I bought a @Fairphone #wearefairphone

fairphone

I knew I was about due the end of my contract with Three, and I’ve had days where I’ve loved my Samsung S3, and days when I haven’t, but I’m guessing no phone is perfect. Was getting excited about the idea of the Samsung S5 as apparently they’d improved loads of things on it, particularly the battery life! However, last year I became vaguely aware of the @Fairphone, and as I often make mention of how to behave ethically/morally online, it’s made me think a lot more about what I own in the electronics sphere (to be honest, don’t own a great deal of other “stuff” of any value), so I started to think about it. Then at #TDC14 the other week, there was a speaker talking about the wars in the Congo – and that most of them are down to fighting over the minerals in mobile phones – so people are dying for our technology.

I need a really good phone as so much of my job is reliant upon digital, so I was nervous about going to such a small brand, but a few more tech-savvy friends (I’m more of the ‘Can I do this with it? Great! Can you do it?’ school when it comes to digital – although there’s an increasing number of tools that are easy to use, and those I work with too) about the spec, and it was said to be at least as good as the S3, probably better – and it’s dual-SIM – maybe I can get an extra SIM card and then have a mobile number to give out for work – I like to impose boundaries on at least some of my tech. Walking into the Three store – one of their staff hadn’t heard of it – looked it up – and said it was a good spec – so now moved to a SIM only deal. Financially, this will work out about £200 cheaper overall once I’ve used the Fairphone for a couple of years … and it appears my “old” phone is still worth about £100 on ebay! I have asked around on Twitter/Facebook quite a lot recently – and people who have them all seem really pleased with them … so an even bigger number of us appear to be diving in this year …  There are 35,000 phones being manufactured ready for July 2014 – right now 13,034 have been sold. 

Ethical Superstore has written a piece on this, ending:

Buying electronics should be no different to buying coffee or tea. If we want to see a fairer world, we need to support the companies that are working to make that happen. Through our purchasing decisions we provide the demand that allows these companies to grow. As consumers we can vote with our wallets…we just need to make sure we vote for the change we want to see.

and Rankabrand defines it as the most environmentally sustainable phone… and most of its sales seems to be on word-of-mouth. Am committed now, so…

Bloggers Take on a Tearfund Challenge in Cambodia #TFBloggers

Last year I had the privilege of visiting Uganda with Tearfund to report back on the work they are doing… I was totally sold – so great to see another team heading out, to Cambodia this time, to “see for themselves“… I’m looking forward to hearing what they get up to…

This March, three UK bloggers will travel to Cambodia with Tearfund to visit communities living in poverty who are being transformed through the local church.

In December 2013, Tearfund launched the Cambodia Bloggers Challenge, which invited bloggers in the UK to be a part of a storytelling trip to Cambodia. They would meet people who are being given a hand up from poverty thanks to the generosity of regular givers in the UK.

Illustrator and designer Rich Wells, writer Anita Mathias and advocacy manager Danny Webster were selected from the long list of applicants by a judging panel of Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Reverend Sally Hitchiner (Anglican priest and broadcaster), Reverend Richard Littledale (Baptist minister, blogger and author) and Tearfund’s Head of Corporate Communications Katie Harrison.

“Cambodia is a place I am excited to visit with Tearfund and hear the stories of lives transformed by the generosity of many who sacrifice a little to save a lot,” says Danny Webster, one of the bloggers going on the trip. “I want to tell the stories of how poverty can be overcome, and the daily suffering banished. I want to shine a light on the dreadful status quo, and I want to show what you and I can do to make a difference.”

The bloggers will meet people living in poverty like 13-year-old Seng, who used to worry for his family and about how his mother, Rim, will be able to feed them with no income. With training and support from Tearfund, Seng and his family’s lives are beginning to change for the better. Rim joined a chicken raising group started by Tearfund, and is now learning new skills and earning enough money to be able to provide for her family again.

This social media led trip will challenge the bloggers to use their unique, creative skills to encourage people to donate towards the transforming work of local churches around the world, for people like Seng and his family.

