This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
The Ford Foundation in the United States is a charitable organization that calls itself "a partner for social change." It has a study program currently (1)available to college graduates in
twenty-two countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program offers graduates a chance to continue their studies. The aim is to help them learn ways to (2)solve problems in their own
Joan Dassin is the executive director of the program.
JOAN DASSIN: "Let's say you have an undergraduate law degree but you really want to be able to bring (3)international human rights standards to bear on a particular conflict in your part of the world. So in that case we would send you to a program in Geneva on international human rights that would give you the international markers that you need to (4)press cases in your
particular country setting, and so on. So we work very closely with students not so much about what they want to study, but more about what problem are you trying to solve."
About two-thirds of the fellows study in the United States, Canada or Europe. The others study in their home country or region.
The Ford Foundation started the program eight years ago with two hundred eighty million dollars. Fellows are chosen by (5)independent local committees. They get advice about which
schools and programs could help them reach their goals. The foundation says ninety-five percent are accepted into a university graduate program within one year of (6)getting a fellowship.
Almost four thousand fellows have been chosen since the first were named in June of two thousand one. As of last December almost half had completed their fellowships.
The Ford Foundation says the goals include strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and increasing international cooperation. Another goal is to fight "brain drain" – (7)to
make sure fellows return home to use their educations. The foundation says more than eighty
percent have done that.
The program pays all costs, including support services like training in computer skills, academic writing and a foreign language. Partner organizations in the home countries (8)stay in contact with the fellows throughout the program.
Joan Dassin says the fellowships are aimed especially at those with the fewest resources available.
JOAN DASSIN: "(9)People from all walks of life, and particularly from rural areas or
marginalized communities, can have access to higher education (10)at the most advanced levels,
and our program provides that opportunity."
New Ways for Poor Countries to Diagnose Infectious Diseases
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
Two new discoveries could offer easier ways to identify infectious diseases in developing countries.
The first involves sheep. Researchers have found that hair sheep are a good (1)source of
blood for use in tests to diagnose infectious diseases in people.
In developed countries, microbiologists do these tests with blood from wool sheep or horses. But for developing countries, that costs too much. So tests often use human blood instead.
Ellen Yeh from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California was one of the authors of the study. She (2)explains the problems with using human blood.
ELLEN YEH: "First off, there is the infectious disease risk because if you use human blood there's a lot of transmissible diseases. In particular, in Africa, you'd be worried about things like H.I.V. The other big problem with using human blood for making these blood agar plates is that they're actually not (3)accurate."
Doctor Yeh says tests with human blood can produce the wrong results, so they are not (4)dependable.
The study found that blood from hair sheep is (5)an excellent substitute. It produced the
same results as tests using wool sheep and horses.
Also, hair sheep require less care than wool sheep. They could better handle hot, (6)dry climates because they do not have a lot of wool. It also means they do not need to be sheared.
ELLEN YEH: "Having to shear the sheep for wool is actually very costly and labor (7)intensive. The other advantages of hair sheep include that it's more resistant to parasites, so they're less prone to infection."
The scientists also tested an easier, cheaper way to prepare and process the blood. They found this new method effective. The blood can be (8)collected directly into bags, much like with
The study appeared last month in the online journal PLoS One, from the Public Library of Science.
(9)The same journal also published a report in July on an experimental device called the
CellScope. The CellScope is a cell phone microscope. Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, developed it.
They attached small microscope lenses to a holder fitted to a mobile phone. The phone's camera was able to take color images of malaria parasites and tuberculosis bacteria in blood and sputum. (10)The team used a special dye and special lighting to make the images bright. The
pictures could also be sent wirelessly to distant experts for diagnosis.
Dan Fletcher heads the team that developed the CellScope. He notes that many poor areas of the world have few hospitals, yet have mobile phone networks that are well developed. Passage 23
Pregnant Women at Greater Danger from H1N1 Flu
This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
The H1N1 flu virus that has spread around the world is especially risky for pregnant women. If they become (1)infected, especially after the first three months of pregnancy, they can get very sick or even die. Cases of fetal death have also been reported.
