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Why I Walk Barefoot – An Unordinary School Empowering Women To Power The World

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In a quiet classroom forty empty chairs await their students. A blackboard, dusty with chalk, takes up one wall; directly opposite a world map flutters in the dry desert breeze from an open window. Sunlight streams in from the doorframe, as the students begin to take their places around a long trestle table.

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This is not your everyday classroom. And these are not your everyday students.

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This is The Barefoot College, an NGO which aims to empower rural communities to become sustainable and self-sufficient by creating Rural Solar Engineers.

Solar Engineering Class of 2015 / 11 countries, 36 women.

The Purpose

To return home and illuminate their own villages!

1.6 Billion people in the world do not have access to light at night. (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

Without renewable energy the poorest populations must plunder limited resources to provide a single flame of light for their families. Many nights, they are left in the dark without the ability to capitalize on hours after sunset. This means that because most developing regions work during the day, adults and children alike lose out on opportunities at night for education, recreation or development.

Village Chief has given his blessings to these four Togolese Mamas who will return in 6 months to solar electrify the community. (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

Most of the women in class concentrate on their work for the day (today they’re soldering circuit boards) but on my visit Lucy, from Cameroon, smiles and leans forward to shake my hand. Sitting at the head of the table nearby is Maria, a Solar Mama from Bolivia. Her story is one of pure inspiration – she travelled alone for 2000 miles on her first trip away from her family of ten children and two grandchildren. Now she shares a dorm with two Ecuadorian Mamas, Patricia & Estella, who look up to her as their own mother figure – “We could not do this without her” they say.

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Patricia, Maria & Estella (Left to Right)

The notion that grandmothers, with no prior engineering skills (and very limited formal education), can electrify whole villages seems, at first, untenable. But after five minutes in this diverse classroom I can’t imagine a more simple and compelling idea. Barefoot College gives these women the opportunity to escape the dogmas of their previous societies and live more freely. Allowing them the space and time to find their true potential.

“Anyone, regardless of gender, caste or age, can become empowered to learn new skills.” – Gordhan, Solar Trainer

The Method

“Learning by doing. Doing by learning.” – The Barefoot College Way

From South Sudan to Myanmar, Togo to Panama, from 68 different countries around the world “Solar Mamas” (as they are affectionately known) have been chosen by their communities, given their first passport and leave their homes and families behind for the first time in their lives to begin a transformative journey in rural Rajasthan, India, where the Barefoot College Campus is based.

The students? Illiterate grandmothers from non-electrified villages around the world, training to become Solar Engineers.

How do they learn? Incredibly, because none of the Mamas can read or speak a common language, all teaching is done through symbols, photographs, sign language and repeated practice for six months. Barefoot College demands that a lack of formal education should not stop these women from unleashing their true potential!

Lucy Ndip, Solar Mama from Cameroon has 8 children and completed 6th grade schooling.

My first visit to the Solar Training Centre was an awe-inspiring one. Greeted by a cacophony of noise, the Solar Mamas rang out welcomes in ten different languages – “Hola!” “Namaste!” “Maayong Buntag!” “Bonjour!” “Habari!” Their ambition fills the room with an air that gives me strength.

http://valhallamovement.com/blog/2014/11/27/walk-barefoot/

“The concept works great practically, now lets see if the academics can make it work theoretically.” – His Holiness the IVX Dalai Lama, visited in 2012

The Proof

Togolese Solar Mamas return home and stand outside a clinic which they are about to solar electrify. (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

Solar Mama, Mialo Tassi on her way to erect Solar Panels for a small village home in Agome Sevah, Togo. (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

Since its inception in 2008, graduates of the Solar Engineering programme have electrified 1015 villages in 68 countries, changing the lives of 500,000 villagers. Using the practical skills gained at Barefoot, the Solar Mamas can light homes, schools and hospitals, and will maintain and repair lamps and panels for up to five years. However, the Solar Mama’s journey does not end solely with the acquisition of practical skills and techniques.

Togolese Solar Mama Class of 2014 (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

While on campus the women absorb each other’s diversity, grow in confidence and realize their potential as leaders within their own communities. When returning home they spread the necessity of female empowerment, the harnessing of traditional knowledge and rural techniques, and the goal of equal education for all.

