Sahba Naderi | Philanthropy

Sahba Naderi is a committed philanthropist

Category: Philanthropy (Page 1 of 2)

The Mutually Beneficial Relationships of Pet and Child

In the 1970s, registered nurse Elaine Smith noticed how well patients responded to visits  from a chaplain and his golden retriever, and started a program for training dogs to visit patients suffering from various mental issues ranging from autism to PTSD. But, people have been reaping the benefits of pets long before this; indeed, humans have been domesticating animals for at least 12,000 years. There are plenty of benefits for a child to grow up with pets. Here are a few that I read about on the Huffington Post:

They offer unconditional love: Pets are non-judgmental and offer companionship for children, especially for those that are lonely or suffering from distress. Pets can comfort, give support, and listen without judgement. 

They can teach children they don’t have to take out their problems on others: Children sometimes become bullies if they don’t have a safe space to share their emotions, and can project them onto other children.  Yet pets love your children no matter what they say, giving them a confidant.  

They can teach empathy: Caring for a pet that’s so 100% dependent upon you teaches a child empathy as they learn to read the needs of their ward.  It’s a skill that can be taught, and which bullies often lack.  

They can teach confidence and responsibility: The responsibility of caring for a pet can help give children confidence; children as young as three can fill a pet’s food and water bowls, and as they get older they can groom and walk their pets as well.

They can help socialize children: Pets don’t just offer children social and emotional support, but also cognitive language skills to support children. That’s why you see children chatting away with pets; their simple presence offers a verbal stimulus to help your child practice socialize and talking. This can be especially beneficial for children with special needs, as they may struggle to socialize with other people. Having an outlet like a pet can help them overcome the challenges of a disability.

They can be therapeutic for children: Studies have shown how pets can lower blood pressure, speed up recovery time, and reduce stress and anxiety. Children with mental issues can immediately relate, since they sense that animals are unconditional in their love and affection.

The Pros and Cons of Renewable Energy

“Renewable energy” is a blanket term for various energy technologies from sources that are never-ending and can be replenished. Some examples are wind, solar, water, and geothermal. These are in contrast to fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which are popular sources of energy in large parts of the world, yet are also ultimately unsustainable. While this is in itself a great case for renewable energy, like anything, it’s an issue with its fair share of pros and cons, although the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I recently read an article that looked at this exact same issue. Let’s look at the cons they pointed out, and then the pros:


  • Its capacity still isn’t large enough: Fossil fuels still generate the vast majority of electricity today, so renewable energy can’t be solely relied upon to power the entire country overnight.  Facilities will need to be set up to meet growing demand while looking for ways to reduce energy consumption.
  • It can be unreliable: Renewable energy depends on the weather, so if conditions aren’t ideal, then renewable technologies couldn’t generate any electricity.  Yet if renewable energy generators are set up over a wide area, then that can be fixed, since weather disruptions in one area will be different than those in another.  
  • It has low-efficiency levels: Since they’re still pretty new to the market, renewable energy technologies lack plenty of efficiency, posing forecast problems that could lead investors to shying away from investing their money.  
  • It requires huge upfront capital outlay: Investors shying away from investing in capital is particularly pressing, since renewable energy facilities, while lucrative, are also extremely expensive to set up.  Wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectricity plants are all relatively expensive.  


  • It’s eco-friendly: Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy has next to no carbon and greenhouse gas emission.  Solar and wind power emit zero toxic gasses, cutting back dramatically on air pollution.
  • It’s renewable: Fossil fuels are ultimately limited resources, and they could run out in the future.  Renewable energy, being renewable, can help developing countries avoid over-reliance on fossil fuels.  Powerful winds, heat from underneath the earth, sunshine, and moving water all offer steady energy supplies.
  • It’s reliable: Over-reliance on fossil fuels has led to world security being threatened; they’re prone to trade disputes, political instability, spikes in prices, and war.  Solar and wind energy are often seen as unreliable, yet that’s easily remedied by a solid infrastructure.  
  • It creates jobs: Renewable energy is cheaper than most traditional sources of energy, and has already helped create jobs in countries such as Germany and the UK, where renewable energy has been encouraged.  
  • It stabilizes prices: Since the cost of renewable energy depends on the initial cost of installation of renewable energy technologies as opposed to inflation and availability, it helps stabilize global energy prices.
  • It requires less maintenance: Once infrastructure is laid down, little to no maintenance is required, meaning that the owners of facilities can reap big profits while providing cheap electricity.
  • It boosts public health: Fossil fuel emissions are directly responsible for various ailments, such as heart disease, cancer, and neurological disorders.  

