Chapter 14 – WHOA IS ME in India

My brother sent this to me today.  Watch it, read it, share it.

Chapter 14 – WHOA IS ME in India from Oana Dragan on Vimeo.

Many people talk about the rise of India today, yet one sixth of the entire population face many forms of appaling injustices and discrimination (http://www.ncdhr.org.in/ncdhr2/dalits-untouchability/dalits-untouchability). That is part of the reason I was compelled to create this music video. However, I wanted to spread the message in a creative and unique way that is not generally associated with the traditional charity/raising awareness type videos. I wanted to portray these kids as they really are; full of life, full of potential, and just like any other kids I have ever met. Thus, I used elements of our own popular culture so that we could look past the poverty they live in and see them for what they really are, us.

Please note, that although we were working in a Dalit village I cannot confirm that ALL of these kids featured in this video were in fact Dalit. I don’t think it matters because the point is still the same; all kids, regardless of background, deserve to be valued and deserve to have equal access to opportunities.

For more information on Dalits please visit these sites or you can do some research on Google:

http://www.ncdhr.org.in/ncdhr2/dalits-untouchability/dalits-untouchability

http://www.dalitnetwork.org/

For more information on how you can help these kids out by either becoming a volunteer, donating or starting your own fundraiser, please check out the site and read below:

www.golongitude.org

The Association of Relief Volunteers and Longitude were the organizations that I volunteered with. The following is information sent to me by a fellow volunteer at Longitude:

“Since 2005, Longitude has been sending international volunteers to India to work with ARV. The vast majority have taken part in work camps to help build houses. ARV and Longitude also collaborate to run a child’s education initiative, called a Child’s Chance Program. This program was implemented in the Fall of 2009 in 5 villages that ARV already works in, with Chevuru being the first and most successful program.

Based on the living conditions for the people of Chevuru and their isolation to a greater community, many of the village children do very poorly and drop out of school. Often, their parents do no understand the value of an education and place greater importance on domestic chores and agricultural work for an income. Even if a child wanted to learn and succeed in school, there are many factors working against them.

The Child Chance Program seeks to improve this situation by providing more accessibility to education for Chevuru children. Generous donations have allowed ARV to supply a certified teacher to Chevuru to provide 3 hours of after-school tutoring and lessons 6 days a week! And our attendance records have proved that these children want to learn by showing up everyday. In our first year alone, 100% of students improved their grades and/or attendance at school for at least a term. 30 of 35 10th year students passed their exams in order to continue their education to secondary school and college!

These successes will ultimately be the catalyst that lifts these families out of destitute poverty. We are very excited about the positive changes we’ve already seen, and hope for even greater changes to come! Please visit our website to learn more about the program. Make sure to stay involved reading blogs, donating to Child Chance campaigns, and starting your own fundraiser to educate and sponsor these children in their efforts to build a better life.”

TIFF 2010 So Far…

Oh my goodness this has been a crazy 3 days.  I’m still in my PJ’s, recovering from the last few nights and saving up my energy for tonight’s festivities.  Here’s the photos I’ve taken and a recap of what I’ve been up to so far this TIFF.

Thursday was the Stella Artois party at the Drake SkyYard.  Met up with Casie and Much VJ hopeful Brock McLaughlin.  We got inside and there were a bunch of TO bloggers already there, Corey, Sean, Emma.  My bro & his gf ended up coming by and then Bucky, Matt, Randall from Much.  After the Stella launch we headed back to the beach to change and ended up hooking up with Rhianne & Carri and stayed in the East end for the rest of the evening.  Check out Sean‘s video of the event.

Me & Bucky – my favourite town

Reporting for Sean Ward – photo by Casie

Friday was the Vitamin Water Backyard opening and Lauren gave me a VIP invite (thanks lady!)  Tons of social media/bloggers out and got to meet some new people and see some friends.  Love the backyard area and party tent.  There was plenty of Vitamin water to drink and they made some pretty nifty cocktails with the Vitamin Water & Vodka – I drank the pink one all evening :) Michael had an extra ticket to the premier of Stone starring Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich & Frances Conroy.  It was a really good movie and the cast had a Q&A afterwards.  Then I headed over to Tattoo with some new friends Jenn, Brock, Courtney & met up with Curtis Santiago.  Slash was the guest of honour at Tattoo and I was hanging with my Dwight, the DJ in the booth right beside him.  I was 2 feet away but wasn’t able to meet him.  Too bad.

