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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fall 2015 HOPE Film Premiere & Dinner events - join us as we celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed

Our story began 40 years ago when a few people in Canada came together to find ways to help the world’s poorest families lift themselves out of poverty.

This year, as we celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed, we invite you to join us at one of our Fall 2015 HOPE International Development Agency Film Premiere & Dinner events in British Columbia and Alberta this fall.

You will enjoy a wonderful meal, the company of friends, live music, silent and live auctions, and have an important opportunity to transform lives in Cambodia through your giving.

This year’s film, shot on location in Cambodia earlier in 2015, gives you an intimate glimpse into the lives of families living in rural Cambodia. You will also see the amazing work that is being done by these families to lift themselves out of poverty.

Please join us this fall for what promises to be a memorable evening, for you and the families we are helping in Cambodia.

Look for a HOPE Film Premiere & Dinner event in your area.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hope overcomes uncertainty

Lahtaw standing in her vegetable garden, the source of her family's self-sufficiency.

Life reaches a new level of difficulty when the uncertainty associated with leaving everything behind seems less daunting than staying where you are.

Such is the case for families in Myanmar’s conflict-ridden northern Shan and Kachin states. The two states are embroiled in an ongoing conflict between ethnic groups and the government-led military of Myanmar.

Lahtaw and her family of nine were forced to leave everything behind as they fled the conflict in their area. Their journey, fraught with uncertainty, concluded when they arrived at the Hpum Lum Yang camp for displaced persons.

“When we arrived in Hpum Lum Yang, we had nothing. No land, no money, and no food,” says Lahtaw, recalling what it was like when she and her family first set foot in the camp three years ago.

Soon after, however, things began to change for Lahtaw and her family as they received help and starting building a new life within the relative safety of the camp.

“We were provided with a piece of land, seeds, and tools to start a backyard vegetable garden,” says Lahtaw. “We planted dill, mustard, long bean, tomato, parsley, eggplant cucumber, cabbage, and cauliflower, and had a good harvest!”

Lahtaw and her family also learned how to make organic fertilizer and natural insecticides for their garden, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers and insecticides, while at the same time, improving the quality of the soil and saving money.

“Since we started gardening, we have produced enough food to meet our needs. Our family is healthy and we are saving money too because we no longer buy vegetables from the market,” says Lahtaw.

Lahtaw and her family, now self-sufficient, won’t be returning to their original home any time soon given that the conflict that forced them to leave shows no signs of subsiding. But with the help they have received thus far, they are a building a new life in the camp. A life that is full of hope and significantly less uncertainty.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Creating resilience among farming families in Muzaffargarh, Pakistan

When the floodwater receded, both the land and its people were scarred.

It was early September of 2014. The monsoon rains had arrived in Pakistan and were unusually heavy. In the region of Muzaffargarh, small creeks transformed into rushing torrents. Rivers and canals, swollen well beyond anything anyone had seen in a long while, overflowed their banks, enveloping everything in their path.

The destruction was on a scale approaching the unimaginable. Entire fields of rice, maize, vegetables, and sugar cane vanished, buried under water and mud – and just days before the harvest! Planting the next crop, a type of wheat popular in the region, was impossible. The torrent had ensured that nothing could be planted for weeks to come. Many homes, animal sheds, and seed storage buildings fell victim to brute force of the floodwater.
Meeting with flood-affected families to assess the damage.

Restoration for families and their farmland

HOPE International Development Agency sought out the poorest of the poor affected by the devastation in Muzaffargarh. The generosity of HOPE supporters made it possible for flood-affected families to rehabilitate their land and replant crops as soon as possible. It also restored a sense of hope and normalcy amidst the upheaval.

At the time, Noreen Mai, a mother struggling in the aftermath of the flood said, “The flood destroyed all of our stored food and my family is facing serious problems. But due to this support, my family will overcome this situation.”

