In December, CNN visited a school for escaped slaves and their children in Mauritania, a West African country that was the last in the world to abolish slavery, and where an estimated 10% to 20% of people are still enslaved.
There, in a small, concrete building surrounded by dusty streets, 30 women who escaped slavery are learning new skills - sewing, cooking, hair braiding - that they plan to use to start small businesses.
iReport wants to show these women that the world supports them in their fight for freedom. What can you do? It's simple:
Share your message of hope and include the phrase "Nahana maakum," which means "We are with you" in Hassaniya, the language these women speak.
A selection of your video messages of hope will be shown in the school, and they may also appear on CNN. (Check out some of the submissions we've received so far in the compilation video above.)
Get started on your iReport!
[Update] Here are some of the submissions so far, coming from all around the world:
Hossain Riazati and his wife hold a Baha'i devotional gathering once a month at their home in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, for friends and neighbors of different races, religions and backgrounds. On Sunday, the group recorded a message of hope for the former slaves in Mauritania (“Nahana maakum, we are with you.”) He read the CNN piece about slavery in Mauritania on Sunday and was happy to see the Monday piece on “how you can help.” He says, “We all can take a part according to our capacity and resources in making a difference toward betterment of the world.”
Click to watch video
Twin sisters Laura and Anna Green are seniors at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Laura is studying social work and her sister is majoring in justice and peace. “I've often wondered how, in life's gambling game, I ended up with a privileged life while others have to suffer on a daily basis,” she says. “If we want to make any changes in our world, we have to take action. We have to advocate for those who have no voice.”
Click to watch video
Rummel Pinera, a salesman in the Philippines, also recorded a message. He says he was shocked to learn that “slavery is still quite a big institution in Mauritania.”
Xavier Stone, a student at the University of Miami in Florida, was moved by the story of slavery in Mauritania and wanted to do “whatever I could to make a difference.” French is not his native language but he felt it better conveyed his message. The English translation is: “You are not alone. You are not lost. If you want freedom, we are with you. I am with you. Nahana Maakum.”
I teach at a school attended by African immigrant children. The girls are wearing head coverings by the age of 5. These people have tremendous life adjustments to make, and make them they do. The development we witness as they begin to read and speak their thoughts is inspiring.
I salute you brave Women and Men for finding the strength to embark on this new journey, YOUR journey into freedom. It must be strange and even scary but please DON'T GIVE UP! You are doing the right thing for yourself s, your children and hopefully all others mistreated! You are the spark, the beginning of a Change and YOUR believe and perseverance will guide others to follow! I send you warmth and even more strength to hold steadfast. peace and NAHANA MAKUUM
Words that change the world.
My salute to the men and women behind the stories, including those who suffer, those who help to end the suffer, and those who write to expose the suffering.
Hello to each one of you. You and all those that are surviving this horror now know that you are thought of and LOVED by people in this big world. Good luck and happiness to you. I pray you will thrive and learn many things( maybe get a computer with a satilite uplink so we can talk
face to face. Nahana makuum.
Nahana maakum -
Keep working on change. I will donate regularly to your cause.
Good luck, In happiness and in health.
Nous pensons à vous et vos efforts de changer la vie dans votre pays. Nahana maakum
Nous pensons `a vous partout. En esperant que la vie changera dans votre pays.
You are all so beautiful, I applaud your courage and pray for you. I am a nurse in the US and deeply moved. Please stay strong. :)
I am truly impressed with your determination and courage. Keep working for the peace and freedom each of you deserves. You can count on my support. May God be with you.
