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Thursday, November 24, 2011

South Sudan: The Families of Abiyeh Persevere with ‘Commitment and Seriousness’

The South Sudanese families that fled the village of Abiyeh this past summer approached our staff without anything but the clothes they were wearing. The violence between Northern and Southern forces that forced them from their homes had traumatized them, and they were hungry and extremely afraid. We appealed to our friends for help and we’re happy to be able to report that the families are doing much better.

Shortly after taking stock of the situation — 2,800 people in an utterly terrible situation—we received the means to help them. We gave out food, farming tools, and seeds to plant so that they could immediately reestablish a semblance of self-reliance. They gratitude they communicated is very hard to relay. What would you say if you believed you would die and then strangers from across the world paid for you to eat and farm again, keeping your children alive?

We will leave you with the words of the chief. His response reminds us of why it is all too easy to want to help the Sudanese people. They are not victims; they are survivors:

“Please pass our sincere greetings and thanks to the people who thought of us, who pray for us and support us like they did today in this camp. We are extremely happy for those generous hands. I am going to encourage our people here in the camp to come together and work hard so that we can have enough food at home for consumption this year and have a surplus of food to sell. Our children didn’t have access to school this year because we were unable to raise the money to pay for their school fees. Thanks be to God because we have the seeds and tools now — but we still need commitment and seriousness!”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HIV/AIDS: New Strategies — for the government and you too

Considering how monumental and devastating the impact of HIV/AIDS — particularly in the developing world — has been allowed to be, we feel cautiously optimistic about the US government’s recent announcement of a new strategy to “creating an AIDS-free generation.”

Normally, we would receive such statements the same way we would those of an overly confident ten year old announcing her intention to run for president — polite smiles all around — but it seems that this time, the Americans intend to put some well-researched policies into play.

The new approach is three-pronged: ‘eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, scaling up male circumcision procedures and expanding early treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS – offered a combination prevention strategy that would help reach the goal of having virtually no child born with HIV within three years.’ If these initiatives can be properly funded, they stand a chance of making a real impact.

For our part, we continue to focus on the devastation left behind by generations who weren’t helped very effectively. There is still an epidemic of orphans in Africa, and they need to be given a chance to succeed, despite facing the worst odds handed out to a human at this stage of history.

For people living in the greater Vancouver area and the Lower Mainland, we are hosting a film night devoted to the 2 million orphans now living in Ethiopia at the Heritage Grill at 447 Columbia St. in New Westminster on Saturday, November 27th. It will be a good opportunity to become part of the solution. As always, regardless of what governments deign to do for the poorest and most vulnerable people, we are quite clear in what we are able to do.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gifts of hope that will last well beyond Christmas

This year’s HOPE International Development Agency Gifts Of Hope catalogue is full of extraordinary gifts that have the power to lift people up out of the poverty and suffering that has held them captive for generations.

When you think of the gifts on your list this year, what store-bought gift can compare with rescuing orphaned children, who through no fault of their own are forced to fend for themselves on the streets and back alleys of Addis Ababa?

What gift here at home can compare with nurturing and educating young children in rural Cambodia or the Philippines? Especially when you consider that none of these children would ever be able to attend school, but for your gift.

Think of the joy you will feel when you sit down for Christmas dinner this year knowing that you have provided clean water or nutritious food for families who currently gather their drinking water from stagnant ponds frequented by animals, and scavenge the forests or garbage of others in search of a meager meal.

Imagine the relief a young vulnerable girl in the Philippines, abandoned and forced into prostitution, will feel when she receives news that your gift has arrived and she will be rescued from a life on the streets.

Each gift in this year’s Gifts of Hope catalogue has been carefully considered and represent areas where your help is most needed this season.

Whichever gifts you choose, you can rest assured that you have transformed lives, not just for today, but for generations to come! These gifts do not stop giving.

Give as many gifts as you wish. You can even give gifts on behalf of friends or loved ones and we’ll send them a note telling them about the gift and the giver.

View our Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalogue