My Opinion on the Harambe Incident

Over the course of the week I have seen sooo many articles about Harambe the Gorilla who was killed to save a toddlers life. People are arguing he should have been tranquilised instead, I saw articles about how the childs mother was negligent and she should instead pay for his life. What parent takes their kid to a zoo and worries that they will end up in a Gorilla enclosure?? Surely a zoo which is marketed to children and families should have precautions to prevent this. For everyone sharing the article about how he shouldnt have been killed because animals are equal, I am sure that if that baby was mauled to death by the Gorilla you would have strong feelings opposing that too.

The thing is …we all have opinions but casting judgements isnt enough to make a change. The truth is that if you really care about Gorillas enough to share 20 articles about this incident you should be fighting to close Zoo’s because in my eyes they are the real problem here. Zoo’s are cruel no matter how big the enclosures and I dont think Harambe loved his caged life as an entertainer. If Harambe was in his natural habitat this incident would have never happened. All those “experts” commenting on whether his behaviour was aggresive or protective are a joke…how can you be an expert on baby and gorilla interaction…its not supposed to happen and there are hundreds of different opinions because they dont know…how can they?!

Gorillas belong in the wild whether they are endangered or not, plenty of wildlife parks manage to have breeding programs where animals can live a happy life. My point is that actions speak louder then words, instead of sharing 20 articles, sign and share one petition, raise money, volunteer or work at a place where you can make a difference for something you believe in!

Here is a petition I signed proposing the Gorillas currently in Cincinnati Zoo are moved to a sanctuary where they have more freedom and space and are bred to be in the wild instead of imprisoned in Zoo’s.

 

 

Toms One for One

I had an eye-opening experience at the Tom’s store in Dubai Mall. I always knew that Toms were comfy and cute but I had no idea about One for One. Did you know that for every purchase of Toms shoes you make, a child in South or Central America receives a pair of shoes.

Having lived in Peru the video of the Peruvian children receiving shoes from the Tom’s employees brought back warm memories. We often take the simplest things for granted, to us shoes are a commodity but in many parts of the world shoes are a luxury. Blake Mycoskie the founder of Toms had the fantastic idea, A simple idea that has grown into a global movement: TOMS Shoes has provided over 60 million pairs of shoes to children since 2006, TOMS Eyewear has restored sight to over 400,000 since 2011 and TOMS Roasting Company has helped provide over 335,000 weeks of safe water since launching in 2014. In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection was founded with the mission to help provide training for skilled birth attendants and distribute birth kits containing items that help a woman safely deliver her baby. As of 2016, TOMS has supported safe birth services for over 25,000 mothers.

So next time you make a Tom’s purchase, you should be aware that your money is helping someone in need 🙂 I love my customised Toms, they painted Llamas on them for me as a little symbol of Peru ❤

 

Donate to Crohn’s & Colitis fund

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I met this amazing girl Shantel Payne​  in India 3 years ago who I ended up travelling with and taking back to Dubai. She was really ill when I met her and between our adventures we spent lots of time making hospital visits. She has Ulcerative Colitis and after trying countless treatments had to get a colostomy bag.

I saw her go through some really hard days and she always laughed everything off even though I know she was suffering…she has always had a wonderful positive spirit which I think masked half of what she went through. She is smart, hilarious and just an amazing girl and after spending so much time with her she felt like a little sister to me.

Since her op, she is turning her life around and this year she plans to walk the great wall of China which is a challenge for anyone but particularly with her condition, her muscles are weaker and she is gonna have to work twice as hard. She is raising money to help other people with Crohns disease and Ulcerative Collitis and today is her birthday so it would be amazing if you could help her reach her target and donate to her cause here because nobody deserves it more!! If you can’t donate you can still follow her incredible story by clicking here.

The Little Big Co.

Since last year I have been trying to eat better and be more conscious of what I put into my body so I was thrilled when I heard about the Little Big Co. It’s a new website that sells healthy and organic products. If you don’t already know organic products are cultivated in natural ways so not only are you limiting the pesticides and toxins in your body, you are also helping the environment. I find organic shops in Dubai to be overpriced and also the majority are not easy for me to get to. The Little Big Co is a godsend because not only do they deliver, their products are amazing AND their prices are reasonable.