You are strong, courageous, and beautiful women. You might not see it now, but your plight will bring you heavenly rewards, and you will continue to grow in determination, in power, and in deep wisdom that can only be learned by your unique experience. Along with all that you already are, keep having trust and faith, and you will have the strenght to break the physical and mental chain, and once it is broken, you will remain free forever. That day is near, and you will continue to be in all of our prayers. Nahana maakum
You will make it
Hi. I'm reviewing your Just Spring book and ntawed to download the examples from o'reilly. Do you have a zipped version of the example directory? At present, they're only offered to be downloaded a file at a time, which is rather painful and time-consuming. Thanks, Ken
My Prayers will be that YOU ALL WILL acquire TRUE freedom and happiness that each of you DESERVE in your lives. Freedom is a blessing that tends to be taken for granted too often for most. The stories of such hardships and nightmarish tales truly breaks my heart and yet I know there is so many more stories not told. PLEASE dont give up on your mission ! God has a plan for everything. Even tho we cant understand now. One day all will be set right in the world and those accountable will answer for their sins. Until that day comes , You must take a stand! This is easier said than done I know. I pray God gives you the strength to rise up and be heard. You have my love, support and my promise to help gain awareness so that we can help end your suffering and you will have true freedom . GOD Bless and please know that you are NOT forgotten and your worth is so much more than what you have been shown.
(P.S. Love from America)
Stay positive! You can do this. You can learn to sew, cook, and read. Make your own future. Nahana maakum!
I was very much touched by this story. My heart felt prayers are with you. May God Bless you in your journey to freedom, peace and joy. My hope is that the system of slavery is ended for all people and my hope is that governments ensure economic provision for the men, women and children whom need support from this system of oppression.
I encourage you to read the story of Nicodemus Kansas. Settled in 1877 by ex-slaves escaping the tyrrany of the Reconstruction era Civil War south, it still exists today as a symbol for those seeking freedom. It's story is not unlike that of the ex-slaves of Mauritania. Much can be learned .....and shared. Visit http://www.nps.gov/NICO and http://www.nicodemuskansas.org
As a man born in the 1960's I can only compare slavery to what I have read but as sure as my skin is black no man or women should be owned by anyone! Freedom by any means necessary
Hello to you. I have read and am still reading about the horrible atrocities in your country. I am a black/indian woman and do know about racism as I live in the southern United States. Although slavery was abolished in our country in 1864 the slave mentality is still an issue in this country.
I hope that by raising awareness of this issue many more people will join in the cause and help to enforce the law of your country and end slavery. Just know that the world is hearing you and we do care!
Women of Mauritania, be proud and keep your heads held high. I can't imagine the horrible things you have gone through but know that you are beautiful and empowered. It's heartwrenching to know that this disgusting act continues to exist.
This design is seautacclpr! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost HaHa!) Great job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!
May God richly bless each one of you beautiful women and give you strengh, courage, peace and joy you never imagined was possible. Never give up faith, the day is coming when no one will be ever be judged again by the color of their skin and the perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes will face judgment. God bless you.
My prayers are with you. As a descendant of Jim Crow Laws of the south, great great grandson to aformer slave, my soul is with you. I promise to do all I can to help end this. I will donate and lobby my congressional delagates to do more. I
May this be a day that is peaceful and easy with comfortable moments to spend. A day when you see how much progress your making and feel your health on the mend. A day when the light of the sun through your window reminds you of bright days to come, touched by caring and laughter. So keep putting one foot in front of the other and take one day at a time.There is a brighter tomorrow just down the road! Don't LOOK BACK YOUR NOT GOING THAT WAY! Sandy (small business owner/mother of (4) p.s If you have access read of Harriet Pubman (my 13 yr. old daughter did a school report on her) A great inspiration for ALL women. I admire you ALL & pray you will continue to fight for your families & freedom. Sandy (United States)
To the man,woman and humanity that seeks to incourage'
I applaud your courage, and pray that you stay determined and incourageouse that you may have the strength to break the mental chains of the mind that hinders the physical body on it journey to freedom from these horrible atrocities, as a black man from the south in the 50s and 60s my hearth aces for you and i will pray always.God bless
Very well done story! Between the photos and editorial, I got a true feel for what life is like in this poor, arid country. I am so sorry people in this country are born to this life. Please know I am praying for the enlightenment of your plight to those who can make a differnce, and your deliverance from slavery.
