives on everywhere. His life and legacy are a testament to what one person, relying upon the power of faith and love, can achieve.

When Mandela passed away, I felt the best way I could pay tribute to him is through music. Nelson Mandela found great solace in the poem ‘Invictus’ (Latin for undefeated) during the 27 years he was in prison. Written by William Henley in 1875, I felt inspired to set the poem to music.  You can listen to the piece here.

My son Taraz also created a video for the song, you can view it here.

Nelson Mandela collage

Some inspirational quotations by Nelson Mandela:

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

You can also read our earlier tribute to Nelson Mandela, written after his passing.

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MKB World Cup for Kids: Wrap-Up

MKB World Cup for Kids: Wrap UpIt is hard to believe that what began as a casual chat among a handful of bloggers nearly a year ago turned into one of the most rewarding projects I have worked on in my blogging career.

The World Cup for Kids project is a collaborative project involving 21 bloggers from all over the world, exploring and celebrating the countries participating in the 2014 World Cup for football/soccer.

Each blogger adopted one of the countries (some bloggers took on more than one), and every time that team played, the blogger wrote about some aspect of the country – language, culture, food, etc.

The result is a stunning collection of articles on a broad range of countries, a rich resource for teaching children about the world.  Find them all here.

In addition, several members created an activity pack for children, and one blogger compiled video clips of children around the world talking about why they love the World Cup.  There are also a number of other wonderful articles about the World Cup in general and what we can learn from it.

You can see all of them and even more resources on our World Cup for Kids Pinterest board:



MKB One World Futbol World Cup Giveaway: Help Needy Kids Worldwide with the Power of PlayFinally, near the end of the World Cup, we were fortunate enough to work with One World Futbol on a campaign to donate FIVE of their virtually indestructible footballs to kids in needy communities worldwide.  (Read the announcement on the One World Futbol page).

Multicultural Kid Blogs set a goal of reaching 1000 page views on our campaign post, and although in the end we fell short of this goal (706 page views), One World Futbol was so pleased with the support we received and the enthusiasm from our worldwide community that they are generously (and happily) helping us to donate the two footballs anyway (yay!)

YOU, our readers, chose where we will donate the One World Futbols, and the winners are:

Ethiopia Reads has successfully worked with Ethiopian communities to provide excellent early education and literacy programs in both urban and rural environments.

Project Pelota Eterna distributes One World Futbols to underprivileged children and youth throughout Honduras.

As for the member bloggers who were vying with one another to donate a One World Futbol to an organization of their choice, the three winners were, in order of votes (that is, social shares on their posts):

1. Diana of Entre Compras y el Hogar: donating to Coaches Across Continents

2. Eolia of La Cité des Vents: donating to Fesakam e.V. for educational development in Cameroon

3. Leanna of All Done Monkey: donating to the Mustard Seed school for homeless children in Sacramento, USA

And so, as we bid adieu to the World Cup for 2014, we say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved, and above all:

See you in Russia in 2018!

MKBWorld Cup for Kids  thank you

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Ramadan in my Saudi/Canadian home

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Hijri calendar. It is one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, in which the Muslim Holy book the Quran was revealed. It is a month where Muslims all over the world refrain from eating, drinking any fluids including water, smoking, intercourse, and any sinful acts. During the daylight hours from right before the call to Fajr (sunrise) to the moment Maghreb [sunset] prayer is called, eating is not permitted unless you are elderly, a traveler, a child, sick, or a woman on menses.

In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan is a holiday that is observed by the majority of the population. Restaurants are closed, working hours are cut short, and the malls are open into the wee hours of the night. There are extra prayers that are observed during Ramadan, and many will take this month to be closer to Allah/God.

dates

An assortment of dates at Bateel a shop that specializes in Dates here in Riyadh.

Many would find it amusing that the month in which we are told to refrain from eating during the day is when many will indulge in lavish feasts throughout the hours between sunset and sunrise. You will see restaurants from fast food takeout to 5-star restaurants offering great iftar deals, catering to everyone’s choice of food and their respective budgets- Yes, even McDonald’s offers a deal on Iftar meals! Most Masjids have white tents pitched on their property that feed hundreds of iftar meals to mainly foreign workers, and those that have no place to eat. You will also find boxes of food being handed out at traffic signals when the prayer call for Maghreb is approaching.

One of the most important foods you will find when breaking ones fast is Dates. Dates are found at every breakfast table. They come in a large assortment such as rutob (which is the fresh dates), as well as those that have been allowed to mature a bit such as sukari. You will also find dates that have been stuffed with different types of nuts, and some that have been pitted, and pureed and then covered in different interesting choices such as coconut, Pistachios, to even Oreos.

