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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rasma finds hope in a tiny seed

Rasma Simone lives in the coastal mountains of central Haiti, where she has been a member of the Chinchiron Farmer’s Cooperative since 1995.

Like the other members of the co-op, Rasma grows black beans and a variety of vegetables. The harvest of beans and other vegetables provides for Rasma and her five children.

Rasma is particularly pleased this year with her bountiful yield of beans. With the support of HOPE International Development Agency, Rasma and other co-op members tested a new strain of bean that proved to be exceptionally resistant to drought and disease.

The new seed, in combination with a particularly good growing season, resulted in the best harvest that Rasma and her fellow farmers have seen in over eight years. It has been a welcome relief after two trying seasons of drought.

Rasma’s hard work and a plentiful harvest paid off. Recently, she sold four bags of bean seeds back to the co-op. The beans will be stored in the co-op’s seed-bank until re-sold, at a profit, at the beginning of the next growing season.

With her earnings from the sale of seeds and later her share in the profits from sales, Rasma will be able to help her son with his upcoming wedding celebration and support a soon-to-be born grandchild.

The news of this new variety of bean has already traveled throughout the mountains of central Haiti. Other farmer’s co-ops are now requesting seed for the next planting season.

What an honor we have to walk alongside and work together with farmers like Rasma as they improve their lives and bring long-lasting change to their families and communities.

Rasma selling her bean seeds to Jean Josiel, a co-op member who is on the seed-buying committee.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rajamma's journey out of poverty began with a self-help group

Mornings were always difficult for Rajamma, a mother and sole income earner for her family of five living in one of the poorest areas of rural India.

As the sun rose over Rajamma’s dilapidated little home each morning, so would her anxiety. How would she feed her family? Would she be able to hire herself out as a day labourer and earn a few rupees to buy food for her children?

Amongst all this uncertainty, one thing was certain; Rajamma and her family were trapped in poverty.

Like much of rural India, the area where Rajamma and her family live is incredibly poor. The majority of families struggle to eke out a living. Some live on as little as one or two dollars a day.

Over the past few decades, HOPE International Development Agency donors have helped thousands of families in rural India in their journey out of poverty.

Thankfully, we were also able to help Rajamma and her family.

Rajamma’s journey out of poverty began when she joined a self-help group in her community.

The group provides mutual support, including skills-training, instruction on how to start small businesses that generate a sustainable income, and small loans to build modest, but sturdy homes and support the creation of small businesses.

In addition to helping members transform their lives, the community also benefits from the presence of the group, through activities such as health-training, medical referrals, camps for schoolchildren, vocational skills-development, kitchen garden training, and meetings with local government officials to advocate for the needs of the community.

Today, Rajamma and her family are thriving rather than barely surviving.

Rajamma and her family live in a safe, sturdy home built with a loan from her self-help group. Her foot mat business, established with training she received and a small loan, is thriving and generating the sustainable income her family needs to continue lifting themselves out of poverty. She is meeting her goal of having her family be self-reliant and free from poverty.

Rajamma feels blessed by what has happened to her family and we celebrate with her. At the same time, we recognize that thousands of families have not yet received the opportunity to transform their lives.

You can give a gift today that will help ensure that another family will get the help they so desperately need in order to start their journey out of poverty.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Good news from Africa's youngest nation

SOUTH SUDAN - Decades of sustained conflict in the region, along with continued conflict and neglect in the years after the forming of South Sudan in 2011, have resulted in water becoming an even more precious resource, often leading to tension and conflict between communities.

Beyond being scarce, the water families do gather and drink is unsafe, as evidenced by the fact that one-third of children under the age of five regularly suffer from diarrhea, a potentially deadly ailment in this region of the world.

Communities, like Ganagara-Osumani and Nanzongozogo, suffered because the water they drank made them sick, especially the children. Finding water consumed a good portion of the day. Mothers, with children in tow, walked for hours each day to gather water from wherever they could. The situation was even worse in the summer when the streams and ponds dried up.

This past month everything changed for the more than 5,000 people living in Ganagara-Osumani and Nanzongozogo because of the support they received from friends of HOPE International Development Agency. After much effort and persistence, clean water has arrived in the two communities.

“People in this area have spent too many years without clean drinking water and many people have died because of what we had to drink,” says Chief Marona Sako. “We thank God, because today marks the end of this challenge.”

Giving these two communities access to water will help reduce water-borne illness and have a profoundly positive impact in how people care for their health and well-being.

Children will now be able to go to school rather than spending their days gathering water with their mothers. Most of these children have never had the opportunity to attend school. The education they receive will transform their lives, and even their communities, as these young children grow up and become leaders in their community.

Today we celebrate with the families of Ganagara-Osumani and Nanzongozogo as they begin to experience the life changing power of clean water. We also take a moment to say thank you for your support in helping HOPE transform lives in South Sudan since the country was formed in 2011.