Category Archives: Awareness Day

Happy Valentines Day


The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?


The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.


World Lung Cancer Day August 1st 2016

World Lung Cancer Day

Lung cancer continues to be one of the most common cancers worldwide, claiming more lives yearly than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. It is estimated that lung cancer accounts for nearly one in five cancer deaths globally. In 2012, there were 1.8 million newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer alone. The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), alongside members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) commemorates, celebrates and supports those impacted by lung cancer. FIRS joins the grassroots efforts of the lung cancer community to raise awareness about lung cancer and its global impact, creating an educational movement of understanding lung cancer risks as well as early treatment around the world.

The History of World Lung Cancer Day
Lung cancer was a rare disease in early 20th century but its incidence has gradually increased with increased smoking and it has become the most common type of cancer in the world. The lung cancers accounts for 12.8% of cancer cases and 17.8% of mortalities of cancer worldwide. Lung cancer is a preventable disease. The factors that play a role in cancer development include tobacco products, industrial products (uranium, radiation, asbestos) air pollution, and nutritional deficiencies. Recent studies have demonstrated that the critical factor increasing the risk of lung cancer is the long-term respiration of carcinogenic materials.

Epidemiologic case-control studies by 1950s proved that smoking was strongly correlated with lung cancer. The first findings that smoking was a cause of lung cancer were published in 1962. Smoking is responsible for developing lung cancer by 94%. The risk of lung cancer is 24-36 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers. The risk is 3.5% in passive smoking. Age to start smoking, period of smoking, number of cigarettes smoked, and type of tobacco and cigarette have influence on the risk of developing lung cancer.

The IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. More than 7,000 delegates come from more than 100 countries to discuss the latest developments in thoracic malignancy research. Attendees include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, radiologists, pathologists, epidemiologists, basic research scientists, nurses and allied health professionals and patients.

How to Celebrate World Lung Cancer Day
It is important that IASLC members help communicate the vast threat lung cancer poses around the world. They need the public and the media to understand that new research, diagnosis and treatment breakthroughs in the last 10 years have brought new hope to patients and their families. To help spread the message about lung cancer, the IASLC created a series of fact sheets focusing on different regions around the globe and have translated them into several different languages. You could look up some of these and inform friends and family about the risks and factors contributing to them.

NATIONAL PARKS WEEK Monday 25th July to Sunday 31st July 2016


The next National Parks Week will take place from Monday 25th July to Sunday 31st July 2016 – it’s our annual national celebration of all things national park and it’s a great opportunity for everyone to get involved.

You can join in and go for a walk with a national park ranger, take part in the Lathkilldale wildlife spotting challenge or introduce the kids to ‘earth exploring’ and lots of fun activities; full details will be added to this webpage nearer the time.

The Peak District was the first British national park designated in 1951 but now there are 15 National Parks throughout Britain, including the Cairngorms, Pembrokeshire Coast and Dartmoor – you can find out more about these naturally beautiful and protected landscapes at

Find out about events and get involved in the chat around National Parks Week on Twitter by using the hashtag #NationalParksWeek .

Visit Event Website

National Parks Week


What will your National Parks Week adventure be?

National Parks Week 2016 runs from Monday 25th July to Sunday 31st July and this year it’s all about adventure.

Adventures come in all shapes and sizes and with all the Peak District’s diverse landscapes from moorland to meadow, and a wide variety of activities and events on offer there’s sure to be an adventure that’s perfect for you.

Here are some ideas:

Still stuck for what to do? Call in at one of our visitor centres at Bakewell, Castleton, Edale and Upper Derwent, and talk to our friendly, knowledgeable staff. Look out for new range of products that feature the wildlife and nature that are special to the Peak District National Park.

Whatever you choose we hope you’ll join in the nation’s annual celebration of Britain’s National Parks and enjoy everything that is unique and wonderful about our amazing wilder spaces.