Ramadan is the only time during the year in which my family and I all sit together for a meal daily at our dining room table- between my husband’s work hours and my kids’ early bedtime, the kids and I just end up eating in the kitchen, and my husband will eat his dinner when he gets home from work alone. So when my kids see that the usually untouched dining room is once again being used, they get excited, and look forward to eating meals together as a family.

ramadan

The assortment of food on my Ramadan Table. This was day seven.

 

In my home, we eat one main meal, Iftar. Because in all honesty after eating a meal at nearly 7pm, there is no time to eat another meal. There are families that will have two elaborate meals a day during Ramadan, keeping them in the kitchen for hours at a time. In our house, I make a main course, a salad, some appetizers, and dessert. I also make sure I have fruit on the table, and of course the infamous Saudi Gahwa, an important part of our daily ritual. Oh, and how can I forget the Samboosa’s? The meat or cheese filled goodness that has been a part of my Ramadan since I was a child and could have my first memory of the holiday.

Neighbours often take food to one another, and yesterday I decided to make Ramadan-inspired cupcakes. I made date cupcakes, and my oh my were they delicious. I sent them out to my neighbours and my children enjoyed them as well.

ramadan

The assortment of food on my Ramadan table. This was from the second day.

I will go through some of the important additions to a typical Saudi Iftar table; as I mentioned already there is the samboosa, the dates, the gahwa.

There is also another dish you will usually find on tables here and they are called Lugaimat. They are much like dumplings, that are fried in really hot oil, and then covered in this sugar syrup that is made up of sugar, water, a dash of lemon, and Zaafaran. The result is this delicious crispy on the outside and fluffy and airy interior that really does melt in ones mouth.

Another dish that has become quite important during Ramadan here in Saudi, is Fool (the beans). You will notice insanely long lines at the restaurants that make foul right before the call to prayer. The meal is filling, delicious, and very cheap. People usually pair it with tamis/tameez (fresh out of the oven flat bread).

Quaker soup has also become a staple on many tables (including mine) a couple of times a week. This soup is a rather savory dish unlike the sweet oatmeal breakfast we are often used to. When Ramadan is approaching you will find towers of Quaker quick oats sold at the shops, along with piles of Vimto, custard, dream whip, and flour, lots and lots of flour!

Ramadan, whether it be in Canada or Saudi, has a truly amazing feel to it, and many of these comfort foods make it all the more special when enjoyed with wonderful family, and amazing friends.

If you celebrate Ramadan, what is on your iftar table?

 

Multicultural Meal Plan Mondays on Multicultural Kid BlogsYou can also read other multicultural meal plans in this series and follow our Multicultural Cooking board on Pinterest.

You can also visit our Ramadan board on Pinterest:




 

About the author, Lavender

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I am a Canadian expat living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with my Saudi husband and our three children. I have been here for nearly a decade and am enjoying my fun yet scary ride on the mommy roller coaster. I studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto and am now a housewife who loves to observe the world around her.

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Ramadan Crafts and Activities

Itikaf Tents, Scrapbooks and Papier Mâché Mosques

Ramadan is the perfect time for children to get involved in fun crafts and activities which also provide opportunities for reflection and conversation about other religious practices around the world. Therefore, the following ideas can be easily adapted for families with diverse faith traditions or no faith. These brilliant ideas come from two of my favourite Muslim women: Australian writer and TV personality Susan Carland and craft blogger Karima.

Susan Carland - MCK craft itikaf tent

Photo Credit: Susan Carland

The first idea was inspired by Susan Carland who constructed a gorgeous Ramadan ‘itikaf tent (complete with twinkly star fairy lights) for her children to have their own special space. Susan describes it as “a little place that’s just theirs, for ibadah & thinking & dreaming.” To make the tent even more welcoming, she “put little prayer mats, tasbih [prayer beads], Islamic picture books, cushions etc in there for them.”

You can construct a simple tent-like space by hanging up a voile, curtain or spare fabric using a hoop or even a re-purposed coat hanger attached to a picture rail or wardrobe door or draping fabric over a clothes line or clothes horse re-arranged to create a free standing structure. If you want to get fancy with your creation, you can follow these tutorials which range from the no-sew simple variety to the sturdier and long lasting versions.

Once the tent is up, you could personalise your tent using fairy lights as Susan did, or use brightly coloured blankets, cardboard or glow in the dark moons and stars, or pin up your children’s Ramadan themed artwork. And since you want the space to be a cosy space where your children would want to spend time reading, reflecting, creating, you can decorate the inside with soft furnishings like pillows and cushions.

