Posts tagged with "poverty"

Young Bae

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Young Bae’s childhood reads like a painful chapter of Oliver Twist. Using her innate talent – art – to overcome years of poverty, homelessness and abuse, Young managed to escape.

Young’s mom, an artist herself, was consistently unable to provide and care for her children and members of their community refused to volunteer assistance. Young recalls the cultural reaction to her family’s suffering with clarity,

“Korea is a materialistic country,” confides Young, now proprietor of the marquee Diamond Tattoos shop in New York City’s Times Square. “No matter how hard you work, it is hard to break away from poverty – nobody gives you an opportunity. If you’re poor, you’re poor for life. They treat the less fortunate like shit, hence I couldn’t talk to anybody about how I was living – not even my best friend. So I kept it all a secret, as best I could.”

Young did her best to mix in with other more privileged kids, even as she and her family moved around in church basements, abandoned houses and even a shipping container throughout her teenage years. “I may have been homeless with no money, but I was always fresh and fashionable,” says the self-taught tattoo queen has come a long way to now ink high-profile clientele and eager fans of the drama-filled show, “Black Ink.” “When my family didn’t have access to a shower I would clean up at public restrooms every morning. I’d also get hand-me-down-clothes from church and create my own fashions, or at least I tried to. My teachers suspected I was poor because there were things I couldn’t pay for, but for the most part I think I flew under the radar.”

She didn’t fly under the radar though when it came to her talent, her teachers and classmates acknowledged her ability to sketch, draw as well as paint. Young began receiving accolades for her fabrications, using the sales to buy basic necessities.

Young was able to land a partial academic scholarship to a college where she continued to hone her craft until she was ready to leave Korea.

“New York is an artist’s city,” says the Chugye University graduate, “so it just made sense.”

They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere and the bonafide hustler Young took the motto to heart. In 2007, the 22-year-old made a beeline for Koreatown in Manhattan, touching down with just $80 and a student visa to study English, she landed a job at a local nail salon.

Despite a language barrier, she wouldn’t stop there. Young continued job hunting, getting jobs at restaurants, jewelry shops, even illegally hawking her art in New York’s famed Union Square. All this to make her share of the rent for a small place with roommates in New Jersey.

On the way to the tattoo shop in NYC, the neon lights of New York City brightly shined on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Tattooing was illegal in South Korea so Young had no experience. “I walked in, took a look around at the tattoo sketches on the wall, and thought, hey, I could do this. So I offered the shop owners a barter: in exchange for giving me a shot I would clean their shop for free. They agreed.” With that, her apprenticeship commenced.

In no time, Young became confident in her skills and moved to another shop where she could demand a tattoo artist’s wages. Quickly becoming the most requested artist in the shop, Young decided look into owning and operating her own business.

“I rented this little ratty spot on 46th Street in Times Square. It was literally a storage room in the back of an eyebrow threading shop. I got licensed, worked like three additional jobs to afford the $1000/month overhead and scoured the area to find shelves, paint and other stuff to decorate. I upholstered my first tattoo chairs with fake leather I found on the street. Then every day I’d go hold up this human-sized sign advertising my shop, and miraculously people showed up. Eventually so many showed up, I quickly outgrew the space!”

With Young’s growing credibility and reputation among fellow artists throughout the tri-state area, it was no wonder that reality TV show producers eventually came calling.

“My shop might not have been the fanciest, but my work was good and news about me began to spread quickly. It kept getting bigger and busier every year,” she says.

Young was delighted to join VH1’s popular show “Black Ink Crew: New York” during its fifth season. Heading into its seventh season, Young Bae is a fascinating and loveable character to watch.

Through it all, Young gives God the credit for not just where she is today but where’s she’s headed, “I had faith that poverty, homelessness and abuse wouldn’t be the end of my story. I went through all of what I did so I could come out on top on the other end and eventually go on to help others who are vulnerable like I was. There is greatness waiting for us all and I’m determined to live and share my best life now.”

Currently, Young Bae is working on an athleisure line 2one2 and a book sharing her life experiences.

Additional information can be found on her wikipedia.

Madonna In Malawi

Madonna is currently visiting Malawi, where she has worked since 2006 with her charitable organization, Raising Malawi. The musician and philanthropist is marking the first anniversary of the Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, an ambitious project undertaken by Raising Malawi to improve specialized paediatric healthcare in Malawi. Located on the campus of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) – the largest referral hospital in the country – the Mercy James Centre includes Malawi’s first paediatric intensive care unit, three operating theatres dedicated to surgery in children, a day clinic, and 50-bed ward.

“Malawi is a second home for me and my family, and every time we come here is a homecoming. It’s a thrill to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Mercy James Centre, its talented staff, and the committed partners who have worked with Raising Malawi to make this effort a success,” said Madonna. “Our achievements this past year have exceeded our expectations, and we will continue with our mission to better serve the children of this country.”