The trip is part of Tearfund’s See For Yourself initiative, which allows supporters to follow a community in Asia, Africa or Latin America, and watch as their donations transform lives before their eyes through regular photo, video, email and prayer updates.

In the same way, people will be able to follow the journey of the bloggers in Cambodia by following their updates on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as Tearfund’s website – creating a very live experience. The bloggers will be using a variety of media to tell their stories, including micro-blogging, video, illustration and photography.

‘Bloggers can change the world, or at the least they can change the way people view the world.’ says Krish Kandiah, Executive Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Tearfund Vice President and member of the judging panel. ‘We hope these bloggers can use their skills to help many people see the country and people of Cambodia through God’s eyes.’

[VIDEO] #EndItMovement

A powerful video from the ‘End It Campaign’, based in the States, which has been raising awareness this year – and now asking for action. On their site:

SLAVERY IS WRONG.

YOU KNOW IT. WE KNOW IT. AS A COUNTRY, WE’VE OFFICIALLY KNOWN IT SINCE 1863. BUT HERE’S SOMETHING YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW — SLAVERY STILL EXISTS. WE WANT EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE 27 MILLION MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN, JUST LIKE THEM, LIVING IN THE SHADOWS. IN BROTHELS. IN FACTORIES. IN QUARRIES. WORKING AS SLAVES. IN 161 COUNTRIES. INCLUDING OUR OWN. WE ARE HERE TO SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY. NO MORE BONDAGE. NO MORE SEX TRAFFICKING. NO MORE CHILD LABORERS. NO MORE, STARTING NOW.

Numbers are also rising in the UK, and the UK government is introducing a new law with harsher penalties. What’s your slavery footprint?

Syria Crisis Appeal @Tearfund

As you’ll have seen from #tfbloggers etc, I’ve been an interested supporter of Tearfund for many years, and the visit to Ogongora & other villages just strengthened that as we saw how effectively the money was put to use. There’s much debate about whether we should “just give”, but I find the idea of knowing “how” money makes a difference makes me feel like even my small contributions make a difference (is that the ego talking?) …

Thanks for Giving

So, having talked to @katieharrisonTF (who came with us to Uganda) about her recent trip to Syria, receiving the transcript of an interview Katie undertook in Syria, and seeing a range of adverts on TV, despite being rather skint, again – it seemed important to make a stand for the Syria Crisis.Having given my few pennies (I’ll turn my heating down a bit/add an extra jumper … in order to heat a whole family) … I thought it was a really nice touch to see a ‘thank you’ video from David Bainbridge, International Director at Tearfund, indicating just how the money would help… feels personal although you know it’s the same for each giver.

Thanks from Tear Fund

I’ve been really impressed by Tearfund’s use of digital in general – and we get some of the stories via Holly & Katie on BigBible :-)

Extract from Press Release

The widespread fighting in Syria has affected over 4 million people, displacing many from their homes. Every day thousands of refugees are fleeing across the borders into neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and many more are living with family and friends or in public buildings in Syria.

David Bainbridge: “The bitterly cold weather and the sheer number of displaced people means that we have to act. Ultimately we want to help people to return to their homes but their immediate needs are food, somewhere to stay and ways to keep warm.”

Family in Syria

Photo Credit: Eleanor Bentall/ Tearfund

Extract from Katie’s Interview:

Katie: Could you tell us your story of how you came here from Syria and who came with you?

Aamil*: We were living in Deraa when something like 20,000 soldiers came into our neighbourhood.  They started shooting and killed about 300 people. They also burned our houses.

So we left our homes carrying nothing, no money, no food, no clothing, only the things that we are wearing, that’s all.

They were pursuing us with tanks so I took my whole family and left that neighbourhood. We left immediately and went to Zaatari in Jordan.

(Zaatari is the big official refugee camp.)

*Name has been changed.