Then all that’s left to do is work out how to make an adult-sized Ramadan tent for yourself!

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The second activity is inspired by Karima Crafts‘s Ramadan Scrapbook project with her children this year. A scrapbook is the perfect outlet for your child’s creativity, especially if they love drawing and writing, and would be a lovely keepsake for the future.

Ramadan is a time when Muslims step back and reflect on the important things in life – family, friends, and our connection with God. With that in mind, the scrapbook could include short prayers, photos or drawings of family activities during Ramadan, or scrummy Ramadan recipes that you’ve prepared together. The scrapbook could also serve as a neat record of achievements during Ramadan such as helping out with jobs around the house, raising money for charity or even fasting for a full / half day if your children wish to do so (depending on their age and health of course).

IMG_3368 - Copy-001

And the final activity is for parents and children who want to take their Ramadan crafts to the next level (and don’t mind getting their hands sticky!)

Last year, Karima ran a 30-day Ramadan craft project. It featured a fantastic papier mâché mosque which she said was the hands down favourite activity for her whole family. Aside from being incredibly fun, it’s also perfect for those wishing to have a Green Ramadan as it allows you to recycle old newspapers, kitchen rolls, and cardboard boxes. You can find Karima’s tutorial here. For children or teens who aren’t keen on glue and glitter, you could also check out Karima’s impressive design activities – including constructing a Ka’aba using Minecraft and a Jenga mosque!

If you do get creative this Ramadan, it would be great to see the fruits of your efforts so feel free to post links to photos of your projects below and share other links to Ramadan-themed activities which children or the whole family can enjoy.

Also be sure to follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest!

 

2 Sarah

Sarah Ager is an English teacher and expat writer living in Italy. She describes herself as an ‘Anglo-Muslim hybrid’, having converted to Islam in 2011. She writes about interfaith dialogue, religion, and culture on her blog A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy and tweets at @SaritaAgerman. She curates Interfaith Ramadan, an inclusive interfaith blog project bringing together writers from different faiths and cultures (@InterfaithRam).

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Mofongo with Spanish Olives

Mofongo with Spanish Olives, by Diana Rodriguez of Entre Compras y El Hogar.

mofongo

Para leer en español da clic aquí

Hi my friends, I have received many requests to post my recipes in English, this is my first recipe, Mofongo with Spanish Olives. The mofongo is very famous in the Caribbean countries, my husband is Boricua and he loves this recipe, we like to accompany it with white jazmín rice and red beans.

This recipe is very economical, and easy to prepare,  you can add any ingredients that you like. But never omit the garlic, in order to maintain the authentic Latin taste of the mofongo.

For my family it’s very important to teach our children about our Hispanic culture and traditions, they enjoy helping in the kitchen and learning about our Latin recipes while listening to Salsa music.

For our family it is paramount to perpetuate our wonderful Hispanic culture and traditions.

mofongo

I love to add yellow plantain, because they give it a more smooth and creamy texture, and the Spanish olives give a sour contrast to the sweet taste of the garlic.

Many studies found garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls, Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels. Regular and prolonged use of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts lower blood homocysteine levels and has been shown to prevent some complications of diabetes mellitus.

Olive tree parts, and olive oil, have a number of common phenolic compounds that might possess positive health effect to the human body, as well as a good source of Vitamin E.

mofongo-spanish-olives

Ingredients:

4 Servings

  • 3 Green Plantains
  • 1 Yellow Plantains
  • 1/2 cup of Peanut oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of spanish olives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation:

  • Peel and cut plantains in small 1/2″ pieces.
  • Fry the plantains until golden yellow.
  • Place garlic, salt and pepper inside the pilon or mortar, and mash until the garlic has a paste texture.
  • Add the plantains and gently mash until all the ingredients has properly fussed.
  • Slice spanish olives and add to the mix.
  • Place the mofongo in the mold, press and remove once it’s shaped.
  • Plated and garnish.

*You can add meat, pork, chicken, sea food, chicharrón (Pork cracklings).

Enjoy…

majar_ajo

mofongo_platano

mofongo-casero

mofongo-sin-carne

 

About Diana Rodriguez

Colombian, Mother, Wife and Blogger, She is the founder and creator of EntreComprasyElHogar, ViernesdeRecetasEconomicas.com, creating recipes for the budget minded.
She’s defined as an enterprising woman who accomplished through publications methods on how the public can save and have a better quality of life. She likes to read, write, create recipes, crafts, beauty tips and shares a passion for photography. LATISM has recognized her as one of the Top Blogger for 2013, she was also invited to the United Nations as an influential voice in the Latino community.