They sell everything, from tea and coffee, honey to protein packs and even natural beauty products. I tried their honeys, teas and protein and enjoyed all of them. They also share healthy recipes and have lots of interesting info so you can make better eating decisions. I will definitely be grocery shopping at http://www.thelittlebigco.com and can’t wait to try more of their delicious products.

Wish Upon A Coke

This campaign touched my heart, living in Dubai and seeing the way labourers are mistreated and given false expectations, I will be supporting this campaign! I have spoken to many and the stories always shock me, I am not saying its everyone but I do believe the vast majority were brought here under false expectations. Many are not free to go back home and some of them are, but choose to stay as despite what they endure, they can support their families back home. This morning I was in the grocery shop looking at the employees bagging shopping and taking it to peoples cars, I was thinking you are somebodys father, son or husband, did you expect to come to Dubai to do this job to feed your family? Many are educated with degrees, a taxi driver I spoke to last week was a Qualified Doctor but during his job-hunt he needed to support himself so took a job as a taxi driver and got stuck with it. I feel lucky everyday for being able to have the support to move somewhere like Dubai, many do not and once they are here they have to work until they can afford to pay for their visas and get a ticket home which is extremely difficult without a decent salary. At the end of the day it is an advert for a product but at least something positive is coming off the back of it 🙂

I do understand that this is just an advert for coke but I think many people in the UAE have such bad attitudes towards people that are not as rich as them, they definitely look down and in some cases dehumanise them. Even if this advert makes you want to do a good deed or next time smile and greet the person helping you then it has served a bigger purpose. We all have dreams and families, ultimately we all want the same fundamentals in life. Always remember that your money does not make you better then someone else, it just gives you more opportunities and you can use those to help others!

Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids

I just watched this fascinating documentary giving you a peek into the lives of the children of Prostitutes in India. It is so unbelievably sad that just being born into a certain family, stipulates your entire life! It makes me eternally grateful for my circumstances in life. I often think of who I would be if I was born into the same family just 3 generations back and I don’t think I would have had the chance to be me. Cultures and times dictate behaviours and create norms and often it is hard to relate to and understand those that you are unaccustomed to. Do you ever think about how different your life would be if you were born in a different place at a different time? It is hard to comprehend that these children were given an opportunity to break free of their suppression and their families couldn’t let them.

I was very touched by the Directors Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski , what an incredible woman to spend years of her life living in that red light district and fighting for those children. She is a real inspiration and I hope by watching this documentary it shows you the power of a persons will to do good. She uses an art-form to give those children hope and encouragement of a brighter future ❤

I watch a documentary almost every day, I will share my favourite ones with you more often as I believe they are so eye-opening and a lot better investment of time then watching Celebrity Big Brother :p haha

Zohra x

Save These Dogs From A Cruel Death

I just watched this video about how stray dogs are smuggled and killed in Thailand and it’s so sad!

You have to be pretty emotionally dead not to want to do something to help these poor dogs who get treated worse then battery farm chickens, they’re crammed into tiny cages and then killed for their meat in horrific ways. It’s really easy to make a contribution, you can simply sign a petition HERE to influence the government in Thailand and you can also pay to buy billboards to make the Thai public aware of what is happening, you will get this option after signing the petition.

I hope you take a few seconds of your time to try and make a difference!

Lots of love

Zohra x

Help put an End to Israel and Palestines War!

I remember watching this disturbing video in 2012

I CANNOT believe this is still going on…it is SO sad, innocent children and civilians are being killed every day while we stand by. The statistics below may shock you due to the amount of propaganda you have swallowed but this is the truth. You get stupid articles like this making excuses for why there are so many more Palestinians dead then Israelis. Do you really believe this absolute BULL?! The truth is there have been 6961 deaths and counting in Palestine vs 1110 in Israel and I am not condoning those because every life lost is terrible and this war must stop. If you are tax paying citizens did you ever consider that the UK gives £6 billion per year and the US $3 billion dollars per year to Israel! Our Government is prepared to make cuts to our health care, our police, our pensions yet they still give our tax payers money to Israel so they can continue to carry out the illegal occupation and brutal murder of the Palestinians. Israel continue to break ceasefires and UN resolutions because our Government is paying them to do so.

