Newsletter: 7/28 – 8/1

Dear All,

Welcome to August! We are already well into the second half of the year and with each passing month the bloggers from the Rising Voices projects are getting more creative and more comfortable with how they express themselves.

At this year’s Global Voices Summit held in Budapest many attendees asked the Rising Voices participants how they could help support their projects. One of the best way to encourage new bloggers to keep sharing stories about their lives and communities is to simply leave comments on the posts they write. And to link to their stories on your own blogs! This week we will highlight six different posts from new bloggers around the world that were either written in or translated into English. They give us insight into communities that we would otherwise know very little or nothing about.

Monsieur Stephane says hello from Madagascar

Let’s start with a quick 30 second video posted on Flickr by Stephane of the Foko Madagascar project. Stephane is one of the main coordinators of Foko Madagascar and travels all around the island to teach as many Malagasy people how to blog as possible. As you can see with just a quick glance of their project blog, his dedicated work has been well worth it.

Foko bloggers on Malagasy culture and traditions

Staying in Madagascar, here are four brief translations of how cultural traditions are both surviving and changing as globalization takes hold in Madagascar. Here you will learn why you might see people walking down a street carrying sugarcanes, banana leaves, and a Malagasy flag. Or why in August, September and October you might see families carrying around a body wrapped in silk sheets and a brass hand. If you have any questions about the traditions, like I did, feel free to ask in the comments section and the Foko bloggers will be glad to answer your questions. If you are interested in learning more about Malagasy culture and ritual, I highly encourage you to follow the blogs of Hkambora and Rondro. Joan gives us some more context about their posts.

Freezing Cold

Carolina comes from the Santo Domingo group of bloggers trained by the HiperBarrio group in Medellín, Colombia. Today when you travel to Medellín, everyone will tell you that you should take the metrocable, a suspended gondola-like system of public transportation, up to the hillside community of Santo Domingo. But just ten years ago their advice would have been to stay away from Santo Domingo at all costs. It was one of the most dangerous communities in Colombia. Carolina’s bilingual blog reminds us that Santo Domingo is more than just its violent legacy. A recent post describes how the strange forces of distance and proximity affect our friendships. Sometimes the closeness we feel toward friends when we communicate online doesn’t match how we interact offline.

In The Sun Island, Titicaca Lake

Cristina Quisbert continues to frequently update both her Spanish-language and English-language blogs. Last week, as a way of celebrating her birthday, she made a last-minute trip to the Isla del Sol, Sun Island, in Lake Titicaca in northern Bolivia. Her description of her trip to the island, and how she met a Swiss girl named Nicole with whom she enjoyed the white sand beach of Challapampa, is absolutely beautiful.

My Teachers of “Nari Jibon” Project

In our posts about the Nari Jibon project, which teaches new skills to women in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we tend to focus on the students and their blogs. Last Friday one of those students, Jannat Fardoush, took the time to write a post in English on her blog about four of her teachers at Nari Jibon, complete with pictures. To learn more about the Nari Jibon project and some of the successes they have achieved, I highly recommend an amazing post by Golam Rabbany Sujon which introduces us to six young Bangladeshi entrepreneurs who were trained at the Nari Jibon center.

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That’s it for this week’s newsletter. Please don’t forget to leave comments on as many posts as you can and to link to the Rising Voices bloggers on your own blogs and websites. For more photos, videos, and links about citizen media outreach, including an update from Rezwan about the “Bloggers Since Infants” project in Uruguay, head to the Rising Voices website.

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