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February 25th, 2016

Self-help is the key!

type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

ASAP stands for A Self-Help Assistance Programme and is, according to the webpage of the NGO, „a lobour of love“. Two former Peace Corps volunteers, Tom and Elizabeth Arsenault, met in Swaziland while working as teachers there, got married and co-founded ASAP in 1992 with the vision to end poverty through self-help assitance.

In Zimbabwe and Malawi ASAP established sustainable local organizations that implement Savings Group micro-finance projects; helping thousands of families in rural areas improve their household income each year.

In partnership with The Salesian Missions Don Bosco Training Centers, ASAP collects new and used donated tools, which are refurbished as needed and made into specific kits for various artisans such as auto mechanics, carpentry, bricklaying, building, plumbing, electrical and building. Access to an ASAP’s Tools For Empowerment kit can mean the difference between perpetual poverty and productivity, as graduates become active members of their community.

Support this sustainably working and locally active NGO by donating, liking them on Facebook and sharing their contents!


Photo: ASAP
February 18th, 2016
type:Donation, Project, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The suicide of Iranian refugee Mohammad Rahsepar in 2012 in Würzburg/Germany due to the unimaginably insufficient and isolating conditions, refugees in German collective shelters have to endure until the present day, was the primal motivation for the formation of the first international Refugee Movement: a protest movement which came from the inside of refugee camps, shelters and collective houses out on the streets, showing up the desolate living conditions and the injust legal situation of refugees in Germany and criticizing the profound lack of general public and political interest on the topic.

The now four year long protest "from within" expanded on all mayor cities of the whole Federal Republic and far beyond its borders, bringing an absolute necessary publicity and focus to the misery of European migration policies and far more: making the borders of the EU and its politics visible by making themselves visible and heard as those who passed through them, by naming the ones who died at trying to cross them and who suffer by being inside these borders as "non-citizens", als "ilegals", as people "without status", pushed to the margins of society and made invisible - this protest meant a revealing and a critique of the essential dynamics of isolation.

In order to break this isolation which is caracterized by standstill and silence, the Refugee Protest Movement - now having their long fought, permanent squatted space in a former school building at the so called "O-Platz" in Berlin - is speaking to the public through their first self-published medium, a magazine called "Movement". This great attempt to not only give a voice to the voiceless through self-made media, but also to speak up for themselves instead of being other-defined and "covered" by national and international mass media - which operates in the same institutional realms as the policy and the law which discriminates, isolates and thus sileneces them - is also a true act of emancipatory media-making in its best sense.

The magazine's first issue is available online in a work version but also purchasable as a final print version on the webpage. The makers of "Movement" pursue an anti-capitalist policy which includes that none of the contributors and participants receive money. Only the printing costs will be covered with the sale of the magazine and donations. Feel free to contribute and donate for this amazing project from and for people on the move!

Photo: Oliver Feldhaus
February 15th, 2016
type:Donation, NGO, Project, Protest, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting (FGM/C) is the non-medical, ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia with no known health benefits. In contrary: The procedure often leads to severe physical problems, psychological traumas and very often even death caused by fatal bleeding or infections. This institutionalized and socially accepted practice is wide spread in many communities in Africa and the Middle East. According a report published by UNICEF, at least 130 million girls in 29 countries have been cut. FGM/C is a clear violation of girls’ and women’s human rights.

The majority of sensitisation work on the problem is carried out by women and there is a lack of male involvement in tackling the practice. FGM/C became a "women's affair". Sadly male members of FGM/C practicing communities and men in general hardly interfere on the issue and are badly informed about what this practice really is.

That is why Forward UK, GAMS Belgium, HIMILO Foundation and The Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp came together and started the "Men speak out" Project. The project's goal is to engage men in the process of ending FGM/C, raise general male awareness on the topic and sensitize men deriving from communities in which FGM/C is traditionally practiced. The project thus contributes, on a larger scale, to the stabilization of women's rights and promotes gender equality through a human rights approach.

If you want to engage in this project and become a "man who speaks out" against FGM/C or if you simply want to donate to one of the above mentioned organisations you may do so via the project's webpage.
February 04th, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Saudi Arabia is waging a horrific war in Yemen - bombing schools, hospitals, even wedding parties. Many of the weapons used to kill innocent civilians come from EU countries, and tomorrow The European Parliament could vote to stop these deadly arms sales.

The EU is feeling the pressure - a new UN report on Yemen documents over 100 violations of humanitarian law, in direct violation of the EU's own rules on weapons exports. As long as European companies continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, we are complicit in the breachings of humanitarian law and horrific attacks on civilians that the UN has documented.

Tomorrow's vote on an EU-wide arms embargo to Saudi Arabia is going down to the wire. Some Memebers of the European Parliament are secretly planning to block the vote and Saudi Arabian lobbyists are trying hard to keep the arms flowing. Now time has come to higher public pressure on the EU-Parliament and tip the balance to ensure Europe is no longer complicit in these horrific war crimes.

Send an urgent message to key MEPs now, then contact them via social media. It is in all our hands to stop war and violence in Yemen. Make it happen!
February 01st, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been waging a methodical crackdown on the media in Turkey for years. Erdogan is persecuting journalists of all colours in an increasingly ferocious manner in the name of combatting terrorism and defending state security. Such as Can Dündar, the editor­ in ­chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and his Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül. Both journalists have been held since the evening of 26 November 2015. They are charged with spying and terrorism because they published evidence of arms deliveries by the Turkish intelligence services to Islamist groups in Syria in May 2015.

