Malaka Gharib | Connecticut Public Radio
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Malaka Gharib

Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.

Gharib is also a cartoonist. She is the artist and author of I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir, about growing up as a first generation Filipino Egyptian American. Her comics have been featured in NPR, Catapult Magazine, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Before coming to NPR in 2015, Gharib worked at the Malala Fund, a global education charity founded by Malala Yousafzai, and the ONE Campaign, an anti-poverty advocacy group founded by Bono. She graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and marketing.

It's been a couple of years, but I can't get this viral tweet out of my mind. It was from 2019, and it asked: "Women, what is the dumbest thing a man ever said to you about ... menstruation, etc.?"

I remember laughing so hard at the thousands of replies:

"My husband thought I had to take a tampon out to pee."

Everybody knows that the pandemic has had a chilling impact on people's daily lives.

But how bad is it? And in particular, how are people faring in countries that aren't as well-off as, say, the United States or European nations?

A study published in February in the journal Science Advances aims to provide some answers.

The pandemic has been tough for Eric Dossekpli. The 49-year-old farmer from Anfoin Avele, a town in the west African country of Togo, had trouble selling his peanuts, black-eyed peas, maize and cassava at the market. Customers couldn't buy much because of their own pandemic income loss. Then he couldn't afford fertilizer to keep growing his crops.

"I didn't know how I was going to buy food, to buy what's needed at home," he says. And with four of his six children in school, he needed to pay for their tuition.

Open up any social media app on your phone and you'll likely see links to COVID-19 information from trustworthy sources.

Pinned to the top of Instagram's search function, the handles of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are prominently featured. Click and you'll find posts and stories how to keep safe during the pandemic.

It seemed like there was only one global health story this year: the pandemic.

But that wasn't the only topic that grabbed our audience's attention. According to NPR's data on page views, readers were attracted to all kinds of Goats and Soda stories in 2020.

The mix of content might surprise you. A 2019 story about how to teach kids to control their anger made a huge comeback. Readers loved our commentary on the Netflix reality show Indian Matchmaking — and an explainer on locusts. And photos of our beautiful planet made a big impression.

It was a big year for comics journalism at NPR.

During the coronavirus crisis, our team has created and published original comics to offer COVID-19 advice and information and to tell stories about people whose lives have been affected by the pandemic.

One of the most popular was a printable zine targeted to children with tips on how to explain it all to them. It was translated into many languages, from Chinese to Spanish to Arabic.

Kids, this comic is for you.

You've been living through this pandemic for months, and you might be feeling sad, frustrated or upset. But there are lots of different ways to deal with your worries – and make yourself feel better. Here are some tips and advice to help you through.

Print and fold a zine version of this comic here. Here are directions on how to fold it.

This comic was originally published on Feb. 28, 2020, and has been updated.

Kids, this comic is just for you.

The coronavirus pandemic started in March and in many countries, thousands and thousands of people are getting sick. You may have questions about what exactly this virus is — and how to stay safe. Here are some answers.

The pandemic has had a chilling effect on freedom around the globe, according to a new report from Freedom House, a nonpartisan group that advocates for democracy and whose founders include Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie.

Want a reminder of how gorgeous our world is — you know, back before all we were thinking about was COVID-19 and lockdowns and vaccine trials?

Take a look at the winning entries of this year's Siena International Photo Awards, an annual contest organized by a group of photographers and enthusiasts from Siena, Italy, that aims to showcase images of beauty, culture and nature across the globe.

It's a bit hard to describe Vietnam's Intergenerational Self Help Clubs.

But one thing is easy to say. If you're older — like above the age of 60 — and need help, the club will help you get it. That could mean a microloan if times are tough, a drum lesson as a chance for self-expression and social activity (and to prove that old people can play drums, too). And during the pandemic, the clubs have played a critical role informing and supporting its members.

There are around 3,000 of the clubs in Vietnam, with 160,000 participants, most of them older people.

After I shared my family's experience in trying to care for my 92-year-old grandmother in the pandemic, I wanted to know: How do we help older people feel safe and comfortable — and happy — in these times?

During this pandemic, I've been worried about my grandma — Nanay, to me. That's Tagalog for mother.

Her name is Felisa Mercene. She's a Filipino American immigrant. She's 92. Since March, she's been living in isolation from most of our family in Southern California. Her relatives have been wary of visiting. What if they had COVID-19 and infected her?

