Bright Idea: Battle stereotypes with hope

Take a moment to sit still and think about your immediate thoughts when you read the following word:

African

What images comes to mind? There is an organization, founded by Nyla Rodgers, which poses this question. So many times we have the same images of Africa and its people drilled into our psyche; a land of impoverished, violent, sick, helpless people. And while we are well aware of the problems that exist in the continent, the same awareness should be as, if not more, popular for the vibrant, intellectual, driven, optimistic people who also populate the countries!

Mama Hope is on a mission and their mission is to continue to work “in close partnership with local African organizations to connect them with the resources required to transform their own communities. All [their] projects are managed for and by partner communities themselves to ensure sustainability. So far, [they] have achieved [their] mission by funding the completion of schools, health clinics, children’s centers, clean water systems and food security projects.”

(Source: Mama Hope YouTube Channel)

One of their projects that caught my eye, was “Stop the Pity”. On a whole, the movement is Mama Hope’s effort to “re-humanize Africa and look to the positive change that is happening. Through a series of videos Mama Hope wants to show the light of the people we serve in Africa.” What they refer to is “unlocking the potential”. One of the their videos has been quite viral and highlights the stereotypes of African men in Hollywood films.

(Source: Mama Hope YouTube Channel)

What a brilliant way to illustrate their positive message – by contrasting the stereotypes with the realities. If you believe in their cause and would like to know more about it, you can visit their website.

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Charlize Theron: The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP)

While many of you think of her latest film, Young Adult, when you hear the name Charlize Theron, or wonder about her love life, Charlize is obsessing over something way more important and way less trivial – victims of HIV/AIDS in her homeland. A native of Africa’s country of South Africa, it was in 2007 that she founded The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), in affiliation with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). The CTAOP is “committed to reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and sexual violence among African youth by supporting and collaborating with organizations that provide preventive education.”

The organization cares about the several million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and the millions more living with the disease, in the total population, regardless of their ages. The outreach programs are so important to the education of the citizens, they even use mobile health clinics.

(Source: CTAOP/CharlizeAfrica YouTube page)

For more information about the outreach project or to see what you can do in her country, you can go to the CTAOP website at:

www.charlizeafricaoutreach.org

You may even be inspired to see what you can do in your own country, in order to help stomp out HIV/AIDS. We hope you are!

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Alicia Keys: Keep a Child Alive

While Alicia Keys is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her first album release, “Songs in A Minor” (I still remember the first time I saw her music video for “Fallin’”!), and has been seen around NYC with her husband Swizz Beatz and their baby Egypt, she maintains focus on one of her figurative babies – Keep a Child Alive. (http://www.keepachildalive.org)

Alicia Keys is Co-founder and Global Ambassador to the organization, whose mission is “providing life-saving AIDS treatment, care, nutrition, support services and love to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India by directly engaging the global public in the fight against AIDS.”

Alicia Keys spoke at the United Nations in New York City on June 7th, 2011. The conference on AIDS was called “HIV Priorities for Positive Change: In Women’s Words”.

June 5th , 2011 marked 30 years since the discovery of HIV/AIDS.

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