Photo credit: Agência Brasil 2006, Creative Commons Use.
Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) grew up in the green highlands of Kenyan. When she returned from studying college in the US she discovered that her lush homeland was being destroyed by deforestation which caused water and food shortages, malnutrition, and disappearing wildlife. She began to educate others to care for the land and re-plant the forests and they called her Mama Miti, “Mother of Trees.” Ms Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which empowered woman around Kenya to help take back their land, planting tree by tree.
For her compassion and efforts she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Here are resources you can use to teach your children about this inspirational, remarkable woman, and her plight to save her country’s landscape. She shows us that one person truly can save the world! Continue reading →
Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.- The Dalai Lama
With so much violence in the world today, it is our duty as parents and teachers to teach our children about compassion, showing them kindness and respect, and giving them examples and role models to follow. Studying great leaders who embody peace helps kids to make better decisions and learn from others wisdom as well as from their mistakes.
The Buddhist religion was founded in India over 2500 years ago, and is currently practiced by over 500 million people all over the world. The countries with the largest number of Buddhists are: China (especially Tibet), Thailand, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Viet Nam, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Laos, and Nepal among others. Every country has different ways to worship, but the universal goal of Buddhism is to achieve a state of enlightenment- freedom from suffering- through acts of compassion on all living things.
The Dalai Lama: Peacemaker from Tibet, a biography by Chris Gibb.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, though Buddhist around the world follow his teachings of non-violence and kindness.
Dalai is translated from Mongolian as “ocean” and lama in Tibetan Buddhism is “perfect teacher.” In fact lama refers to a religious master, specifically a Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk. Continue reading →
In my ESL class, my students needed to take out simple biographies from the library, do some research on-line, and write a one page report about someone famous that they admire. I had numerous athletes and movie stars, and too many repeats! The following year I decided to give them a list of suggestions from around the world, and I had the class sign up so I wouldn’t be reading the same people regurgitated over and over. The next time your child needs to write about a famous person, broaden their horizons. Rigoberta Menchú, from Guatemala, is a leader, an advocate for Indian rights, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I made the following very short presentation as a mini-biography to introduce her.
In this abridged version of his autobiography, children will be introduced to a global hero: South African Nelson Mandela
Reading biographies written for kids, and learning about important leaders from around the world and challenges they have overcome gives children examples of character traits, perspective on current events, and expands their ideas about other countries. The activities in this article are geared towards the older elementary grades.
You may know that Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who was imprisoned 27 years, elevated to President of South Africa in 1991 and subsequently won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. Continue reading →