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Issue 62.cdrIssue 62
July-Aug 2017
6 Pages
courage and honesty, Hannah M brings out of the closet the reality of Child Molestation while Pauline Mendes, who enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to many exciting places, raises a question on the impact of mass tourism on our fragile eco- systems.
Sucharita Kirtikar's poetry takes us to a quiet place. BAttitudes tickles the mind with Oxymoronics. And Noreen Stewart regales us with the joys (and travails!) of raising children.
In this issue and going forward, we have a new corner -- Search…and You Shall Find -- which takes you to hand-picked links to articles or websites that promise interesting insights.
Find your favourite corner. Put the kettle on. It's time for a really good read.
ne of the joys of editing Femnet is
Othe regular reminder of the quiet h e r o i s m a n d u n d e r s t a t e d
achievements of so many women; some of them celebrated, many of them not.
In this issue, Femnet delves into the activities of Goa Sudharop through a conversation with Acaria Almeida. Established in San Francisco, Goa Sudharop has as its twin goals to promote the sustainable development of Goa and to empower people. The scope and depth of their work is amazing.
As she relates the story of Caedmon, an ordinary man who cared for the animals at a monastery, and who is the earliest named English poet, Dr. Marguerite Theophil urges us to listen for and be guided by that inner voice.
Chari Kingsbury will take us through some basic life and relationship skills to help us relate better with family and friends in what is the start of a three- series posting on peer mentoring. With
The Long Road Home
Our 'Exciting' Life
Trees for Thought
Incubation and Business Acceleration (CIBA) – Mumbai & Goa. G4G was set up to encourage girls to take up careers in STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering & Medicine.
Femnet: Goa Sudharop has an impressive record of accomplishments in Goa.
Acaria: A lot of its work has been done in Goa. Sudharop has supplied computers to schools, run leadership and career counselling workshops, supported orphanages and care homes, promoted environmental projects and provided scholarships. We introduce US donors to projects and scholarship candidates in Goa and facilitate tax deductible and employer matching
charitable giving.
In December 2016 we launched Aadhar with Verma D'Mello, Goa's renowned fashion designer to help women to acquire a skill and provide safe hygiene facilities in remote areas. Last month, Aadhar commenced sewing and embroidery training for girls belonging to the the scheduled classes & tribes. Finding volunteers to help with execution on the ground is a challenge.
In 2016, we collaborated with Dr Nandita de Souza of Sethu in Porvorim to support their programs for autistic and hearing-impaired children. Sethu was established to provide services for c h i l d r e n w i t h d e ve l o p m e n t a l , behavioural, emotional and educational
Goa Sudharop, a volunteer non-profit organization working for the betterment of Goa and the Goan diaspora, was founded in 2000 by Filomena Giese and George Pinto from the San Francisco Bay Area. It subscribes to the philosophy of “giving back” to the homeland, Goa, and to the communities in which one lives, in the US. From its inception, Goa Sudharop set a strong foundation for organic growth and now has a pipeline of youth volunteers some of whom serve on the Board. Femnet interviewed Acaria Almeida, Director Global Operations, Goa Sudharop. Acaria is also program lead for Greenlight for Gir ls (G4G), Brussels. She was instrumental in launching G4G in Goa in association with Cisco and the Centre for
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Capital Gives Back. Giving appears to be in your DNA. Many in the community in San Francisco testify to your kind and compassionate side and are grateful for the help that has been extended to them at various times. In Goa, as part of your work with Greenlight, you have personally run workshops for girls. Can you tell us about this?
Acaria: Cisco is huge on philanthropy. I was featured on our company video where Cisco sponsored my “Time 2 Give” and Cisco lab coats at the event. It was a day fi l led w i th Sc ience, Technology, Engineering and Math workshops for girls aged 10-15.The founder of Greenlight for Girls, Melissa Rancourt travelled from Brussels at her own expense and was an inspiration to the girls in Goa.
Femnet: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Acaria: My husband and I came to California in 1984 with a young baby and I had to grow up quickly-- find a job, go to evening school and adapt to the new environment whilst looking after my family. I enjoyed the unlimited learning opportunities. My husband and I took turns in attending university so that one of us could be with the children. I realize now how learning became a way of life for me. Completing my MBA, whilst
raising three was possible.
I love spending time with family and friends, travelling and entertaining and volunteer activities. With my STEM activities I hope I am contributing in some way to reducing the gender gap in the Technology industry. Goa Sudharop provides me with opportunities to give back in time and talent for Goa and to help to develop leadership and volunteering amongst our youth.
Femnet: Based on your experiences, what message would you like to give to our readers.
A c a r i a : M a k e t i m e a n d s e e k opportunities to learn. Learning is the best currency to own in life. It offers many gratifying experiences in your career and in your personal life. Success will follow as you pursue the areas of your interest.