Pregnant women face an (2)increased risk even during outbreaks of seasonal influenza. But
the new H1N1 flu has been affecting a younger age group than seasonal flu epidemics.
The W.H.O. says pregnant women should take the antiviral drug Tamiflu as soon as possible after they show (3)signs of illness. The drug is also called oseltamivir.
The agency says treatment should begin immediately and not wait for the results of laboratory tests. The effects are greatest when given within forty-eight hours. But experts say the medicine could still do some good even if there is a (4)delay.
Since April, more than one thousand deaths have been reported from the H1N1 virus, commonly called swine flu. But so far the virus has not shown itself to be more severe than
The World Health Organization has (5)predicted that the H1N1 virus will infect at least two
billion people in the next two years. Agency chief Margaret Chan has expressed concern there is not a good process in place to produce enough vaccine against the virus.
In the United States, there are now (6)guidelines for the use of H1N1 vaccine when it
becomes available. An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and (7)Prevention
said there are five groups that should be vaccinated first.
These include pregnant women and people who live with or care for children younger than six months. (8)They also include workers in health care and emergency services, and people
between six months and twenty-four years of age.
The fifth group on the list is people twenty-five to sixty-four with chronic health problems.
If vaccine supplies are limited, then (9)the committee says two groups of children should be vaccinated before other children. One group is those who are six months to four years old. The
other is those five to eighteen with chronic medical conditions.
In April, after the first cases in the United States, officials told schools to close at the first sign of an H1N1 outbreak. (10)The government later eased those warnings. Since then officials
have been reported working on final guidelines for when schools should close. Passage 24
Researchers Link Gene to Need for Less Sleep
This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
The next time you think about going without sleep, consider this: Laboratory animals that are kept awake for long periods of time ... die.
Yet sleep scientist Ying-Hui Fu at the University of California, San Francisco, says little is known about the basic need for sleep.
YING-HUI FU: "We do not why some humans need more sleep; why some humans need less sleep; why, when we do not sleep, we do not function well. We just do not know much about sleep at all."
But here is something that scientists now know: A team led by Professor Fu has reported the first genetic link to how much sleep we need.
The team was looking for (1)a natural clock in the body that controls sleep and wakefulness.
What they found was a genetic abnormality. People who have this mutation need less sleep than others.
But keep in mind that the scientists say this mutated gene may be (2)rare. The study
involved two members of an (3)extended family. They did fine on just six hours of sleep a day.
Studies have shown that over time, most humans need eight to eight and a half hours of sleep for the best health.
To test their theories, the scientists genetically (4)engineered the mutation in mice. The mice
with the mutation needed less sleep than normal mice. They were also more active even after being kept awake.
The study appears in the journal Science. The researchers will continue to study the mice to test whether the gene is related to other medical conditions. And they will study whether it is involving in (5)controlling sleep quantity alone, or also what scientists call the
"wakefulness-behavioral drive." This drive is important for getting food, (6)shelter and mates.
(7)How you sleep can be as important as how much you sleep -- especially for newborn
babies. A new report says images in (8)parenting and women's magazines may send the wrong
message about how to put babies to bed.
The study found that more than one-third of the pictures in women's magazines (9)showed babies in unsafe sleep positions. They showed babies sleeping on their sides or stomachs. Also, only a third of the pictures showed sleep environments considered safe by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
(10)The academy says babies should sleep on their backs. It says they should be placed on a
separate sleep surface from their parents, without blankets, pillows or other soft bedding. These guidelines are credited with reducing cases of sudden infant death syndrome in the United States. Passage 25
'Non-Formal' Schools Aim to Fill Need in Kenya's Slums
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
In two thousand three, the government of Kenya established a program of free primary education for all children. But there are not enough public schools for all the children who live in the (1)crowded slums of Nairobi.
Instead, some of these children attend what are known as non-formal or informal schools. These are supported by communities, (2)religious groups and other organizations.
Informal schools use the national (3)curriculum taught in public schools. But they operate
largely with limited resources and without trained teachers. Education activists say the Ministry of Education rarely (4)inspects their teaching quality, lesson notes or examination records.