I refuse to live on a planet where people, human beings with hopes dreams and aspirations are made to suffer under the weight of slavery. It is the entire human race's duty to stand against such evil. As a race we must see to it that our children can inherit a world where nobody is ever forced to live under any form of slavery in any locale. Nahana makuum
The Lord Jesus Christ, remind us that His example to be the servant for His God Father and we should be the servant for The Lord Jesus that would be honor Him! But some ID...make the human slave!
Kumbaya my Lord! Kumbaya!
These stories are heartbreaking. it's hard to believe this still exists today. I believe the term "slave owners" is far too soft. It should reflect the severity of the crime against humanity. Remember the owners are doing far more to these victims than just making them work a hard day. They are torturing them with no accountability to God, the law the state and their own deprived souls. "Merchants of Torture" Percy
They will pay at the hands of God on judgement day. I am so depressed over this
The Lord Jesus and His Holy Southern Queen have crushed these task masters! And in the Holy Catholic Church priest have say, There is only one religion will need the evidence and witnesses as we are that is the Holy Catholic Church. And everyones want to have a normal live! But none! And the Lord Jesus Christ will raise His Children on Last Day!
Nahana Maakum dear sisters and brothers! You will be ignored and forgotten no longer! Hold fast to your faith and know you will not endure this suffering much longer, and I will see to this with my own two hands. You are filled with the holy light of God, focus on this light and be comforted. We love you.
Gina thanks for opening my eyes to such cruel things that are happening and I want to get involved in helping my people. 777
I admire your courage and bravery. Nahana Maakum.
So brave. Keep being brave and strong. I pray that all slaves stay strong and see freedom and that there own dreams are what they work for.
This is the pray from the Pilgrims who migrated to the America, O Lord, give me the courage to change the thing that I can change! And change the thing that I can not change!
Yeah right. Like they have internet access.
Hi Apul, we'll be bringing a compilation of the videos back to Mauritania to show the women in person. So yes, they will see your messages of hope!
Hey! Hay, u r R...V, ID...
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead
Your courage and determination in fighting for peace and change is so inspirational. It is people like you who help to create a better world so I thank you. Nahana Maakum.
If we fight those task master alone then we are nothing and never win! And as our pray and the Lord Jesus Christ and His Lord's Helper will fight with them for the sake of His Children!
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania in 1989 -1991 in Coumba -n- Doa near Selibaby. My thoughts are always with the people of Mauritania and the time I spent there shaped my life. I hope that the current attention -finally- on slavery in the country also draws attention to other issues of injustice faced by the population in the present and past – ethnic cleansing, FGM and the lack of education for women among others. Nahana maakum
The courage you show is amazing and how ignorant am i to think slavery was abolished many years ago, your story touched a cord in my heart and i could not imagine what you people have been through. I pray through this exposure of
this terrible crime that the world hears you and puts and end to this injustice so you and your people can be free and live in peace.
The government and masters should all be bought to Justice and pay for there crimes.
God be with you all
fews years ago OPRAH invite some youngs MAURITANIANS ARABICS but because they are involve they never talk about, i was very sad and called some friends living in IL who called to OPRAH OFFICE tried to get appointment for explanation but they decline, now if she watch this maybe she be careful next time when inviting MAURITANIANS.THIS YOUNG MASTER whos activist is a very honnest person,his grand father was EMIR of TAGANT ,all his family are well educated, if i have to talk about him its take long, but my gest is to see my country became a normal country where every one have a chance,and my hope is to see CNN contact the wdows to thoses who was killed in the years 90 ,for your info 500 blacks soldiers where executed cold blood because they are blacks and the criminals still in the inner circle, the former president who ordored that is in QATAR none talk about his trial,,
You are all in my thoughts and prayers. None of us are free until we are all free. Through the force and persistence of a few, your leaders will see the error of their ways and bring this horror to an end. Stay strong, help is coming.
nahaana makumm.. I belive that all people in the world will hear your sound. And one day-whic that day is going to come as soon- you will be free as you deserve.and This compansate by people who hold this power.
