What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

 

Heinz products

 

 

Below is an article published on 22 June 2016,  about the famous Heinz brand promoting some of its sugary products as healthy. So, mums and mums-to-be, beware!

 

 

 

 

Legal Action Brought Against Heinz Over Kids’ Sugary Snacks

Food companies who make misleading health claims on children’s products have been put on notice by Australia’s consumer watchdog, which is taking multinational Heinz to court for promoting its sugary Shredz toddler products as healthy.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has started legal proceedings in the Federal Court against H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd in relation to the food snacks marketed to one-to-three-year-olds.

It alleges Heinz is falsely marketing these products as healthy options for young children, when they are not.

In a statement, Heinz said it strenuously denied the ACCC allegations and looked forward to defending it’s position.

“Heinz takes labelling of products very seriously and compiles with all Australian labelling and food laws,” it said.

The Shredz product range includes three varieties – peach apple and veg, berries apple and veg, and strawberry and apple with chia seeds – and has been available in major supermarkets nationally since at least August 2013.

They are predominantly made from fruit juice concentrate and pastes.

“These products contain over 60 per cent sugar, which is significantly higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables – for example, an apple contains approximately 10 per cent sugar,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC also alleges the Heinz Shredz products are likely to inhibit the development of a child’s taste for natural fruit and vegetables.

Particular issue has been taken with the products’ packaging, which features prominent images of fresh fruit and vegetables and statements such as ‘99% fruit and veg’.

Mr Sims says major companies have an obligation under the Australian Consumer Law to ensure products’ health claims do not mislead the public.

The legal action has been roundly welcomed by dieticians and obesity prevention advocates, including the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC).

“The OPC is pleased to see such strong action from the ACCC against Heinz for potentially misleading parents who are simply trying to do their best to feed their children nutritious food,” OPC executive manager Jane Martin said.

“It’s very difficult for parents to know which foods are healthy and which aren’t, particularly for toddlers. I think parents are really trying to make the right choices and they need good, clear, honest information about the nature of the products,” Ms Martin said.

“Many parents would be shocked to know that just one 18g serve of Shredz contains almost an entire day’s worth of added sugar for a two-year-old.

Paediatric dietitian and nutritionist Hanan Saleh agrees, and says packaged snacks, like Little Kids Shredz, are not a healthy alternative to a piece of fruit.

When it comes to making healthy food choices for children, Ms Saleh says parents really need to go back to basics or “paddock to plate”.

“Parents should always think twice before picking up anything in packages,” Ms Saleh told AAP.

The average piece of fruit only contains about 10g of sugar per 100g and also has fibre and important vitamins and minerals.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective notices and costs.


Heinz is not the only guilty one.

According to The New Daily,  “in 2014, consumer group CHOICE rated 260 snack foods aimed at children and their lunch boxes, to find which were nutritionally poor”. It found high levels of sugar in servings of products aimed at toddlers and children in a major Melbourne supermarket.

Here are some of its findings:

baby food

baby food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How far can we trust these companies when it comes to feeding our kids? Seriously, what are we feeding our kids?

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Breastfeeding: Many Pros and a Few Difficulties

 breastfeedingThe World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until baby is around 6 months old; then, it can be a complement to appropriate solid foods until the age of two or beyond (until mum and baby wish for). Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines. You’ve heard it many times before: breastfeeding is best for your baby and the benefits, huge. Unfortunately it is not as straightforward and easy as it sounds.

Before deciding to breastfeed my baby, I only knew about all the positives. Had I known what I know today about everything that it involves, I believe I would have still made the same choice. However I would have been better prepared to face the journey. This post is mainly to help mums-to-be and new mums get a bigger picture of how beneficial breastfeeding is but also what to expect while doing it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as several other researchers recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months as the advantages are manifold. It is not only good for your baby but also for you, mum.

Some of the Numerous Pros:

  1. Breast milk has all the vitamins, nutrients and immune factors that will help your baby fight numerous diseases. Anti-bodies in breast milk help babies fight these even beyond the breastfeeding stage.
  2. Breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of your child becoming overweight or obese as a teenager or adult. (American Journal of Epidemiology). One of the reasons for example is more insulin in formula stimulating the creation of fat.
  3. There are various benefits due to the emotional bonding taking place while breastfeeding.
  4. Lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  5. Lower risk of post-natal depression (release of oxytocin while breastfeeding leads to relaxation).
  6. Lower risk of some forms of cancer like ovarian and breast cancer.