The interview continues to say that the family could only survive one week in the camp, where it was very cold, and hard to care for an elderly father, and a disabled son, so the family has rented a room – expensive, unheated, and with food hard to access. The family has an appointment with the UN Refugee Agency, but not until June 2013 – before which they don’t have a card which will allow them to buy food.

You can donate to the appeal by calling 0845 355 8355 or at www.tearfund.org/syria

The @KPFoundation

Having spent the last week feeling fed up stuck in bed with a massive temperature, and getting pretty fed up, yesterday I finally got around to reading Katie Piper’s Beautiful. Soon puts things in perspective, and with a friend’s child who’s recovering from severe electrical burns, and other friends with skin conditions, I’m feeling inspired: Check out what’s she’s now getting up to:

Second Hand Clothes Only (#FIPI)

A really interesting story about someone who gave up her £100 a month clothes shopping habit and wore only clothes from charity shops, setting herself some rules:

First, I set myself some rules. All the clothes I bought had to be thoughtful purchases (no more impulse buys) and from shops where the proceeds go to charity — vintage, or any other variety of second-hand, did not count. I made an exception for underwear. Weirdly enough, I’m not crazy about wearing  other people’s knickers.

The first challenge of my new shopping life was to find some “new” work clothes. I’m employed in a high-end hotel, so looking professional in the office is a necessity and attending a meeting looking like a rag-bag was not an option.

In a panic I started scouring the charity shops in my local area, Notting Hill. To my surprise I found most were stocked with a vast supply of smart cast-offs from locals a lot more affluent than me. I was quickly knee-deep in an array of great skirts, jackets and dresses — and even managed to acquire  a Gucci blazer for just £21.

Picking up more casual items for the weekend and nights out — including everything from suede and leather skirts to chiffon, floral print tops — was also not a problem. I soon found that other recent high-street styles, including a leather 1920s-style aviator jacket (just £15!), were easily found on the second-hand rails.

Read the full story.

Getting Ready to Run for the @NSPCC #GetBexRunning

A little parcel that turned up in the post this morning! Which also let me know about options for signing up for a fundraising page (I try and spread out my fundraising so I don’t ask for anything more than once a year, usually 2!):

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/drbexl

They’ve got some great social media going on on the page too, and v. impressed to get a response on Facebook within 20-30 minutes after posting a hello! So who’s going to help me keep going (it kept me going for the Moonwalk, when I’d raised £400!)

So, now, “all” there is to do is to get the trainers back on, and get back on the streets… well, aside from the fact that I’ve been working on building up the muscles in my legs – stretching, swimming, circuit training, some realignment of my muscles by Winchester Holistics!

Richard Curtis: Keep Trying

Really interesting article in i paper tonight, from Richard Curtis, talking about some of the things he’s tried for Comic/Sport Relief, which haven’t necessarily worked, but the value in trying:

Fundraising in schools has always been absolutely key to our success – and, one year, we came up with the cracking idea of writing a little play that every school in the country could perform on Red Nose Day. Fresh off the back of writing Four Weddings and a Funeral, I was pretty sure I was the man for the job.

I wrote a 15-minute epic, in which children had to dress as various vegetables – and there was a very good moral at the end about social justice and parsnips or something. Throbbing with expectation and the excitement of creating a dramatic phenomenon, we sent out 22,000 copies of the play to the UK’s schools.

Final research revealed that, in the end, eight schools performed it. We never found out the total money raised. But it wasn’t a lot. Something in the region of £50. Or a bit less.

Read full story.

What’s up with Lent?

Last year was the first year that I really “did” anything for Lent, when I organised The Big Read 2011. I had watched (particularly non-Christian) friends giving things up, but not participating…

Lent is the time when we are preparing for Easter, which some have described as ‘New Year for Christians’ – when we remember the 40 days of preparation that Jesus spent in the desert:

Taken up for 2012?

This year, I am again running ‘The Big Read 2012‘. We had the materials prepared a lot sooner, and have prepared social media layers, so there’s more conversation – but a lot of it is still going on offline – people keep saying how wonderful it is – would love people to demonstrate that by partaking more online :-)

Given up for 2012?