Togolese Solar Mamas successfully install Solar System making their village clinic off-grid. (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

Perhaps the most important aspect of the Barefoot College programme is not only that women learn to electrify their villages. But that the Solar Mamas who graduate become shining beacons of lights themselves, going on to further inspire and empower a new generation of women with no limitations.

Togolese Solar Mamas teach women from other villages how to become Solar Engineers, spreading light both spiritually & physically. (Photojournalist: Lar Bolands)

As a new visitor to Barefoot College, I am overwhelmed and inspired by the determination of each of the Solar Mamas. By taking the astounding step to leave their communities and learn a completely new trade, they prove that it is not certificates, grades or job titles that count. Instead, what truly matters is having the courage to make a change, create new solutions and affect the world positively.

Join The Barefoot College Team, Create More Autonomous Villages Around the Rural World


<Lar Bolands documentation was funded by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund & Irish Aid>

<Article written by Amy Quinn>

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New Bodycam Footage Reveals Details Of George Floyd’s Arrest Prior To His Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    New police bodycam footage shows what happened prior to George Floyd's death.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have solutions that can lead us to different societal outcomes, not based on new belief systems, but truly allowing people to experience peace, emotional calm and connection?

George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin was one of the events of 2020 that has brought up a great deal of collective shadows that need to be addressed. News of Floyd’s death sparked massive civil unrest and protests that are still going on today, more than two months since it happened.

New police bodycam video shows a terrified George Floyd begging for officers not to shoot him. The footage is from body cameras worn by officer Thomas Lane and Alex Kueng, two of the four cops fired and charged in Floyd’s death. The video was leaked to the Daily Mail and shows officer Lane, approaching Floyd’s SUV, ordering him to show his hands. Floyd does not comply, so the officer pulls out his gun.

“Please don’t shoot me. Please[…] Please, please don’t shoot me. I just lost my mom, man.”

“Put your hands up there,” says the office. “Put your (muted) hands up there. Put your hands on the wheel.”

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” Floyd says as he’s dragged out of his SUV and handcuffed. Floyd is then taken to a police vehicle across the street, where officers attempt to get him inside. Floyd pleads that he’s claustrophobic and scuffles to avoid being put in the vehicle.

“I’ll roll down the window,” one of the officers says.

“Please, I’m not trying to win,[…] “I’m not a bad guy, man. I’m not a bad guy.”

Floyd is wrestled to the ground after avoiding going into the backseat. As the video ends Floyd begins telling officers “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” The world is aware of how this incident ends.

The current murder case against former cops Thomas Lane, Alex Kueng, Derek Chauvin, and Tou Thao is ongoing. This piece of footage is being used as evidence in the case.

The video below shows the entire incident. Viewer be warned some of this footage may be unsettling.

Why It Matters: The Floyd death has had me wondering what can honestly be done differently when it comes to policing. Watching this video I did not feel a sense of connection and community amongst officers. I felt a separation between them and the potential ‘criminal’ they were engaging with.

In the US, stats show this type of behavior can affect black people more than others, but I never felt this incident was race-related. To me it felt like how many police interactions feel: stressful and disconnected. So why is that? Why in general is humanity so disconnected from one another?

A deeper look into the state of being of police officers points us to the fact that police are consistently under a high level of stress and are not living in a balanced state of being while on the job. Not a surprise to some, but perhaps to others.

I’ve often wondered if the larger issue here is that we have a police force that is experiencing “among the most stressful occupations in the world and officers typically suffer a variety of physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects and symptoms,” according to a 2012 study examining the role of stress and other psychological challenges in a police officers life. “Officers operating under severe or chronic stress are likely to be at greater risk of error, accidents, and overreactions that can compromise their performance, jeopardize public safety, and pose significant liability costs to the organization” the study abstract continues.

After following 59 police officers through 16 weeks that had been trained on Heart Math’s Resilience Advantage® training, it was noted that:

“The greatest and, in our view, most important effect of the self-management training was seen in the participants’ increased ability to manage their moods and emotions, which is a fundamental key to sustaining resilience. … For the police officer, the abilities to think rationally under stress, concentrate, plan ahead, remember and organize crucial information, make effective decisions, and control inappropriate emotion-triggered reactions are critically important and in some cases, can determine the difference between life and death for the officer and other parties.”

