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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…

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From War Photographer to War Crimes Investigator

MacArthur “genius” award winner Corinne Dufka spent a decade as a psychiatric social worker before becoming a Reuters photojournalist. She covered armed conflicts in 17 nations, including El Salvador, Sierra Leone and Bosnia. But it was inside a hotel room in Rwanda where she had an “epiphany” that compelled her to leave photojournalism at the height of her career. Read more…

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Tiny Spark’s Guide to Good Giving

In this miniseries, we unpack the many choices and dilemmas donors face at the end of the year and hear advice about how to give wisely during the holiday season.  Read more…

There’s More Aid Than Ever, So Why Are Poorest Nations Getting Less?

Owen Barder was just a teenager when he saw people who had walked for days – and even weeks – to find food. It was the 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia, which killed some one million people. Barder, the son of a British diplomat, was visiting a camp in the eastern part of the country, and at that moment he decided what his life’s mission would be. “I began to realize that solving the problem of global poverty was the most important thing in the world.” Read more…

Ardent Aid Critic Says He’s Misunderstood

Bill Easterly elicits strong feelings in aid and development circles. Some have described him as one of the sector’s leading authorities and a heavyweight economist. But not everyone is a fan. Humanosphere labels him “Bill Gates’ least favorite aid expert.” That’s because Easterly has built a career excoriating foreign aid and expert interventions.

Read more…

World’s Largest Charity Evaluator Revamps its Rating Formula

If you want to vet a nonprofit, you can go to Charity Navigator, where you’ll find ratings on more than 8,000 of the world’s largest charities. Organizations receive zero to four stars based on their financial health and transparency. But if you want to know whether they are actually making a difference, Charity Navigator can’t tell you that. And that’s a problem, according to its past and current CEOs.

Read more…