For a couple of months I’ve been trying to sort out my cupboards by eating up what’s in them, and increasing my “local” shopping, but still ending up at the supermarket with £100 trolley loads… which then don’t seem to add much to the choices in the cupboard (and I’m not feeling particularly flush in the pocket so need to save some ££)! So, for Lent, I’ve formalised that – no shopping in the big out of town supermarkets (and avoiding the in-town ones if possible).

  • Last Sunday I went to the Farmer’s Market & shot around – spending about £20 – not a huge amount of stuff, but very tasty!
  • Yesterday I made it into town, picking up milk in £land, £13 worth of fruits & veg from the marketstall (towards end of day, when they are down-pricing everything).. not sure if even then I don’t have too much
  • I seem to be whizzing around the country, so I have pre-cooked a load of meals yesterday to put in the freezer – as I don’t want to waste food either.

I’m thinking more about what I need, what I’m buying, and having a more interesting range of foods, as I had bought things meaning to try them, but it seemed easier to buy something else! Let’s see how we get on…

I’m signed up for the @Great_Run (South)

At this point, I’ve just signed up for the Great South Run, 28th October 2012.

In 2006, I was on a ski trip in January, and said that I would run the Manchester 10k (May) .. thinking it didn’t sound that far… but after 1 minute on the treadmill, I was slightly dying, so joined the running club. My aim was to get it done in 1 hour 30 minutes, but I did it in 1 hour 8 minutes 26 seconds…

Later that year, after sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, we signed up for the Winchester 10k, which was a WEEK later (and I was still running, but definitely not at the same level), but I completed that in 1 hour 6 minutes! I’m sure it’s more hilly also…

In the time since, I’ve been travelling around the world (where I got a chest infection), partaken in a number of computer based jobs, and I felt the need for something to inspire me to get my ‘get up and go back’ (I’ve been back at the gym for over a year, and love the classes there)… and know that running before, though I don’t particularly “enjoy” it, I really reap the benefits from it… and seeing @batty_towers talking about her runs, a friend running today in the Great South Run, and seeing the apps that show how far you’ve run (seen those Tweets about #runkeeper?). Also see:

I’ll be running on behalf of the NSPCC, so at some point there will be an appeal for sponsorship, but encouragement & support will be greatly appreciated!

The Big Society and Public Spending Cuts – Archbishop of York expresses concerns

The Church employs more youth workers than any other organization and is involved on a daily basis trying to make the lives of young people better. What I am trying to say is that the Church understands the importance of volunteering and being active in our communities. As one of my predecessors, Archbishop William Temple said, “The Church is the only organisation that exists for the wellbeing and fraternity of its non-members”.

But what we must not forget that the state has responsibilities too.

There is a reason we pay our taxes. Whilst it is easy to pretend that much of our hard earned cash goes to fund expense fiddling MPs, disreputable casino-style banks or mad politically-correct quangoes for do-gooders – actually we should expect the state to run and fund strong public services, with our money.

How to raise that money is another question. I am not an economist, and I am not a politician, but to cut investment to vital public services, and to withdraw investment from communities, is madness.

You do not escape an economic downturn by cutting investment and by squashing aspirations.

The Government has signalled for a long time that cuts must be put in place to tackle the economic deficit. The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) is the swinging axe that follows the cuddly blanket and soothing words of “The Big Society”.

I know many people today will be afraid of what the Government cuts outlined in the CSR will mean for them and their families.

I think we would all accept that this is a difficult time for our country economically. There are difficult choices to be made, and real debates to be had about what is the best way forward. Debate, discussion and compromise can all be positive when those involved are conducting themselves in the right spirit. However we need to ensure that no-one is left behind.

The promotion of social justice should be a primary moral imperative for any government, and for every publicly funded institution. For when the government puts the promotion of social justice at its heart, we can stand together as one nation, as one people in solidarity with each other, recognizing the dignity of all, and affording all fair and equal opportunities for access and services. Freedom, fraternity and informed choice must characterise our social fabric.”

Read full story.