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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Clean water for displaced families in South Sudan

Families are out of options when they arrive in the Ibba region of conflict-ridden South Sudan. The only thing they haven’t lost is their lives.

Political disagreement in South Sudan, Africa’s youngest nation, descended into civil war in which nearly 400,000 people lost their lives.

Opportunities for a better life vanished as armed conflict between rival political factions spread and intensified, engulfing countless communities along the way.

Today an estimated 4.2 million people no longer live in their original homes or communities. About 2 million of those are displaced within South Sudan and the remaining 2.2 million are outside the country.

But hope is not lost. It can be found, right now, amidst the thousands of people living in Ibba, especially with the emergence of a peace agreement in late 2018.

The work being done, through support from friends of HOPE International Development Agency, is ensuring that the most vulnerable receive the care they need.

HOPE donors made sure emergency supplies were available. They also ensured that families uprooted from their homes and regular routine of life could begin rebuilding their lives through access to clean water, education for children, health education, and hygiene training, in Ibba.

Right now, there is a critical shortage of access to clean water in Ibba, an area under pressure because so many people have fled their homes for the safety of Ibba.

A gift from you of $50 will provide clean water to one person in Ibba. Having access to clean water is critically important, especially for those who are most vulnerable: children and mothers.

A gift today will help construct a borehole well to provide clean water that ensures potentially deadly health crises, like diarrhea, dehydration, and waterborne diseases, are no longer a threat to families who have survived so much heartache and been so deeply traumatized.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Community pharmacies play a vital role in providing healthcare to vulnerable rural Hondurans

Community pharmacist with some of the children who have benefited from medicines and medical supplies.
With nearly seventy percent of its population living in poverty, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Many Hondurans live in remote rural regions, working the land to earn income. Despite their efforts, they are unable to earn enough income to pay for basic services, such as healthcare.

Healthcare services, especially in remote regions of Honduras, are scarce, unreliable, and often unaffordable. There is a national health system in place, but the country’s resources are too limited to provide adequate services to the entire population of nine million people.

Many Hondurans are neglected and vulnerable to even the simplest health concerns.

Families, especially in rural regions, do not receive even the most basic medical care. Unaffordable and inconsistent transportation makes the long journey to a health facility nearly impossible. Add to this the high cost of medical treatment, and families have no choice but to forgo the care they need.

Individuals often suffer needlessly from common and easily treatable ailments such as fever, pre-and-post natal discomfort, malaria, infections, headaches, coughs, colds, and diarrhea. While the latter is little more than an inconvenience in North America, in Honduras it often proves fatal if left untreated. While poor families may try every means possible to reach health facilities and receive medical treatment, often it is too late.

Community pharmacies offer a locally managed solution to the challenge of providing healthcare in rural Honduras.

By providing medicines and medical supplies to support existing health facilities in Honduras, HOPE International Development Agency is helping address a chronic lack of medical care in the country. A local partner runs an extensive medical program across the country and distributes these items to many different health facilities, including more than five hundred small community pharmacies that are often located where no other health facility exists.

The community pharmacies provide healthcare to many individuals living in remote regions and are responsible for helping treat more than seventy percent of all local ailments. Watch for next week’s post to learn more about the vital role that community pharmacies play in rural areas of Honduras.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Women in Nepal working together to lift their families out of poverty

Self-help groups provide women with opportunities to expand their capabilities and begin their journey out of poverty in a sustainable, self-directed manner.

Santa Maya Bayalkoti is among a group of women in Dobato, Sindhupalchwok, Nepal who are working together to transform their lives and community.

The earthquake of 2015 destroyed all Santa Maya’s meagre possessions. But it took more than Santa Maya’s possessions, it took away opportunities for her to move beyond surviving.

Following the earthquake, Santa Maya received emergency relief supplies, as well as medicine, clothes, and a shelter for her family.

Later, Santa Maya joined the Godavari Women’s Self-Help Group as it was being formed, and participated in adult education programs, training, and a loan program managed by the group. The training, along with a small loan from the group’s loan fund, enabled Santa Maya to begin vegetable farming and goat raising. More recently, Santa Maya received training in raising poultry and buffalo. Today, she sells eggs and buffalo milk at the local market, giving her a stable, sustainable weekly income.