Did you know the Peak District was the first British national park designated in 1951? There are now 15 National Parks throughout Britain, including the Cairngorms, Pembrokeshire Coast and Dartmoor. You can find out more about what there is to do in these naturally beautiful and protected landscapes.

International Nelson Mandela Day July 18th 2016


It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.

– Nelson Mandela

Take Action! Inspire Change

NMF Photo/Matthew Willman

Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

How the Day came about

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

Nelson Mandela Rules

In December 2015, the General Assembly decided to extend the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day to also be utilized in order to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, to raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance.

General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/175 not only adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, but also approved that they should be known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules” in order to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle referred to above


Chronology of Nelson Mandela’s Life

18 July 1918
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela born in Mvezo, South Africa

Joins the African National Congress (ANC)

Founds the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) with others

Elected as National Secretary of the ANCYL

Launch of the “Defiance” Campaign, a massive civil disobedience campaign against unjust laws.
Mandela is elected National Volunteer-in-Chief for the campaign

1956 to 1961    
Mandela one of 156 accused in the Treason Trial

21 March 1960  
Sharpeville massacre, during which 69 men, women and children are killed and about 200 wounded.
The government soon declares a state of emergency and arrests about 18,000 protesters.  The ANC is banned and Mandela goes underground

Formation of the ANC’s armed movement, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), with Mandela as commander-in-chief

Mandela travels to other parts of Africa and Europe

5 August 1962 
Mandela arrested for illegal exit from the country and incitement to strike. He is convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment

July 1963      
Arrest of prominent ANC leaders at Rivonia. Mandela is accused with them

12 June 1964  
Sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island (later moved to Pollsmoor Prison and then Victor Verster Prison)

Amidst prolonged mass protests against the apartheid system, the ANC initiates talks with the regime

February 1990 
Released from prison

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (along with F.W. de Klerk)

27 April 1994   
First multi-racial elections held in South Africa with full enfranchisement, with the ANC winning a strong majority

10 May 1994   
Inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, standing down in 1999 after one term

5 December 2013
Nelson Mandela passed away in Johannesburg at the age of 95

Take Action!  Inspire Change

pledge card


Can you spare 67 minutes of your time helping others?

Every year, on Mandela Day, people around the world are asked by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to do just that.

By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.

UN staff around the world have made a difference through a variety of activities in the past – from rebuilding homes destroyed by hurricane Sandy, to offering school supplies to children, preparing meals for the elderly, helping out in orphanages, cleaning up parks and delivering computer literacy workshops.

This year, UN staff in New York are helping women in need receive professional clothing donations, career counselling, child care, and nutritious meals, in volunteer activities organized by the UN Department of Public Information and supported by UN Women.

In 2015, UN staff volunteers in New York, partnered with GreenThumb, East New York Farms, and the UN Food Garden, to plant seedlings, pull weeds, and water plant beds in community gardens across the city.

In Geneva, the Permanent Mission of South Africa and Serve the City Geneva have mobilized volunteers to help the poor and marginalized in the city.

In 2014, in New York, UN staff, joined by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and in partnership withMillionTreesNYC, volunteered their time and got their hands dirty by pulling weeds, putting down mulch and watering tree beds to help take care of newly planted trees on the streets of Midtown Manhattan and East Harlem. See video.

In 2013 UN staff  in New York helped rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

See what visitors pledged at the 2011 Nelson Mandela International Day interactive exhibit at UN Headquarters in New York.

If you would like to donate your own time to public service, here are some things you can do to take action and inspire change:

  • Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background. Only through mutual understanding can we rid our communities of intolerance and xenophobia.
  • Read to someone who can’t. Visit a local home for the blind and open up a new world for someone else.
  • Help out at the local animal shelter. Dogs without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.
  • Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.
  • Many terminally ill people have no one to speak to. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.
  • Get tested for HIV and encourage your partner to do so too.
  • Take someone you know, who can’t afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.
  • Donate a wheelchair or guide dog, to someone in need.
  • Buy a few blankets, or grab the ones you no longer need from home and give them to someone in need.