Acaria Almeida works for Cisco Systems, California as Relationship Manager, Global Engagement Management, where she manages global client engagements for financing Enterprise IT Cloud and Datacentre virtualization solutions. Previously she held senior positions at Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank. Born in Tanzania, she now lives with her husband and family in Moraga, California.
challenges. Our second G4G STEM event was held in San Francisco and the most recent one was in January 2017, in Goa.
Femnet: Goa Sudharop runs a scholarship program to encourage bright Goan students to pursue studies in STEM subjects. Can you tell us more about this initiative?
Acaria: Goa Sudharop has partnered with the Foundation for Excellence (FFE) USA to help Goan students obtain FFE scholarships. The foundation gets its funds through fund raising and donations from the Indian professional community. Scholarships have been provided to students from other states in India and through our Executive Director, Ibonio De Souza, we are making these opportunities available to Goan students. Full scholarships are given to qualified Goan students who wish to pursue degree courses in medicine, engineering, and technology but are unable to do so due to financial constraints.
Femnet: What are Goa Sudharop's goals and dreams for the future? Are there any special projects in the pipeline?
Acaria: Collaboration with volunteers in Goa is critical for the successful implementation of our projects. We serve as a platform for action and support. Our current Board is a young team that has made good progress with the events held and we hope to continue with this. All have full time careers or are attending college but are generous with their time and talents.
An upcoming Goa Sudharop project is “Hope Swirls” with Sethu which is being launched by youth leaders Michelle and Andy Nazareth from Scotts Valley, California and another G4G Day is being led by Sudhir Shette.
Femnet: On a more personal level, you were recently honoured by being featured in Cisco's video entitled Cisco
in Conversation with... Acaria Almeida (continued from page 1)
suppose it would sound a little silly to refer to someone as the 'early'.
Of all the oxymoronic phrases dealing with the subject of an early departure, I think the one that crowns it all is when, in military parlance, someone has died through 'friendly fire'. In other words, he was shot by his own side. One wonders how the bereaved members of the family could have this tragedy explained to them. Which probably ties in with the phrase “With friends like these, who needs enemies”.
Well, enough of this 'deadly' subject. Just couldn't resist that one :)
It's August and so we say forward march!
Betsy Pinto-Nunes Founder
Quite often we read of someone's 'untimely death'. Since we do not know the expected date or the hour of death for anyone, I've often wondered how we can say that he or she had an untimely death? Possibly it could have been merciful in the case of a prolonged illness or where there is no hope of a cure. In some cases, it could be that the timing was inconvenient when the deceased had not completed a complicated or urgent piece of work. Then again it could be long awaited as in the case of a hoped for inheritance! But never, ever, untimely!
Going on in a similar vein, why is it that we refer to the deceased person as 'the late' when he / she has made an early departure from their earthly sojourn? I wonder what could be the alternative. I
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As dawn breaks on the skies and bird's wings soar, A lone figure standing at a stark white door Hugging to her chest an old picture frame,
Unseeing eyes downcast in sorrow, no one to blame. The mind's eye has an imprint of a pretty young face,
Those were the years of beauty and grace, The world was her oyster and there was everything to gain.
Then life struck a blow as she lay keening in pain, She could not fathom what came to pass,
All that was precious lay broken, like shards of glass. To escape reality, the mind took flight,
The lovely translucent eyes lost their knowing light, Skilled doctors all try their best, knowing it's futile.
The true soul is lost, it's been a while Confusion and nervousness causes the mind to roam,
Yes, indeed it is a long road home.
Yet a flicker of the lost spirit remains, Maybe there could be a chance, hope never wanes.
Old friends, well-wishers rally around Familiar faces, familiar sounds,
If there are enough hands to hold and guide along, Life may correct whatever has gone wrong.
The mind will stop to continually roam, And someday she may retrace the long road home.
Sucharita Kirtikar, Canada SE
and You Shall Find!
Christian Bible gives us a clear picture of this. Job was a wealthy man with a big, happy family. One day he lost all his children, his wealth, and his health all within a short span of time. He sat in misery on ashes. His three friends came to comfort him and were so shocked at his condition that for seven days, they simply sat with him in the ashes in silence. However, as is often the case with us, they finally succumbed to the pressure to say something. It was when they opened their mouths that they did the damage. They ended up offending Job, damaging their friendship with him, and even offending God, doing more damage than good. They were better off saying nothing and just being there for their friend! The biggest thing I learned in counseling training was that listening is the best thing we can do to help others. …More on that in the next issue of Femnet.
To listen, to show that we care, to be a true help, I hope that in this journey together we will all benefit and that our relationships can deepen as we learn to love our friends better through peer mentoring. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
In a first of a series on peer mentoring, Chari Kingsbury guides us on how to hone basic relationship skills that can help us be there for our friend in need. In the subsequent columns Chari will cover the A r t o f L i s t e n i n g a n d Boundaries when Helping a Friend. Soak in!
