Meanwhile... in Morocco, a group is experimenting with a new approach to the problem of abandoned children

And in New Zealand, a few determined broadcasters have refused to stop using Maori words in their reporting, while in Uganda, comfort dogs are being used to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Children in Rissani, Morocco

In Morocco, a group is experimenting with a new approach to the problem of abandoned children.

Child abandonment rates run high in this country, where sexual relations outside marriage can be punished by jail time. The stigma of being an unwed mother can be so harsh that such women often find it difficult to turn to friends and family for help. It was estimated that 5,700 children had been abandoned in Morocco in 2009 alone. 

The future can be grim for such children in Morocco; adoptions are limited by a narrow set of laws and illegitimate offspring are often denied a last name or official papers. 

Nonprofit group La Ligue Marocaine pour la Protection de l’Enfance (LMPE) is offering an alternative to mothers of illegitimate children by providing a safe place where the children can be cared for, while at the same time offering their mothers both therapy and vocational training. The hope is that the moms can learn to make a home for their children.

The approach appears to be working, reported Pacific Standard magazine. According to LMPE, 522 of the 599 mothers who came to the group to abandon their children between May 2010 and December 2016 were eventually reunited with them.  

In New Zealand, a few determined broadcasters have refused to stop using Maori words in their reporting.

It began in 2015 when Newshub presenter Kanoa Lloyd, who is of Maori descent, started using occasional words from the Maori language of Te Rao in her broadcast. The next year she was joined by two Radio New Zealand journalists. According to The Guardian, the radio station began receiving about a half-dozen comments from unhappy listeners each day. 

One of the Radio New Zealand reporters, Guyon Espiner, whose popular “Morning Report” show draws approximately a half-million listeners a day, told The Guardian that he hears daily from New Zealanders telling him to “stop speaking gibberish,” but he’s not concerned. 

“There does seem to be a lot of people who feel that it [Te Reo] threatens them or they don’t want to hear it...,” he said, “but we’re going full steam ahead.” 

In Uganda, comfort dogs are being used to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

In Uganda, many former fighters, as well as ordinary citizens, have been diagnosed with trauma after decades of civil war in the country. Recently, a group called The Comfort Dog Project has been matching dogs – most of whom have been abandoned – with people who might benefit from their companionship

It’s an unlikely concept in a country where dogs are more often regarded as guard animals than pets. But Lucy Adoch, who was forced into sex slavery during the war, says that since she was given a small gray dog named Sadik, she no longer suffers from the nightmares that plagued her for a decade. Now, she told NPR, she “only dreams of playing with Sadik.”

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