Forum Posts

Dasha Asienga
Aug 11, 2020
In Forum VII - Reopening
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Kenyan educational system with a massive, unprecedented blow. As soon as the first positive case was announced on March 13, 2020, schools were immediately shut down, oblivious of what was to come in the next few months. The graph of daily infections is still steadily increasing, with about 600 cases per day as of early August. In total, Kenya has recorded 26,928 cases and 423 deaths -- the curve is yet to peak and stabilize, and so a reduction in cases will perhaps not be a reality in the near future. Because of this, the question of in-person learning is not on the table. The solution, then, must be online learning, right? However, the problem to think about is that a huge majority of schools and students are not equipped with the necessary resources to conduct effective online learning either. As soon as schools were shut down, a small minority of students resumed with their education through taking classes online, leaving millions of others at home with nothing to keep them busy and propagating the issue of teen pregnancies. Consequently, to address this glaring issue of inequality, in July 2020, the Kenya Ministry of Education decided to scrap the entire school year, as though it didn't exist. Since the academic year begins in January, all students in the national educational system are set to 'repeat' an entire year, that is, those meant to be in 5th grade this year will now begin 5th grade in January 2021. As for those students in expensive European and American international schools, they will happily resume their studies after an unusual summer break, albeit online -- this only makes the already apparent educational inequality worse. I personally do not believe that schools in my country are ready to resume for in-person learning. But perhaps what's most devastating is that if in-person learning is not possible, no learning at all is for most students in Kenya. It's a brutal awakening call of the inequality that plagues the learning system. And, what if, when January comes, the country still isn't ready to reopen schools? We need practical and viable solutions! NB: Universities and colleges have been closed for physical instruction as well until January 2021, but they may still conduct their operations through remote means. https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/Schools-in-Kenya-to-reopen-in-January--2020-academic/1840360-5589320-fayl1o/index.html
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Dasha Asienga
Jul 05, 2020
In Forum VI - Safe Spaces
Educate, Engage, Empower -- that's the slogan of Safe Spaces Nairobi, an organization in Nairobi, Kenya that exists to help and empower girls from a specific marginalized area locally referred to as the Eastlands slums. According to Wikipedia, safe spaces are defined as places created for individuals who feel marginalized to communicate regarding their experience with marginalization. They are primarily found in university campuses in the western world, but sometimes, at workplaces as well. The term may also indicate that the specific place in discussion, perhaps an educational institution or classroom, does not tolerate violence, harassment, or hate speech, hence creating a positive space for members of these marginalized communities. Often, these safe spaces are tailored towards various marginalized identities that span those of religion to race to gender to sexuality, just to name a few. Naturally, there are arguments against and for the idea of safe spaces. Those for the idea support such positive places as they enable members of "minority" groups to be heard and share their similar experiences in a place where they will be understood -- a place where they can find comfort and just be themselves, unlike the outside world. Yet that's the basis for those who argue against the idea of safe spaces. Opponents argue that safe spaces coddle and weaken participants, not preparing them for the real world. They believe that these spaces reject free speech, and "political correctness" and "language police" corrupt liberalism. However, safe spaces need not only be about letting the voices of marginalized groups be heard nor rendering participants unprepared for the real world. It can be more powerful than that, as is the case in Safe Spaces Nairobi. I previously associated safe spaces with just the western world -- the societal issues in Africa are far different from those in the west, and thus, I was intrigued to stumble upon this specific organization. Safe Spaces Nairobi aims to provide a safe space for girls in the Eastlands slums to not only be heard, but to also learn, develop, and grow into strong qualified women who can escape poverty, violence, and exclusion. They acknowledge that women face different challenges in comparison with their male peers, not limited to violence and systemic exclusion in health, education, and labor, all while carrying the burden of familial and household responsibilities and the risk of forced early marriages, prostitution, early pregnancy, HIV, and sexual exploitation. Their goal is to build a stronger generation of young women that will make a difference in the future and in their communities. Ultimately, Safe Spaces Nairobi is about creating a safe and positive space to listen to these women's struggles, but while preparing them for the outside world as well by educating them, and in a beautiful way, it encompasses both sides of the arguments pro and against safe spaces. Educate, engage, empower. I implore you all to read about Safe Spaces Nairobi, as well as their various programs tailored to empower these young girls. References: https://www.safespaces-nairobi.org/about-us https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_space https://www.vox.com/2016/7/5/11949258/safe-spaces-explained
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Dasha Asienga
Jun 04, 2020
In Forum V - Prostitution
Prostitution should NOT be legal, but it should also be DECRIMINALIZED. I've struggled to form an answer to this question and I'm prepared for the opposing views that I may be faced with. I should start by saying that I understand the reasons for legalizing prostitution, which may include protecting the rights of sex workers, increasing tax revenue, reducing poverty rates, and getting prostitutes out of the streets. However, prostitution is inherently immoral, abusive, and harmful; therefore, legalizing it could only open doors for more organized criminal activity as well as furthering the transmission of STD's including AIDS. From a personal standpoint, I believe that this will only further the exploitation of women by men, and maybe even promote and even justify inhumane crimes such as human trafficking and rape. I found an article that listed some of the reasons that legalizing prostitution doesn't actually make the sex trade safer by studying countries that have already legalized. I think it's worth taking a look at. https://www.demandabolition.org/research/evidence-against-legalizing-prostitution/ In reality, many of such sex workers chose prostitution because they come from vulnerable communities and have nothing else to fall back on. You don't legalize drug trafficking because people are involved in the trade and doing so would offer legal protection -- it's still criminal. But such sex workers should not get prison time. Instead, our communities and governments should do better to offer prostitutes a possibility of a better life, and perhaps a better solution is having certain permits and fines apply. It's one thing to engage in sexual relations with whomever you want to simply because you want to, but an entirely different thing to engage in unsafe sexual relations -- to sell your body -- because you have no other option. It's wrong and illegal and in the end, legalizing it would only benefit the pimps and brothel-owners, not the actual prostitutes who are still forced to. But such sex workers should not be criminalized either. There is another solution because the human body is not a commodity!
Legalization v Criminalization of Prostitution content media
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Dasha Asienga
Apr 09, 2019
In Forum III - Marijuana
https://www.aclu.org/report/report-war-marijuana-black-and-white?redirect=criminal-law-reform/war-marijuana-black-and-white Quick facts: Over-Policing: Between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million pot arrests in the U.S. That’s one bust every 37 seconds and hundreds of thousands ensnared in the criminal justice system. Wasted Time and Money: Enforcing marijuana laws costs us about $3.6 billion a year, yet the War on Marijuana has failed to diminish the use or availability of marijuana. Staggering Racial Bias: Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. What are your opinions on the war on Marijuana? Is the government expenditure worth it? How is it racially biased? How has it been falsely executed?
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Dasha Asienga
Mar 10, 2019
In Cases of Depression
Demi Lovato is an example of an artist who has been very vocal about her depression, eating disorder, and bipolar disorder, revealing that she struggled with suicidal thoughts as early as age 7. She further points out that such thoughts have reoccurred periodically throughout her life. Her story illustrates that the issue of depression is not so straightforward, and as pointed out in a similar post about Lady Gaga, it can't just go away -- relapses can happen, and that's totally normal and expected. Simon A. Rego, PsyD, a cognitive behavioral therapist, explains that "at least half of the people who have had a major depressive episode are at risk for more episodes down the road." https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/03/194213/demi-lovato-depression-recovery-suicide-mental-health
Demi Lovato content media
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Dasha Asienga

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