3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., where I live, I wondered: Is she feeling safe? Is she happy? Or ... is she lonely?

Updated Saturday at 4:50 a.m. ET

In early May, about two months after schools across Malawi closed because of COVID-19, Eliza Chikoti received a phone call from a former student: a bright 15-year-old girl who always got good grades.

"She called me and she said, 'Madame, I'm thinking of getting married,' " says Chikoti.

Chikoti, 24, works for Camfed, an international organization that supports girls' education. Part of her work is mentoring girls in the town of Mwanza — offering them support and guidance in their studies.

Jumping through the air, floating in the wind, a firework shooting off — these scenes evoke a sense of freedom that so many of us staying home due to the pandemic haven't felt in a long time.

But we can feel them vicariously in some of the winning entries of this year's iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS). The 13th annual competition invites photographers worldwide to submit unaltered iPhone or iPad photos to one of 18 categories.

"I will kill you."

That's what a family member of a COVID-19 patient told a general practitioner at a private hospital in Aden, Yemen, amid the country's coronavirus outbreak in April.

Pointing a gun at the doctor, the family member pushed him to put the patient on oxygen and mechanical ventilation, two types of treatments for severe cases of COVID-19.

The doctor explained that he wouldn't be able to provide those options for the patient.

The world is being flooded with new terms in coverage of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Here's a glossary in case you're not up on the latest medical and testing jargon. We start with the nomenclature of the virus. Words are listed in thematic groupings (transmission and testing, for example).

There are 27 members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Only two are women: Dr. Deborah Birx and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Check the hashtag #quaranzine on social media and you'll see thousands of mini books — called zines — that people are making to document their lives in the pandemic.

Read the comic to find out how you can make one yourself — including how to fold your zine and what to write about. All you'll need is a sheet of paper, a pen, 30 minutes and a little creativity.

Resilience. It's the word of the hour.

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, many people are wondering: How do you find the strength to keep going when everything seems bleak?

Manyang Reath Kher, a Sudanese refugee now living in the U.S., shares his moment of deepest despair — and how he pulled through.

When it comes to fighting COVID-19 abroad, the U.S. has been the most generous nation in the world, committing $900 million to global health, humanitarian and economic programs in 120 countries, according to the State Department. The money goes to international and local aid groups and health facilities in country.

But there's a catch.

The fight against coronavirus will not be won until every country in the world can control the disease. But not every country has the same ability to protect people.

Mister Rogers said "look for the helpers" in times of crisis. Here's the story of Shah Dedar, an aid worker with the group HelpAge in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. He's 32, he's a Tom Hanks fan — and he works to protect the most vulnerable in the largest set of refugee camps in the world.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with an entry for Jan. 14 with statements from WHO about human-to-human transmission.

On Tuesday, President Trump said he's suspending U.S. funding for the World Health Organization. He said the agency has "mismanaged" the pandemic, has been slow to respond to the crisis and is "China-centric."

We looked at the public record to see what Trump and the WHO had to say over the past 15 weeks about the coronavirus pandemic. Here's a timeline highlighting key quotes.

Jan. 5

Humanitarian groups say they've never had to face a challenge like the novel coronavirus.

"We've never had to respond to a crisis that has simultaneously impacted every single office that we run in the world at the same time," says Elinor Raikes, head of program delivery at the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization that operates in 40 countries.

To read this comic in English, click here.

Chicos, chicas, este cómic es para vosotros.

Se basa en un reportaje de radio hecho por el corresponsal de educación para NPR, Cory Turner. Entrevistó a unos expertos sobre cosas que a lo mejor los jóvenes les gustarían saber sobre el coronavirus que se descubrió en China.

What will happen when COVID-19 hits refugee camps?

It's something we've heard again and again from health authorities in the coronavirus pandemic. Wash your hands. Frequently. With soap and water. For at least 20 seconds. That's an effective way to eliminate viral particles on your hands.

This page is updated regularly.

In late January 2020 only a few dozen COVID-19 infections had been identified outside of China. Now the virus has spread to every corner of the globe. More than 100 million infections have been reported worldwide, and the death toll is above 2 million, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The United States has far more COVID cases and deaths than any other country. India and Brazil have the second and third highest tally of cases respectively.

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