Privilege at its finest

Sometimes it feels nice to complain. Let’s admit it, we all do it and some more than others.   I’m not a big complainer at all. Usually I get on with it, and have little patience for unnecessary complaints. But as I said, sometimes it is nice to complain, and in those moments all you Read More

Stories from Carrying Everest # 3: Identity and Its Preservation

Call it a myth, call it a story, call it a sequence of sacred tales. To the Kulung, it is known as Riddum (or Mundum/Mundhum) and since time immoral, these series of memories and fables have been shared orally from one generation to the next to depict the origins of the cosmos – or simply Read More

Hope beyond Trump’s tax returns

It’s 2017. Looking out only for yourself is encouraged, being outright mean is a-okay, and young people are apparently less empathetic than their parents. These days you have to work hard to find signs of hope. But from talking to school students, I’ve found that these signs do exist. Last week, MSNBC got a hold Read More

emPOWERment: Taking action on what’s important to us

Dedicated to Patsy. "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves" - Thomas Edison.   I have a friend and colleague who is absolutely incredible. In her job, she works tirelessly to improve the lives of the poor. To bring light to the issues they face and inspire Read More

If I was appointed the Minister for Education in Afghanistan…

Imagine you were appointed the Minister for Education in Afghanistan. Imagine you had the power to change anything you wanted about the schools across the country. Tell me, what would you do?   What changes would you make in primary schools, high schools and universities? Do you think boys and girls should study in a Read More

Your racism is disguised as ‘free speech’

Seeing the hate that has been directed towards Muslims recently over the past few months in Australia, I feel incredibly sad. It shows that we haven’t yet learnt from our past mistakes. I grew up in Australia during the first era of Pauline Hanson. I remember her maiden speech in Parliament in 1996, where she Read More

Stories from Carrying Everest # 2: Lessons and Insights of Immersion

We crossed a line. That fuzzy, indeterminate, unfixed space between tourist and local. Between outsider and insider. It’s a bizarre, privileged and delicate place to be. When a project or opportunity invites your full immersion, the stakes are higher. The lessons are steeper, your participation in all types of activities is acutely important, and your Read More

Do Some Lives Matter More and Others Less?

In a rural village of Timor-Leste, I found myself sitting on the floor of an ume kububu, a traditional kitchen hut built with bamboo and dried grass. I was helping to prepare a meal with a woman named Mama Alda. My small fingers gripped the hand-woven basket as I sifted husk out from rice. “No Read More

I Dream of Driving a Car

I dream of driving a car. Those few times when I have sat with my hands on the steering wheel, I felt in control of my life. But I was born into a society where it is not culturally acceptable for a woman to drive a car. In Afghanistan, many men feel great shame if Read More

What’s tragic is your warped view on disability

A couple of months ago now, I came across an opinion piece online entitled “Wake up and smell the coffee – life cannot be that bad”. I skimmed and saw the word “wheelchair”. Given I use one, I was intrigued and read on. The author, regular NZ Herald columnist Alan Duff, told people to stop Read More

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