Since 2012, 300 to 400 police officers per week in the Netherlands have received heart coherence training through the HeartMath.  It was estimated that by 2016, 30,000 Dutch officers would have gone through the training, we are awaiting an update on this figure. HeartMath Benelux is an official partner of the Dutch Police Academy as clearly they see value in this form of training for officers.

The Conscious Takeaway: Why is the emotional and psychological state of an officer not one of the most important factors discussed in the media? It so often comes down to race as our social engineering has trained us to view things in that manner.

We have a potentially extremely powerful solution through Heart Math’s Resilience Advantage® training yet instead of having these discussions we point to divisive narratives like race? But does this really account for the vast majority of poor interactions with police? Perhaps it’s time for a new approach?

Maybe we can begin to address the state of being of ourselves and start taking responsibility for how we feel, what we go through, and how to master our emotions? There are plenty of tools out there, it simply requires a cultural shift in wanting to move towards peace vs staying right where we are. It moves us from a story of separation to one of connection – something that we experience directly, not are taught through beliefs and ideas.

Perhaps attuning to heart coherence can be a solution alongside other proposed ideas?

After all, are the police not people we want to feel like can truly help the community?

“It makes you not want to call the police department […] If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with?” – James Smith, neighbor who called police.

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Alan Dershowitz Implicated In Unsealed Ghislaine Maxwell Documents

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Alan Dershowitz has been implicated in the latest events pertaining to the Ghislaine Maxwell case. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the accuser, is claiming to have sexually engaged with him as a minor, unsealed documents reveal.

  • Reflect On:

    How many people may be implicated here that don't come to light? Is there something deeper going on here that remains to be uncovered and continues not be covered by mainstream media?

What Happened: Well known attorney and political commentator Alan Dershowitz has been implicated in the latest news pertaining to the Ghislaine Maxwell case. She is currently being held in New York awaiting her trial next year. Dershowitz was mentioned, along with Bill Clinton and others in a set of unsealed documents that were part of now-settled civil litigation against Maxwell. She appealed the decision of the judge to unseal them, but to no avail.

Maxwell was Epstein’s right hand person, and the documents, along with testimony from many others over the past few years, show that Maxwell sexually abused children and also directed victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre to be sexually abused by others, using her and many others as sex slaves.

The NY Post explains:

The emeritus Harvard Law professor was accused of having sex with then-minor “Jane Doe #3” — identified in court documents as Virginia Roberts Giuffre — and witnessing Jeffrey Epstein and others sexually abusing girls and young women.

The allegations, lodged in a 2014 court filing, reemerged in more than 600 pages unsealed Thursday night in Giuffre’s 2015 defamation case against.

In 1997, Dershowitz wrote the following: “Reasonable People Can Disagree Over Whether It Should Be As Low As 14.” You can find that article and read more about that here.

He is currently denying the allegations made by Giuffre, calling her a liar. He also stands by that article he wrote in 1997.

Why This Is Important: Elite level trafficking and pedophilia are coming to light, and it’s a major step for humanity given that many implicated and accused people are those in positions of great power, and in some cases made out to be idolized by the general public, usually showered with fame and fortune.

Research indicates there are many children suffering and that do suffer as a result of this activity, and there are so many examples going beyond the Jeffrey Epstein showing that this is quite rampant among our political and financial elite, and among those who pull the strings that we never really see.

This type of activity also shines light onto the world of politics. For example, with regards to Epstein and Maxwell, there is evidence suggesting that both are actually high ranking intelligence officers, with the job of entrapping powerful politicians and people. You can read more about that here. Is this what goes on in the system we continue to hold up and empower by voting year after year? Why are we playing with a system that’s clearly created out of disconnection and separation, and that does not allow humanity to thrive?

Is it time for something new? Is the current state of our world a reflection of the ‘leadership’ we choose and agree to put into power?

If you want to see some more examples and dive through more evidence, you can refer to this article I published towards the end of last year.