They say the (5)presence of informal schools means that Kenya has two levels of education: One for children from the slums, another for children from better conditions.
Activists say Kenya has at least one thousand six hundred of these non-formal schools. Susan Munuhe is an Education Ministry official. She says only about two hundred informal schools across the country receive money for materials (6)under the free primary education program.
She says one slum in Nairobi, Mathari, has only about three public primary schools (7)nearby. These can serve two thousand children at most. But she says the Mathari slum alone has more than three hundred thousand children of school age.
Diana Atieno Tujuh (8)volunteers as a teacher at the Saint Christine's Community Center in
the Kibera slum, one of the largest in Africa. She says the government has provided books for her school only one time during the past few years. Many parents do not have the money to buy books, so sometimes the teachers pay for them.
She says many students are sleepy and unable to pay attention in class because there is not enough food for them at home. For the children at Saint Christine's, (9)the mid-day meal they are served might be their only meal all day.
A government spokesman says the government is trying to discourage informal schools. Alfred Mutua says every child in Kenya has the ability to get the same education. (10)The government, he says, has never rejected a child from a public school. He also says the
government is building more schools, but it will take time.
In New Jersey, a Summer Jobs Program With a Bigger Purpose
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
The United States has lost almost seven million jobs since the recession began in December
of two thousand seven. The good news: the central bank says economic activity appears to be "leveling out."
The bad news: no one knows when the job market will (1)recover.
These days, if a job is (2)available, young people often have to compete with more
experienced workers. The situation is worst for those with the least education.
About thirty percent of workers, age sixteen to twenty-four with less than a high school diploma, were unemployed last month. That was (3)more than three times the national
unemployment rate. The Labor Department says even among high school graduates, twenty-one percent of those with no college were jobless.
The federal (4)stimulus spending includes money to pay for jobs for needy young people.
One such program in the state of New Jersey is giving some young people (5)their first experience with the world of work.
Counselors at the One-Stop Career Center in Hackensack have found jobs for a few hundred young people this summer. The jobs are twenty hours a week through this month. The pay is seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour -- the federal (6)minimum wage.
Those chosen must come from poor families and must also face at least one barrier to getting a job. For example, (7)they must have left school or been in trouble with the law.
Sixteen-year-old Nahdir Gonzalez left school last year.
NAHDIR GONZALEZ: "I want a job because I don't want to get in any trouble, I want to stay away from the streets, keep my head on my shoulders, stay on the right path."
The director of the program is Salvatore Mastroeni, a former principal of a high school.
SALVATORE MASTROENI: "There's going to be next steps for you after you leave this program. Hopefully, in September or October we might be able to begin either a GED program for you, (8)connecting you then with a college, with a transition program for career pathways."
Many colleges and employers will accept what is known as a GED (9)as the equivalent of a high school diploma.
Salvatore Mastroeni often drives from Hackensack to nearby Englewood. There, (10)he has placed young workers in the recreation department and other local government jobs.
SALVATORE MASTROENI: "Mayor's office, schools, any public entity where youngsters can gain workforce readiness skills."
Twenty-year-old Desirae Somerville is working in a school office and also helping out at the recreation center.
DESIRAE SOMERVILLE: "They have me down at Liberty School, working with other children. We're fixing up the classrooms, painting and doing inventory."
REPORTER: "What would you be doing this summer now if it weren't for this job?
DESIRAE SOMERVILLE: "This summer, I'd probably be home now sleeping, or looking for another job."
Words and Their Stories: More Expressions That Are Old and True
Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
Today we explain more proverbs. A proverb is a short, well-known saying that expresses a common truth or (1)belief. Proverbs are popular around the world. Many proverbs give advice about how to live. Some proverbs are hundreds of years old, but they are still used today.
For example, my son is just like his father in many ways. We often say the two of them
prove the proverb that (2)the apple does not fall far from the tree.
My daughter is very short. She would like to be taller. But I tell her that good things come in small (3)packages. The size of something is not always important. Some valuable things are very small, like (4)diamonds and other jewels. But I also tell my children that all that glitters is