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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2003 Projects

JANUARY 2003

$470 was given to families at Kakuma Camp to fund the purchase of solar cookers for 47 vulnerable, elderly, and disabled refugee families at Kakuma Camp in Kenya through Solar Cookers International. Solar cookers help spare trees from being cut down for firewood, eliminate noxious gases from being emitted into the air as a result of burning wood, and remove the need for people to travel long distances to collect wood. According to the program manager at Solar Cookers International: “Your offer comes at an opportune time as no firewood has been distributed at the camp for the last three months, which has been particularly hard on families already facing many challenges. We have found that providing an alternative to cooking on fire is particularly beneficial to the disabled and elderly. Vulnerable refugees who already solar cook report that solar cooking has improved their lives by reducing the risk of burns from fires, allowing them to keep food they otherwise would need to trade for firewood, and helping them feel less dependent on others.”

For more information: www.solarcooking.org



Installing Rope Pump February 2003

$645 was given to pay for the rehabilitation of a water well in Nicaragua as well as a community workshop on health education there. 80% of rural Nicaraguans lack access to clean drinking water, free from contamination and disease. According to El Porvenir, the nongovernmental organization that is administering the project we funded, “Many of these [water] sources also serve for bathing, washing clothes and watering animals. Diarrhea and dysentery, caused by water-borne organisms, are the principal cause of death for children under five…. Many water sources are distant from the village, and the job of hauling water home in five-gallon buckets (which weigh 40 pounds) falls principally upon women and children.”

For more information: www.elporvenir.org



Real bed and bedding March 2003

$680 was given to pay for the purchase of mattresses, blankets, rice-filled pillows, and bedcovers at a new community shelter for the elderly at Parka in the Qinghai Province through the Jinpa Project, a small group helping people in Tibet. This gift is intended to improve the lives of these revered elderly members of the community. The Jinpa Project was founded by a group of monks living in Nepal who wanted to help the poverty-stricken people living in West Nangchen, a county in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The shelter for the elderly is sorely needed according to Dr. E.A. Carswell of The Jinpa Project: "There are around 20 very elderly people at Lachen monastery at present. Nineteen of the 20 are old ladies. This elderly group spends all day, every day praying and reciting mantras for better reincarnations and for better lives for all living beings. Those that are fit enough, circumambulate around the mani stones and stupas endlessly. Those too infirm to do this, sit in a corner of the freezing main room of the monastery, spinning their prayer wheels and chanting mantras. They all suffer from arthritis and are in constant pain. There is no proper accommodation for these old people. At present they make do with odd corners in the monastery for shelter and meager handouts of food from the monks to see out their lives. Recently a visiting Westerner heard rustling coming from a corner of a derelict room and thought it was rats. Sadly it was an old lady who had been sleeping in the corner under some remains of cardboard boxes."

For more information: www.jinpa.org



Laguna lunch prep and classroom April 2003

$790 was given to provide hot school lunches to children at two schools in Belize for a month (480 hot, nutritious meals) and plant a community garden that will provide wholesome fruits and vegetables to the students there. Plenty Executive Director, Peter Schweitzer, said about this grant from The $10 Club: “[your donation is] a big step in helping families in these villages become more aware of good nutrition habits and it puts value into the school lunch program which will only be sustainable if it's adopted by the schools and villagers.” Descrpitions of the two schools receiving our assistance follow: "Laguna is a rural traditional Kek'chi Maya village of approximately 300. Laguna School has 91 students in the Belizean equivalent of grades K-8, and since 1999 has participated in the School Feeding Program. Seventy students receive a lunch three times a week, and they would like to provide a hot meal daily. Early last year, Plenty assisted the school by upgrading its water system, prior to which teachers and students had to haul water by bucket for from the nearest hand pump, about 100 yards from the kitchen. The remote, seaside Garifuna village of Barranco has 50 students in its primary school. The Garifuna people have been proclaimed a World Heritage Culture by the United Nations. Plenty has had a long connection with Barranco. Most recently we upgraded this school's water system, and worked with their volunteer cooks to demonstrate ways of preparing high protein soy foods in their lunch program. Due to its remote location and poverty, Barranco school has only been able to provide a hot meal to its 50 students, once a week, but would like to do more.”

For more information: www.plenty.org



Bansang hospital May 2003

$800 was given to the Bansang Hospital Appeal to purchase and dispense vital medicines in The Gambia. It's simply unacceptable that that a hospital can run out of antibiotics and infants can go without vitamin-rich formula. In a world where Malaria claims more lives than AIDS, children go untreated. It does not have to be this way. Anita Smith, who runs the appeal for the hospital, tells me that “The currency of The Gambia is currently worth one third of its value of two years ago. This means that the hospital has had a catastrophic reduction in basic drugs. Your donation to the Bansang Hospital Appeal is a timely one, as we can use it to address this terrible situation. We in the West take antibiotics for granted, but in Africa they are precious and save lives every day. At current prices your donation will allow 6,000 children to have a full course of treatment without which they would inevitably die.”

For more information: www.bansanghospitalappeal.com



Art Class June 2003

$870 was given to the South East Asian Children’s Assistance Project (SEACAP), operating a Center for orphaned and disabled children in Vietnam, to fund a part-time doctor to tend to the children there for one full year, a painting teacher for six months, and the salary of the caretaker of the Deaf School during the summer holiday period, and for electricity and minor repairs at the Deaf School during these 3 months. As a result, about 200 kids will have access to vital health care and some artistic pleasure, which also incorporates a vocational skill. The Nguyen Nga Vocational Establishment for Orphans and Disabled Persons in Quy Nhon is run by Nguyen Nga. Concerning the need for the part-time doctor, Ms. Nguyen Nga told me: “Up until now, we have not been able to employ a doctor, due to lack of funds, but it would be very good for our students if we could employ a part-time doctor who could visit our center on a regular basis (as it is difficult for most of our students to take themselves to the doctor), to care for the health of our students. At the moment, when the students go to the hospital, they always see a different doctor and there is no continuity of care. As I'm sure you can imagine, health care is of primary importance, particularly to disabled people, who are more prone to ill-health than able-bodied people.”