The arrest of these two journalists is the latest extreme to which political use of the Turkish judicial system has been taken. Many journalists have been detained on spurious charges of terrorist propaganda and insulting President Erdogan. The regime has also been using economic levers to put growing pressure on the media, while draconian laws have been passed. Turkey is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

Sign the petition and appeal to the Turkish authorities to free Can Dündar and Erdem Gül without delay​, to drop all charges against them, and to free all other journalists who are currently detained in connection with their journalism or the opinions they have expressed!
January 25th, 2016
type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In times of genetic food and lobbyism in agricultural economy we all know that what we eat lies no longer in our hands. The food industry, lobbyists and politicians control what ends up on our plates and which information we receive about our food.

foodwatch is a Berlin-based, independent NGO that exposes practices of the global food-industry that are not in the interests of consumers. foodwatch fights for the right of consumers to know exactly what they are buying and to enjoy healthy, unmodified and uncontaminated food.

Thanks to independent research and analysis, foodwatch tells the public which food products contain toxins, naming the parties responsible and tell consumers about the barefaced lies used in food advertising. foodwatch also puts on pressure by mobilising consumer protest activities and take offenders to court on behalf of consumers.

Support foodwatch in their more than necessary and important work by donating and spreading their contents through your channels!
January 20th, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Ashraf, a 35-year-old poet and artist, is sentenced to be executed by Saudi Arabian authorities for his art.

He was initially arrested in 2013 following a complaint registered against him by another Saudi citizen, who said that the poet was promoting atheism and spreading blasphemous ideas among young people. Ashraf was released the following day, but then rearrested in 2014, when he was charged with 'apostasy' – he had supposedly questioned religion and spread atheist thought with his poetry. In consequence the General Court sentenced him to death.

Throughout this whole process, Ashraf was denied access to a lawyer – a clear violation of international human rights law, as well as Saudi Arabia’s national laws.

Apostasy (Riddah, in Arabic) is the renouncing of Islam. Saudi Arabia follows Sharia (Islamic) law, and ‘apostasy’ can be punishable by death. Yet ‘apostasy’ is not a crime – it is a violation of someone’s right to belief or choose our own religion. It should never incur punishment.

The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – it violates our right to life and our right to be free from torture. Sign Amnestay International's petition to demand the freedom of Ashraf and give Saudi Arabian authorieties a signal to act according the international law!

January 17th, 2016
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Turkey has been accused of violating academic freedom after the detention of 27 academics who had signed a petition demanding "an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state" in Eastern Turkey. The signatories have been accused of "terror propaganda" while this intervention of the Turkish state itself resembles an act of terror against its own rule of law.

The petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime” was signed by the staff from 90 universities calling themselves “Academics for Peace”, among them well-known political scientist Noam Chomsky and philosopher Slavoj Žižek. The signatories are demanding an immediate end to the military interventions in Eastern Turkey including massacres against the Kurds and accusing the Turkish government of breaching international law and violating human rights.

In order to crub further declarations of solidarity, the webpage of the petition was blocked soon after the call for signature by Turkish authorities. Still a collective of 1400 international academics - and soon 35.000 Turkish students who declared their solidarity with the "Academics for Peace" in a seperate petition - managed to gain the attention of the Turkish government, international media and human rights organisations.

Despite all state censorship, it is still possible to sign the petition via E-mail. As an academic you can support "Acedamics for Peace" by sending an E-Mail with your signature, name of your university and your title to
January 14th, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In the besieged town of Madaya, starving children are eating tree leaves, cats and insects. The Assad regime is literally starving over 40,000 people to death.

A truce to lift the siege on Madaya and other cities was brokered in September, but civilians are still trapped inside without food and medicine. Aid conveys are right now entering the town, and with all the world's attention on Madaya, there is finally a chance to get the siege lifted entirely to save the people of Madaya.

Help the Avaaz team to achieve a one million strong outcry calling on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intervene and work with all sides! This way we could save thousands of families from starving to death in Madaya. Add your voice to this urgent petition!
January 11th, 2016
type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In Cologne several women were sexually harassed, threatened and robbed during the New Year's Eve celebrations around the city centre. The victims stated in their reports to the police that the culprits were of "Arabic or North-African looks". While the police is investigating, German media is not holding back in profiling the perpetrators racially, thus repeating and spreading a now widely perceived imagery of the dangerous, criminal, misogynist "Arabic or North African man" leading to a hightened tension over migrants deriving from those regions.

The problematic spreading of such imagery is not only creating new racist suspect profiles but over all serves already prevailing prejudices against People of Colour. In times of a global refugee crisis and a general strengthening of the political right wing in Europe, it becomes more than necessary that journalists and other opinion makers in media overthink their rhetorics in reporting on topics which include People of Colour and crime.

The European Race & Imagery Foundation (ERIF) is an NGO which dedicates itself to the topic of racially motivated representations of People of Colour and especially Black people. Namely they are interested in how European understandings of home, belonging, space, citizenship and identity are racialised. ERIF aims to conduct critical research of the various media expressions, provide education for a broader audience and raise awareness of the counter movements and narratives taking place throughout the continent.

Support this meaningful platform by donating and/or sharing their content through your channels and help attaining a better understanding and sensitization of contemporary negative representations of people of colour, especially in the media!

Digital Art: Nkiru Oparah via