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Mon, 18 Jun 2018

When Alia Kamareddine first settled down in Oxford, the nearest mosque at which she could worship was in Halifax – which is a 2-hour drive.

Kamareddine regretted only being able to go to mosque once a year, and as more Muslims moved into the Nova Scotia community, finding a place to worship became more and more of a relevant topic.

Thankfully, she and the other muslims in her community now have a religious space closer to home, even though it is a little unconventional.

The Trinity United Church now rents out one of their community halls so that Kamareddine, along with the other members of the Muslim Community Group, have a place to worship.

The rent, however, is really just a nominal fee to cover the utilities used by the group.

Since the “mosque within a church” first started sometime in the last few months, it has brought the two religious communities together and created a space for “growth and learning,” says CBC.

The church’s gesture is especially significant since the 10 Muslim families who attend the mosque have been meeting once a day for Ramadan, the holy month of fasting – and the church members, they say, have been “very open and accommodating.”


Source: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/instead-of-families-having-to-drive-2-hours-this-mosque-inside-a-church-brings-people-together/

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Fri, 15 Jun 2018

A 22-year-long study started among poor populations in Jamaica in the 1970s by Dr Sally Grantham-McGregor and Christine Powell showed that children whose mothers received weekly home visits for two years by doctors and nurses who helped them engage their babies in play attained higher test scores for reading, mathematics and general knowledge later in life. They stayed in school longer, were less likely to be violent or experience depression, and had better social skills. Significantly, they earned 25% on average more than a control group of similar children.

In a situation in which 50% of South African children who start Grade 1 drop out before matric, and 78% of Grade 4 learners are unable to read for meaning in any language, according to the latest PIRLS test, the need for early childhood stimulation programmes seems pressing.

According to David Harrison of South African foundation the DG Murray Trust, resources that would be better spent in the first years of a child’s life are being concentrated in higher education. “Over the next three years, more than a trillion rand will be spent on basic and higher education, but just 1% of that will go to early learning programmes. When will we confront the reality that homeopathic doses of early learning just won’t work?” he wrote recently.

It’s a view shared by Duncan Andrew, director of the Pietermaritzburg-based Thandanani Children’s Foundation thandanani.org.za). Referring to the #FeesMustFall protests that culminated last year in an increased allocation of funds to higher education, he said: “It feels like the loudest voice gets rewarded … but as in most things, the real rewards lie in early investment.”

However, while financial investment is certainly needed, it does not need to be prohibitively expensive. A partnership forged in 2015 between Thandanani, and two other local NGOs working in the ECD space – Singakwenza (http://www.singakwenza.co.za/) and Dlalanathi (http://dlalanathi.org.za/) – has proved that effective early childhood stimulation interventions can be made without enormous financial resources.

The Play Mat Programme draws on the expertise of all three organisations to target caregivers of children under six who live in resource constrained households that are part of TCF’s Family Strengthening Programme. Caregivers learn basic child development principles, the value of stimulation through play, and the benefits of intentional engagement between caregiver and child.

Caregivers are taught how to make and use educational toys and learning aids made from household packaging such as used yoghurt tubs, milk bottle tops and cereal boxes. The toys are the personal “invention” of ECD practitioner and founder of Singakwenza Julie Hay who was determined to find a sustainable way to facilitate playing and learning among young children.

“Learning is not dependent on having nice shiny toys and materials; it’s about having an adult with commitment,” she said.

Through the Play Mat methodology, each toy is attached to a specific set of lessons for the child – such as eye-hand coordination, problem-solving, counting, and practicing the pincer grip. There are also parenting skills attached to each lesson.

According to Dlalanathi director Rachel Rozentals-Thresher the Play Mat concept builds on [...]

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Fri, 15 Jun 2018

Not much got in the way of Elon Musk fans determined to win bragging rights for picking up one of the first 1 000 flamethrowers sold by the billionaire’s Boring Company.

Dennis Dohrman hopped in his truck and drove 2 620 miles from North Carolina to Boring headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Dan Thorman cut short a business trip to Singapore and came straight to Saturday’s event from Los Angeles International Airport. George Matus brought along his parents and younger brother on a 10-hour road trip.

“Imagine if you had the opportunity to get a kite and a key from Benjamin Franklin,” said Dohrman, 45, an environmental scientist who drove 39 hours from Hampstead, North Carolina, referencing the Revolutionary War-era inventor and statesman.

Dohrman snagged the first spot in line on Saturday to collect one of the flamethrowers sold to raise $10m for Boring, a tunnel-digging company that’s working on a futuristic type of train-like transportation known as Hyperloop.

The company is working on a test tunnel in Hawthorne, has permission to work on another tunnel in Maryland, and is bidding on a project in Chicago. A usable tunnel that connects transportation hubs is probably years away.

Held in a parking lot adjacent to Musk’s rocket company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, the event was a festival of all things Musk, set to the sounds of a mariachi band as customers snacked on complimentary churros from a food truck.

Volunteers from SpaceX and Boring showed off a Falcon 9 rocket and a prototype Hyperloop tunnel nearby to customers like Matus, 20, an entrepreneur from Salt Lake City who persuaded his parents and 12-year-old brother to join him on the 700-mile drive.

When entrepreneur Thorman lamented that he couldn’t drive to the event in his car made by Musk’s Tesla Inc., a fellow customer a couple of spots ahead of him in line turned and volunteered to drive Thorman home in his Tesla.

At the front of the line, customers wielding demonstration flamethrowers roasted marshmallows as staff showed them how to power the flames.

“I’m pretty disappointed it’s short bursts,” said Thorman, who toted his wheelie suitcase around the proceedings. The demonstration flamethrowers were modified and purchasers will be able to draw out sustained flames once they get the devices home, a spokesman said.

Boring sold 20 000 flamethrowers in January and plans to distribute them over the summer. Hosting parties where customers can collect the devices costs considerably less than trucking them to customers’ homes, the spokesman said, although Boring hasn’t yet decided on the next location for one. Saturday’s event in Hawthorne – in a parking lot just a few feet away from the trailers that comprise the Boring’s offices – was limited to the first 1 000 guests who responded to invitations.


Source: https://www.fin24.com/Companies/ICT/boring-co-flamethrower-party-heats-up-elon-musk-fans-20180611

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