 

 

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MKB One World Futbol World Cup Giveaway: Help Needy Kids Worldwide with the Power of Play

MKB One World Futbol World Cup Giveaway: Help Needy Kids Worldwide with the Power of Play

In your travels as parents raising globally aware kids, what’s the sport you have seen kids playing across countries? The sport that unifies kids around the world in play? If you said soccer (or football for everyone except Americans), then you were right!

Multicultural Kid Blogs is so excited to support One World Futbol in their mission to bring the healing power of play to youth worldwide through their nearly indestructible soccer/football.  The ball never needs a pump and never goes flat—even when punctured multiple times—due to its ingenious technology. How amazing is that?! The thing we truly love about their model is for every ball purchased, they donate one to organizations working with youth in disadvantaged communities worldwide.

Our Giveaway

Follow along by using the hash tag #MKBWorldCup!

We have a special giveaway planned during the World Cup with One World Futbol, who will generously donate 5 balls to communities YOU choose around the world. Here’s how it works:

1. Help Multicultural Kid Blogs “unlock” two footballs to donate to international youth organizations – and decide which organizations will receive them!

If this post receives at least 500 page views by midnight ET on Sunday, July 13, then we will donate one football.

If this post receives at least 1000 page views by midnight ET on Sunday, July 13, then we will donate an additional football.

YOU decide which organizations will receive these footballs once “unlocked” by voting in the poll at the bottom of this post.

2. “Vote” for one of our participating blogs by sharing their giveaway posts.  The top three blogs will donate a football to an organization of their choice!

9 of our member blogs are each posting about this giveaway. Three of them will get to donate a football to a qualified organization of their choice.  YOU decide which blogs will get to make a donation!

Each social share (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest) made directly from one of the blogs’ giveaway posts – using one of their social share buttons – is considered a “vote.”

At midnight ET on Sunday, July 13, we will tally the number of shares on the social share buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest) of each giveaway post.  The top three will get to donate a football to the qualified organization of their choice, as specified in their giveaway post.

3. Follow along by using the hash tag #MKBWorldCup on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!

One World Futbol

One World Futbol was inspired by refugee youth in Darfur, who had such indestructible spirits – and love for football! – despite their hardships.  One World Futbol inventor Tim Jahnigen wanted to give them something more, so he invented a soccer ball that would never need a pump and would never go flat, even when punctured multiple times.  One World Futbol and its virtually indestructible ball have now reached more than 170 countries and continue to bring the healing power of play to youth worldwide.  The Buy One Donate One model makes it easy for consumers to donate these amazing footballs to needy communities.

Here is more on their work in one community in Brazil:

Participating Blogs

The following member blogs are participating in this contest.  Visit them to see which organizations they have chosen.  Remember, sharing is caring!  The 3 blogs with the most social shares (as shown on the share counters on their blog posts) will get to donate a football to the qualified organization they have chosen!

Our Whole Village
Expat Life with a Double Buggy
Entre Compras y El Hogar
Head of the Heard
InCultureParent
MommyMaestra
La Cité des Vents
Trilingual Mama
All Done Monkey

You Chose Where MKB Donates

Multicultural Kid Blogs will potentially donate TWO footballs to youth in needy communities.  YOU help “unlock” those footballs by helping us get more page views on this post, plus you decide where we will donate!

Below are listed One World Futbol’s current campaigns.  Which would you like to see receive one of our footballs?  Vote in the poll at the end of this post!

Coaches Across Continents educates local communities on social development using soccer.

Ethiopia Reads has successfully worked with Ethiopian communities to provide excellent early education and literacy programs in both urban and rural environments.

Muti Onlus aims to provide protection, safety and fundamental rights to children – as well as medical care, education and fun.

Richard Swanson – This campaign honors a charismatic supporter who died too soon.

A Ganar is a youth workforce development program in Latin America based around soccer.

Ball to Alldonates One World Futbols to communities in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Jordan, India, and Liberia.

FUNDaFIELDutilizes the therapeutic power of sports to support the rehabilitation and recovery process in post-conflict and post-trauma regions around the world.

Project Pelota Eternadistributes One World Futbols to underprivileged children and youth throughout Honduras.

United Through Sport is a UK registered development through sport charity helping disadvantaged communities in Africa, South American, and Asia reach their full potential in sport, education and health.

mission:soccer partners with coaches and soccer organizations in seven countries — Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Montenegro, Haiti and Mexico — and provides them with proper soccer equipment.