It empowers people in rural areas: Renewable energy generation mainly takes place in more rural settings, not only offering new sources of energy to those regions, but also helping socially and economically regenerate them.

Summer Spotlight: Striving for Marine Conservation

While everyone is enjoying summer weather, vacation, relaxing on the beach, or even shopping on the boardwalk, there’s a major crisis happening that many are unaware of. Despite sustainable efforts and marine conservation research, the ocean is in great danger. With plastics and other contaminates making their way, not only into the water but into marine life’s environment, it’s a clear sign that the world needs to do something about it. Here are some nonprofits around the globe striving to make an impact on the environment to conserve marine life and our oceans.

Pura Vida Bracelets

Spanish for “pure life”, Pura Vida is a Costa Rican saying to encourage the appreciation of life’s simple treasures. Celebrating the good and living a slow life is what Pura Vida strives to embody. This bracelet company was founded on the philosophy of a laid back lifestyle that makes a notable impact on society.

Each bracelet is hand-crafted by artisans in Costa Rica, providing the artisans with full-time jobs and a better life. Although Pura Vida partners with over 190 charities donating to great causes, Pura Vida has a strong connection with marine life and ocean conservation. From supporting environmental causes for saving dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, orcas and more, Pura Vida is a prime example of how one small thing can make a big difference.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Including animal care and exhibits, 61% of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s profit goes towards conservation and science education programs. The aquarium attracts not only guests from all over the world, but also volunteers and supporters too. Making ocean health, ocean wildlife, climate action for the ocean, sustainable fisheries and reducing ocean plastic a priority, Monterey Bay Aquarium is fighting the good fight to a more sustainable world for the sake of the ocean and all of it’s inhabitants.

Shark Savers

Through establishing and building awareness, education, and action, Shark Savers’ main goal is to save sharks and manta rays. Over recent years, the populations of sharks and manta rays have been dwindling due to a few reasons: overfishing, contaminated oceans and even shark fin soup which is considered a delicacy in foreign countries. The “I’m FINished with FINs” campaign, Shark Savers seeks to reduce the consumption of sharks, altogether reducing sharks used for soup and cosmetics.

This program of WildAid, an environmental organization, stresses the importance of spreading awareness and inspiring action. Shark Savers provides a great example of how campaigns can make a lasting impact. Would you want shark fins in your soup?

World Wildlife Fund

Being home to more than 2 million species, marine life depends on the ocean’s biodiversity and resilient ecosystems. The ocean plays a critical role in the planet remaining inhabitable for all forms of life. From the micro bacteria to human beings, the ocean provides ample oxygen, regulates climate and circulates global carbon. With the World Wildlife Fund, this organization has a keen focus on rejuvenating the ocean’s health through sustainable livelihoods.

Norton Point

Recently, I published a blog on the dangers of plastic in the ocean. One extremely cool brand dedicated to reducing ocean plastic is Norton Point. Sea Plastic Differently is an environmental initiative from this sunglass company. Creating sustainable eyewear, Norton Point takes plastic straight from the ocean and turns it into a wearable item. Taking sustainability one step further, Norton Point also collects plastic from landfills to reduce the amount of plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

Norton Point’s ultimate passion for ocean conservation shows that it’s possible to turn trash into treasure while saving the planet at the same time. Additionally, 5% of their net profit is donated to research and educational efforts.

Together, these nonprofits and organizations are showing the world how to step up. Supporting causes for marine conservation is as simple as one donation or even getting out there to volunteer. The world can make the ocean a thriving ecosystem once again, it just takes effort around the globe.

Educational Programs Worth Fighting For

The President’s 2018 budget presents major cuts to the educational budget, including proposing to cut a number of educational programs. The budget reasoned that these programs were overly similar to other programs, that they “lacked strong evidence of meeting…objectives”, and, generally,  that they would be better off being carried out by local or private programs, or even by different areas of the federal government.

However, many of the programs listed are, in fact, vital parts of our country’s educational infrastructure, and should be, if not maintained in their current state, at least replaced by a similar alternative funded by the Department of Education. Localizing these programs, as the budget suggests, would only negatively impact schools in areas too poor to take up the slack. Here are a few of the  programs on the chopping block that deserve our support:

Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS): The CCAMPIS program provides parents pursuing postsecondary education with campus-based child care. This program encourages low-income parents to go back to school, which improves social mobility and increases the overall American education rate. Additionally, educated parents are much more likely to raise educated children, and be generally supportive of schools of all levels.