Breastfeeding is natural but not necessarily easy. It has some inconveniences and the start of the journey can be quite hard. It is recommended you start breastfeeding within the first hour baby is born and this may last for 6 months, 2 years or as long as both you and your baby decide. Hence, it is important you get it right from the start.

A Few Difficulties:

  1. The correct attachment is very important since the very beginning. So, make sure baby is attaching correctly; do not hesitate to ask the mid-wife/nurse or the lactation specialist for help in case of doubt.
  2. It can take a while for babies to learn to breastfeed. If you are still in hospital make sure you ask for help to get started.
  3. For the new born, you will be recommended to feed ‘on demand’; usually a new born feeds about every 2 hours; so, in between make sure you rest (particularly after delivery). You will need the strength, trust me.
  4. Bear in mind that you will have fragmented sleep for at least 3 months, so resting is important. Forget the 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep you used to have. It’s not coming back that soon.
  5. You need a network of supporters; be it neighbours, friends, relatives, well-wishers. You won’t be able to do everything on your own. If possible, hire someone to do the housework or the cooking or both. If you plan to do these while baby is sleeping, you will never have enough rest and will end up being a zombie, like I was.
  6. You also need a wardrobe with plenty of front opening tops/dresses. Else, it can be a real challenge at times to breastfeed your baby.
  7. Lanolin cream is your best friend; else you may end up with sore/cracked nipples, which will make it very hard to continue breastfeeding.
  8. Find the feeding position that’s best for you and your baby. Make sure you are comfortable, as a feed can take a while. Backache is a common problem.
  9. At the start, a feed will take a while and you might even doze off a few times; however while baby gets better at feeding, he may take about 10/15 mins for a feed.
  10. Avoid travelling abroad with an under 3 months old baby while breastfeeding unless you are ready to feed in public (lounge, airplane, and everywhere you call ‘public place’). It’s a very challenging situation to be in.
  11. If you live with an extended family, be ready to get in and out of a room most times of the day, in the first few months.
  12. If you are visiting friends, make sure you ask first if there will be somewhere private where you can breastfeed. Else, feed, go out and come back as soon as possible to feed again!
  13. Make sure you feed on alternate breasts, to avoid engorgement.
  14. If you feel lumps, have a warm shower and massage your breast gently in a rotating way.
  15. Read about blocked ducts and mastitis and if in doubt about anything consult your nurse or GP.

breastfeeding

Some Precautions and Pieces of Advice for Breastfeeding Mums

  • Make sure you have a healthy diet.
  • Resting is important.
  • Avoid caffeine (as it does pass through breast milk).
  • Avoid smoking, passive smoking, alcohol and drugs.
  • Make sure the medication you take is safe for breastfeeding mums.
  • If a few times after a feed, you notice your infant restless, crying, throwing up, consult the pediatrician, as there may be a problem with lactose tolerance or reflux.
  • Avoid using a soother while you are breastfeeding; once breastfeeding is established it can then be used when settling your infant.
  • Don’t worry about ‘stares’ or about negative comments; you will quickly learn that as a new mum (i) you will always be judged (too protective, too relaxed, not patient enough, too patient, too strict, too cool, etc. etc. and you can even be all of them!) and (ii) everyone knows better what’s best for your baby and how you should handle him. Just be relaxed and tell yourself everyone means well…

breastfeeding mumSupport is Essential to a Successful Journey

Many will tell you they understand how hard it is; if it is a breastfeeding mum then you can trust her! Talk to one if you are not sure about something. You may find the solution to the problem you are facing.

With breastfeeding, you will find yourself consciously unskilled at first; however with consistency, patience and determination, you will very quickly become unconsciously skilled! Mood changes are common during and after pregnancy, occurring in up to 85% of women within the first week after the birth, peaking on the third to fifth day. Very often, this may be a factor in discouraging mums from continuing breastfeeding. The blues will pass, so hang in there! If you still do not feel well, do not hesitate to talk to your GP.

It is important that your partner is fully supportive and also understands the benefits and difficulties of breastfeeding. The support of your immediate and extended family, of friends, of the community will be very helpful throughout this journey. Think about all the benefits exclusive breastfeeding will have for your precious little one; this will help you stay motivated.