To see all 67 suggestions for action, visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation site.


Guinea Pig Appreciation Day July 16th 2016

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

They’re some of America’s favorite pets, those small and fuzzy animals that are known as the guinea pig. The Guinea Pig stands as one of the world’s longest domesticated animals, having been domesticated in South America for up to 5000 years. While most of the world may think of them as an adorable pet along the lines of a rat, they have far more in common with the bunny rabbit. You see, in Peru, they’re a staple of their diet, and have been since time out of mind.

History of Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
“What’s that?” I hear you ask. “They EAT them?” Certainly they do, and they’re considered a very traditional and popular food in their Peruvian home. In Peru they’re called Cuy, and 11 tons of them were consumed in 2014, with fully 90% of them being sent to the United States for consumption. The Peruvian Andes have been the home of this cuisine, and it holds much the same place as Filet Mignon or Lobster in the United States, the perfect special meal for birthdays and celebrations. We mentioned rabbit earlier? Well, it just so happens they’re often compared to them in flavor.
Of course, if you’re going to go with a traditional Peruvian preparation, you’d best be ready to stare the little gibbon right in the eye. They’re often served whole, and aside from the fact that it’s very clear you’re eating a guinea pig, it can be quite tricky to find pure meat on the animal. The locals solve this by consuming every morsel of the animal and moving on.
Thankfully, Guinea Pig Appreciation Day doesn’t require the consumption of these little guys. In addition to being a delicious part of Peruvian cuisine, they’re also some of the most loving and attentive pets you can own. So whether you’re a gourmand looking for a new treat, or a pet owner looking for a new friend, Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is for you!

How to celebrate Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
For most of us, we’re going to celebrate Guinea Pig Appreciation Day by ogling pictures of cute Guinea Pigs. If you’re looking for a new pet, Guinea Pigs can be perfect, if you already have one then just go ahead and treat them to their favorite treat today, and spend the day playing with them. On the other hand, if you’re ready for a culinary adventure, it’s entirely possible to find exotic meat shops that will carry guinea pig prepared for consumption.

Shark Awareness Day July 14th 2016

Shark Awareness Day

Contrary to expectations, the purpose ofShark Awareness Day is not to stand on the beach and shout out warnings to terrified swimmers and surfers, despite the hours of innocent fun that can provide.

It’s true that sharks are impressive hunters and predators, yet the sad fact remains that these magnificent creatures are more threatened by people than we are by sharks. The worldwide demand for shark-fin soup, shark-tooth medallions, and a false sense of security on beaches everywhere, all combine to leave sharks persecuted and endangered, with millions of them being killed each year.

Like top predators in any ecosystem, sharks play an essential role in keeping the seas healthy and productive. Whilst no-one is suggesting we go out and hug a Great White on Shark Awareness Day, it’s the least we can do to respect these wonderful creatures and let them be.

Know your sharks? Try this riddle: Lurking through all the world’s open seas, I am a fear to many and prompt rapid flee, but though I am large and colossal in size, I am intelligent, curious and probably wise, I learn from experience and adapt as I grow, and in spite of my size I am not at all slow, there is no need to fear me as I can be gentle too, it just takes getting to know me in the big ocean blue. Who am I?

If you have been keeping up with national news, it feels like this is the year of the shark. Numerous shark incidents have swept the Eastern US coast, more great whites have been spotted off the California coast, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think worldwide that shark population are on the rise and searching for human flesh.

But in reality, the story is much more complex, and in fact, largely the opposite. While global human populations have risen exponentially, the number of shark incidents has remained the same. Sharks are incredible, adept predators of the ocean realm, but they are not our enemies. In truth, sharks have more reason to fear us. Humans kill nearly 100 million sharks every year – an average of 11,000 sharks per hour.