If you care, please take a second to sign this petition and STOP THIS WAR.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67165

Here are some real statistics for you:

Please click on any statistic for the source and more information.
Statistics last updated: July 11, 2014

Israeli and Palestinian Children Killed
September 29, 2000 – Present

131 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,540 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that approximately 12 times more Palestinian children have been killed than Israeli children

Israelis and Palestinians Killed
September 29, 2000 – Present

Chart showing that 6 times more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis.

1,110 Israelis and at least 6,961 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information)

Israelis and Palestinians Injured
September 29, 2000 – Present

8,550 Israelis and 56,520 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information.)

Chart showing that Palestinians are injured at least six times more often than Israelis.

Daily U.S. Military Aid to Israel and the Palestinians
Fiscal Year 2013

Chart showing that the United States gives Israel $8.2 million per day in military aid and no military aid to the Palestinians.

During Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $8.5 million per day in military aid and $0 in military aid to the Palestinians. (View Sources & More Information)

UN Resolutions Targeting Israel and the Palestinians
1955 – 1992

Israel has been targeted by at least 77 UN resolutions and the Palestinians have been targeted by 1. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that Israel has been targeted by 77 UN resolutions, while the Palestinians have been targeted by 1.

Current Number of Political Prisoners and Detainees

Chart showing that Israel is holding 5,271 Palestinians prisoner.

0 Israelis are possibly being held prisoner by Palestinians, while6,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel. (View Sources & More Information)

Demolitions of Israeli and Palestinian Homes
1967 – Present

0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and at least 28,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that more than 28,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished, compared to no Israeli homes.

Israeli and Palestinian Unemployment Rates

Chart depicting the fact that the Palestinian unemployment is around 4 times the Israeli unemployment rate.

The Israeli unemployment rate is 5.8%, while the Palestinian unemployment in the West Bank is 22.5% and 27.9% in Gaza. (View Sources & More Information)

Current Illegal Settlements on the Other’s Land

Israel currently has 262 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’ built on confiscated Palestinian land. Palestiniansdo not have any settlements on Israeli land. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that Israel has 227 Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

Reflecting On 2013

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Gosh! Can’t believe its New Years Eve already, 2013 another year full of ups and downs but I think I’m learning to deal with the downs better, and focus on the ups! Arnhem, Amsterdam, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, London, Dubai, Oman(hahaha). A few weddings, engagements, new babies, new opportunities for me, Zizzle reached new heights and a lot of amazing moments shared with my favourite people. Was a better year then 2012 but had its share of challenges and another big loss 😦 I think I have definitely changed the way I live, I think the most valuable lesson in losing people is to never take anyone for granted. I try to live everyday as if its my last and also treat people as if its their’s, not in a morbid way lol but just in the sense that I take more opportunities and I think twice about my actions, if someone needs me I will literally exhaust every option before saying no. I think sometimes I suffer for that, I am definitely a stronger person then I used to be but I am just as sensitive. I suppose we all have expectations and often people let us down or take advantage of us and it hurts. 2012 taught me how to release negative people in my life but I think this year I have learned that even positive people can have negative influences on us and that its OK to just say “no” sometimes.

I have always been taught to see the best in people to the point where I have brought strangers into my home to help them out. I grew up watching my parents do that, I remember when I was a kid, a family on our road went on holiday and came back to a flooded house, the children of that family went to my school and I went and told my parents what had happened and without thinking twice they came with me and invited them to stay with us, ever since they have been like family to us. People are always telling me I’m too naive and I should change because people take advantage of that but I could never change, it is a core belief of mine that as humans we are equipped to help and support each other. I believe that no matter what our backgrounds, we all have so much to give each other and to learn. Many people don’t realise that by helping others we often gain more from it then they do, not only do we grow through sacrifice but we grow through just simply understanding someone and their circumstances. We gain different perspectives, we only live once and there isn’t enough time to experience everything so sometimes we have to live through others. I suppose for every 5 or 6 people you help, one may take advantage of you but even through that you grow and it shouldn’t stop you it should just teach you to implement limits with people. There are so many atrocities taking place in the world, the news makes me sick, we are all capable of making a change. Just simple things like sending your unwanted clothes to victims of disasters, sending a little money to buy them basic necessities and if not that then at least just lending a helping hand to your neighbours or friends. If we all just took a little more time to make a change imagine what a difference that would make. Lets say 1000 people read this post and all of you did something to help a person you know…that is 1000 peoples lives improved. People are always telling me I can’t change the world but I can and so can you, maybe only in a small way but if we all change it in a small way it will make a BIG difference.

