30 Things I’ve learned in 30 years

My birthday is coming up very soon and since I’ve been having lots of contractions on and off , I don’t think I will last until my due day month of August. I thought I would share what I’ve learned in my 30 years. It will not be in any order, it will be just random thoughts that pop into my head as I write. I just hope I can think of 30 things. Here we go!

  1. My mamma always told me in Portuguese, “You catch bees with honey.” This saying has many interpretations but what I took from it is, to be kind, it will take your further than rudeness.
  2. Being patient does not mean you sit around waiting for something to happen. You have to work hard even if it means waiting forever to see the outcome of your hard work.
  3. Crying and letting your emotions out does not mean you are weak, it means you have courage to deal and confront with your problems and emotions.
  4. Mothers are always right! My mamma told me I will understand her when I have kids of my own and oh boy was she right about that!
  5. My crown is my hijab. I wear my faith on my head and there is nothing more powerful than that. It keeps me in check and conscious of my every action.
  6. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. First impressions are not the most important at all. Great people can pass right by you because of misjudging at first glance.
  7. Everyone has a story worthy of telling. Worldly problems can be solved through story telling, we would soon discover how similar we are than different.
  8. You can’t change the world but you can work in changing yourself and hopefully something good will come out of it.
  9. Things never happen according to our plans. It doesn’t mean we can’t work hard towards our goals and dreams. But I strongly believe that God has a better plan than we do. There are things that we want right now that can actually harm us, if our plans are shifted by God’s will it’s for a purpose.
  10. If something is meant to cross your journey it will and if it is not meant it will not.
  11. Never assume! So much negativity comes out from assuming something of someone or situation. The truth is only God knows our true intentions and if we don’t ask because we assume we know everything than we stay in a stage of ignorance.
  12. The best stories come from our elderly friends. Truly they are like libraries, if we do not communicate with them, we miss out on a lot of experiences, expertise and knowledge.
  13. To take care of your health. Health is best richness we will ever have. Health is worth more than money. We shouldn’t take health for granted and try to take care our body, mind and soul as much as we can.
  14. Society has undertaken the value of a mother. Being a stay at home mother is viewed as a failure in life and a waste of time. Stay at home mothers don’t get the same respect as a women who establishes her career and is aggressive in the workforce.
  15. Societies that value and support motherhood are overall a more successful society. Take some European countries as an example, such as, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands ect. look at their crime rates and quality of life.
  16. Peace and tranquility lies in the remembrance of God and not in beautiful island far away.
  17. Men and women are not created equal that doesn’t mean we are not equally important and valued. I should not strive to be the same as men nor should I want to strive to be like a men for the sake of his manhood but for his motives and accomplishments. Giving men the standard of what a women should strive for is just reiterating that women are inferior and to be superior like them, we should work to be the same as them.
  18. A person’s self value does not come by the things one has or achievements but rather by ones intentions and good action.
  19. What use does knowledge have if one uses for evil?
  20. Knowledge is everywhere it is not restricted by standard education.
  21. You may look to your right and find someone who is in much better situation than you but if you look to your left you will find someone else in a worst situation. Be grateful.
  22. Look for the things that you do have and not what you don’t have.
  23. Don’t take your mood out on people. This is actually very hard for me because I can’t control my emotions very well, whether its anger, sadness or happiness so I tend to act the way I feel but the reality is, no one deserves to be treated unkindly only because we are not having a good day.
  24. Everything has it’s time. Another one that is hard for me as well. We might see everyone else successful around us while we are stuck in a puddle but we don’t know what the future has installed for us.
  25. There is no such thing as a picture perfect. What we see in the exterior might not be what we really think it is. Doesn’t mean someone that looks happy in the exterior is actually in a stage of contentment.
  26. This wordily life is not meant to find happiness it is meant to find God and our purpose in this life.
  27. Kids are not a burden they are a blessing. I am tired of hearing how expensive and time consuming kids are. There is nothing more worthy in this world than passing along your legacy and hard work that one puts towards raising your kids.
  28. Let go a bit! I used to pride myself of being spontaneous and going with the flow. Now, I feel I am very controlling and have to organize my time. Although, I believe it is good to have some sort of organization in your life, it is important to let go of things and try to enjoy unpredictable moments.
  29. Traveling is the most enlightening experience in the world.
  30. Spend your money wisely. Oh how I wish I could take my own advise!

