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Aunty Ocloo’s family and friends – Happy Birthday

“Esther Afua Ocloos was known as “Auntie Ocloo” in her homeland of Ghana. She was born there in 1919 and by the 1930s she had started to build her food empire. It was the difficulties Ocloo had in acquiring start up cash that saw her become a trailblazer in the world of microlending. A practice that helps alleviate poverty and help people with no collateral get their business ideas up and running” more about her life

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Travel Safe

Last night thinking about the few times when didnt feel safe with people i was travelling with. On one occasion found myself alone at a motorway junction without money and didnt want to worry my parents about the predicament i was in or perhaps was worried they would tell me off and already had enough to cope with

I had seen my dad hitch a ride from a passing car when he had run out of petrol.

so decided to hitch back to where i was calling home, somewhere close to where i was at college in the west country, at least a hundred miles away

First ride was with a small lorry carrying lawn mowers who took me a long way but still quite a long way to go – so hitched another ride and this time it was different, the driver didnt say much and then pulled over and then i was really frightened.

He told me he had a daughter aboout my age and how he worried about her if she did the same thing alone. Once said – he carried on and took me almost to my door.

One of those defining moments which meant almost never hitched alone again and began saving to learn to drive

But problems can still happen when there are two of you, even if you are a man.

One conversation had at the time with a student from America stunned and worried me – she felt carrying a knife was protection but a lot of us discussed that someone with more strength could use this against you

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this is more a note to myself, so i wont forget

Have been unable to avoid all the discussion about working mums and maybe little interested being one myself but not because i wanted to, but because needed to support my son from a few weeks old. My work, interestingly a Swedish company in the UK told me i had to quit my job because i was going to have a baby but i could rejoin after half a year but losing everything paid in and the dad, he left within a few weeks of the arrival. One of my memorys of this time was i couldnt make myself go food shopping at the weekends because the supermarkets were filled with, i thought – happy familys.

I did go back to work but part time. This meant fell into a poverty trap where earnt just enough so wasnt eligible for benefits. But i was proud not to be on benefits – this is how we were brought up and it was a pain to fill in longwinded forms everytime a small change in anything. Thinking back, i am not comfortable with my decision, but didnt feel i had a choice and by myself – couldnt change the system.

So i asked my son last night what he thought about mums going to work and he said and this makes me want to cry. “Not a good idea, you needed me

I know its tough – you’ve worked hard to get an education and do well at your job – but this is only one small part of you and for mums, dad and new baby – its such a short time, why knock yourself out to pay someone else to enjoy this moment. If you have a choice – do you really need to work. Can you have an important break?

Think its also an investment in the emotional stability of your child and family.


UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency – figures

Below is a link to an article from UNHCR including figures comparing 2013 and 2014. Interestingly the figures quoted are for applications for refuge, not figures for refuge offered.

Asylum trends for 2014

“In the 1990s, the Balkan wars created hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers. Many of them found refuge in industrialized countries. Today, the surge in armed conflicts around the world presents us with similar challenges.
Our response has to be just as generous now as it was then – providing access to asylum, resettlement opportunities and other forms of protection for the people fleeing these terrible conflicts”
antónio guterres
un high commissioner for refugees