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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finding a way; always.

Finding a way out of poverty is not easy, especially when everything appears to be conspiring against you.

This is especially true in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ubangi region, where poverty is both deeply rooted and deadly. Living conditions in this region are so desperate that one in every ten children will not reach their fifth birthday.

HOPE International Development Agency is helping families in Ubangi find a way out of poverty. We're helping them learn how to grow more food and earn enough income to become and remain self-reliant.

Twayanga, a young mother and farmer living in Ubangi is a wonderful example of the transformation that takes place when people like you get involved in helping impoverished families find a way out of poverty.

A young mother and farmer, Twayanga had tried harder, worked longer, suffered more than most, but it was all to no avail. The best her sun-baked, lovingly cultivated cornfield could produce was two, maybe three 120kg sacks of low-quality corn per harvest; not near enough.

Today, less than one year after we began helping Twayanga, she grows 5 to 10 times as much corn; sometimes approaching twenty 120kg sacks of corn per harvest in the same fields where she used to grow just two or three sacks of corn.

Twayanga’s yearly harvest income has significantly increased. Her children, formerly at risk of dying, have never been so happy and healthy. The entire family has a new outlook and is well on their way to being free from poverty.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Haiti: The Right Seeds In The Right Hands

When the seasonal rains in Haiti are less than expected, crops wither and families become even more desperate for food.

It’s a harsh reality when you consider that 70% of Haiti’s population relies on agriculture for their food and income, and 78% live on less than $2 a day.

Unfortunately, this harsh reality is what Haitian families are facing right now as they continue to struggle in the aftermath of last year’s hurricane and an ongoing drought. In a country where so many families are so dependent on agriculture, drought is particularly deadly.

Simon Enoch, a farmer in Haiti’s Fon Batis region, spent his entire life fighting the weather, with little success. When the rains were scant or didn’t come at all, his crop seed, purchased locally, wouldn’t survive in the parched soil. The seed variety simply wasn’t intended to be grown in these conditions, but it was all he could source and afford.

Today, however, Simon isn’t at war with the weather. HOPE International Development Agency donors provided Simon, and fellow farmers just like him, with a new variety of crop seed that is highly resistant to drought and flourishes in his region.

Growing an abundance of food in this part of Haiti requires more than the right variety of seeds, it requires training in improved agricultural methods. It also requires partnerships with other farmers, in seed cooperatives, ensuring that there is always enough seed to go around, even in the most difficult times, like today. This is what your donations are doing.

The right seeds were put in the right hands at the right time; and as a result, Simon and families like his can grow enough food for their own needs throughout the year and for sale at the market, generating much needed income.

Caring people like you put those seeds in Simon’s hands. Thank you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Afghanistan: A Gift of Life for a Young Child

In our work around the world, we often bear witness to the devastating conditions in which people are forced to live. It is heartbreaking and never easy to see, but when you consider the poverty that people like Sharifa and her family endure, it shouldn’t be easy.

Sharifa lives in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Her husband, who worked with the Afghan National Police, was killed in a car bomb 5 years ago, leaving her to support her 3 children and in-laws alone in a country where poverty is commonplace.

Life in Jalalabad is tenuous at best. Access to food, clean water, and medical care – things we are so fortunate to have here – are just a few of the challenges that families like Sharifa’s are faced with on a daily basis.

When Sharifa’s youngest child recently became ill, the situation was hopeless. Without a proper medical examination and antibiotics her daughter would surely not live. The sad truth is, this is a reality that families all over the country are forced to suffer through, often with little hope for survival.

Thankfully, one of Sharifa’s friends knew of the clinic that you, as supporters, have helped to create. She was taken there, where her daughter received a proper checkup, laboratory exam, and medicines to treat the illness.

You did this – there is no other way to put it. Without your support, Sharifa’s daughter would not be with us today.

Every year over 4,000 families are helped at the Jalalabad Clinic. We see young mothers come through those doors and leave with renewed strength and hope for the future. This is what keeps us going. In these moments, we’re able to reach out and touch the lives of those in need, to give them the opportunity to stand up on their own and create positive change.

It is no secret that we all need a helping hand once in a while; when we see someone take that hand and begin to thrive, it reinforces why we do what we do, and the incredible gift our supporters can create in the life of another.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Impossible Gift

We spend our lives devoted to helping the poorest of the poor, and this week we were left speechless when we heard just how far generosity can reach.

A group of orphaned children from the Place of Rescue Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, raised $900 - an incredible sum for children who have so little - to help flood victims in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Each of the children had received the equivalent of $12 CDN from the wife of Cambodia’s Prime Minister during her recent visit to the orphanage. The children, having heard about the devastation in Calgary, decided to give half of what they had been given to help families affected.

It’s not every day that we’re privileged to witness such an extraordinary act of generosity. If these children, all of whom started their lives with literally nothing, are able to give selflessly and give so impossibly, what does it mean for us?

In our view, this type of generosity broadens the scope of what we do and paints a picture that depicts the impossible becoming possible. We’re not simply a group of people giving or helping, we’re a small piece of a larger story that’s weaving its way around the world and in doing so, creating a new perspective.

Hearing of such an impossible gift reminded us that generosity and kindness are present among the world’s poorest peoples. The gift these children gave is so much more than money. It’s a reminder that when people in desperate need, even children, receive the help they deserve, they extend the help to those around them. When people, through your help, lift themselves up out of poverty, they’re not content with their own good fortune. Instead, they share with those around them and give them the help they need.

Every person we work with touches the lives of others - it’s incredibly encouraging to see and it strengthens our hope, inspiring us to continue helping, no matter the cost.