Have you ever thought about iidnucnlg a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. But imagine if you added some great images or videos to give your posts more, pop ! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the very best in its field. Excellent blog!
I am so sick at the idea of this horrible life that my people have lived to this day. I am here for you guys and if I could help in any way I would. People here in .America take advantage of freedom, and have no clue what hell is going on where you are or have been. I pray that God protects each and everyone of you from any more harm. I know He hears your prayers and just know that something good is going to come out of your suffering. He will bless you protect you from more harm. I am so sorry. I love you all and you are my people. Bless you
A serious mesures suppose to take in the whole clobe, not only in certain places, or courtry, in africa. We african are used more than an animal. We are subduce, inside the bondage of slavery. Enough is enough, stop modern day slavery! Thanks CNN!
Your courage to overcome your situation is truly awe inspiring. You knew you could have a better life without oppression and brutality and did not allow yourselves to remain in your dire situations. I admire your strength and courage.
i dont know if i endure the life as these men women and children. on this side of the world things are goode but just across the waterways things are the opposite. so primitive and in some countries barbaric. it makes a person realize that living overseas could have easily happened. afterall we dont have a say to whom we are born too or where to choose to live.
those of us who have a free life on this side of the world should reach out help those who are held against their will. no one should be expected to live in slavery days and living in rag tents and extreme of the extremest poverty. it makes my heart for the children who didnt ask for things to be this way.
you are not alone in your fight to freedom from far away we think of you and pray that yopu succeed in your fight for freedom "Nahana maakum"
Nahana maakum. My prayers and hopes are with you for an end to this madness...
we are with you? iam in kurdistan north iraq. nahnu maakum? realy i shoked when i saw slavery still exist in this world? but in other hand i take it normal becouse we are human and we created worst civilsation which by our rulls allow somone do anything he wont becuse have money.
my heart with you i hope will be eneded.
I didn't know Slavery still exist as the form we know in the world and I was about to cry when I read the story about a woman whose baby died and his "owner" (I hate this word but is the right one in this story) didn't let her to go to the funeral and clean the baby to get a proper burial. I send my bless and greetings to Mauritania I hope everything get fixed there as soon as possible.
I didn't know Slavery still exist as the form we know in the world and I was about to cry when I read the story about a woman whose baby died and his "owner" (I hate this word but is the right one in this story) didn't let her to go to the funeral and clean the baby to get a proper burial. I send my bless and greetings to Mauritania I hope everything get fixed there as soon as possible. http://webinlaweb.blogspot.com/
My message would be: don't come to America, you'll just be another slave. A slave to the US government, your landlord or mortgage company and your employer.
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All countries should cease any activity with this garbage country until it stops practicing slavery, that's really all there is to it.
VIOLENT WORLD PSYCHIATRY-PSYCHOLOGY REVEALED(mindless mkultra crimes performed by police and psychiatrists/psychologists)
USE OF MKULTRA + HUNGER GAMES TODAY....STATE OF THE ART EXPLANATION ON MIND CONTROL TECHNIQUES(violent world of government psychiatry/psychology and police revealed..... learn exactly per how is done and by whom... use of psychology/psychiatry for mass population or ethnic cleansing as well as crimes to which we witness daily on behalf of Zionism/communism/liberalism). SELF ELECTED GOVERNMENTS GOING AS FAR AS USING PEDOPHILIA TO RESOLVE THEIR MINDLESS CRIMINAL POLITICAL ISSUES AGAINST TARGETED VICTIMS WHILE BLAIMING IT ALL ON CHURCH !!!
COMING NEXT....LEARN TRUTH ABOUT DAVID DUKE OR OBAMA OR RATHER US GOVERNMENT – 70 YEARS OLD NEWS(including Eastern European Ethnic cleansing for the sake of Slavic super state or Soviet Union number two). WHY TO TALK ABOUT MIND CONTROL WHEN WE ARE DEALING WITH ETHNIC CLEANSING.
