NZ Herald 10 Sep 2012Increase in ‘voluntary’ donations outstrips rise in Government funding under National. The amount parents paid in school donations jumped more than $23 million between 2008 and 2010 – a 31 per cent increase over a time in which Government funding for schools increased by 8 per cent. Ministry of Education figures show parents paid a total of $98.4 million in donations to schools in 2010 – up from $75 million in 2008. The figures were obtained by Labour, which said donations increased by only 6 per cent over the six years preceding 2008, when it was in Government. The sharpest increases in donations were in mid-decile schools – the total raised in donations by decile seven schools increased by 56 per cent, and the increase in decile four schools was 46 per cent. The only decile in which less was received was decile one schools, where the amount had dropped by 7 per cent. Labour leader David Shearer said it was likely that was because of parents’ inability to pay. The donations have long been controversial – although they are legally voluntary, schools have taken steps such as calling in debt collectors to follow up on non-paying parents.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10832946
Prepared by UPF AlbaniaFollowing the yearly plan of activities, from 7th – 10th of December 2017, Ambassadors for Peace from 10 Local Peace Councils of Albania and one couple from Kosovo, 43 in total, gathered in Petrovac – Montenegro to study the content of the Divine Principle. Most of Community Leaders, who are also General Secretaries of Local Peace Council, attended the seminar as staff.It was a very interactive seminar with a lot of questions and answers and beautiful comments from participants. The opening session included congratulatory remarks from Dr. Niko Faber – Former Members of Parliament & currently Vice Chairman of Albanian National Peace Council and Mr. Daut Demaku – Founder of Positive Thinking Institute & Vice Chairman of UPF Kosovo.The Divine Principle lectures were given by Rev. Shin – True Parents Special Envoy to Albania & Kosovo, Mr. Gani Rroshi – National Leader, Mrs. Manjola Vasmatics – Vice NL & Community Leader of Tirana and Mrs. Savjola Konja – Community Leader of Prishtina Community in Kosovo.A family atmosphere was created among all participants and the content of the Divine Principle brought people naturally closer to each other. The evenings were also spent as a family, singing, dancing and entertaining together.One third of the members of the newly elected Presiding Council attended the seminar, including 4 chairwomen of Local Peace Councils, who did also contribute by moderating the sessions of the seminar.Since most of participants were invited to attend the seminar as couple, a lecture on the value & meaning of the Blessing was given on the last day, preparing Ambassadors for Peace to receive the Blessing in the future Blessing Ceremonies.At the end we gave the Ambassador for Peace Certificate to those participants whom husband or wife already was an Ambassador for Peace. They were introduced by their partners and it was very moving ceremony.All lectures were well-received and the reflection from participants was very positive:“Special emotions regarding the information we got about true love and about everything we experienced. The love for God, family and country is the emblem of happiness & makes us missionaries.”“I have wonderful impressions about this seminar. Appreciate a lot the high level of the lecturers…” “Very good impressions… Even though I attended for the first time such WS, I felt very moved…”“It was a very valuable time for me on regard to information, organization & appreciation to me. I appreciate a lot the content of the lectures and also the lecturers, even though relatively young in age, filled us with positivity and faith in God and in ourselves…”“Special pleasure to be part of this seminar. Wonderful organization! We learned a lot of new things. For certain issues it was eye opening!”“The workshop was a good experience to study the human history, by first of striving to find the right way to establish peace within myself and then conveying to the society… All lectures were conveyed in a very professional and spiritual way from the organizing staff….”We thank all those who attended this seminar and hope the education will not stop here! Respectfully.