Breastfeeding in Mauritius

In Mauritius, exclusive breastfeeding lasts for about 2 months and then there is the introduction of water and formula around 4 to 6 months. Mauritian mothers tend to breastfeed until around 2 years. The main reasons for the introduction of water and formula is the lack of information, the belief that milk is not sufficient and employment. The rate is very low as compared to the recommendation of the WHO: a survey found that only 17.9% exclusively breastfeed their babies up to around 6 months old.

Although there is no law about breastfeeding in public, I have rarely seen a mum breastfeeding a baby nor do I know of any designated rooms for breastfeeding in shopping malls, airport or other places. Although there are no support groups that I am aware of, help can be obtained from the local health centres.

Recently a workshop has been launched by the Ministry of Health to celebrate the World Breastfeeding Week, with the view of promoting exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months and continuing breastfeeding beyond. The ministry is also launching a campaign to sensitise people about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding in Qatar

A study on breastfeeding by Sidra Medical and Research Centre has found that many Qatari mothers discontinue breastfeeding after 40 days, or after three months due to lack of information and access to professional lactation support. 
It says this is the major reason for low rates of exclusive breastfeeding among Qatari Women. The rate of breastfeeding in Qatar is significantly lower than the global rate.

I doubt it that it is ‘normal’ to breastfeed in public here, in Doha and I have not seen designated areas in shopping malls till now. In view of the World Breadfeeding Week, Sidra Medical and Research Centre has also launched an awareness campaign to sensitise mums, particularly working mums about breastfeeding.

It’s great that Doha Mums has a breastfeeding support group, which mums can join and where they can discuss common concerns over a cup of decaf tea or coffee!

Breastfeeding in Perth

Aligned with the WHO, The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council recommends exclusive breastfeeding for around 6 months; then breastfeeding should continue alongside complementary food until 12 months and more (as long as the mother and child want to). According to a survey, it has been found that “less than half (39%) of babies are still being exclusively breastfed to 3 months (less than 4 months) and less than one quarter (15%) to 5 months (less than 6 months)”.

It is good to know that in Australia, it is your legal right to breastfeed in public and there are laws in place if ever you get discriminated against on this ground. There are 230 local Australian Breastfeeding Association groups throughout Australia and you can rely on their help.

Perth has a few shopping places with breastfeeding rooms: Myer, David Jones, Ikea. Given it is a modern and well-developed city, Perth could do more to offer specific breastfeeding areas for mums and bubs. I also wish Perth airport had one.

To Conclude

In Mauritius, the maternity leave has been extended from 12 to 14 weeks and in Australia, it has been extended to 18 weeks. We are unfortunately still lagging behind as compared to countries like Sweden (six months) or Denmark (52 weeks on paid leave)!

Breastfeeding is something that both mothers and babies have to learn to do; it may take two to three months to establish breastfeeding and feel you have it under control. Support is very important, first to get started and then to keep going.

I was fortunate to deliver my baby in a private hospital where the help and support were fantastic. I decided to stay up to 5 days to make sure I had it right. Given the numerous benefits exclusive breastfeeding has in the first 6 months and breastfeeding has for babies, it would be great if more could be done towards supporting new mums through more information and professional lactation support. Mums must be helped to get it right from the start so that this journey is a pleasant, stress-free one.

Do you think there is enough information about breastfeeding and support for new mums out there?

Australia: Congratulations to Our New Prime Minister

Australia's new PM

(Daily Mail) Michael Turnbull, 1st on the left.

Some are referring to the situation as the “soap opera of Australia” and others are saying “another year, another prime minister”. The jokes are numerous out there as Michael Turnbull was elected the new leader of the Liberals Party, in Australia, only after a little less than 2 years of Tony Abott’s Prime Ministership. Michael Turnbull has become Australia’s 29th Prime Minister elect.

Yes there was a leadership spill. Yes it’s another year, another prime minister. Yes, maybe the Libreals are learning from the Labour Party from the swap Rudd-Gillard-Rudd. BUT how many countries in the world can claim to be able to do the same? In how many countries the party and the leader are not one and same? It is so easy to joke about it but there are so many countries where elections are a remote dream, or countries where there is not a big choice of parties to choose from. We know of so many countries which do not even have the word ‘democracy’ in their vocabulary, and are governed by some senile rulers/dictators. (Did you hear about Mugabe recently making his same old speech to the Parliament and not even being aware of it?)