Raising Malawi funded the Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care (MJC) to provide Malawi’s youth with the best medical care possible. Since opening July 11, 2018, the talented staff of Mercy James Centre have:

  • Performed 1,690 paediatric surgeries – more than double the annual average before the Mercy James Centre
  • Admitted nearly 300 patients into the paediatric ICU
  • Seen 2,300 patients in the outpatient clinic
  • Admitted nearly 1,500 patients into the ward

 

The MJC is setting a new standard of paediatric surgical and intensive care in the region. Highlights from year one include Malawi’s first successful operation of conjoined twins. A team of 20+ doctors, nurses and anesthesia staff, led by long-time Raising Malawi partner Dr. Eric Borgstein, successfully separated two baby boys. The effort was a testament to spirit of collaboration and excellence that is imbedded in the culture of Mercy James Centre.

“We are able to tackle cases that we never could have done in the past. Because of the Mercy James Centre, we are saving more children’s lives, particularly those with complex medical issues. The support of Madonna and Raising Malawi has transformed paediatric surgical and intensive care in Malawi,” said Dr. Borgstein.

In addition to increasing paediatric surgical capacity, the Mercy James Centre is growing into its role as a training center of excellence. It houses the sole paediatric surgery training program in Malawi, supported by Raising Malawi. Partners like Physicians for Peace and Oslo University Hospital drive bedside education in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), the first PICU in Malawi.

Madonna is also a global leader in promoting education for the world’s most vulnerable children. In 2012, she launched a partnership between her foundation, Raising Malawi, and the global nonprofit buildOn. Today, Madonna has served nearly 10,000 Malawian students – fulfilling her commitment to making learning and school accessible to Malawian youth. During her latest trip, Madonna traveled to Northeast Kasungu Province to officially open four primary schools constructed with buildOn – in total Raising Malawi has built 14 schools in rural Malawi. As a part of the partnership, Raising Malawi and buildOn have educated community members about the importance of girls’ education, and as result, all schools have gender-parity (equal numbers of girls and boys enrolled).

Madonna concluded the trip with a meeting with His Excellency President Arthur Peter Mutharika, who appointed her Malawi’s Goodwill Ambassador for Child Welfare in 2014.

About Raising Malawi
Madonna founded Raising Malawi in 2006 to address the poverty and hardship endured by Malawi’s orphans and vulnerable children. Raising Malawi partners with local organizations to provide Malawian children and their caregivers with critical resources including education and medical care. http://www.raisingmalawi.org

About buildOn
At home or abroad, buildOn’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods through intensive community service and to change the world by building schools in some of the economically poorest countries in the world. Since 1991, buildOn has constructed 864 schools worldwide, with more than 110,000 children, parents and grandparents attending these schools every day. For more information, visit www.buildon.org. buildOn has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

Donald Trump × a “March on Washington”

Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., President and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), is calling on “all people of good will”, who are outraged by President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies, to join the SCLC at its 60th Annual Convention July 12 -15, 2018 in Washington, which will focus on the current conditions of global racism and poverty. Dr. Steele, who heads the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., believes the people’s desire to send a strong message about immigration, poverty and other critical matters in the U.S. could lead to another massive March on Washington like the historic rally inspired by Dr. King nearly 55 years ago on August 28, 1963.

“We’re witnessing partisan political gamesmanship when we should be talking about protecting children,” said Dr. Steele regarding President Trump’s most recent “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has spark hundreds of demonstrations across the nation. “Separating children from their parents at the border is an abomination! This is a humanitarian disgrace.”

Dr. Steele, who has been actively involved with The Civil Rights Movement for more than 40 years, says he is hopeful that President Trump can find empathy for the thousands of immigrants affected by his policy.

“I recommend that the President considers the human aspect of this tragic situation and not merely the politics,” said Dr. Steele. “Immigrants are trying to get to America because they’re being terrorized in their own homes. They’re faced with daily violence, poor living conditions, and their human rights are being threatened every day.”

Dr. Steele, who is in Brazil examining the international concerns of poor people, added, “I will get a global perspective on the problems afflicting the poor and really highlight their concerns at this year’s conference.”

The 60th Annual Convention will also have a heavy focus on mobilizing large groups of people of color to “get out and vote”. There will be various workshops and panels on the power of voting.

“People are mad, people are moved, and people are fed up. It’s time to use this energy in a constructive manner,” said Dr. Steele, who believes if the people unify around another SCLC- inspired massive rally it can surpass the 250,000 who gathered in Washington in 1963.

The SCLC Convention will run from July 12 to 15 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C, 999 9th Street NW. For more information about the 60th Annual SCLC National Convention, please visit their website at nationalsclc.org.

ABOUT THE SCLC: Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a now an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.