Sharks are so much more than the flesh-hungry monsters Hollywood have made them out to be. They are critical to keeping ocean systems healthy – removing the weak and sick of the sea and keeping populations fit, resilient, and strong. Without sharks, entire ecosystems can collapse, changing the structure of ocean food webs and threatening our food supply, future security, and the resilience of the entire system to adapt to human changes.

Want to know more? Check out the Q&A with Jean-Michel Cousteau on sharks:

When was the first time you saw a shark?
When I was a kid in the Mediterranean Sea, I don’t know what species but it was, but it was small and gray, a little wee-wee shark. The moment I saw him, he swam away. I thought he just another fish, I didn’t even realize he was a shark until someone told me later.

Have you ever been afraid in the water with a shark?
No. I’ve never been afraid. But I’m careful, I will not get in the water with certain species of sharks that have been known to be aggressive and have made mistakes when it comes to people. If the water is not clear, if there is blood in the water, people spearfishing or fishing, I do not go in. I’m still here, after 70 years of diving, I still have ten fingers and all my toes.

What are the most important things people should know about sharks?
Sharks are one of the most critical species to keeping the ocean healthy. And people have to understand two things: there are adult sharks that are a few inches long, and the biggest fish on the planet, the whale sharks, can be up to 50 feet. Hollywood has yet to find a way to spend $70 million on a shark that is going to gum you to death (whale sharks have tiny, tiny teeth that are of little use, they filter feed plankton from the water using their gills).

What work you doing to protect sharks worldwide?
Education to show the public the importance of the role sharks play in the oceans and the fact that there are many different species in different parts of the world. We need to learn more about them, amongst over 450 species, there are only 5-7 species that have caused accidents, while others are no threat to humans. We cannot put all sharks in one category of bad, villainous fishes, but instead, learn to realize that when we go into the ocean, we submerge into their territory, so we must respect them and the important roles they play.

What more to we have to learn about sharks?
I’d love to know how many species there are, every year; we find more species that we never knew before. I’d like to know where they are, so I can go and observe them, try to understand what is their role, how do they live? I always want to know more. How can you protect what you don’t understand?

Have questions about sharks? Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society Team are happy to answer to your questions! Can you answer ours?

The answer to today’s riddle: Lurking through all the world’s open seas, I am a fear to many and prompt rapid flee, but though I am large and colossal in size, I am intelligent, curious and probably wise, I learn from experience and adapt as I grow, and in spite of my size I am not at all slow, there is no need to fear me as I can be gentle too, it just takes getting to know me in the big ocean blue. Who am I?

JMC_GW Shar[2]_0.jpg


Jean-Michel Cousteau with a Great White Shark. Photo © Ocean Futures SocietyIf you guessed Great White Shark, you’re right!

Great white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, have been given a bad reputation, but in reality, these animals are intelligent, sophisticated, and not the man-eating hunters that the media has so often depicted them to be. They are the largest of the predatory sharks, but in calm conditions and clear water, they show curiosity for those around them and non-aggressive behavior. Due to the wide spread of misinformation, large sharks including Great White have been culled indiscriminately in recent years and such practice is unnecessary and furthers harms already endangered shark populations worldwide. Spread the word, share the knowledge about sharks vital role in our ocean health as we celebrate #SharkAwarenessDay this year!

Know your sharks? Want more shark riddles? Check back to our Ocean Futures Society Facebook page every day this week for a new shark riddle!

July 16, 2015 Riddle: My name is the same as an animal on land, but without any legs I do not stand, it is the bottom of the sea in which I lie, waiting patientTo be honest, I don’t really look like a shark, my body is flattened and I’m often buried in the dark, only my eyes can be seen from above, with my sharp trap-like jaws hidden in the mud, my plan of attack is to hide and wait, until a tasty treat swims in front of my gape, my name comes from the elongated wings on my back, but don’t hover above me or you might be my next snack! Who am I?