All related to WHITES ARE NOT WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec or rather http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xleq3o OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009 !!! EXILING WHITES(US citizens) WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE AND IMPORTING NON WHITES IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FREE !!! WHY TO ACCEPT LIABILITIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED WHEN WE CAN SIMPLY ASSASSINATE OUR VICTIMS(YOU) THANKS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND FREE PRESS/MEDIA(most severe CENSORSHIP OF GENOCIDE in entire history of human kind) !! NOT HUMAN RIGHTS COURTS, BUT ORGANIZERS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES AND SPONSORS OF BOGUS "MULTICULTURALISM" CLAIMS AT EXPENSE OF WHITES !!!
REMINDER...MY YOUTUBE ACCOUNT WAS HIJACKED(March 07th, 2012) BY US GOVERNMENT WHILE PRIMARY E-MAIL AS WELL AS BLOGS WERE ALL SHUT DOWN FOR THE SAKE OF CENSORSHIP REGARDING GENOCIDE AGAINST ME PERSONALLY THAT INVOLVED ABDUCTIONS / MK-ULTRA BRAINWASHING / FORCED BRAIN ELECTRODE – CHIP IMPLANTS / HUMAN EXPERIMENTATION / BLACKLISTING / FORCEFUL UNEMPLOYMENT AND ASSASSINATIONS AGAINST WHITE(under "NAZI" lie) CIVILIAN POPULATION TODAY IN 2011/2012 ACROSS THE EUROPE AND NORTHERN AMERICA !!!
Nahana makuum! I wish you all freedom, love, peace and happiness.
The Bible teaches us that all this conditions that affect us today will be in the past...Revelations 21:3-4
i believe in the beauty of our world and in d beauty of our generation that one day our society will be free from all kinds of slavery for a better society/world.. lets join hands and save our children and individuals from this tragic incident... one people one nation one world.
i see you you too !!
It is the end of days. The world is indeed in tough times. People all over the world are struggling. Many countries are in chaos. I'm a beliver in Jesus Christ. Just know that God loves you. He is aware of your struggles. Have faith in God and he will pull you all through this time. God never promised life would be easy, he only promised life would be worth it in the end...Although things in the world spiral downwards into more and more commotion. If we have faith and call on God for help he'll hear our prayers. Be strong and never lose faith. Things are not going to get better for anyone in the world, this is a sad fact for all of us. But if we stay true to God, and trust in his son. All things will be survivalble, and our burdens lessend. You're all in my prayers, God bless you all. Don't worry, peace is coming soon...read Matthew chapter 24. Perhaps this will help clarify what most of this message means.
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How brave and beautiful you all are! My heart breaks for what you all have gone through. God is with you, always! II Corinthians 5:7 Mark 5:36 Nahana maakum!!!
How Brave you are men and women of Muaritius. When your belief is strong and your purpose just no obstacle can stand in your way. your risk taking courage, self-sacrificing devotion to your purpose in life for your freedom and your unwavering faith thait possible will carry you through the prsent and the future in good times and difficult ones. This is Agnes Looking forward to be the First Senator in Siaya County Kenya the place where the father of the USA Born Preseident Obama hailed from. Its a new dawn In kenya and for women too. This is mission possible because i see challenges has door to opportunites.
NAHANA MAAKUM. As an African lady born and brought up in Nairobi, Kenya...Im appalled by the state our brothers and sisters living in Mauritania. What in the world would someone enslave another in the 21st century. Particularly the painful story of the Sere'kha whose not-yet-born baby was killed by her master by way of a near-death ride behind his pick-up truck....It is sooooo painful...i can feel the pain myself. Please please somebody..the International community- ACT AND ACT FAST. We are counting on you to lead the way.
Good to hear you have escaped from the curse of slavery and you are now free.
Now that you have freedom, you must have faith. Faith brings hope...and to guide you on
the road to a better life learn from Black American heroine Susan B Anthony.
I would hope some kind people near you will give you her biography. Good Luck and may God bless you all.
