July eBulletin - In Brief


Birthdays for a better world

“My teacher from last year is from Togo and I really liked him. Every year I raise money on my birthday for places that don’t have as much as we do in Toronto”.

That is nine-year-old Sophie Quastel. This year, she asked her friends to put the money they would have spent on gifts, towards a donation to Crossroads’ work in Togo.

“I’m lucky and they don’t have as much stuff as we do,” Sophie added. “And sometimes it’s hard to live without as much stuff.”

Sophie, and her friends and family, raised nearly $500 which will go to support critical programs in areas like girls leadership and ending violence against women. By dedicating her ninth birthday to helping others, Sophie made a real contribution to families and children in Togo.

This is not the first time she has chosen to forego presents either. It is a tradition that she and her younger brother, Elias, honour every year.

“We have always done this,” said their mother, Ingrid McKhool. “It’s about trying to help my kids be aware that there are ways to celebrate their birthdays that don’t involve buying into the consumerist approach to birthdays.”

It’s not about giving up gifts altogether either. Sophie and Elias get presents from the people who are closest to them. It is about instilling birthdays with generosity and encouraging the children to think with a global mind.

“Young children are capable of understanding that kids around the world have rights, that some may not have the same kinds of opportunities that they do,” added Ingrid. “They understand that we are all part of the same community and that we have a responsibility to support those who have less.”

When Sophie told her former teacher about her fundraiser birthday party she said, “He was very very happy.”

The whole Crossroads community is sending out our thanks to Sophie and her family for their generous contribution for a more just and equitable world.

Inspired to convert your next birthday party into a fundraiser? A closing piece of advice from Sophie, “I would tell [other kids] it’s a great idea. And to make it more fun for themselves, they should do it for a country or a cause that’s important to them.”

Want to turn your family celebration into a gift with that will change lives? Please contact Shobi at 416.967.1611 ext 288 or shobi@cciorg.ca to learn more.


Crossroads granted status as ethical fundraiser

Crossroads is thrilled to announce that we were recently certified under Imagine Canada’s Ethical Code Program.

This means that our fundraising and financial reporting practices meet the code’s high standards, ensuring that donor dollars are being leveraged responsibly, effectively and with greatest impact towards our programs in Africa and Bolivia.

For more information about the code, or to download a copy, visit: www.imaginecanada.ca.


Swazi women’s rights leader in Canada

Swaziland has made headlines a number of times in recent months. Inspired by the Arab spring, pro-democracy activists took to the streets in April in the largest demonstration the country has witnessed in decades. The protest was cut short by police who used water cannons and tear gas against peaceful demonstrators. In June, after a meeting of Southern African Bishops, the Catholic leaders called on the Swazi regime for immediate reforms to respect basic human rights. In that same month, news of the deteriorating state of the nation’s economy also hit international wires, with news of massive cuts to social services and public sector layoffs. Swazi women will be hardest hit by the economic crisis.

The work of Crossroads local partner Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse has never been more critical. The organization’s Executive Director, Cebile Manzini-Henwood, is currently in Canada meeting with partners to set out a bold plan to expand girls’ empowerment clubs. To read more about the clubs click here. She will also be attending the international Women’s Worlds conference in Ottawa.


McGill University to launch new international development course for professionals

McGill University's Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID) recently announced the launch of an Executive Education Certificate Program entitled International Development: Bridging the Worlds of Theory, Policy and Practice.

This four day program (October 17-20, 2011) is specifically designed fo those that have work experience and are interested in working in international development. It will will cover a number of specific issues ranging from roles of different international actors and program management principles to the important role of culture and the current employment landscape in international development.

Visit the ISID website for a full description of the program and registration process.



Crossroads at Women’s Worlds conference

Canada is about to host the largest women’s conference in the country’s history, and Crossroads is at the table. On July 4 at 1 :00 p.m. on the University of Ottawa campus for a lively and informative discussion about women’s political participation. Our expert panel will include Hélène Duquette, Crossroads Team Leader for Women’s Rights, Yacine Diagne, chair of Senegalese partner Association des femmes de la Médina and Carole Benjamin, co-coordinator of La table des groupes de femmes de Montréal.  These leading women’s rights advocates will be sharing their expertise and frontline experience in how to break down the barriers to women’s engagement in politics. The panel is entitled, “Solidarity between the women of Quebec and Senegal to break glass ceilings .

The Women’s Worlds conference is an international gathering of leaders in women’s rights from across the globe. It will be convening in Ottawa from July 3 to 7. We hope to see you there!

What: Solidarity between the women of Quebec and Senegal to break glass ceilings

When: July 4, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Room 12102, Demarais Building, University of Ottawa campus

For more details visit: www.womensworlds.ca



Crossroads International gratefully acknowledges the support of: