Saturday, December 4, 2010

Playing for Change

In The Adventures of Mali & Keela, the chapter Keela's Surprise uses the example of a musical performance to demonstrate creativity, generosity, love and unity.

I've found a real-life example of a project that demonstrates these same virtues...

Playing for Change started out as a documentary project, to record music from the streets. Their first single was a cover of Ben E. King's classic Stand by Me (its YouTube video has been viewed almost 26 million time so far!)

As the crew traveled around filming and recording musicians, they became involved with the music and people of the communities they visited. Most of those communities were of modest means, but the people were full of generosity, warmth, and were connected to each other by a common thread: music.

Playing For Change Foundation was then created and made its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so.

The Playing For Change Foundation works to create positive social change through music education. By providing children a safe place to learn, flourish and express themselves, they help provide a creative alternative to the struggles many of these children face daily.

To put it simply: when children learn to play music, they gain the skills and confidence they need to excel in all other areas of life... the gift of music today means a brighter future tomorrow.

Fantastic stuff.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Everyday heroes

While The Adventures of Mali & Keela follows the adventures of Mali and Keela (and let's not forget Bongo - a hero in his own right) as they sail the oceans and explore their world, back here in the real world the true heroes often go un-noticed.

I'm talking about the everyday parent. Regular people, doing all they can to make this world a better place for their young'uns to grow up in.

That doesn't mean having to change the world (although, we are just a collection of 7 billion individuals, right, so if we all shift together...) simply making our our small patch of planet better is heroic enough.

I was searching for info about Linda Kavelin-Popov on the web and stumbled upon T.E.M. — a blogger who has written a few blog posts about the Virtues Project. Her latest blog is about friendship. She is also a mother, and one of the many everyday heroes out there.

So here's to the everyday heroes. Keep up the great work!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Virtues Project Kenya

Here's something I stumbled upon which made me appreciate the reach of The Virtues Project.

Bibiana and Richard Andabwa are Virtues Facilitators in Kenya.

This 10 minute video talks from the heart about introducing The Virtues Project to Kenya and the positive impact it is having. In the video Mr Andabwa says, "... gave us the idea that Virtues would give us an opportunity for healing and reconciliation... we started training Virtues to our teachers. The experience that we saw in class was that it was transforming..."

I think the comment left on their YouTube page says it all: So much beauty and truth in these 10 minutes. May this spirit of peace and harmony spread throughout Kenya and our needy planet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mom's Choice Award gold win!

The Adventures of Mali & Keela has been named among the best in family-friendly products by the prestigious Mom's Choice Awards (USA)! It was award a 'gold' – the top accolade in its category.

The Mom’s Choice Awards recognizes authors for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly products.

Parents, educators, librarians and retailers rely on Mom's Choice Awards evaluations when selecting quality materials for children and families. The Mom’s Choice Awards seal helps families and educators navigate the vast array of products and services and make informed decisions.

An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others.

Great news indeed!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Two week's ago was World Humanitarian Day. To acknowledge and celebrate the generosity of humanitarian workers, the above short film was made.

It is a collaborative film shot in over 40 countries in under 9 weeks, on a shoestring budget - with the goal of showing the enormous diversity of places, faces and endeavours of humanitarian aid workers in 2010.

It was filmed by humanitarian staff and freelance filmmakers from around the globe (over 50 contributors in total) with all time donated.

In The Adventures of Mali & Keela the story 'Keela's Surprise' shows generosity in a simple way that kids will relate to.

Monday, August 23, 2010


My daughter has recently discovered a fantastic online space that I'd like to share with you.

My past blogs posts have had one of the virtues from The Adventures of Mali & Keela as their title, so to continue that theme I've chosen purposefulness for this post. Purposefulness is something that describes the sentiment behind MiniMonos. MiniMonos is a virtual world for children: a place of fun, beauty, discovery, generosity, sustainability and friendship.

The creators of this virtual world say they "created MiniMonos so that children could have a place of their own, a place that allows them to explore and grow without constant pressure to buy stuff. We also wanted them to have a place that embodied core values like sustainability and generosity, without turning those values into a boring lecture".

The concept of making core values fun, accessible and engaging for kids was the driver behind The Adventures of Mali & Keela also, so I loved reading the MiniMono team explain that "sustainability isn't "taught" on MiniMonos; it's normalised. Kids quickly realise that if they don't clean the lagoon, the fish don't come back. If they don't do their recycling, their treehouses get messy".

(Lagoon/Glow-worm Cave story; messy treehouse/The Horse Race story... those who have already read The Adventures of Mali & Keela will notice some neat coincidences between the above quote and content of the book!)

I love also the follow-through they have at MiniMonos; every new membership provides clean drinking water for children in India, and when they hit their first 50 Gold members, they'll adopted an orangutan baby for a year.

That's a company with purposefulness. Great to see.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Sir Ken Robinson makes so many astute observations in this video. The man is quite brilliant. At a time when, as Sir Ken reminds us, the structure of education is shifting beneath our feet, and when, in the next 30 years, according to UNESCO, more people will be graduating through education than since the beginning of history, it is so important we review the role of creativity within education. Thank you Sir Ken – funny, poignant and very insightful.