If you guessed Angel Shark, you’re right!

Angel sharks, Squatina, are a group of sharks that look similar to rays, with a flattened body and wing-like fins. They are stealth hunters who rely on burying themselves in the sand and mud and ambushing passing, unsuspecting prey. Following unregulated fishing for many years, angel sharks population number rapidly declined, and in the Atlantic so many were fished out that they became listed as “Critically Endangered.” Spread the word, share the knowledge about sharks vital role in our ocean health as we celebrate #SharkAwarenessDay this year!

July 15, 2015 Riddle: My name is the same as an animal on land, but without any legs I do not stand, it is the bottom of the sea in which I lie, waiting patiently on fishes and critters to spy, my home is along the edge of California’s coast and with birthing live pups I usually have less pups than most, I am known to be docile and even kind, within the kelp forests I am fun to find. Who am I?


If you guessed Leopard Shark, you’re right!

Leopard sharks, Triakis semifasciata, are a species of sharks found along the Pacific coast of North America, feeding on small fish and invertebrates in the mud and sand. Large schools can be a common sight at some bays and estuaries, and during certain times of the year females will group together to find protection in shallow waters. They are commonly caught in commercial fisheries, and as all sharks are slow growing and reproduce later in life, they are vulnerable to local overfishing and depletion. Spread the word, share the knowledge about sharks vital role in our ocean health as we celebrate #SharkAwarenessDay this year!

July 14, 2015 Riddle: I am black and white, with polka dots and stripes, my head is flat and my tail sweeps wide, when I open my mouth water surges inside, if you knew what I am you’d think I’m a beast, even though it’s the tiniest of life that I feast. Who am I?

whaleshark_jm_0.jpgIf you guessed Whale Shark, you’re right!

Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, are the largest fish species on Earth. They can grow up to 50 feet long and feed on the smallest life in the sea – drifting plankton. The increased demand for shark fins, including for whale sharks, threatens this species and all other sharks in the ocean. Spread the word, share the knowledge about sharks vital role in our ocean health as we celebrate #SharkAwarenessDay this year!

World Population Day July 11th 2016

World Population Day

“On this World Population Day, I urge all Governments, businesses and civil society to support and invest in teenage girls. Everyone deserves the benefits of economic growth and social progress. Let us work together to ensure a life of security, dignity and opportunity for all.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

teengae girls
© UNFPA/Anra Adhikari

2016 Theme: Investing in teenage girls.

In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that 11 July be observed by the international community as World Population Day, a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme is ‘Investing in teenage girls.’

Teenage girls around the world face enormous challenges. Many are considered by their communities or parents to be ready for marriage and motherhood. Many are forced from school, damaging their future prospects. Even among girls who stay in school, access to basic information about their health, human rights and reproductive rights can be hard to come by, leaving them vulnerable to illness, injury and exploitation. These challenges are exacerbated among marginalized girls, such as members of ethnic minorities or those living in poverty or remote areas.

Yet when teenage girls are empowered, when they know about their rights and are given the tools to succeed, they become agents of positive change in their communities.

UNFPA’s programmes aim to end child marriage, curb adolescent pregnancy, and to empower girls to make informed choices about their health and lives. In 2015 alone, UNFPA programmes helped 11.2 million girls between ages 10 and 19 gain access to sexual and reproductive health services and information.

“Leaders and communities must focus on and stand up for the human rights of the most marginalized teenage girls, particularly those who are poor, out of school, exploited, or subjected to harmful traditional practices, including child marriage,” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said. “Marginalized girls are vulnerable to poor reproductive health and more likely to become mothers while still children themselves. They have a right to understand and control their own bodies and shape their own lives.