“Oh, I don't know if I want to talk to you,” the man in the church foyer said with a twinkle in his eye, “You might read my mind!” I hear this lot. I am a counselor. My husband and I have been missionaries in Kenya since 1980. I hold an M.A. degree in Counseling Psychology from Daystar University, where my husband works. A lot of people have misconceptions of what psychology is…and what it is not. The common thing I hear most is that psychologists and counselors can read people's minds. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Psychology is basically the study of human nature – how we think, our emotions, what motivates us, and especially, how we interact with each other. Psychology affects each of us, whether we are aware of it or not. If you are human, you engage in psychology,
s imply because you are human.
N o t a l l o f u s c a n b e psychologists or counselors, nor want to be! However, I suspect we have all had a friend or family member come to us, needing help or a listening ear. As she speaks, you begin to inwardly panic,
wondering “What on earth can I do for her? What can I possibly say that would help?” Ever been there, done that? I certainly have, even as a counselor! That is where peer mentoring comes in. This is simply caring enough for your friends to provide a listening ear, a caring heart, sometimes some advice, and most of all just being there for your friend. But what do we do about not knowing what to say or do? That is a big question.
Though we might not all become or desire to be a counselor, we can all learn basic skills that will help us in our relationships with family and friends – skills such as listening, empathizing, communication skills, and the like. Sometimes just being there and saying nothing is the best thing to do. The ancient book of Job in the
Chari Kingsbury, Kenya
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is good for us. As someone said “If you're intellectually curious, you'll read the books. If you're perceptually curious, you go travelling”. And the links below should, hopefully, stimulate both.
Writing from India, Anuradha Goyal has an impressive blog and shares some amazing travel stories
Portugal has increasingly become a popular travel destination—for its history, its people, its food and its wines. And this delightful country is ap t l y ce lebra ted in these two b logs and
Brain Pickings is a discovery engine for interestingness, “culling and curating cross- disciplinary curiosity quenchers and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn't know you were interested in until you are.” This is how the founder of the website, Maria Popova, descr ibes her project . Enjoy
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This is the story of Caedmon, an ordinary man whom God took aside from his busy everyday activity and from his own sense of who and what he was, and spoke to him in the quiet of the night.
Caedmon lived in the seventh century as a lay brother in the community of Abbess Hilda of Whitby in England. His story is recounted in Venerable Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, or Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written around AD 731.
The singing of psalms and hymns played its normal central role in a Celtic establishment, and often at a feast for the sake of providing entertainment, it was an accepted tradition that all present should sing in turn. That he knew no songs and could not sing bothered Caedmon so much, that whenever he saw the harp approaching him, he would quietly rise up even in the middle of the feasting, slip out, and return home.
Once, during the singing, Caedmon was so frustrated by his inabil ity to contribute to the praises of the
communi ty, he le f t the gathering, went to the stables and fell asleep among the horses.
As he slept, he dreamt that someone addressed him by name, saying, “Caedmon, sing me something.” Caedmon answered, “I cannot sing; that is why I left the feast and came
here, because I could not sing.” The voice replied, “Nevertheless, you must sing.”
Feeling strangely compelled to obey, he asked, “What shall I sing?” and heard the voice say, “Sing about the beginning of created things.”
At that, Caedmon immediately began to sing out in praise of God:
Now we must praise Heaven- kingdom's guardian,
the Maker's might and his mind's thoughts,
the work of the glory-father, as he established
the beginning of every wonder.
He first shaped for men's sons Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator;
then middle-earth mankind's guardian, eternal Lord, afterwards prepared,
for men the earth, the Lord almighty.
Waking from his sleep, Caedmon remembered all that he had sung in his dream; his hymn was new, pouring forth from his heart. The next morning he went to his superior and told him of the dream. His superior took him to Hilda.
The abbess, who recognized the grace of God at work, instructed Caedmon to set aside his secular habit and to take monastic vows. She and all her people received him into the community of the brothers, and ordered that he should be instructed in the whole course of sacred history. He learned all he could by listening to them, and then, Bede tells us “... he turned it into the most melodious verse: and it sounded so sweet as he recited it that his teachers became in turn his audience.”
Caedmon is the very first English poet whose name we know; and so English poetry, it is said, began with a vision of God.
Caedmon's story tells us too of our ordinary selves, afraid to find our 'true voice'; but by heeding the call of 'the other' - divine prompting, sometimes simple inner prompting - we can give voice to our previously withheld beautiful creativity – whatever shape or form this takes.
Dr. Marguerite Theophil, Mumbai, India
Furthermore, every one of us was molested by either a family member or a trusted family friend. All these men were trusted by our parents which is one of the reasons why we found it difficult to speak to our parents no matter how good the relationship with them was.
Here's what I've learned from my own experience and from speaking with others.
Most children fall prey to molesters because they are confused about what is happening. Most molesters are known to the chi ld from ear ly on. Those introduced to you and/or your child later will gain your trust and the trust of the
child. And they will gain the trust of the child in your presence. The child then trusts that person even more because she knows you trust them. A molester…

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