Wow, I can’t believe I made it to number 30 and I can’t wait to have 60/70/80 and 90 more tricks under my sleeve. Let me know what were some of your life’s biggest lessons. I would love to learn from you.

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Ramadan Series-Day 21

Ramadan is over but here is a post I wrote right when my computer crashed again.

I’ve been trying to be more self-conscious of what I put in and on my body and for that reason, I had to make some adaptable changes in my daily routine. Here are some things I’ve stopped using or eating;

  1. Shampoo and conditioner I can’t believe this one actually works! I recently discovered that you can use baking soda and apple vinegar for shampoo substitute. In addition to that our hair does not need conditioner. In my recent trip to Cape Verde a couple of months ago my family bluntly told me, how disgusting my hair looked. I didn’t know what was causing my hair to look so bland and dull. I have to tell you that this replacement is the best think. I immediately seen a difference in both my kid’s hair and I.
  2. Cleaning products I’ve stopped buying cleaning products for the obvious reasons, for their harmful chemicals. This one, I am dearly thankful to my mother who thought me that I can use apple cider vinegar to clean my entire home. Apple cider vinegar is a staple in my pantry, I used it for cleaning, drinking, seasoning, facial and hair uses and much more. My runs to the grocery story evolves on whether or not I need to restock this magical liquid.
  3. Skin and hair moisturizer– I no longer buy store products to moisturize my hair or skin. I simply make a fuze of coconut, almond and a bit of castor oil and use it every day on my skin and hair.
  4. Sunscreen- Almond oil is a natural replacement for chemical sunblock. In addition to that staying out of the sun for a long time and covering the skin that can easily get sunburn such as shoulder, nose and backs..
  5. Junk foodEgypt is notorious for their junk food options. You can see people of all ages munching one chips, chocolate and fry food for breakfast. I admit that I have not stopped my kids for occasionally enjoying some ice cream, chocolate and cookies. However, I don’t bring these things to my house. Often time, the kids enjoy these treats when they are surrounded by other kids who are eating the junk food or when a family member/friend offers my kids these treats.
  6. Product based facial and hair masks– There is absolutely no need to go out and buy facial masks that are filled with chemicals and just dry out the skin. You can just go to your refrigerator and you will find some many options for a home-made mask. From eggs, to yogurt, honey, fruits, sugar, baking soda and much more. You know that half banana that your kid left behind, well you can smash it and use it as a face mask as it is. Or the yogurt your kid did not finish and make my favor mask; yogurt, turmeric spices, lemon or apple cider vinegar and honey(optional) and place in on my face and neck. You can leave this mask for up to an hour, it will drastically give you a glow and remove your pores. For dry scalp and dandruff, I like to use turmeric spices, olive oil or almond oil as a mask before washing my hair. Immediately after washing you will notice that your hair feels lighter, brighter and with more volume.

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The Youth is our Future…

This is a very interesting article from Intenationa Development Journal, I went ahead and copied the article with highlighted factors that I thought were most important aspects of this read.

Take a look at the article and let me know what you think…

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Why young people are key to achieving the SDG

Young people today face considerable challenges in creating a bright future for themselves.

In high-income economies, young people’s prospects have plummeted, and there are significant concerns for their positon in the labour market and the future of their financial security. The situation is worse for young people in low-income countries, where many workers are involved in informal employment – something the ILO describes as sporadic, poorly paid and falling outside the protection of law.

Many of the global challenges to development are especially salient for children and youth. September marks the one-year anniversary of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, where world leaders established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The goals established that young people are a driving force for development – but only if they are provided with the skills and opportunities needed to reach their potential, support development and contribute to peace and security.

One way of doing this would be by implementing an economic citizenship strategy for children and youth. It would help national policy-makers and leading youth-serving organizations achieve many of the SDGs and sub-targets in the drive to create a viable economic and social system for the future.