United Nations

United Nations Population Fund


The unprecedented decrease in mortality that began to accelerate in the more developed parts of the world in the nineteenth century and expanded to all the world in the twentieth century is one of the major achievements of humanity. By one estimate, life expectancy at birth increased from 30 to 67 years between 1800 and 2005, leading to a rapid growth of the population: from 1 billion in 1810 to over 7 billion in 2012.

The Population Division collaborates closely with the agencies, funds, programmes and bodies of the United Nations system in the implementation of the work programme on population and in the follow-up to the International Conference on Population and Development. United Nations missions, national Government offices, United Nations offices, researchers, media representatives and the public regularly consult the Population Division regarding population estimates and projections, and information and analyses on population and development issues.

At its thirty-eighth session (E/2007/24), the Statistical Commission requested the United Nations Statistics Division and other international agencies to increase their technical assistance to national statistical offices in order to strengthen national capacity for the implementation of the 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses. In addition, the Commission requested countries to begin implementation of the revised Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses.

UNFPA works with many partners, both within and outside the United Nations system, including Governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, faith-based organizations, religious leaders and others, to achieve its mission. To better respond to local needs, UNFPA increasingly devotes resources to country-led efforts, placing emphasis on country-focused and country-led implementation to achieve improved results, at the same time addressing mutual accountability and strengthening harmonization and alignment.


United Nations

United Nations Population Fund


National Cheer Up the Lonely Day July 11


Each year on July 11, people across the United States are trying to make someone happy on National Cheer Up The Lonely Day.

If you know someone who is lonely or going through a difficult time due to health issues, financial reasons, grief due to loss or personal reasons, this was created as a day to reach out to them and try to cheer them up.  Your small act of kindness can make a big difference to them.


On National Cheer Up The Lonely Day, visit someone, send flowers, make a phone call, send a card or any other activity that engages that person. You will feel better as well. Use #CheerUpTheLonelyDay to share on social media.


Our research found that this day was created by Francis Pesek of Detroit, Michigan. His daughter, L.J. Pesek reports that he “was a quiet, kind, wonderful man who had a heart of gold.  The idea came to him as a way of promoting kindness toward others who were lonely or forgotten as shut-ins  or in nursing homes.”  July 10 was the birth date of Mr. Pesek.

Disability Awareness Day 10 July 2016

Scuba diving, music and dancing
Find your sporting ability this
Disability Awareness Day
10 July 2016

Did you know that Disability Awareness Day (DAD) is the the biggest non-profit disability exhibition led by volunteers in the UK?

It is held by Warrington Disability Partnership and attracts more than 25,000 people every year.   So, what is the day raising awareness to specifically?

The day aims to raise awareness to the voluntary, statutory and private services available to people with disabilities.   Having this knowledge will allow people to be more independent.

Other ways to promote independence will involve putting forward equipment and showing what disabled people are capable of achieving in fields like sports, arts and entertainment.

DAD has so far received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services and believes that real and positive changes are being made in peoples attitudes toward disabled members of society.  When the organisation first started out they were even told that their vision couldn’t be realised … and now it has been!

The event is now in its 25th year – what an achievement!  This year there will be loads of exhibitors again to help provide support via equipment, training and lots more ways.

Not only that there will also be information to point you in the direction of local sports and leisure clubs you can join.

Aside from the 28,000 visitors that attend on the day, around 5000 people attend the activities on the week leading up to the day too.   For more information check out the official Disability Awareness Day website

Disability Awareness Day (“DAD”) is the world’s largest ‘not for profit’ voluntary-led disability exhibition, held annually in a huge tented village within the grounds of Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington.

