Learning Life’s Family Diplomats

As of May 2022, we will be gradually adding new profiles of Learning Life family diplomats (FDs) across the world.  FDs are volunteers committed to international family dialogue, learning skills in citizen diplomacy, and gaining knowledge about global family trends, patterns and issues.  Learn a little about each of our FDs below, about Learning Life’s Family Diplomacy Initiative here, and how you can join our international family diplomat team here.

Mulbah Isaac Flomo (Caldwell, Montserrado County, Liberia)
Family members: Mulbah (bowtie, brother, FD), Weekly (yellow shirt, brother), Helena (yellow slippers, niece). Others in photo: Favor (holding balls, Weekly’s son), Meme (red dress, Weekly’s girlfriend)
 
Please share something about your family:  Our fathers and mother were from different countries. Our mother, Helena Korto Flomo, was Liberian but died in 2002 due to prolonged illness that was not diagnosed.  She bore eight children by three different fathers: two Liberians, and one Guinean (my father).  Our fathers and mother were traditional leaders (Zoes and a Di-Zoe). Mother was a fisherwoman while my father, who also died, was a herbalist and a construction worker. All of my siblings and I grew up with different families because of the Liberian Civil War from 1990 to 2003.
 
What issues are you passionate about that affect your family?  Violence.  Anti-violence campaigning has become part of my daily life because of how it still affects my family.  Up to this point, I have had little parental care because I was a two-year-old kid when my mother passed away, and as a result, I am self-supported until today. The Civil War made us orphans and scattered us, so everyone had to struggle for themselves.  This heavily contributes to ongoing lack of educational opportunity, unemployment, poverty, and immigration.  My brother and I are currently the only high school graduates in our family.  He works as a motorcycle transporter to feed his family while I live in a church because I can’t afford rent too. I am passionate about advocating for young people’s rights because of what my family is experiencing now as a result of losing those who could help us!
Jules Nibayemere (Vyanda, Bururi, Burundi) 

Family members: Rose (mother), Jules (son, FD).  Child in photo is Jules’s cousin, Leilla. 

Please share something about your family: My family is in a rural area.  We live from farming and raising cattle, like cows, sheep and goats.  It was one of the sources of income that allowed my mother to pay for my schooling. But as a result of the war and the socio-political conflicts that Burundi has gone through, we cannot currently live from our traditional farming.  After graduating in public health in 2018, I struggled to find a job, so I worked as a volunteer at the Rumonge Community Center.  In 2021, I found a position in an international organization in the capital of Burundi, Gitega.  This job will help me to support my mother in old age.

What issues are you passionate about that affect your family?  My family has been affected by unemployment, poverty, political violence, gender inequality, and climate change.  In Burundi, political conflicts during elections are the cause of several vulnerabilities for families. 

Nusrat Jahan Nipa (Barishal, Bangladesh)

Family members: Nusrat (wife, FD), Kazi Shamsuzzaman (husband)

Please share something about your family: My husband’s hobbies are watching movies and gardening. I like to recycle because I am concerned about pollution. I also like developing new skills.  In 2021, I broke a Guinness World Record.  In mid-2020, during Covid, my office was closed for a few days. I was home browsing social sites, and found a video on YouTube related to making a world record: “the most coins stacked into a tower in one minute.”  After practicing for more than 6 months, I attempted to break the world record on September 24, 2021, stacking 71 coins in one minute, and on November 30, Guinness confirmed that I broke the record previously held by an Italian man, who stacked 69 coins.  In Bangladesh, before me, only one woman, a table tennis player, was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2002.  In my country, many people believe that after marriage women are not able to do anything like this.  They are confined to four walls.  So I was trying to prove them wrong and I did it!  My husband helped me a lot.  He collected all the coins I needed as he is a banker.  He also helped me to record the video of me stacking the coins, and gathered witnesses and other requirements to certify the world record.  Also, breaking a Guinness World Record requires patience and perseverance, which I learned from my parents.   

What issues are you passionate about that affect your family?  I am passionate about the environment and climate change. In Bangladesh, we face water pollution and rising temperatures.  Dirty water means me and my family often get diseases like skin problems, stomach upset, and diarrhea.  This year (2022), already, the majority of the people in Bangladesh, including my husband, have gotten diarrhea.  Increasing temperatures cause respiratory diseases, like asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). My mother suffers from severe COPD.  The temperature was 41 Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) in April in northern Bangladesh.  There is the also the risk of flooding because my city is very near the coast.  Higher temperatures bring super cyclones and storms, which directly threaten my parents, who have a single-story house. 

Chloe Terani (Los Angeles, California, USA / Family from Iran)

Family members: In photo’s order, from left to right: Amelia (daughter), Chloe, (daughter, FD), Aboo (grandfather), Alexa (aunt), Adam (uncle), Pouri (grandmother), Shadi (mother), Amir (father), Justin (uncle). 

Please share something about your family: Food is a huge part of my family and our traditions, especially on New Years. During Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, we all help make and eat delicious sabzi polo ba mahi, which is fish with herbed rice.

What issues are you passionate about that affect your family? A topic that has heavily affected my family life that I’m passionate about is immigration. Immigration has both reconstructed and separated my family, as well as allowed us to branch out and achieve better opportunities. 

Joe Toles (Auburn, Alabama, USA)

Family members: In photo’s order, from left to right: Ronny, Xavier, Creemel, Joe, Kamren, Cinsere.  Not in the photo: Johnathan, Jhon, Trenton.  Joe is the father, all the rest are his sons. 

Please share something about your family: We are a family of nine men who all grew up in the U.S. foster care system. My youngest adoptees were 13 years old when adopted and my oldest was 12 years and 8 months old. I adopted my first son from foster care in August 2010 and the latest adoption happened on May 12, 2022.  I am the only one in the household that has not been adopted.

What issues are you passionate about that affect your family?  I am passionate about making sure that every child who needs and wants a family finds one.  My family believes that family is the solution to kids in foster care. Secondly, but not any less important, is our belief that all children in foster care should receive the trauma-based support that will help them overcome the issues of being separated from their families and the misdiagnoses (e.g., “problem child” too old to change, or unable to form emotional attachments) that sometimes follow them from foster care.