Santa Maya and the other women in the self-help group she joined after the earthquake are transforming their lives through their own efforts and through mutual support. Santa Maya’s life is much different than it was after the disaster. Today, her family is thriving, and she is even able to contribute to the savings fund of her self-help group each month.

Santa Maya continues to be the author of her journey out of poverty.

“Thank you for giving me the confidence and support to start something of my own”, says Santa Maya.

Self-help groups, like the Godavari Women’s Self-Help Group in Dobato, function as microloan programs, but provide much more than financial assistance. They also create a community of women who encourage, support, and inspire each other to succeed in their journey out of poverty.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Mothers working together towards self-reliance

Today, 6,300 people in Yella, southern Ethiopia have clean water to drink, right in their community:

Children are no longer becoming sick or dying because of the water they drink. Gone are the 4-hour treks mothers and children made every day in search of water, most of which was disease-laden and potentially deadly. The risk of injury mothers faced from carrying 22 kilograms of water on their backs across rocky paths, is also gone.

Yet right now, many mothers in Yella are facing a challenge that threatens to stop their journey out of poverty.

Yes, the mothers of Yella have clean water. But while clean water is crucial, it’s just the first step towards self-reliance.

Having clean water solves the problem of waterborne diseases damaging the health of the community and taking lives. But clean water alone can’t solve the challenge of mothers not having enough income to care for their families.

Mothers in communities where friends of HOPE International Development Agency have given to establish women’s self-help groups are well on their way to becoming self-reliant and free from poverty.

Meseleah, a 33-year old mother in Yella, is a wonderful example of what happens when the kind of help you can provide arrives at the right time.

Support from friends of HOPE made it possible for Meseleah and 19 of her friends and neighbours to start a women’s self-help group, facilitated by a local leader in their community.

“Being part of a women’s self-help group has really benefited me and my children,” says Meseleah.

Meseleah and her group achieved success because they learned to save money, create and manage small businesses, and most importantly, work together to solve the problems of poverty in their community. Meseleah’s group created sustainable incomes by weaving traditional clothing to sell at the local market. Recently Meseleah took a small loan from her group’s shared loan fund and bought a milk cow. The milk Meseleah sells at the local market, along with profits from the sale of weaved clothing, supports a sustainable livelihood Meseleah has created to feed, clothe, and educate her children.

There are mothers who have not yet received the help that transformed Meseleah and her family. A woman’s self-help group of 15 - 20 women costs $125 per woman. A gift of $125 covers the cost of training, support, and the establishment of a group loan fund that a mother can access to establish a small business that will generate a sustainable livelihood for her family.

Women’s self-help groups, and the mothers who participate in the groups, become self-reliant.

Each time a mother takes a modest loan to establish a small business to support her family, she pays an affordable amount of interest, along with the loan amount, back to her group, growing the loan fund. The more a mother puts into savings, the more she can borrow to expand her business and create even more income. The value women place on supporting each other and working together is evident in the loan repayment rate, which is 100% for groups previously established.

Help a mother in Ethiopia become self-reliant.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

International Development Week 2019: Together for Gender Equality

A rural community in Ethiopia celebrates the installation of a new water system.

Across Canada, this week is dedicated to international development. Since 1991, International Development Week (IDW) has sought to inspire Canadians nationwide to learn more about global issues and initiatives and become active in bringing positive change.

This year’s theme, “Together for Gender Equality”, embodies Canada’s commitment to the global effort to address gender inequality and encourages all Canadians to be change-makers in advancing gender equality in the world.

HOPE International Development Agency works to reduce poverty on a global scale. With projects throughout the world, HOPE supports the poorest of the poor to establish self-determined, self-reliant lives.

The journey to self-reliance often begins with micro loans for women to start a small-scale business, or access to clean water to stay healthy, or school education for children, or supporting women to become leaders and advocates in their communities, or trainings in new agricultural methods that help to reduce consequences of climate change and natural disasters. In most cases, people living in poverty already know what they need, but they just don’t have the means to do so.

Donors who support the work of HOPE make a huge difference in people’s lives through their generous gifts. They not only bring hope to people, but they also bring empowerment and support them in leading dignified lives.