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Friday, May 31, 2013

Honduras: Ernesto, living with HIV, not dying of AIDS

There is no heartbreak like a health clinic that is of little to no use to its patients because it is chronically short of medicines and supplies. But we see this happening in poor villages all across the world. It’s why we pour a lot of our time into procuring medicines and medical supplies and shipping them to clinics and hospitals that serve the poorest of the poor.

HOPE International Development Agency staff member Rainbow Choi recently visited Honduras to visit a ‘dozen or so clinics, hospitals, [and] rural pharmacies’ where these shipments are making a huge difference. Her description of a man named Ernesto leaves an indelible impression:

[A]n AIDS patient, more frail than anyone I’ve ever seen with my own eyes -- mere skin draped over bones; sunken eyes lifelessly gazing past the circular frame of the bony cavity that holds them.

But we witness life here. Here, in this man hooked up to an IV with antibiotics... one of many bags of IV antibiotics that arrived from a HOPE International Development Agency shipment just two months ago. The doctor tells us this man's story - one week from death when he walked into the clinic... and affirms with a hushed but joyful whisper that he is not going to die.

And we realize, in this moment, there is life. This is not a patient dying of AIDS. This is a man living... living with AIDS. 

The donor of these antibiotics is with me, and he takes in the life that is being given, as those medicines found their way just two months ago from Kansas, to our Honduran partners, to this clinic, and into the arm and blood of this very man who will recover and live.

And we stand together, along with this man, with the doctor, and with our local staff...  not only with conviction, but also with commitment...  that each life is of value.


Indeed! There are stories like Ernesto’s unfolding all over the world, thanks to these live-saving shipments. We’re very grateful to be a part of that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Journey Out of Poverty Begins With Not Dying From Hunger


In Cambodia, one in eight children do not survive to celebrate their fifth birthday.

Chronic malnutrition among children in Cambodia is so prevalent that nearly 50 per cent are significantly underweight and not growing as they should. Their physical and mental potential will never be fully realized as long as the food crisis continues.

Children are too weak to attend school. Their frail bodies, damaged by years of hunger, are unable to fend off even the mildest cold or bacteria.

On any given day, one Cambodian mother is burying a child while another lays awake at night because she knows that the odds of one of her children suffering the same fate are almost certain.

Even if there were enough of the food these families currently eat, and by enough we mean just enough to take away the hunger pains, it has little or no nutritional value. Its only purpose is to fill the stomach and reduce the pain for a little while. Families try to grow food, but they lack tools, the proper kinds of seeds, and in many cases, the knowledge.

A small gift can provide an armload of sturdy gardening tools, a large quantity and variety of grain and vegetable seeds, and the training needed in order to grow abundant crops this year and for years to come!

Learn more about how you can help plant seeds of hope for Cambodian children and their families by visiting www.hope-international.com today.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Saving children, their families, and their communities

Poor families in Africa, Asia, and Central America face unbelievably tough choices every day.

Put yourself in their position for a moment and the disturbing nature of these choices becomes very apparent.

You are about to hand your 5-year old daughter or granddaughter a cup of water. You know that there is at least a 50/50 chance the water, gathered from a stagnant, bacteria-laden pond 5 kms away, will make her sick, or perhaps, like it has with so many other children, take her life. But what do you do when you have no choice? Death by dehydration is clearly not an alternative.

You are about to feed this same daughter the only meal she will have today, a tin cup filled with a mixture of boiled roots and grain you scavenged from a field. You know that the meal has little or no nutritional value, but it does keep the hunger pangs at bay, at least for a few hours. But again, what do you do when you have no choice? Malnourishment is better than watching your daughter slowly starve to death.

No impoverished family we are trying to help desires to stay imprisoned by poverty. Without exception, they all have a deep desire to improve their lives and their communities.

Your support makes the difference because it provides…
  • Clean water that reduces rates of water-borne illness by as much as 80%.
  • Education that gives children the ability to learn their way out of poverty and have a much lower likelihood of living in poverty as adults.
  • Health care that transforms communities as families use time formerly spent in sickness to pursue improving their quality of life.
Training that enables young people and adults to earn skills that ensure they can earn a livable wage and become self-reliant rather than caught in a cycle of dependency.

Help children and their families today.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

South Sudan: "There are doctors among the children, as well as teachers and engineers and leaders"



















Recently we visited a community of former South Sudanese refugees who have resettled in a new location and are taking great strides in rebuilding their lives. This group of families, formerly from a place called Bahamani, is being helped through HOPE International Development Agency by a family foundation that prefers to fly under the radar. One of the big changes that this foundation is sponsoring is a new school for the children. After our visit, there were a few things we wanted to share on their behalf:

Education is something this community holds to fiercely. When someone mentioned the school, the word rippled through the group and people started smiling. Many talked about how important it is for their children to learn so they can grow strong and do good things for others. They wanted us to know what a good thing this school would be for their children, who dearly want to learn. One woman, Joyce Martin, told us about how "there are doctors among the children, as well as teachers and engineers and leaders". We believe her. When we asked the children who was excited for their first day of classes, many jumped up with both arms outstretched to the sky (see picture). The school has been started: the community has started digging the foundation and breaking rocks to mix with cement for the foundation. Work will continue over the next few months.

Access to clean water and related health/hygiene training is something that is also absolutely vital for this community. We heard the very good news late last week that the drill rig has arrived in Ibba and has started drilling; we expect to hear that the borehole is complete any day now. That borehole will mean a lot of good things for this community, the greatest of which is that their children will be healthier. We were horrified to hear that 35 children died in Abugiri between September and December last year. This water will mean it won't happen again this year. The community is ready to take on the challenge of maintaining and managing the borehole. Many women talked about how they would work together to keep the borehole clean and functional. One woman, Yunis Yohanna, stood up and said, simply: "this is our water" and then sat down again as if there was nothing else to say but that.

Thank you. They said this again, and again, and again.

Overall, we were struck by the commitment of the families we met to work together in unity towards a common goal, in order to be able to "do bigger things". They did this last planting season when they supported the weaker members of their community (the elderly, disabled, and widowed) to also plant gardens. The groundnut and maize harvests, they told us, were good ones and they're looking forward to the next planting season now. We have no doubt they'll apply the same commitment to taking care of the school and borehole.

It’s a beautiful portrait of people that have been through hell and are now truly pulling through. It’s all because people like you invested in them.