For more information: www.seacap.org



July 2003

$850 was given to Project Ruth, a group that works to ensure that disadvantaged children in Romania get an education. The money will be used to fund the distribution of toothbrushes and toothpaste to each of the 165 children at the Ruth School as well as the 200 children at other centers affiliated with Project Ruth in Romania and Moldova. If there is any money left over they will buy some soap for the children to use. Ellen Sechrest, who coordinates much of the activity for the organization here in the United States, writes: “You would be amazed at how excited children get over a new toothbrush and the chance to wash their face.” This is what I mean when I say that it’s terribly easy for us to take things for granted. Ellen continues: “The Health and Hygiene Center began about 3 years ago at the Ruth School. A friend of mine from Georgia went to Romania with me and was moved to action because of the dirtiness of the children and poor dental care…. The Ruth School was plagued with lice and sickness because of unclean children…. The children get to wash their faces and brush their teeth every day. Since over 95% of the children do not have running water this is a major event in their lives.”

For more information: www.projectruth.org



August 2003

$850 was given to fund the construction of a rainwater catchment tank in Kenya through Waterlines. The proposal was presented by the Moiyet Women's Group in the Bomet region of Kenya southwest of Nairobi. The women's group consists of 20 members, ages 50-80, who have worked together since 1980. They requested $730 for a 30,000 liter rain collection tank of ferro-cement to be placed next to a flour mill that they have purchased as a cooperative. They will use the water for drinking as well as some processing of grain. At present they bring the water by donkey and more often, by human labor. Water-borne diseases are some of the health problems they now face that would be alleviated if the tank was in place. The group plans on raising 25% of the total cost. The remaining money will go toward a similar project in a neighboring village.

For more information email: douglasd@rt66.com



Med kits September 2003

$900 was given to the Gauteng Alliance for Street Children in Johannesburg, South Africa to fund the purchase of first aid kits and blankets for affiliated shelters there that take in and rehabilitate street children. These children's parents have died of HIV/AIDS, are addicted to drugs, are in prison; they are kids who have been raped and beaten, forced to live on the streets, seemingly hopeless. Now they might have some glimmer of hope. The first aid kits contain basic first aid tools such as plasters, bandages, gloves, cough mixtures, antiseptic fluid for cuts, scissors, cotton wool swabs, splints, etc. In the coming months, children we’ll never meet who live 9,000 miles away from us will be taken in by compassionate people and their wounds will be healed, their ailments remedied, and it will all be because we each decided to spare $10 this month.

For more information email : gasc@absamail.co.za



Bed nets October 2003

$1,030 was given to Project Concern International to assist in the prevention of malaria by purchasing and distributing Insecticide Treated Bed Nets to vulnerable women and children in the Ghanian districts of Wassail West and Wassail Amenfi. Currently, only 29% of households have these nets and only 19% of the nets are in good condition without holes. As a result, approximately 178 families will receive these protective nets and reduce the risk of debilitation or death from this preventable disease. Today, as many as 7,000 people, mostly children, die every day from malaria. According to Project Concern International, “Malaria is the number one killer of children under five in Ghana, and the highest cause of morbidity among pregnant women…. In children under five years, 44.3% of all diseases are due to malaria while it contributes to 22% of under-five mortality.” Malaria causes one in ten deaths among pregnant women in this West African nation.

For more information: www.projectconcern.org



Nursery school November 2003

$1,110 was given to purchase a generator and two metal cribs at the All As One children’s center in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The Center provides orphaned children with clothes, food, medical care and an education, while these precious children hopefully await adoption to loving families – including families in the United States. According to the United Nations Human Development Report, life expectancy in this West African country is 34.5 years. The adult literacy rate there for people over age 15 is a meager 36%. The UN Report ranks 175 countries in its “Human Development Index.” Sierra Leone is dead last. The generator will power the equipment necessary to help provide some entertainment for these children who otherwise have languished through a miserable adolescence; it also will help them use educational materials so that they can, for instance, learn English. Deanna told me, “It is not cost- effective to run our large generator during daylight hours for this small item [a TV]. This means the children do not get the maximum amount of learning opportunity - and also the fun and entertainment that would brighten their lives. As I'm typing this, the children are in the next room singing and dancing a cappella. How exciting it would be to hear them singing and dancing to some recorded music or listening to their laughter as they watch a child's film.” She also noted that the generator will help them save a lot of money on fuel costs, which will free up funds for other aspects of their important work.

For more information: www.allasone.org



Winston December 2003

$1,150 was given to the Malawi Project to provide maize, a highly coveted staple of the local diet, to 115 home-bound AIDS patients in Malawi for the next two months. Ultimately, each $10 bought two months of food for one AIDS patient in this small African nation of eleven million people. Malawi, one of the poorest nations on the planet, suffers from an extremely high occurrence of AIDS. 15% of the adult population between ages 15 and 49 has HIV/AIDS. This includes roughly 450,000 women and 65,000 children. It is terribly difficult for these poor souls to get the medicine they so desperately deserve, but food is equally necessary and hard to come by. This is especially true in Malawi, which has been struck by famine as well as AIDS. 33% of the total population is considered undernourished. You can read more about the health crisis in Malawi at http://www.boston.com/, an award-winning special in the Boston Globe from January 26, 2003.

For more information: www.malawiproject.org



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