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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Once in a lifetime

For families living in the poorest communities of Africa, Asia, and The Americas, the opportunity to free themselves from poverty may come only once in a lifetime.

This is especially true when you take into consideration that the families you help through HOPE International Development Agency are among the absolute poorest of the poor and surviving on less than $1 a day.

The families you help live hidden on the margins of their societies, and in nearly every case, have lived in abject poverty for generations.

The importance of your giving, whether it is a large or a more modest gift, cannot be understated. This is especially true when you consider that that your gift has done something extraordinary even before it provides safe drinking water, medicines, medical supplies, education, or whatever is needed at the time; it has provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to be free from poverty.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Candy and lemonade transformed into clean water

At the recent Calgary Run For Water event in Alberta, a young girl showed, through her actions, that hope is everywhere when everyone helps.

Having decided that helping children halfway around the world was not just for adults, the young girl organized a candy sale, raising more than $400 to provide safe drinking water to children in Ethiopia.

Other children were also hard at work, helping in their own way. They organized bake sales, lemonade stands, and other events in their neighborhoods, the proceeds of which were given to provide one more child, halfway around the world, with safe drinking water and an opportunity for a better life.

These children understand that they are very fortunate and that their good fortune is put to good use when they help others less fortunate - a poignant reminder to us all.

The water they used to make their lemonade, for example, is safe to drink and they want the same for children who live in impoverished communities throughout the developing world.

We love to hear stories like this and are inspired to do more as donations from schools across Canada arrive every month, bringing hope to children in desperate need of life’s necessities, like safe drinking water.

In a beautiful reversal of roles, children, like those who participated in the Calgary Run For Water event, become our role models as they take action to ensure that all children have access to safe drinking water.

Hope is, in fact, everywhere when everyone helps. When we all help, a bond of hope is formed that ties us all together; from the families who gain access to safe drinking water, to the families raising money to provide the safe drinking water, and to us as we continue to witness the kindness and generosity of people.

It is through this bond of hope that we continue to reach out to families in need throughout the world.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Turning cell phones into farm tools in India

More than 1,400 families in Talavadi, India, have turned their cell phones into farm tools by participating in an innovative support network for small-scale farmers developed and managed by long-time HOPE International Development Agency partner, Myrada.

Already familiar with cell phones – India has the world’s second-largest cell phone user base with more than 900 million users – participating rural farmers now receive crucial farm information daily, in real time, right in their fields.

Current weather reports, forecasts, soil management tips, valuable planting and harvesting information, and more, are sent to the 1,400 participating farmers by SMS text message; the same popular technology we use to stay in touch here at home.

Participating farmers are reducing crop losses while boosting harvest yields and income with the instant information they receive from farm experts who create the daily SMS text messages.

Cost effective and scalable, this innovative use of a highly familiar technology throughout rural India enables our Myrada colleagues to be in 1,400 different locations at once, without ever leaving their central office.

This initiative is a great example of using technology in an appropriate manner; not just for technologies sake, but for the farmers sake, as evidenced when SMS text messaging was chosen over the typical smart phone app. The farmers we’re helping cannot afford the data plans required to use smart phone apps, like those that are so popular here at home.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What comes next for families like Ana’s?

After a family like Ana’s receives the gift of clean water, what comes next?

When HOPE International Development Agency partners with a community in need, the initial focus is on basic human needs – things like food, clean water, and sanitation. But after that, to create lasting change, we begin thinking about creating new sources of income.

Parents need to earn a sustainable income to feed their families, to send their children to school, and to develop a life free from poverty.

Every project we support is unique; because every community we partner with is unique.

In certain areas of Guatemala, for example, the focus is on farming. In Afghanistan, for some communities it would be animal banks and livestock. In Cambodia, we do a lot of micro-financing for small businesses. Each solution to poverty requires different training, or tools, but all have the same result: families that are financially secure and communities are strong and can help one another.
Emmanuella selling a chicken.
In 2011, we introduced Emmanuella and her family in our film about the situation in Haiti. At the time, Emmanuella was desperate; she had nothing and was struggling to survive.

Today, as a result of her partnership with HOPE International Development Agency, she has a business raising and selling chickens. She doesn’t worry about whether her family will eat every day. Her children go to school. Her family has grown strong together – proud of what they’ve accomplished.

This year, our focus is on creating more stories like Emmanuella’s and Ana’s. It is about creating more sustainable change in communities and families in the developing world.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It really is a Happy New Year for Ana and her family

It’s a new year and a new life for families you’ve helped around the world.

For many of us here at home, New Year’s Day is a time for setting resolutions, like eating healthier, exercising, or finding a new job; but for many families in the developing world, like Ana’s, it’s a new life.

This time last year, Ana, a mother of four boys and five girls, would wake early and walk many kilometers to the river to fetch water that often gave her and her family health problems like diarrhea and skin infections.

This year, on New Year’s Day, Ana and her family woke up to a new life. “Now, early in the morning, we just turn on the tap and we have clean water,” says Ana.

Water, it seems like such a simple thing and often taken for granted; but it’s everything to Ana and her family. They now have clean drinking water, right at their door.

They wake up feeling healthy because they’re not plagued by bacteria from the river water. They clean their clothes regularly, something that used to be an immense task given how far away the river was. They bathe daily in clean water.

Ana’s children used to spend most of their days helping fetch water, but now they “are very happy because they go to school clean, with their hair neat, and with more time to do their homework, play, and care for our animals,” states Ana.

With her extra time, Ana now makes traditional blouses called Huipils, creating a welcome source of income that further allows her to support her children and feed their livestock.

The gift of water made all of this possible. Ana’s story is just one of hundreds of thousands from 2013 that were made possible by donors who support HOPE International Development Agency. 

Thank you, once again, for giving so many families a new life as they entered 2014.