Visitors to the show will find over 250 exhibitors, equipment suppliers, transport, holidays, leisure, employment, support groups and services. PLUS a Sports Zone including Scuba diving, an Arts Marqee and family entertainment. The show opens at 10am and finishes at 5pm, and entry is FREE with a FREE programme. You can also download a copy of the programme here

The Aims of DAD

Disability Awareness Day is a pan disability event which promotes a can do culture focussing on what disabled people can do throughout life and work. The show has three main aims:

  • To highlight what statutory, private or voluntary services are available to enable disabled people to stay independent.
  • To promote equipment and aids that could maintain or improve independence, not just what is offered by statutory service providers, we want everyone to see the best and/or latest designs
  • To provide an opportunity to showcase what disabled people can do, in the field of Sport, Arts and Entertainment

As well as fulfilling all these aims every year the show also gives everyone who comes a really good day out filled with interest, fun and entertainment!

Disability Awareness Day 2016 will take place on Sunday 10 July at Walton Hall and Gardens.

Silver Anniversary DAD25

This years Disability Awareness Day will be the 25th anniversary of the worlds largest ‘pan disability’ independent living event. #DAD25

Principal Sponsor Announced

Dave Thompson MBE DL Founder & Event Co-ordinator was proud to announce that Your Housing Group have signed up as Principal Sponsor for DAD25.

Bookings now open for DAD25

Bookings are now being taken for exhibitors for DAD25. If you haven’t received an application pack, please contact Brun on 01925 240064 or email

Uganda Announce First DAD

The team at the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Uganda (CDR-Uganda) are currently in the early stages of planning their first Disability Awareness Day event for July 2016

MESSAGE Institute Announce DAD 2016

The MESSAGE Institute based in Jaipur India have confirmed they will be holding their DAD event on Sunday 10th July to coincide with DAD Warrington.

Stay Out Of The Sun Day July 3rd 2016

Stay Out Of The Sun Day

Everybody loves a sunny day, but in the height of summer it’s easy to get dehydrated, sunburnt and worse. Stay Out Of The Sun Day is about looking after yourself by taking a day away from the sun and finding some nice, relaxing shade – and if you are out and about, make sure you’ve got sun cream, plenty of water and some shade!

How to Remain Sunny on Stay Out of the Sun Day

July 1, 2016

July 3rd has been designated “Stay out of the Sun Day.” Little is known about the beginnings of Stay Out of the Sun Day, but it is believed to have originated as a reminder to people of the link between skin cancer and the sun. It’s probably no coincidence that it happens near July 4th, a holiday associated with outdoor activities. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. And it doesn’t take a lifetime of sunburns and summers to occur. Skin cancer is the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults (ages 15-29).


While it may be prime BBQ and swimming season, this time of the year is the middle of summer, when the temperatures are the hottest and the sun is the brightest and directly overhead, requiring extra protection to fend off harmful UV rays.

average uv index, sun, skincare

So, July 3rd is the perfect day to save your skin and stay out of the sun.

To help you enjoy your time avoiding the great outdoors, we’ve given you some “Sun” themed activities you can do indoors.

Watch a movie. Here are some classic (well, mostly classic) films with “Sun” in the title:

  • Tears of the Sun
  • Empire of the Sun
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • A Place in the Sun

Watch a TV show. Some of these are reruns, but a rerun is better than a sunburn.

  • 3rd Rock from the Sun
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (not for younger viewers)
  • Sunshine
  • Sunset Beach
  • Shahs of Sunset

Read a book or a play. Exercise your brain with these page turners. And, for most of these, you can also watch the movie!

  • The Sun Also Rises
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • Duel in the Sun
  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Evil Under the Sun

And, if you feel you just must to go outside, find a porch or a hammock in a shady place and listen to some of these bands or songs.

  • KC and the Sunshine Band
  • Silversun Pickups
  • Island in the Sun – by Weezer
  • Blister in the Sun – by Violent Femmes
  • House of the Rising Sun – by The Animals

Now you have a slew of sunny options to keep you busy on July 3rd until the sun goes down and your skin is safe. If you do go outside and get a bad burn, a rash from poison ivy, or just want to get a suspicious mole checked, you can get a personalized treatment plan and appropriate prescriptions from our network of board-certified dermatoloConsult with a dermatologist now.

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