Let’s compare the situation to one country I know well: Mauritius. Since I was a kid, I’ve heard only about three major parties in Mauritius; they are the Mauritius Labour Party (PTR), the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) and the (Militant Socialist Movement). Elections are held every 5 years in Mauritius and each time if it’s not one party governing, it’s the other or else it’s a coalition between two of the three parties. And guess how many major parties there are at the moment in Mauritius, about 47 years after its independence? Yes, you guessed right! The same three! What’s even more remarkable is the leaders of these parties.

Ramgoolam, father and son (Labour Party)
The PTR was founded by Dr Maurice Cure in 1936 along with other members. When Mauritius gained its independence in 1968 and elections were held, it won and was led by Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, who stayed Prime Minister for quite a while (1968 to 1982). Then later the party was elected again to be led by his son (1995 to 2000 and 2005 to 2014).

Berenger (Mauritian Militant Movement)
The MMM was founded in 1968 by Paul Berenger and other members as a students’ movement. It officially became MMM one year later. Since then the party has been led by the same, one and only Paul Berenger.

Jugnauth, father and son (Militant Socialist Movement)
From 1983 to 2003, Jugnauth (the father) was the leader of the party then he passed on the leadership to Pravind Jugnauth (his son) who is still assuming that post.

From 1976 to 1982, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth was the Leader of the Opposition and served as Prime Minister from 1982 to 1995 and again from 2000 to 2003; he was then elected President from 2003 to 2012 and once more Prime Minister since December 2014. You DID read right: the PM became President and then PM again!

In summary, it’s very easy to remember. Mauritian PMs since the independence: Ramgoolam, Jugnauth, Ramgoolam, Jugnauth, Berenger, Ramgoolam, Jugnauth.

Now, this is what we can call a soap opera. A democratic country, where political parties are closely linked to a family name and where one party = one person! Even if you lose the election, even if you have complaints filed against you, even if you have court hearings on several accusations, even if you seem to everyone that you are senile, if you are in Mauritius and you have the right name, it is highly probable that you will lead your party till you die. It is worth noting though that the last general election has shown a slight change of mentality of the Mauritian people; the trend to vote for ‘a leader’ has witnessed some change although the PM’s name is still ‘Jugnauth’.

Luckily in Australia the situation is completely different. Questioning the leadership is possible and having the party elect the leader is possible. I wish Mauritian political parties could learn more from countries like Australia. Australians should consider themselves lucky to have a VERY FAIR political/governing system in place and what happened with the election of Michael Turnbull as the new PM is proof of that – although I’m hoping he stays in office till the end of his mandate and there’s not another leadership spill!

Is Your Child Eating Too Much Salt?

Kids Eat too much salt

Whenever I eat at my parents’ or at the in-laws’, I always think the food has too much salt. And what’s worrying is that I’m the only one! Everyone keeps telling me I have a problem with my taste buds! You know what? I found out that I DID! It was my taste buds because I wasn’t used to eating that much salt in food. It’s all relative: my parents and in laws find the salt level ‘normal’ but for me it is not. It’s all a question of being used to salt. That’s why I am so amazed when mums tell me they add salt to their babies’ food when they start on solids, as early as 5 to 6 months old! They argue they want to make sure the baby likes the food by making it more tasty. What they do not know, unfortunately, is that babies do not need additional salt and they are the ones who are getting them used to that taste!

The Health Foundation in Australia recommends that an adult consumes less than 6 grams of salt a day, that’s about 1 teaspoon. And we are talking here not only about salt that we add to food when cooking but also to hidden salt in all the foods that we eat. The Health Foundation aims at reducing premature death and suffering from heart, stroke, and blood vessel disease in Australia. It warns about the high intake of salt which can increase blood pressure and lead to a high risk of many other diseases. It is alarming to know that the average Australian consumes about 9 grams of salt everyday. I don’t always check the labels of food products that I buy but I always try to buy healthy food and avoid processed food and take aways as these are so high in salt.

