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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2006 Projects

May 7, 2006

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your May 2006 report for The $10 Club.

Hassam is a 13-year-old Jordanian with a fantastic smile, despite having hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, and impaired vision. Hassam’s father divorced his mother because of his disabilities and left the family. Hassam has no wheelchair and his mother has to carry him anywhere he needs to go. As a result, he is incapable of leaving the house very often. At home he crouches on the floor and scoots around while supporting himself on one arm; this has gradually caused his back to deform. He now has severe scoliosis, the kind that is likely to put pressure on his lungs and heart and grow worse over time.

It is estimated that 20 million people worldwide need wheelchairs and do not have them; of those, 6-7 million are children with disabilities in poor countries. Traditionally, children with disabilities in some countries have been considered a source of tremendous shame for their parents. In rural areas, a child with a disability, particularly a physical disability, still shames the honor of the family.

This month, 322 of us joined together to donate $3,220 to Eleanore’s Project to provide 11 disabled Jordanian children with specially-fitted wheelchairs. The organization has undertaken successful work in Peru already and is now beginning this new project in Jordan. Look at their impact:

It simply breaks my heart to think that anywhere in the world there is a child languishing in a plastic tub. It’s inconceivable. And for those poor folks in Jordan the world is found only at ground level on the floor of their tents. We’re going to give them a new life. Thank you.

Eleanore’s Project, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that was established in August 2004. It was begun to honor the memory of Eleanore Tesia Kittelson-Aldred, the youngest of three daughters, who died unexpectedly in July 2001. Eleanore had cerebral palsy, was profoundly deaf, and was a lifetime wheelchair user. According to the folks at the Project: “Many children with severe physical disabilities live in families rich in love but poor in everything else.”

For children in particular, a properly sized wheelchair with postural supports that can be adjusted as the child grows is more than just mobility. It is a therapeutic tool that can help a child develop motor control, increased tolerance for sitting, and improved functional use of the hands. It can assist a child’s eating, digestion and breathing. Proper seating and positioning can limit or prevent orthopedic deformities and pressure sores that result in loss of function, hospitalizations, surgeries and even death.

The problem, however, is that there is rarely access to chairs in children’s sizes with specialized seating systems. For a child with muscular imbalances, sitting in a folding wheelchair that is too big and lacks proper hip, trunk, back and head support can actually increase his or her physical problems.

The Eleanore’s Project team has identified a total of 140 recipients, many with complex needs and all in need of specialized wheelchairs. 90% are teenagers and younger, including a large number of 3 – 10 year olds. All grant funding for this project will be spent for the wheelchairs themselves, in accordance with Eleanore’s Project policy that 100% of all donations are spent to support direct wheelchair services for children with no expenditures for operating expenses.

The wheelchairs will be delivered and custom fit by the Eleanore’s Project team, assisted by Peace Corps volunteers and local professionals. Education in wheelchair seating and adjustment will precede the deliveries and will be aimed at families and local disability workers in particular so that they can maintain their children’s wheelchairs and adjust them as they grow. Once in the country, an Eleanore’s Project team of therapists, wheelchair technicians and support personnel will follow, to provide education, assessment and fitting of the chairs.

This month we have another example of one of life’s simple treasures that is often taken for granted—mobility. When I first conceived of The $10 Club model it was based on the premise that together we can enrich the lives of those in need, and that each effort to help was noble. The thought that we’ve joined together this month to empower 11 Jordanian children is intensely gratifying. We’ll enhance their lives and reduce their families’ burden. Well done.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

Adam M. Roberts

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org