You can also watch our interview with a survivor of these types of pedophile rings.

You can access the full interview and start your free trial HERE on CETV, a platform we created to help combat internet censorship and allow us to continue to do our work and get the word out about various issues and topics.

The interview is with Anneke Lucas, who is is an author, speaker, advocate for child sex trafficking victims, founder of the non-profit organization Liberation Prison Yoga, and creator of the Unconditional Model. Her work is based on personal experience of a 30-year healing journey after surviving being sold by her family as a child sex slave to a pedophile network.

The interview is deep, and goes into the consciousness aspect of her experience and why that aspect is so important.

The Takeaway: There are many events taking place that are causing people to really question what’s happening on our planet and why. Why do we think and live the way we are living, and why is there so much misinformation, deception, and examples of fraud and deceit that come from multiple governments? Is it really a surprise that many of these people may be involved in activities that represent such a disregard for human life? Isn’t that what geopolitics has resulted in? War is a great example.

More people are starting to realize that we’re not really living in a democracy, but in the illusion of democracy where our physical rights are slowly taken away by governments who are capitalizing on crisis after crisis, ones in which they themselves help create and prolong.  Elite level child trafficking simply shines a light on how our current level of unconsciousness is creating a world built on disconnection.  Now is a time where these truths are being made transparent.

At the end of the day, we can change things anytime we want. We are indeed that powerful as one human collective.

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“Reasonable People Can Disagree Over Whether It Should Be As Low As 14” – Alan Dershowitz On Sexual Consent

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In 1997, well known American lawyer and political commentator Alan Dershowitz published an article titled "Statutory Rape is an Outdated Concept." In it, he argued for lowering the age of consent.

  • Reflect On:

    Has there been a slow and steady effort within the mainstream and 'powers that be' to normalize and justify pedophilia and underage sex? If so, why?

What Happened: In 1997, well known American lawyer and political commentator Alan Dershowitz published an article titled “Statutory Rape is an Outdated Concept.” (You can see a screenshot of  it below.) In it, he states that “reasonable people can disagree over whether it (the age of consent) should be as low as 14, 15 would be an appropriate compromise.” He then goes on to suggest that “Perhaps there should be stair-casing below 15 with the penalty increasing inversely with the age of the victim.” This means that if the age of consent was lowered to 14, and a 50 year old man slept with a 13 year old, the penalty wouldn’t be as severe as it would be if it were a 12 year old, and so on and so forth. He has since defended his position.

His argument is that if girls at this age can decide whether or not they can have an abortion, then they are certainly capable of consenting to sex with older people. Another point he makes is that puberty is happening at younger ages these days, another reason he seems to justify his position.

For me, at that age a child is still a child, they are still developing both mentally and physically. You could argue they are in-fact in a more vulnerable time in their life to be taken advantage of, which in my opinion is simply another form of rape, despite the fact that at the time it may appear to be “consensual.” This is why many of these children grow up and are adversely affected by their experience, because when they are older they have a greater mental capacity to understand what really happened.

Someone like Jeffrey Epstein is an expert in manufacturing consent, perhaps that’s why there is reason to believe Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were both high ranking intelligence officers, with the job of entrapping powerful politicians and people. You can read more about that here.

Keep in mind that Epstein and other powerful people have been accused of rape, without consent, despite the fact that again, manufacturing the consent of a child is still, in my-opinion, rape and leads to large amounts of trauma. One only has to ask: is this the type of world we wish to live in? If not, then what do we do about this reality? Are we addressing the underlying reasons as to why this happens? Are we empowering it unknowingly?

Many people have brought Dershowitzs’ article back into the lime-light given the fact that he had defended Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile who apparently killed himself. The article has also been making its rounds after documents were recently unsealed a few days ago in which Bill Clinton, Dershowitz and others have been implicated. The documents pertain to Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently being held without bail. She was Epstein’s right hand person, and the documents allege that Maxwell sexually abused children and also directed victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre to be sexually abused by others like Dershowitz. These accusations also corroborate with a number of other victims that have spoken out against both Maxwell, Epstein and others, claiming that many children were groomed to be sex slaves.

