Tag Archives: social good


A girl. A boy. A gum. A love story (my kind of cheese)

but the hashtag says it all.

Happy Sunday!




Sam Smith was the biggest winner at the Grammys this year, taking home four awards earlier this month, and John Legend is, well, a living legend. While their music genres may slightly differ, their ultimate faith in one love- that of the world- is the same. And what I really like about these two is how they put it all in action, and collaborated (without breaking the internet) in an attempt to give back some of the goodness they’ve been blessed with this year.

- global citizens -

– global citizens –












By far, my favorite collaboration of the year for #RedNoseDay!



In Retrospect

They’re miraculous, the realizations you make once you detach and give your own self some space. I’ve just celebrated turning a year wiser, in a little piece of land in the heart of Sri Lanka, and being here reiterates what continues to matter and make sense to me most.

Self-worth hits you flat in the face the minute you lay foot on this ground. While we often tend to lose sight of equality when we hire “caregivers” for our households, (because yes they do serve us but no they are not our servants), they tend to treat their peers, their tourists, their family, the same on their land and in their own households; genuinely, generously, respectfully and kindly.

- in the heart of Galle -

– in the heart of Galle –

They’ve gifted me, a stranger to them, papayas from their gardens, curry leaves from their trees, king coconuts and avocados of their own. They’ve made me floral necklaces because I said a simple “thank you”.

I am quite frankly stunned with the goodness that is instilled in their hearts, despite of the poverty and lack of opportunities that surround them. And you know what? They are happy. They are content because they know what matters. They’re not smitten by the world of Glitz. Instead, they cling onto their legacy, their culture, their values- which are all founded on kindness and empathy.

I love being here. I love that Galle’s citizens have unintentionally injected so much love and gratitude into my heart, at a time when the entire world seems to be lacking both. Also I love being here with him. He makes me whole.

Free hugs

I was watching this video (and smiling big), when a friend a mine (who loves big), shared her take on weekend hugs with me .

And so I naturally had to share this because it’s heartwarming clearly, and the initiative itself is a perfect example of successful community engagement.

Also because my friend is very huggable.

Free hugs for all today.

The Conditioned

My good friend Facebook launched its “Facebook stories” initiative back in 2010, but I hadn’t really had the chance to explore published individual stories until very recently (and am I glad I did!). This morning, I dove into stories from all around the planet, of love, reunion, family ties, education, and vocation amongst others. My favorite however was the story of a homeless poet who was “found” vagabonding the streets of Sao Paulo last year (which very much reminded me of Bliss Street’s Ali – except nobody did truly find him). Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho was saved by a woman, but more precisely he was saved by social media, and next thing you know, he has over 39000 likes on his Facebook page, the Hugffington post picks up his story, and the man’s actually got a chance to get the words he’s been writing for over 35 years heard, and to actually start afresh and earn a decent living.

That is what social media’s all really about.

Take initiative. Speak up. Make things better.

Here’s to the hundreds of thousands of Alis and Raimundos, and their potential saviors, but mostly here’s hoping social media platforms are more often put into good use!

My day? MADE! (Thanks Mark!)

When Banksy comes to town

When elusive London-based street artist and social activist, Mr.Banksy, landed in New York earlier last month, he apparently made some serious noise.

1) He set up a blog to document his artistic residency on the streets of New York, and actually used a hashtag #banksyny, which was reason enough for his avid followers to use and abuse all social media platforms.

2) The NYPD were kept on their toes, and stayed alert in fear of him secretly communicating “bold” messages to the community as always (yes, well, Surprise!)

3) The New York Times declined to publish the Op-ed column he had written for them, as his dark humor “brutally” offended one the NY’s heritage sites). He still published the article on his blog, casually referring to the World Trade Center as a “Shyscraper” – and then subtly concluding with: New York, we lost our nerve (ah, you’ve got to love him!)


But all in all, from the looks of it, New York, the city, seems to have fallen under the spell of Banksy’s wit, and Banksy in return, seems to have fallen “shyly” but surely in love with the city where dreams are rumored to come true (one could develop a sense of belonging to both London and New York at the same time according to NY-based photographer Daniella Zalcman) . He not only set up a stall in Central Park where 100% original and signed Banksy canvases were sold for only 60$, he also bid New York farewell with a set of balloons that read “Banksy” right before he fled, to say (in his own words): “Thanks for your patience, it’s been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye”



I was just browsing through Streetartnews’ most popular murals of October 2013, and Banksy’s New York mural “Waiting in Vain” outside the Hustler Club topped the list. The truth is, he wowed, throughout his entire month’s excursion on the streets of New York. His adventures will soon be showcased in a Camden shop near you Londoners, so make sure you stop by and stock up on Banksy postcards and canvases (the flying balloons girl below, painted on a wall in West Bank – and portraying the desire of freedom, and the yearning to be able to float away, still is my ultimate fav).


Below are some highlights of his street graffiti work in New York (mostly murals because I am fond of them), and just so we’re clear, I am publicly green with envy. If Banksy is to keep flying out of London, he might as well bring his greatness over to Dubai soon, because you know, New York’s got nothing on you, beautiful City of Life!!


Graffiti is a crime – Manhattan


A test of childhood strength


Stenciled Geishas in Williamsburg


A robot spray- painting his tag in Coney Island

<> on October 7, 2013 in New York City.

A patched-up heart for the love of smiles…

A Slightly Longer Tweet..

I was in Jordan attending the Arab Social Media forum last Friday and it was a crazy/ beautiful adventure:  from the hotel occupancy of only one floor (the 2nd one) to the scarcity of Wi- Fi in guest rooms (thus having to count sheep to sleep instead of browsing the net) to the absolutely unusual landing back in Beirut (the longest landing of my life due to the oddly stormy weather).. but what I found to be most rewarding is the fact that I have finally- like many other Arab Social Media Forum ( #ASMF ) attendees-  managed to put names to so many wonderful faces I have been interacting with on Twitter for the past year or so, people who have proved to be so simply and genuinely interested in the “handle” of a Twitter account.

I’ve always had this dilemma in my head about whether “virtual” communication could really overtake one’s “real” social life or not and the answer is yes, it could (as highlighted in many global and local surveys) , only if not well managed… BUT, if one’s online presence is well managed (i.e.: he/she can still – monotaskingly or not- sleep, eat, work, shop, socialize with family & friends AND get online) then it can only enrich his/her life -on and off the net. One of the event’s speakers (the only woman speaker and the very resourceful Sylvia Cambie) discussed the importance of using online social media (such as Twitter) to do social good- and  while she was at it, I was thinking to myself: that’s it, right here- she must be stating the obvious : social media is already doing social good – by getting people together- from all over the planet-  to the same platform and prompting them  to share their  ideas, voice their concerns, seek guidance and support , receive honest and transparent feedback (and expect  nothing in return- well OK- except for an online mention maybe or re-tweet here and there)- What is the equivalence of a mention or a re-tweet in a traditional human relationship today, I wonder? How willing are we to invest in others expecting nothing in return?

And then you attend a social event (tweet-up in the case of Twitter) such as the Arab Social Media Forum, and you meet all these wonderful smart tweeters and you figure: they’re only as delightful and shrewd in real life as they are online.. Is Social Media making us friendlier, happier, more transparent, more genuine, more giving and (most importantly) more intellectual Queens and Kings of the universe? I, for one, think it is…