There is now evidence that a high intake of salt in children also influences their blood pressure and can lead them to develop many diseases later in life such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis and even obesity. How children eat when they are young heavily influences their food choices and likings in later life. If they have been used to eating salty food, this is what they will like later in life. It is better for them not to be encouraged to develop a preference for salt when they are little in order to avoid exposing them to all the health risks related to high salt intake. Children should rather be encouraged to eat healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, dried fruits, fresh vegetable sticks and yoghurt. Their food should be cooked without salt if possible. There is already natural salt in vegetables and the taste of other foods such as meat, chicken, etc. can be enhanced by adding spices and herbs. I have tried it and it does work. It is all a question of getting used to eating less salt or no salt at all. If you do it gradually then very soon you will find it hard to eat out or to buy take away!

According to the Health Foundation and other health institutions this is how much salt children can eat per day in order to stay healthy and to avoid risks linked to over-consumption of salt.

Age Maximum Salt Intake
0-6 months <1g / day
6-12 months 1g / day
1-3 years 2g / day
4-6 years 3g / day
7-10 years 5g / day
11 years and above 6g / day

Babies’ kidneys are too immature to deal with added salt and anyway, they require very tiny amount daily. Both breast milk and baby formula consist of that required amount of salt and do not need any added salt to their food. When babies start on solids, although their food may taste very bland to us (remember it’s all a question of being used to salt), salt must not be added. As far as possible it is best to feed baby home made food and avoid processed food as even sauces and other stocks contain too much added salt. 75% of our salt intake come from the ready-made and processed foods. It is always important to check the nutritional information on food products that you plan to give your children and choose those with low salt content. Be mindful of products such as bread, baked beans, crisps, olives, cheese and even biscuits which already contain salt. When choosing breakfast cereals, make sure you are choosing one which has a low salt level. I used the recommendations of Choice Magazine for my baby. It compares various products and lists their salt and sugar levels.

When eating out, be mindful what you are feeding your child. A large portion of chips can contain over 1g of salt and 4 slices of bread can provide 2g of salt; so in only one meal your child can eat much more salt that he is required to eat over a few days!You can use the following as a guide: food containing more than 0.6g of sodium per 100g is considered as high in salt.

Making sure your child doesn’t eat too much salt means you’re also trying to ensure that he doesn’t develop a taste for salty food; this will makes him less likely to eat too much salt as an adult. As mentioned earlier, if you are already giving your child too much salt, just decrease it gradually. It would be a good idea to do it for the family as a whole at the same time. The whole family will benefit from it. It makes so much sense that salt is often referred to as the slow poison and we definitely don’t want that for us nor for our kids, do we?

Finland’s Education System: a win-win for all?

students are back to school

It’s back to school time in Doha. Back to waking up early, back to spending hours in traffic and back to spending the afternoons doing homeworks. The race starts at Kindergarten here when kids as young as 4 are prepared for the entry exam/interview to obtain a seat in a ‘top’ primary school of their choice. In Mauritius too, the competition is quite tough and private tuition starts in all subjects as early as the 4th grade of primary school and usually only ends at the end of high school! I cannot but ask: why not simply copy Finland’s education system?

When the first results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) were out, not even the Finns could believe it. PISA is a standardised test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues. It revealed Finnish youth to be the best young readers in the world. Three years later, they were the leaders in math and in 2006, first in science. In the 2009 PISA, they came second in science, third in reading and sixth in math among nearly half a million students worldwide.

Some Interesting Facts (from Smithsonian):

  • According to a survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the differences between the strongest and weakest students are the smallest in the world.
  • There are no mandated standardised tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of high school.
  • There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions.
  • Finland’s schools are publicly funded.
  • Formal education only starts at the age of 7.
  • Everyone in the government agencies running them, are educators; not business people, not politicians.
  • Every school has the same national goals and recruits staff from the same pool of university-trained educators.

The result is that a Finnish kid is given the opportunity to get the same quality education no matter where he lives. The majority of educators in Finland are professionals selected from the top 10% of its graduates who then study for a masters degree in education. Many schools are quite small to enable teachers to know every student. Teachers are always trying new methods to enable students to succeed. No wonder 93% of Finns graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percentage points higher than the United States, and 66% pursue higher education, the highest rate in the European Union.

Australia and Mauritius

It was fortunate for our kids that, when drafting the National Curriculum, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) reflected on practices in countries that performed ‘better’ like Singapore and Finland. Good on Australia for that! However, due to a change in Australia’s federal government, the National Curriculum has only been partly implemented till now.

