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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Give yourself and others a very meaningful gift this Christmas!

This year’s HOPE International Development Agency Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalog is full of gifts that will bring joy to you and the people you help!

What store-bought gift can compare with rescuing an orphan in Swaziland or Ethiopia from a life of suffering and sadness? In these two countries, even children with parents have a tough time surviving to their fifth birthday.

When you sit down for your Christmas meal this season and raise a glass of clean water, imagine the joy you’ll feel knowing a family in Sudan, Ethiopia, or Cambodia will be drinking their first glass of clean water because of your giving.

This Christmas, you can choose from a selection of gifts that will…
  • Rescue and care for orphaned children in Swaziland and Ethiopia.
  • Provide a year’s worth of wheat and melon seeds to families in northern Afghanistan, giving them the ability to grow food throughout the year. Your gift will multiply as the families set aside a portion of the harvest as seed crop for the following year’s growing season.
  • Give text books, schools supplies, blackboards, desks, or a sanitary latrine to a school and students in Cambodia, ensuring that children have what they need in order to learn their way out of poverty and transform their lives.
  • Rescue a young girl forced into prostitution on the streets of a Philippine city and give her the skills training that will enable her to start a brand new life.
  • Give a Cambodian family a flock of chickens or cow that will enable a them to till the soil, make fertilizer, and transport their produce to market in order to generate much needed income.
  • Provide urgently needed medical supplies to rural clinics serving impoverished families in Pakistan and South Sudan.
  • Help build a new school in Cambodia and in doing so, transform an entire community for generations to come.
  • Provide abundant and lasting supplies of clean water to families in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, and reduce the incidence rate of water-borne disease by as much as 80%!
You can give as many gifts as you wish and make this Christmas even more special and memorable for you and for a family in need.

You can also give gifts in honor of family members, friends, and colleagues. Celebrate those you care about by giving a truly meaningful gift in their honor. You’ll feel wonderful and they’ll be thrilled when they receive a special note from us letting them know about the gifts you’ve given.

These gifts will last well beyond the Christmas season, as will the joy and fulfillment you feel in having brought the spirit of Christmas giving to families who, without your gifts, would continue to suffer and perish.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ethiopia and across Canada: A seat at HOPE International Development Agency’s dinner, if not the Security Council

Canada’s surprise failure to win a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council has caused a storm of speculation.

Blame is being shared liberally, and commentators have not been shy with their theories, which range from Canada’s unpopular foreign policy decisions, to disarray in the United Nations.

Canada is like the head cheerleader who lost the homecoming queen crown, and everybody in the hallway seems to be whispering behind their hands.

Many have said that this move by the UN is, in part, a backlash against Canada’s decision to substantially decrease its aid for African nations. It was and is a highly controversial development, and it seems to have not won Canada much acclaim on the world stage.

Debate over the efficacy of big government aid programs aside, it must be said that just because its government is officially distancing itself from Africa, it does not mean that Canadians themselves have lost interested in supporting change for African people.

HOPE International Development Agency will soon be on the road, sharing with our supporters our past success and future plans in Ethiopia. Guests at our fundraising galas will constitute a growing movement of people who know what intelligent aid investment into Africa looks like. They won’t need their government to tell them what to do about it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cambodia: Child labour is no choice

Our field staff in Cambodia (and elsewhere) regularly document the circumstances of individual families before HOPE International Development Agency is able to begin working with them. This is important to do for many - probably obvious - reasons.

In reviewing these cases, we are struck by the similarity of the problems faced by families in the most severe echelon of poverty. Possibly the most universal one is this: the futures of their children are shortchanged for present-day survival.

Take these stories as examples...

Sompha and his wife Moeng Euth have 5 children - 3 girls, and 2 boys. They only have enough rice to eat for 5 months out of every year. They have half a hectare of land for farming. All the children stay at home and do labor for other farmers or go to the market to try to sell rice. Moeng is sick very often. Her health problems have made the family even poorer.

Peim Moer and Ouch Seng have 8 children - 4 girls and 4 boys. They have half a hectare of land for farming, and only produce enough rice for six months of the year. All the children work in the rice fields, working for other farmers. Mostly they do hard labour like clearing land. Once, when Peim and Ouch both became very ill at the same time, they had to send one of their children to go stay in the local temple with monks, because they simply could not afford to feed all of the children.”

Perhaps this comes as no great revelation to most people, but it seems that child labour exists for no other reason but that families across the world are dreadfully poor - and a child in school means a lost source of labour or revenue. Child labour is no manifestation of parental abuse, callousness, or greed. It’s a last resort for the family as a whole.

The International Labour Organization has published an article about the issue.

Their conclusion? Eliminate poverty, eliminate child labour. Work with the parents on securing sustainable sources of income, and you will free the children to become educated.