What is economic citizenship?

An emerging concept in the field of development, economic citizenship refers to “economic and civic engagement to promote sustainable livelihoods, sustainable economic and financial well-being, a reduction in poverty and rights for self and others”. Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, defines economic citizenship as existing inan environment where every citizen has the opportunity and the capacity to exercise his or her economic, social and cultural rights”.

Economic citizenship consists of four components: financial inclusion, financial education and social and livelihoods education.

  • Financial inclusion is access to safe, appropriate and affordable financial services.
  • Financial education includes instruction and/or materials designed to increase financial knowledge and skills.
  • Social education is the provision of knowledge and skills that improve an individual’s understanding and awareness of their rights and the rights of others. It also involves the development of life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and interpersonal skills.
  • Livelihoods education builds one’s ability to secure a sustainable livelihood through skills assessment and a balance between developing entrepreneurial and employability skills.

Economic citizenship has the potential to improve economic and social well-being, increase economic and social engagement, enhance understanding of and respect for basic rights, reduce income and asset poverty, and lead to sustainable livelihoods for children and youth.

The link between the SDGs and economic citizenship

There are seven specific SDGs that demonstrate the clear link between economic citizenship for children and youth and the attainability of the SDGs.

SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Granting access to quality, affordable and convenient financial services can contribute to eradicating extreme poverty (people living on less than $1.25 a day) and reducing the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty (SDG 1.1 and 1.2). Financial inclusion should be supported by and integrated with financial, social and livelihood education to help children and youth accumulate savings and develop responsible financial behaviours, qualities that are useful to reducing the impact of economic shocks (SDG 1.5).

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages

Economic condition, income, working position, education and culture are all distal determinants of health and well-being, while social education provides more understanding of rights, empathy and respect. The combination of financial inclusion and social education is also useful to ensure universal access to information and education regarding sexual health (SDG 3.7).

SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education

Financial and livelihoods education can increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and soft skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship (SDG 4.3, 4.4, 4.6). Social and financial education can help ensure all young people, both male and female, achieve literacy and numeracy (SDG 4.6).

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls

Providing financial access and developing financial capabilities for young women and girls builds social and economic empowerment, allowing them to take advantage of greater economic opportunities alongside their male counterparts.

SDG 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth

The current employment situation is very critical, especially for youth, as they represent the category with the highest unemployment rate in the labour market. A lack of relevant skills and the absence of access to appropriate financial services for entrepreneurs are two common barriers to youth employment. Through livelihoods education, youth can enhance their employability, obtain sustainable livelihoods and stimulate entrepreneurial activity (SDG 8.3, 8.5, 8.6).

SDG 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

In order to create safe, resilient and sustainable settlements and cities, it is essential to include children and youth in urban development strategies. Engaging youth through financial inclusion, financial education and livelihood education makes the goal of creating sustainable and safe cities more achievable (SDG 11.3).

SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies

Financial education should not be limited to simply teaching children and youth how to manage finances, but also be grounded in ethical and ecologically responsible behaviour. Social education plays an important role in steering children away from financial behaviours and attitudes that may negatively affect not only personal well-being, but also that of the wider community.

Leave no one behind

Economic citizenship is a crucial factor in the fight to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities globally.

Each of the core components represented in the conceptual model for economic citizenship support various aspects of poverty eradication efforts individually, but in combination they offer a viable force to affect systemic change and break enduring cycles of poverty.

Achieving the 2030 agenda relies not only on setting goals, but also on a responsive approach to the voice and needs of youth. By equipping young people with skills, knowledge and confidence in their abilities, there is a real chance that global leaders can harness the potential of young people to reach the SDGs over the next 14 years. Together we can work towards creating a generation of empowered youth and support long-term sustainable development.


Written by Jeroo Billimoria, Founder, Child and Youth Finance International

Jeroo Billimoria is a pioneering social entrepreneur and the founder of several award-winning international NGOs. Her innovative approach to managing social ventures and bringing them to global scale has earned her fellowships with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, the Skoll Foundation and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Billimoria founded Child and Youth Finance International in 2011.

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