With a change of government in Mauritius too, the educational system is being reformed with a nine-year schooling system being introduced. It looks as if only the form is changing, most of the content staying the same. The competition will only shift at a later level, the tuitions will still be there and the severe competition at the end of the secondary schooling will still exist. The government has not unveiled the whole reform plan yet so I am hoping there will be more positives than the present system has.

Curriculum is important but so are educators. Educators should be given both the means and the motivations to be able to perform well. Unlike how I felt when I was working (both in Perth and in Mauritius), educators cannot simply be a number in the system, which can move from one school to another at any decided time. They cannot be expected to give their best when education has started to look more like a business where everything is about making money or cutting costs; they cannot be expected to look at teaching as a vocation and not a job, when they are only given respect according to how their students perform. Wake up people, education is NOT business! Check out Finland.

A great read is fillingmymap.com/2015/04/15/11-ways-finlands-education-system-shows-us-that-less-is-more/

Waiting for the Australian review and for the Mauritian Nine-Year Schooling Reform Project…

Light the Dark: Go Australia!

Syrian refugees arrive at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from Turkey to Greece in a dinghy on August 15, 2015 in Kos, Greece. The Greek government has sent a cruise ship to the island of Kos which will be able to house up to 2,500 refugees and operate as a registration centre, after 2,000 Syrian refugees were locked in an old stadium during a registration process and left without water for more than a day. Australians Light the Dark rally to support Syrian refugees.
Tens of thousands gathered across the country this Monday September 7th for the Light the Dark vigil. They expressed their support to little Aylan and to Syrian refugees. I felt so proud to be Australian today; eventhough I wasn’t physically present I could feel the huge movement of compassion towards our fellow brothers.

Grandparents, parents, boys, girls, pro-refugee movements — all formed one single force to show their support to refugees. Their message was clear: ‘Tony Abott, Australia has to take more refugees!‘ And why not? Space is not a problem, is it? Nor is the country’s economic situation. So, why not?

My 2 year old is sleeping peacefully. Tomorrow will be another day where the major catastrophe will be her wanting more cake or refusing to sit in her high chair for dinner. My world is so much different to that of these people — a world where children risk losing their lives everyday or that of their loved ones. I feel so helpless when I see pictures of children arriving in Greece in dinghies and having to spend the night sleeping on the beach.

Germany is heartily welcoming refugees at the moment and UK has promised to do the same. Come on Australia, we can do better too! Aussie Aussie Aussie …

What is it about borders?

My daughter is 2 years old now and since the past weeks I have only been thinking about what she was going to wear, which cake I was going to bake for her big day, the birthday theme and the whole lot. Having just moved to Doha, we had a small party with a few people we recently met. Something simple, nothing fancy. It was all happy happy.

All these seemed so irrelevant when the same night I read the article about the Kurdi boys. Oh how heart wrenching! Those pictures were so so heart breaking! Being a mum I simply couldn’t not feel the pain. Don’t the world leaders feel the pain too? Are they not parents? Do they have to be parents to feel the pain? To feel empathy? To try to do something? To help human beings like themselves? To help kids like their kids? To simply be human?

We all want the best for our kids. I feel fortunate that I wasn’t born in a war-torn country where the main aim everyday is to flee the country, to get a better life elsewhere. I keep thinking of countries like Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Congo, Sri Lanka, and so many more where children do not have one percent of the luck our children have. Or even those children whose lives are on halt in camps. I wonder how politicians like the one from the UK dares to say the Kurdi boy died “because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe”. Aren’t all of us parents greedy for the happiness of our children?

Angela Merkel and Fancois Hollande want to impose a quota on the number of refugees. David Cameron doesn’t want to hear about refugees in ‘his’ country. Tony Abott, ‘my Prime Minister’ believes refugees are mere “illegal maritime arrivals”! Yet these same world leaders are the ones who talk about international law; yet they are the ones who signed the Refugee Convention. Yet they are the ‘Rambos’ protecting ‘their’ borders at any cost. What is it about borders?

Can’t the world be one big country, rather than a number of different countries fighting for their piece of land? Will the European Union not hear the cry of despair of their fellow human beings? They have to do something, they’ve got to be human!