 

Which of these campaigns would you like to receive one of the One World Futbols?  Vote here:

 

World Cup for Kids - Multicultural Kid BlogsSee all of the posts in the World Cup for Kids project, plus follow our World Cup for Kids board on Pinterest, and join the conversation on Facebook and Google Plus!

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Rio Report: One Multicultural Mama’s Experience at the World Cup

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The World Cup is truly a multicultural event – global in a way that virtually no other sporting event is. For many, attending the World Cup is a lifelong quest or dream. I’ve followed the World Cup with a little bit of jealousy through the Facebook thread of a friend of mine, another multicultural mama, who is actually in Brazil and has been able to attend several games. I decided to ask her a few questions about her experience and about raising her daughter bilingually – only to be corrected and informed that, now that they’ve moved to Brazil, they are raising their daughter to be trilingual! It was fun to get her first-hand account of the World Cup.

Rio Report: One Multicultural Mama's Experience at the World Cup | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Adrienne is from Texas and married to a Colombian. She lived in Colombia for 6.5 years, and moved to Rio de Janeiro in February of this year. She has an almost three year old daughter. Here’s a little about her experience of the World Cup.

Q1: How have you seen the World Cup bring “the world” together? 

People from all over the world are here for the events, not just the countries competing but from all over. Rio de Janeiro is a diverse city anyhow, but even more so right now. I have seen competing team fans hug one another and shake hands.

Q2: How many different languages have you heard spoken?

I’m not good at recognizing other languages but there have been a lot! Spanish has been a big one here. French and Dutch are also being heard all over the streets here in Rio.

Q3: Have you seen families involved with the World Cup? If so, how?

Many families are attending the games together. In Rio, we saw lots of families at the Fan Fest and at a practice for the Dutch team.

Rio Report: One Multicultural Mama's Experience at the World Cup | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Their view of Fan Fest while on a ride.

Q4. Why did you decide to attend the World Cup?

Several years ago, while we were living in Colombia, we found out Brazil would be hosting the games. Immediately, I chatted with my best friend who is from and lives in Brasilia (the capital) and reserved her couch to sleep on for the games. We figured Brazil was close enough to Colombia that we could try to attend something. We had no idea we would be living here for the games. My husband loves the sport and I have grown to enjoy it, too. Fast forward to a few months ago, shortly after our arrival in Brazil we realized FIFA was selling tickets to the games. Since all the games in Rio de Janeiro (where we live) were sold out, I bought some tickets to games in Brasilia and reminded my friend that the couch was reserved years ago for us. She responded by saying the couch would be too small for our family and we would have to stay in her guest room and she even offered to watch our daughter while we attended the games. We attended two games in Brasilia. Each one was special. The first one we watched was Ecuador vs. Switzerland. This was special because almost 20 years ago I was a HS exchange student to Ecuador. The next game we watched was Colombia vs. Ivory Coast. We chose to attend this one since my husband is from there and because we lived there for so long. Once Colombia advanced and we were back home in Rio, we got lucky and a friend offered us some tickets to a round of 8 game here where Colombia beat Uruguay.

Rio Report: One Multicultural Mama's Experience at the World Cup | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Q5. What is your favorite thing about your multicultural family and how do you balance two languages – or do you just focus on one language?

Actually we are balancing three languages now: English, Spanish and Portuguese. I love having an almost trilingual almost three year old daughter. My husband and I have always spoken English with her directly since birth. She picked up Spanish in Colombia from extended family, her nanny and preschool. Now she is attending preschool in Brazil from 8am to 5pm each day and all they speak is Portuguese. We are lucky to use Facetime so she can keep up the Spanish with Jorge’s family and many of our friends here in Brazil are Spanish speakers that she is still exposed to it. I feel this approach has worked well for us.

I’ve enjoyed Adrienne’s first hand account of the World Cup. It also reminds of how travel can change lives and create amazing experiences that stay with us forever. Adrienne met her husband in Colombia and the seeds for living abroad were certainly planted when she was a foreign exchange student in Ecuador in High School. As for me, I met my husband while studying abroad in Cairo Egypt; he was a Bostonian studying abroad in Cairo as well and thus the Texan and Bostonian met. Not only do travel experiences expand our worldview and enrich our lives, but sometimes they also lead to love!

World Cup for Kids - Multicultural Kid BlogsSee all of the posts in the World Cup for Kids project, plus follow our World Cup for Kids board on Pinterest, and join the conversation on Facebook and Google Plus!

Jennifer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler and preschooler’s favorite children’s books. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+.

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