Improving the long-term outlook for farming families

Beyond the work of meeting the needs of flood-affected families in the weeks and months following the disaster, HOPE has been helping families learn new skills and pool their resources. Both of these initiatives make the families, and their communities, more resilient – a crucial aspect of life in a region frequented by natural disasters.

HOPE has also helped form, train, and support community groups in Muzaffargarh and four other neighboring districts. The work with the community groups continues, helping them further increase their skills, knowledge, and ability to work together and with local government in order to access additional resources. In addition, the poorest of the poor among farmers are being supported in their efforts to start new farm-based income enterprises, including village-based food processing.

Natural disasters, like flooding, will strike again and threaten to undermine the courage and tenacity of farmers in Pakistan. But through the support of generous friends of HOPE, farmers in Muzaffargarh are using this respite from disaster to strengthen their resiliency, overcome the challenges they face, and prepare for future challenges.

A new crop and new hope for families who lost everything during the flooding of 2014.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Clean water is on the horizon for the people of Muyange, Burundi

There are two obstacles standing between the 3,400 people in Muyange village and a life-long supply of clean water; 7 kilometres of rugged terrain, and the funds needed to complete the work.

Muyange is located in Bubanza, a rugged region of Burundi, an impoverished country in the northwest of Africa.

The people of Bubanza are among the poorest people in Burundi and suffer greatly because they don’t have clean water. High rates of disease and death, especially among children, are evidence that clean water is crucial.

HOPE International Development Agency has been helping people in the Bubanza region gain access to clean water. So far, 2,700 people in three villages have clean water.

The challenge today is to raise the funds needed to pipe clean water to Muyange, a village 7 kilometers away from the main water spring that supplies the other three villages.

Supplies, like water pipe, connectors, and other materials used in the construction of water tap basins in the village need to be sent to Muyange so that the water system can be completed. In addition, people also need to learn how to care for their new water system and their health.

Having an abundant supply of clean water, right in their village, will ensure that the 3,400 people in Muyange, especially the women and children, will not be forced to trek 10 kilometres every day in search of water, nearly all of which is teeming with life-threatening diseases.

Ndazina, a village chief from Muyange knows the incredible impact clean water will have on his village and he shared his heartfelt thoughts with us recently, “We told you of our needs, and thank God that you listened”.

If you'd like to help ensure that supplies, like water pipe, connectors, and other materials used in the construction of water tap basins in the village, are sent to Muyange so that the water system can be completed, you can give online today.

Everyone is excited about completing the water system - even the children are helping out!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Update

HOPE International Development Agency continues to work among survivors of two massive earthquakes that struck Nepal in late April and mid-May 2015.

Finding the most vulnerable
As with all HOPE International Development Agency efforts to help people in need, we seek out the most vulnerable. In Nepal, we are working in the villages of Sipapokhare and Sunkhani, both of which are located in remote, mountainous regions that are difficult to access. Most of the people in Sipapokhare and Sunkhani are considered outcasts by other societies in the region and were highly marginalized before the two earthquakes shattered their lives.

Ensuring the most vulnerable survive
Realizing that people in Sipapokhare and Sunkhani would struggle to survive in the aftermath, HOPE established earthquake relief camps to provide temporary shelter materials, food, and non-food essentials. So far, more than a 1,000 people have received items such as heavy-duty tarpaulins, emergency food rations, clothing, and hygiene products.

Helping people rebuild
In addition to supplying people with important essentials needed in the aftermath of the two major disasters, HOPE is also helping the most vulnerable rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed by the earthquakes. The new homes are being constructed with locally available materials, and people in the villages are participating in the clearing of earthquake debris as well as the construction process - giving them a sense of ownership and hope amidst all the destruction and loss.

You are changing lives!
Thank you for helping families in Sipapokhare and Sunkhani restore what was taken by the two earthquakes. There is much more to do given the size of the disasters.

If you would like to help further, you can donate here.