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Poverty Alleviation Projects

May 6, 2010

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your April 2010 report for The $10 Club.

Bintu Kamara lives in Buedu, a remote town in the westernmost tip of Sierra Leone where the country meets Liberia and Guinea. She walks to and from school each day carrying her small shoes in her hand, walking in them selectively to avoid wearing them out too soon. Part of a school feeding program through the Andando Foundation, she brings a modest container to school as well, eats half her lunch, and takes the rest home to her family.

Bintu’s story is a sadly typical one. She has two older siblings and lives with them, her mother, and her grandfather. Her father was killed in the civil war of the 1990s. They live in a one room mud brick house and have a small garden that provides their main source of food and income.

According to UNICEF, “more than a third of children under five in Sierra Leone are chronically malnourished. Their immune systems are weak and the risk of premature death is high. With one in every four children dying before his or her fifth birthday, Sierra Leone has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world.”

The Andando Foundation was established in 2007 to help impoverished people in West Africa, specifically Senegal and Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, ranked #180 out of the 182 nations listed on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, Andando operates a monthly feeding program to help the people of Buedu. The meals these children receive at school are often the only meal they have each day.

This month, 340 of us joined together to donate $3,400 to the Andando Foundation to support their Buedu feeding program for the next two and a half to three months. Approximately 500 children will receive a simple meal of rice and cassava and we’ll pay for two cooks to prepare the meals (the cooks each earn $30 a month – that’s a dollar a day). Given that this is likely their only meal of the day, and that when there is no food at the school, children are not likely to attend, our donation (and the meals it provides) is essential to the children’s physical – and mental – health. Thank you.

Buedu is in a remote area and is virtually cut off from the rest of Sierra Leone during the rainy season, making food and income scarce for its residents. They are approaching the rainy season now, which makes travel to Buedu and delivery of vital goods terribly problematic. Thanks to our grant, its size, and the timing, Andando can send all the rice at once. This will avoid multiple, hazardous delivery trips during the rainy season and also allow the grant to stretch farther since there will not be a need to pay multiple transportation costs.

The rice has to be shipped in for part of the year, but in some instances it can be purchased locally from a few local farmers who have started growing rice again. This is mutually-beneficial because it reduces costs and provides an income to local farmers who are encouraged to keep growing rice. When they are able, Andando also buys bread one day a week instead of rice, which helps the local bakery and again saves money. Andando also helps the local school by purchasing paper and pencils for all the kids and supplying some medical supplies for a local nurse.

The feeding program is run by a Liberian named Saah Joseph. Saah was a refugee in Senegal in 2000. He has since returned to his native country and has established his own NGO in Monrovia, Liberia called PLAN for the children. Saah’s main work is in and around Monrovia but he volunteers to run this project for Andando because of their personal relationship and history together. It is actually easier to access Buedu from the Liberian side because of road conditions, so this is usually the way things get delivered.

In a country deprived of peace for so long, rebuilding can seem to take forever. And surviving war only to starve – and watch your children starve – must be demoralizing. To many, only one meal a day is unimaginable; one meal consisting of rice and cassava unconscionable. But to 500 children attending school in a remote area of Sierra Leone, this is the difference between life and death – for them and other members of their family.

For the next three months, you made the difference.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,
Adam

PS. Please send in your May contribution right away. I’m working hard to secure a project in Niger, where we have never had a presence and which is listed dead last in the UN Human Development Index. And spread the word: can you bring in a new member (or a few) to help us provide even more life-saving services to the neediest people on earth?


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