Nahana maakum ! Freedom is required to build a life and keep the progress going :) Good luck and may good bess you all
I think your effort is a ray of hope for those enslaved... Nahana Maakum.. Wish u freedom, love, courage and happiness...
Nahana Maakum. Our prayers are with you. May you never give up hope. God bless you.
I believe those people they have to raise up for their freedom, Other wise they will never get it. Just like black people in Sudan their are still fighting for their freedom, I believe they western world they support the Arab more than black people. And if those people in Mauirtania they don't raise up, they are going to wait for very long time for their freedom if they can get it at all, And don't for get India as well they have black in their country they don't want the world to see them, And I believe India is belong to those black people, Other wise what are they doing there far from Africa.
Incredible quest there. What occurred after? Good luck!
I was overwhelmd reading that story on Mauritania's slavery.As a descendant of former slaves who fought so vigourously tofree HAITI from french colonial rule and gave us our independance since 1804 I could not have imagined slave still existed at that magnitude in a country of black people on the african continent.SOS SLAVES is a fantastic organization I love to help by giving a sewing machine so the ladies formerly enslaved could earn teir living decently.
ALL THE BEST and THANKI YOU CNN.
C'est grâce à la Mauritanie où j'ai tant travaillé dans l'irrigation que je retrouve ta trace toujours actif à défendre les droits de l'homme partout dans le monde! Que deviens-tu toi et ta famille? As-tu oublié tes amis en Belgique? Réponds moi, je te prie!
Bien cher Jean Paul,
Je suis tjrs.bien vivant a Port-au-Prince alors que Magguy et les filles sont en Floride avec Sophie a Washington.Je suis partenaire dans un projet d'abattoir apres avoir passe 2 ans a travailler avec Estime dans un projer d'agroforesterie
finance par USAID.Mon bonjour a tout le monde.Heureux de reprendre contact et salut a tous les Gembloutois.
Bien noté! envoie-moi tes coordonnées adresse E-mail, à PaP et en Floride! Il faut qu'on se revoit! Que font tes filles et Maggy comment va-t-elle: réponds moi svp à jeanpaul.bartier @skynet.be
Bien Jean Paul.Mon adresse electronique est firstname.lastname@example.org Mes tels a P-au-P sont (509) 3814-1040 et
(509) 3458-8410.En Floride ou habite Magaret actuellement a la retraite,nous sommes au (954) 392-6995. Wilner
NO ONE OWNS YOU. Be brave my sisters and brothers and your courage will bring you your freedom. We know you are there and will let everyone know about your struggles. I send to you all my love and blessings.
I salute my people who fight and struggle every day to just exist. The slave masters in Mauritania are the lowest form of human existence! No doubt they would claim to be muslims but their way of life contradicts everything that Rasool Allah preached. To the slave master I say this, you have earned your place in hell, so enjoy it when it comes!!!!
It deeply angers me to see how the Mauritanian government officials can stand idly by and witness with a perplexing and profound disinterest in what befalls innocent women and children who are seen as deserving no real respect and who are deserving of being kept in actual and psychological enslavement.
The government's denial, and its moral paralysis of will to staunch this abuse, is nothing short of a massive stain on the name of Islam and a thumbing their noses at Muhammad(pbuh) and turning their backs on Allah (just as the heathens did during the era of "Jaahiliyyah").
But when the authorities stubbornly cling to behaving like collective ostriches, they will forever disavow that a problem exists. Therefore, the only solution is to "wipe the slate clean" of the smear they represent. God willing, this "cleansing" will take place soon.
Sorry, if I sound a bit bombastic, but it makes my blood boil to see and hear of innocent women being so mistreated and abused by so-called Muslims. Only Kaafiroon would stoop to such a low level as the "beasts" in Mauritania have, by their mistreatment of such a large and vulnerable segment of Mauritanian society. Shame on the members of the Ummah in Mauritania who perpetrate and protect such atrocious behavior.
It's impressive that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our argument made at this time.
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