Full-Service Community: Full-service community schools are schools that provide not only education, but also youth development, family support, health and social services, and community programs to the surrounding area. These schools provide services in high-risk communities in a cost-efficient and convenient way, while making the school a hub of the community, which improves parental involvement in education.

International Education and Foreign Language Studies Overseas Programs: The United States does not perform well in foreign languages. Even dedicated students, and dedicated schools, find road blocks in a lack of qualified teachers, and an even greater lack of immersion opportunities. The International Education and Foreign Language Studies Domestic Programs were designed to help schools surmount these obstacles, a task that becomes increasingly necessary in today’s globalized world.

Arts in Education: As the name suggests, the Arts in Education program provides children and teens with art programming, specifically focusing on serving low-income and disabled students. Studies have shown that arts education improves creativity and boosts morale, and students that receive arts education perform better in school.

Strengthening Institutions: This funding helps schools maintain good physical infrastructure by supporting construction, funding maintenance and assisting with renovations. It’s not the coolest-sounding program, but it is necessary. Schools cannot function if the school building is not in good condition. Without infrastructural support, underfunded schools can find themselves with overcrowded classrooms, inefficient utilities, and dirty or even dangerous facilities.

Nonprofits in Developing Countries: Doing More Harm Than Good

Many people want to do their part in making the world a better place. That can be anything from donating money to local charities to visiting third world countries and volunteering your time and effort to better the lives of those who are less fortunate. For people eager to help, it is not uncommon to donate without doing any research beforehand. Though there are countless nonprofits around the world helping tremendously, where and how they choose to help can have adverse effects.

With the number of commercials on television today spotlighting children without food, shelter, or clothing in third world countries, the sound of a nonprofit traveling directly to those countries to help sounds like the best possible thing for that country. Video footage of a child without shoes? Surely that country is in need of shoes. TOMS shoe company noticed this problem, and visited these developing countries to help, establishing factories in their name to produce as many pairs of shoes as possible. What this actually did was damage the economies of these countries.

In most cases, the commercialized products that we are led to believe is in high demand in developing countries is, in fact, not. Many of these countries don’t ask for things like shoes and construction companies coming in from other countries. When a nonprofit enters a developing community and establishes businesses that make goods or provide services, they are pushing the local businesses with the same goods or services out, bringing forth the argument that these charities and NGO’s are in it for profit.

Even if these organizations do have good intentions, it’s best to look at their services as a limited option. When considering the classic saying “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” these charities are doing the former. These attempts being made at improving the quality of life in underdeveloped countries are short-term solutions, and do not have last effects. Moreso, they are harming the economies of these countries.

The film Poverty, Inc. casts light onto the topic of nonprofits actually hurting developing countries. One particular story highlighted in the documentary is that of Enersa; a solar paneling company in Haiti. Business was flourishing for the small company, as they were selling upwards to 50-60 panels a month. Then, upon the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a flood of nonprofits and international relief organizations poured into the country to help; some of which donating solar panels. This severely damaged Enersa, as their sales dropped tremendously due to the competition.

This isn’t to say that all nonprofits that offer their services to developing countries are bad, but rather, we need to rethink what or how we approach these subjects. The main thing to take away from this is that flooding developing countries with goods or services can have adverse effects. Developing educational systems and offering business loans to companies and entrepreneurs already within these countries’ borders is a much wiser investment, and presents the opportunity to allow these local businesses to grow, thus growing the economy.

The Role of Animals in Therapy

Considered a form of alternative medicine, Animal Assisted Therapy is becoming much more widely accepted in today’s world. Animals as therapeutic tools can be greatly beneficial for patients suffering from all kinds of illnesses. Children with congenital diseases, senior citizens with poor sight, hearing, or mobility, and even those with special needs can all find relief in a certifiably trained animal.

It is no secret that our pets make us happy. The pure joy expressed by dogs, the love we receive from cats, and the general appreciation for life possessed by most animals is infectious. That boost in mood can actually have a bigger impact than you think. More and more research is being done connecting improved health with the introduction of animals.

There is a difference between Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Activities, however. The therapy aspect deals with assisting those recovering from injuries or dealing with severe health problems, while those partaking in activities are typically for a much more general purpose i.e. keeping senior citizens company and providing enjoyment.

Animal therapy has the capabilities of greatly reducing pain, depression, or anxiety for people dealing with all types of health complications. One of the most common animals to become a certified therapy animal are dogs, and they have been doing so since the early recordings of history. However, not until 1976 did a program come about recognizing this new form of therapy, when Elaine Smith founded Therapy Dogs International, providing those in need with canine assistance regardless of the health complication one might be dealing with.

