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Poverty Alleviation Projects

September 30, 2008

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your September 2008 report for The $10 Club.

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab region. According to the United Nations Development Programme office in the country, 15.7 percent of the roughly 21 million people there live on less than $1 a day, and 45.2 percent live on less than $2 a day.

Some of the poorest groups of Yemenis live in slums around the capital, Sana'a. The land is not theirs, and they build shacks and tents from stones and plastic they find in the garbage. Some of the men work as garbage collectors or find jobs unloading trucks with heavy loads (like cement bags). The women and some of the children beg in the streets for money.

The country suffers from water shortages, population growth including a huge influx of (African) immigrants, and hundreds of thousands of malaria cases a year.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs notes that “child malnutrition remains a concern in Yemen as nearly one-third of children aged 2-5 are severely stunted.” The under-five child mortality rate is 100 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the infant mortality rate is 75 per 1,000. An estimated 84,000 children under five die every year in Yemen.

The biggest cause of death for women between 15 and 40 is related to giving birth. Since mothers don't have a healthy diet, and often are anemic due to worm infections, recurrent diarrhea, and insufficient quality food intake, they are at much higher risk of having complications like low weight babies, prolonged labor, infections and bleeding. As a result of this, maternal and infant mortality are high.

Millennium Relief and Development Services has opened a clinic in the middle of four small shanty towns in the city, serving around 5,000 people and employing two local doctors and one clinic registrar. As one of the biggest problems in this community is the high risk of giving birth, the clinic workers endeavor to see all pregnant women in order to make a pre-delivery risk assessment. For this examination, an ultrasound machine is vital—and currently unavailable at the clinic.

This month, 360 of us joined together to donate $3,600 to Millennium Relief and Development Services to purchase an ultrasound machine and table for their clinic. With our support, they can monitor pregnancies, determine how far along pregnancies are, and see if there are increased potential risks. At the moment they have to refer some patients for an ultrasound to private clinics, which is expensive and most women can’t afford it. Now they can receive the vital care they need free of charge. Thank you.

Stories out of the country are heartbreaking and I’m confident that our contribution will make a huge difference. We’ll help pregnant women and others including children, for whom medical examinations will be significantly less invasive. You spared ten bucks and potentially spared thousands of lives, giving impoverished Yemenis access to a life-saving ultrasound machine. Neither pregnancy nor poverty should ever be a death sentence.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

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.

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