Love this girl.  Working hard.

Casie’s Barbie Doll Sabrina

Andrew Stewart with some random business card :)

Blonde babes Anna Cyzon & Casie Stewart

Last night I went back to the Vitamin Water Backyard for The Conspirator after party.  Got to meet and chat with Justin Long – he was really nice but likes to take weird photos.  Afterwards went to the Soho House and met Dominic Cooper – but didn’t know it was him – and the crew behind the TIFF film Janie Jones.  After that I headed home and crashed.  Got a few places to go to tonight but am not sure if I’m gonna go out or not.

Have you guys been out at TIFF?  Seen anyone famous?

He really likes me….

These are the times of our lives

I’ve been MIA for the past week or so and didn’t get my Show & Tell done last Friday.  I’ve been on a sort of vacation/working like crazy and haven’t had time to sit down and write.  Got a ton of DWW videos & photos, HTV videos, Domenica video and ridiculous amounts of fun times to write about and I hope things will die down a bit by the end of the week to catch up.

Hope you’re all beating the heat.  Here’s my DWW Light The Night video to tide you over.  It was the best show and James was there to play guitar :)

HTV on MOD, Sailor Jerry and RandomTO

Yesterday was Hail The Villain‘s debut album release for Population: Declining and they played at MOD. I’m too old for the audience so I got to sit behind the scenes and watch with Casie and the other girlfriends of the band.  It was so awesome to see them live and Bryan requested DWW Your Man as the video they wanted to see.

I kinda saved the day because Sarah Taylor asked for a Villain shirt on air and luckily I had brought the two brand new ones Chad gave to me.  Joe thought it was a shirt from their TM Jawsh and they said thanks to him on air.  Oh well, there’s a glimpse of me on camera giving the shirt to Joe.  haha.

It was Casie’s first time seeing them live and i always love when new people see them.  HTV is an amazing live band and I got their Runaway performance on video (sounds not that great).  Make sure you check out the MOD site for their interview, music video and live performance of Take Back The Fear.  For the rest of the photos check my Picasa.

After MOD Casie and I went for drinks at the Firkin with Wynn – he’s the best – and then we headed to the Sailor Jerry Rum party at Lavish & Squalor’s upstairs.  There’s nothing better than going to a cool party where they give you drink tickets and yummy food.  It was the Toronto screening of the Sailor Jerry movie and a totally different mix of people that I hadn’t met before.  I finally got to meet Anna Von from Pink Mafia, which was pretty cool.  I took a terrible photo of us, so it’s not getting posted.  She’s built a great company and brand and I’d love to get more involved with them.

Then we headed to the Rivoli to meet up with Chad and his label & management people.  My sis was finished filming for the day and was there, so we stayed for a drink and then we called it a night.  I was so ready for bed by the time we got in and crashed right away.

I got two packages full of goodies today from my new friends at The Shopping Channel.  They sent the Summer Beauty Bag which has full and samples sizes of new skin, hair care, cosmetic & spa stuff in a nice big tote bag that will be perfect for the beach.  They also sent me their new line of hair care from Living Proof.  I love new things and I can’t wait to give myself some pampering while Chad’s away this weekend.

Tonight I was invited to an exclusive preview & launch party for Spice Safar by a company that I had never heard of before called ReiCura.  I was pretty excited because in their email it said that people in their office are big followers of my blog and they wanted to invite me as their guest.  I went with Casie, who got the same letter, and when we went in they handed us a menu with $15 martinis & $18 platters and asked if we’d like to start a tab.  I was totally turned off by that and we left right away.  If anyone wants me to come and write about their event then it has to be worth my while.  It was really lame of the company to trick us like that, and especially sending a form letter that says they read my site.  I doubt they do.

We randomly bumped into Sean Ward on the corner of King & Spadina and went to meet the group at #RandomTO.  It was my very first time going to one of them and we all crowded upstairs at Hey Lucy for $4 martinis.  Ms Currybomb showed up and I met Lauren O’Nizzle in person.  She’s another cute little blonde girl blogger.  Such a babe and she’s got the sweet gig of blogging for MuchMusic & the MMVA’s.  Check her out and vote up so she can interview the celebs on the red carpet.

Home for the night now and made a milkshake.  Gotta get some work done and catch up on my Glee.  I’ve ignored everything online about it so I can be surprised.