Alongside a trained handler, therapy animals of all sorts visit hospitals, retirement communities, and more to offer relief in all forms. Cats, horses, rabbits, and even birds are common animals used for therapeutic reasons as well, all of which can be trained to comfort those in distress. Military veterans suffering from PTSD or physical disabilities are another demographic that benefit greatly from this form of alternative medicine, as it can greatly improve psychological treatments.

While many people argue that Animal Assisted Therapy is nothing more than a distraction from one’s pain or health issues, there is no denying that actual results have been recorded from several studies. For those with terminal illnesses, there may be no better way to boost their moods than to introduce an animal dedicated to spreading love.

Charities That Promote Clean Water

Gathering water puts a burden on many poor families in developing countries. Often people have to travel for hours just to get water. Sometimes this task falls to the children. In recognition of the global water crisis, the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. Here are some charitable organizations whose mission is to bring clean water to underserved communities throughout the world.

Charity: Water is a ten year old New York based charity that has helped to fund 20,000 water projects in over 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. 100% of public donations go directly to clean water projects including wells and water filtration systems. The charity uses social media platforms to bring attention to the global issue of water.

MIYA focuses on reducing non-revenue water (NRW) or fresh water that is lost from the distribution system before it reaches the consumer. These municipalities suffer a loss of millions of cubic meters of clean water every day. MIYA also promotes community awareness about water preservation. In addition to delivering more clean water, cities save energy and get lower costs for water. The program currently operates in the Philippines, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the Bahamas.

WaterisLife cites its mission as bringing clean water to needy populations through short and long term solutions. The organization developed a water filtration system call The Straw. When this device is immersed in a water source, water borne bacteria is removed with each sip. The device lasts up to one year. In terms of long range goals, the program promotes sanitation, hygiene and education about how diseases are spread. Countries served by WaterisLife are Haiti, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of South America.

PureMadi is non-profit organization composed of faculty and students from the University of Virginia. Working with the University of Venda in South Africa, the team produces ceramic water filters using local materials to efficiently purify water. They also created MadiDrop—a simple water purification tablet that can disinfect water for up to six months. is an organization co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White. The organization provides information about good hygiene and basic sanitation to local communities in developing countries. They also work to secure safe water by building wells. Donors to the charity can track progress by using  GPS coordinates. The co-founders also created WaterCredit, a nonprofit which connects micro-financiers with individuals and communities who use small loans to build wells and toilets.

How You Can Help Local Wildlife

There are a large number of species currently considered endangered at the moment, and a fair amount on the brink of extinction. From elephants, to gorillas, to the black rhinoceros, all of these animals need our help if they are to survive, and hopefully, reproduce enough to become self-sustaining once again.

While journeying to the country of origin of the animal that you wish to help can be a truly rewarding experience, it can be difficult, and expensive. Rather, there are a number of simple strategies you can implement to do your part right at home.

Educate yourself

Learn about any endangered species in your area, and promote that education throughout your community. The more friends and family members know about the dire situation these species face, the more likely they are to do their parts. Understand how this wildlife plays a part in your community rather than just the anesthetic reasons. Plants and animals alike often play great roles in their local areas including the control of other population sizes, clean air and water, and commercial benefits.

Modify your home

Many wild animals are attracted to houses in their communities due to easily controllable factors. To prevent them from developing a dependency on human resources and becoming comfortable around humans in general, properly secure any garbage cans you have, feed pets indoors, and avoid feeding any yourself. The reason being, wild animals that regularly visit residential neighborhoods looking for food can pose as dangerous, increase their chance of being hit by cars, and may also begin to starve without the help of human-produced food.

Another great way to help out your local wildlife (birds specifically) is to place decals on your windows. An astonishing 988 million birds die every year due to window collisions, simply by misjudging the distance or not seeing the glass at all. By placing decals or stickers on a window that clearly indicate its distance, you can prevent this number from rising.

Be eco-friendly

Regular maintenance on your home garden and yard can help it maintain its visual appeal, but using herbicides and pesticides are hazardous on many levels. Beginning at one of the smallest levels of the food chain, insects and rodents that may eat these poisoned plants can lead to poisoning their predators i.e. foxes, hawks, owls, etc. The effects are damaging and long lasting. Instead, try attracting native bees and butterflies to pollinate your plants and flowers. By doing so, local plants will flourish, and invasive species are not introduced, which cause increased levels of competition for resources, promoting the extinction of native wildlife.