For the first time…maybe since my childhood I felt settled and at home and really happy with my life when I moved to Dubai but even in just a few months it got stagnant. I call it the curse of the Aries “Making things happen is what it’s all about to these folks. Aries are also unafraid of stepping onto new terrain. The challenge inherent in taking on the unknown is heaven on Earth for Rams.” I’m craving an adventure so I’m moving to Peru in two weeks and I’m so excited! I think challenging ourselves is healthy and personal growth is endless, I’m young and wild and free for now, so I might as well make the most of it while I can haha.

Instead of a New Years Resolution, I have made an affirmation, I used to do them for you daily but its been a while so I will remind you, say or write the affirmation at least 3 times every morning/night until it is programmed in your brain. If that is too time consuming just reflect on it in your free time or carry it around as a pick me up in your wallet and read it when you feel you need to recentre:

This is a brand new year, a fresh start for me and a chance to replenish positivity in my life and release negativity. I will wake up every morning thinking happy thoughts or watching videos that make me smile. I am blessed for my amazing circle of people who love me and will make time to show them that they are appreciated. I will fully use my resources to help as many people as I can this year, to improve lives by words, charity or even just a simple smile. I will only use my voice to make a change for the better. I will spend time dwelling on great moments and lessons learned but release things that hurt me. I will love without sacrificing myself. I will live healthily and avoid things that are harmful to me. I will laugh loudly, love wholly and live heartily. I will embrace everything that comes my way because I know I am equipped to deal with it! Woooooooo bring on 2014!!

The Purpose of Ramadan

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So we’re already a week into Ramadan, Its flying by! I started fasting when I was 8 or 9, at that time I had no idea why I was fasting I just did it because my older brother and my cousins used to. Many muslims grow up fasting but what I find surprising is that a lot of muslims don’t know why they are fasting as adults. I guess its like religion, sometimes your born into a religion and you don’t really know much about it but your just labelled that religion. I think beliefs are fundamental to who you are and blind faith is very ignorant. Do things because you believe and understand them. I was listening to the radio in the car last night, an Arabic singer said, “I come to Dubai for Ramadan because its fun and Ramadan is all about enjoying yourself and having good food with family and friends” I was shocked!

The purpose of Ramadan is to rid us of bad habits that we accumulate throughout the year, its a spiritual detox. It is supposed to prepare you for the next 11 months by practicing discipline and self control. There are many things forbidden during daylight hours and eating and drinking are just two of them. Allah gave humans all sorts of desires that are usually permissiable however if you can control those during this month it will strengthen your will power which should in turn allow you to control yourself from doing things that are forbidden (haraam) in the remaining months.

This month is very fruitful for muslims, rewards are abundant through worship and self control. In this month we are given many opportunities to reform ourselves and seek forgiveness for our bad sins. This is a month of reformation and self reflection, where a believer can ponder over spirituality and piety and bring a change for the better. The Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم has clearly stated:

مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ
“Whoever does not give up lying and evil actions, then Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink” [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

Basically if you just starve yourself from sunrise to sunset it is unneccessary unless you understand why and pair this with working towards being a better person. Its about purifying your mind and soul as well as your body.

In summary, the month of Ramadan is about self reflection and changing yourself for the better. Its also about how you can contribute positively to the human race, it is obligatory to give to charity during this month. I find myself thinking a lot about people in need, when I’m fasting and I get hungry or thirsty I think of those people who have been starving for days on end and I feel selfish for even feeling hunger or thirst. I think of what I can do to help. As well as giving the needy money or food I send them prayers and positive energy everyday, I pray for them to find strength, for Allah to make there suffering bearable and I pray that those blessed with abundance share some of their wealth. This month is about worship, asking forgiveness for sins and seeking guidance to follow a path that will lead you to a better future in this life and the next.

Wishing you a blessed Ramadan,

Zohra x