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Laura Sullivan field interview

NPR Reporter Exposes Charity’s Failings

The Red Cross spent a quarter of the donations it received after the 2010 Haiti quake on internal expenses — some $125 million. That’s according to a new report from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. The Republican lawmaker said that he didn’t get satisfying answers after a year of back-and-forth with the charity, and concluded that there are “substantial and fundamental concerns about [the Red Cross] as an organization.” Read more…

Creative Commons/Rob Greenfield TV

What’s in the Dumpster? Exploring Food Waste and Hunger in America

Some 40 percent of the food we produce in the United States is chucked out — and not just moldy bread. Peek into dumpsters and garbage bags nationwide, and you’re bound to find food that resembles what you just bought at the supermarket.

Alex Barnard has seen it himself. “I’ve never eaten better than when I was dumpster diving,” he says. “Sadly, that’s because of this incredible wealth of waste at every point within the food system.” Read more…


Doctors Without Borders Explains Decision to Pull Out of World Humanitarian Summit

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit takes place in Istanbul on May 23-24, but one of the world’s most respected humanitarian organizations will not be there. Doctors Without Borders announced it was pulling out, even though it helped plan the summit for 18 months. In announcing its decision, the organization acknowledged that the gathering has “never been more needed,” but also noted that shocking violations of international humanitarian law and refugee rights continue daily. They say the summit has become a “fig-leaf of good intentions.” Read more…

Rahama Standing crop

Why I Want to Take Over the World with Shea Butter

Rahama Wright was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali when she saw firsthand the challenges women faced, trying to take care of themselves and their children. Many of the women were living in poverty; there was no running water or electricity. So in her early twenties, Wright decided to start a company that would give more power to women in West Africa who pick shea fruit for a living.

Read more…

Why Students Like Malia Obama Should Go Abroad for Gap Year

This week, the White House announced that President Obama’s daughter Malia will take a gap year before attending Harvard University, where both her parents went to law school.

Tiny Spark discussed the merits of postponing college with Abby Falik, founder of Global Citizen Year. Read more…

Struggling to Erase the Stigma of Trauma

By Amy Ta

I’m in the business of questions and answers — writing questions, procuring answers for our podcast. But when I take off my producer/editor cap and go about my personal life, these are the questions I get ad nauseam from strangers:

“What happened to your face? How’d you get those scars? Were you in a car accident?”

For those who don’t know, road bike racing was the tragic accident that happened to me — three increasingly severe crashes within two years. They damaged my skin, bones, brain, bank account, and worse of all – the way I felt about myself. Read more…

Charline Burton (Courtesy of Burton)

Mom Survives Terrorist Attack With Baby, Vows to Keep Fighting Violent Extremism

Al Qaeda affiliates opened fire along a West African beach on March 13, killing almost two dozen people and wounding some 33. As the terrorists moved through the resorts in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, Charline Burton hid in a bathroom with her 1-year-old daughter and two others. She could hear the gunmen outside the door, talking and shooting. If her baby cried, she knew their hiding place would be revealed.

“She couldn’t actually make a sound because that would have alerted the people attacking us,” Burton recalls. “We could have been killed. People hiding in other bathrooms that day had been killed.” Remarkably, her baby never cried during the two hours they were hiding. Read more…


Is Philanthropy Fueling Wealth Inequality?

Pablo Eisenberg is a long-time observer and outspoken critic of American philanthropy. “The same people get the benefits, the same people serve on boards, and the foundations have the same priorities they had a hundred years ago,” he tells us.

Eisenberg says those priorities don’t often help the neediest people — namely the poor, people of color, women and children at risk, and the disabled. “[They] are not getting more than a little piece of the philanthropic pie after all these years,” he says. Read more…

Beenish Ahmed. Credit: Victoria Fleischer.

Doing Good as Muslim American and Being Shut Down

In the wake of this week’s terrorist bombings in Brussels and heated anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. presidential race, we read with interest Beenish Ahmed’s NPR essay, Learning — And Unlearning — To Be An ‘Ambassador’ For Islam. In it, she describes being in an untenable position:

“Those of ‘us’ who are Americans and also Muslim feel trapped. Even so, we can’t help but wonder what we can say or do to make the madness stop.”

We invited Ahmed to speak more about her experience as a Muslim in America, trying to appear nonthreatening to an increasingly anxious American public. Read more…

Rebecca Hamilton interviews Vice President Riek Machar when covering the South Sudan referendum for Te Washington Post. Credit: Cédric Gerbehaye.

In Solving Global Crises, How Useful Are Hashtags and Likes?

When it comes to promises made by social movements, human rights scholar Rebecca Hamilton has heard it all. “Share this Facebook link and you can save the life of a child in Uganda. Wear this bracelet and you can bring peace to Darfur,” she recalls. “The problem is most of the time, it’s simply not true that doing a low-cost action can be very high value to somebody somewhere else.” Read more…