Drive slowly

A simple but effective strategy; slowing down when driving in wooded areas or communities in general allows you prepare for any sudden animal running across the street. Many species live in developed areas that introduced roads and neighborhoods right in the middle of their homes. This forces them to navigate a hazardous terrain on a daily basis. By driving slowly, you allow both yourself and the local animals to go about their ways safely.

Sahba Naderi art and society

Art’s Influence on Society

A common feeling that many people struggle with is little sense of community, or being disconnected from the world around them. This is where art forms of all types can come in. Social movements allow people to come together for a common cause, and doing so through art can have a greatly beneficial impact on a person’s perspective. Today, social media allows these movements to reach far and wide, and combining these efforts with art can have a lasting positive outcome.

With their talents, artists of all kinds have the power to evoke emotion, challenge societal norms, and change individuals’ perspectives, addressing all kinds of issues. These can be anything like animal rights, immigration, sexism, or war. A common argument is that politicians or members of the government that attempt to tackles these issues are often peripheral to the case. Artists that are normal, everyday citizens are much more central, effectively reaching and engaging a wider audience that is more likely to contribute to their cause.

A great example of social movement through art is Mix’d Ingrdnts. This all-female dance group from Oakland, California was started by Jenay Anolin and Samara Atkins to defy the implications that dance groups are a predominantly male area of arts. Anolin stated, “I feel that women have a capability to express themselves through their movement, but it doesn’t have to be degrading.” Through the power of social media, this group has been able to attract and teach classes in the Bay Area of California, inspiring more and more women to join their movement.

Art has played a large role in political protest as well. In order for social activism to truly have an impact, creativity is key. One could argue that certain cave drawings dating back to the earliest instances of man could be considered graffiti, and therefore some form of protest. Artists attempt to bring attention to an issues in a new, and exciting way to inspire people who may have otherwise disregarded the topic altogether.

Music, dance, illustrations, and designs of all types can aim to produce knowledge within a group of protestors, or convey that knowledge to outside parties in an attempt to gain more followers. The more attractive the art form is, the bigger impact this form of protest may have on the issue at hand. The more well-known the platform from which it is coming from also plays a large role. Famous musicians for example, may do so through songs, or artists through paintings. Those with more power than others have a better chance of inspiring more in joining their cause.

For those who wish to start their own social movement through art, decide on an issue that you feel passionate about, and apply your artistic skills to that issue, utilizing social media along the way. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort to show others that you care enough about a certain cause to want to make a change, and they may be inspired to contribute as well.

Sahba Naderi recycling

The Greater Impact of Recycling

Recycling is an action that is encouraged on a daily basis, but little people understand the impact it has on the world around us. For a truly beneficial change to take place, knowledge of how recycling can better our environment should be spread far and wide, allowing individuals to understand how even the smallest actions can make big differences.

One of the most obvious advantages of recycling is reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. Trash that is not biodegradable can end up staying in landfills for many years, emitting harmful gases that can damage the ozone. The more waste that begins to build over time, the more pollutants exposed to the environment, causing a great deal of air pollution. By choosing to recycle your empty water bottles, you can avoid adding to the already existing problem of overused landfills in the United States, and successfully decrease levels of pollution.

Another impact that might not be well known is that recycling can effectively reduce levels of energy consumption. Companies that use recycled materials, like Green Toys and The ReCycle for example, require much less energy in building their products. The process of cutting down trees for paper, then throwing that paper in a standard trash bin is a large waste of resources, as paper can easily be recycled and reused. This leads to more trees being harvested for their resources, thus requiring higher levels and use of energy.

A cutback on costs is yet another benefit that recycling can offer. As mentioned, cutting down more trees when there is already enough paper in a landfill to be recycled for hundreds of other products is a huge waste of time and money. People oftentimes find that they are able to save money recycling in many different ways. For example, rather than throwing out that glass plate that shattered on the kitchen floor, turn it into your next art project. Instead of burning a pile of leaves during Fall, turn them into compost for a flourishing flower bed or garden. The more money individuals are able to save, the more likely they are to continue recycling, leading to a much larger impact on the environment.

The act of recycling can build strong bonds in communities, groups, friends, and family as well. Groups of people who come together to pick up waste alongside a local road, or collect trash from the public to recycle themselves, a stronger sense of community can manifest. Not only can this lead to a larger effort in recycling in your local area, but it can teach children the importance of it, thus leading to the continuation for generations to come.

Recycling is known to be a great way to contribute to the betterment of our environment. Understanding how it can do so is important in order to encourage more and more people to take part in this action, and make a greater impact on the world. The more communities that actively begin to pay attention to their waste habits, the safer, and healthier we can make our environment.

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