The documents were part of now-settled civil litigation against Maxwell. The NY Post explains:

The emeritus Harvard Law professor was accused of having sex with then-minor “Jane Doe #3” — identified in court documents as Virginia Roberts Giuffre — and witnessing Jeffrey Epstein and others sexually abusing girls and young women.

The allegations, lodged in a 2014 court filing, reemerged in more than 600 pages unsealed Thursday night in Giuffre’s 2015 defamation case against Maxwell.

Did Dershowitz know what Epstein was doing? He claims he didn’t, but from the public point of view, and in my opinion, it’s quite clear that nearly ‘everyone’ in Hollywood and big politics knows what is going on, and knew what was going on, as stated even by John McCain’s wife.

This begs the question, how can so many people remain silent and not speak up about and against elite level pedophilia? Why didn’t she say anything? Are they involved? Why are so many people who ‘mingle’ in these circles so silent? It’s great when people from within the industry speak out, Ricky Gervais would be the latest example, he recently told Hollywood to “Stop F****** Children” during an Oscars speech. While this appeared to be in gest, many felt the truth within his words.

Then there is Cardinal George Pell, a high ranking Vatican official who was convicted of child sexual abuse has been set free, and all charges have been dropped. If Cardinal George Pell is or would be involved in such things, is not odd that he himself established The Diocesan Commission Into Sexual Abuse in 1996. If he is in fact guilty, this leads to the point above made by Wedger, that the people responsible for tackling this issue are actually involved and part of the problem. That being said, Pell is innocent under the law.

Dershowitz is of course responding to the recent allegations, saying that Giuffre is lying, and that there is no evidence at all he was ever involved in having sex with/raping a minor. What’s concerning is that Giuffre’s accusations corroborate with many other victims that have come forward making these claims over the years.

We’ve written about this topic a lot, and if you want to dive in a bit deeper, I published this article late last year that provides more examples.

Child-Sex Trafficking Is A Much Deeper Issue

It’s strange sometimes when reading about this topic within the mainstream, or how it’s covered by mainstream media. The word “rape” doesn’t seem to be used, and instead there are more terms used like “underaged girls.” We must remember that although young children have not been implicated in the Epstein case, teenagers are still developing both physically and mentally, and they are very susceptible and vulnerable to brainwashing and manipulation by people of power. The Epstein case is a great example, and there are multiple accusers here who are all sharing the same story.

But how much of what we are getting from the mainstream pertaining to the Epstein/Maxwell case actually highlights how widespread this issue really is?

There is evidence suggesting that little children, not just teenagers, are also being sexually abused, trafficking, and murdered, sometimes in a ritualistic fashion.

This is why we are using the Epstein case to highlight our interview with a survivor.

You can access the full interview and start your free trial HERE on CETV, a platform we created to help combat internet censorship and allow us to continue to do our work and get the word out about various issues and topics.

The interview is with Anneke Lucas, who is is an author, speaker, advocate for child sex trafficking victims, founder of the non-profit organization Liberation Prison Yoga, and creator of the Unconditional Model. Her work is based on personal experience of a 30-year healing journey after surviving being sold by her family as a child sex slave to a pedophile network.

The interview is deep, and goes into the consciousness aspect of her experience and why that aspect is so important.

The Takeaway

A lot of information is coming to light, and more people are starting to have a major paradigm shift when it comes to seeing how our world operates. The idea that many people in powerful positions that are responsible for and have a great influence with regards to dictating health, environmental and political policy are engaged in some these actions makes us realize that they are not operating from a space of connectedness and wellness for all, they appear to be disconnected and out to harm others. So are they capable of dealing with major global issues in a way that truly allows humanity to thrive?

Is our world a result of handing our power over, again and again, to ‘leaders’ who do not possess empathy, morality, and have such a large disregard for human life? Why do we continue to choose to participate? What does it say about our collective level of thinking and consciousness? Why do we continue to vote every four years and put power into the hands of those who wish to progress our society into an authoritarian Orwellian state under the guise of good will, instead of taking matters into our own hands?  If billions of us can follow orders a lockdown for months, why can’t we take such large steps, collectively, to tackle issues that matter more deeply?

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