Archive for the ‘NGO’ Category

Photo by Kit Carson.

Her neighbors told her that she should leave her baby girl to die.

What was believed to be a severe reaction to a vaccine left her three-month-old child with little to no control of her extremities and frequent body tremors. Her firstborn could barely breast-feed and refused the inexpensive powder formula she had.

She prayed and prayed that God would send someone to correct her daughter’s physical problems, but no Cambodian doctor would commit to long-term oversight of her care. Ten months later, she had developed a system to slowly but surely breast-feed a child whose tongue seemed to have a mind of its own.

Photo by Courtney Cain.

Then a university student from America studying occupational therapy came to her home. The student was referred to her by her local pastor and a couple who operated an orphanage nearby. She started doing weekly exercises with her daughter to improve her mobility. Soon, she started to move her head from side to side and reach for her toys, something that was impossible before.

But that wasn’t enough. The Pediasure drink that she gave her was effective, but would cost three times the mother’s monthly pay. There were other hospitals she could go to, but the transportation and medical costs were too extensive.

A year later, she wasn’t producing enough milk for her baby and options were running out. She weighed less than a pound more than her birth weight. Thankfully one week, the couple said they were able to help arrange a hospital visit so she could have some long-term care. But with such corrupt practices in Cambodia, quality care was a long shot.

Photo by Kit Carson.

When the couple left that night, they paused outside. After a few minutes, they came back into the house because they said they had an urge to pray for her daughter again. The next morning, the baby woke up, saw the powder formula and reached for it, craving it and crying all at once. For the first time in her short yet painstaking life, she was drinking regularly. It was a miracle!

The hospital visit was arranged and the doctors were able to provide a specialized nipple that would be easier for her to feed from. They educated the mother on how to better care for her child. Doctors told her she will never fully recover from what the vaccine did, but she was on her way to living a functional, healthy life.

Photo by Laura Kebede.

Seven months later, she went from 2 lbs to 15 lbs and could focus her eyes on her mother, reach for her when she needed help and was much more aware of her surroundings. One mother’s faith and some help from a few people made the difference between life and death for one baby girl.

Follow the original story:

1. “The Baby”

2. “A Small Plea for Martha”

3. “An update about Martha”

4. “Praise to God for Martha’s recovery”

5. “So far in 2012”


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Just as we are trying to find the intersection of quality journalism and quality nonprofit work, that is where PhotoPhilanthropy specializes. Their motto, “Photography driven by social change. Social change driven by photography” sums up the exchange they wish to enhance.

Student and professional photographers can submit their unpaid work to PhotoPhilanthropy for awards between $2,000 to $15,000 and the chance to have their photo essays on display. Nonprofits can submit profiles and a description of their work on the website for photographers to find and respond to their need. They also network with nonprofit and photographer resources such as Truth with a Camera and BrandOutLoud.

This particular photo essay, entitled “Blindness” was made for Christian Blind Mission in Italy (CBM) by Stefano De Luigi:

Photo by Stefano De Luigi for Christian Blind Mission Italy http://photophilanthropy.org/gallery-posts/blindness/

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I would like to use today’s post to say happy birthday to Charity Water. After five years, Charity Water has helped more than two million people in 19 countries get clean drinking water. To celebrate, Charity Water is using their YouTube channel to say ‘thank you’ 250 times.

In honor of Charity Water’s five years, this post is going to be all about their organization. First, some facts about the worldwide water situation from Charity Water’s website.

  • 30,000 people die every week from unclean water.
  • 90 percent of those deaths are children under the age of five.
  • In Africa alone, 40 billion hours a year are spent carrying water from safe water locations to homes.
  • $28 billion is lost every year in Africa due to lack of safe water and sanitation.
  • According to the UN, one tenth of the global disease burden can be lifted with clean drinking water.

Now some quick facts about what Charity Water is doing with donations to alleviate these problems.

  • $20 can give one person clean drinking water and 100 percent of donations go directly to the field.
  • Charity Water has raised more than $40 million and funded more than 4,000 water projects around the world.
  • Charity Water projects create water options that are convenient for communities.
  • This leads to households and families being able to have water for gardens and become self-sufficient.
  • Community members are appointed as Water Committee members and are in charge of the oversight of the water.
  • Every $1 donated can return $12 in economic gains.

Charity Water is truly an organization that is making changes for people around the world. They provide great opportunities to get involved and make a difference in the world. They truly grasp and get that on the service people may be different but in reality, people are the same, same.

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What do you get when you get six girls with one boat, one ocean, and one unified mission to combat modern day slavery?

Row for Freedom.

Julia Immonen is one young woman set out to make her life count. The 31-year-old anti-trafficking activist has honed her passion and PR skills to found Sport Against Trafficking — an organization devoted to using athletics to raise awareness and much needed funds for anti-trafficking charities and victims. Sport Against Trafficking is the parent organization that gave birth to the Row for Freedom, mentioned above.

Watch the video below to learn a bit about Sport Against Trafficking:

So, what’s Row for Freedom all about?

Basically, it’s the first female crew of six that plans to row across the Atlantic, unaided. The women set off this December from La Gomera in the Canary Islands and LITERALLY row across this not-so-little pond, to Barbados. According to the website, the journey should take approximately 35-40 days — this means no bathroom, minimal ability to cook, one sleeping space that is smaller than a single bed and winds that could whip into storms.

Here’s Julia giving a sneak peak into the excursion and sharing her heart behind the vision:

Some of the people on board with the vision are Bear Grylls from the adventure-reality show, “Man vs. Wild,” five-time Olympic gold medalist rower Sir Steve Redgrave, Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, rugby player Ugo Monye and Beijing Olympic gold medalist rower Susan Francia.

To join these women on their adventure, go ahead and donate to the charities Row for Freedom supports here.

Be a part of the change you wish to see in the world.

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Photo by Lainie Mullen.

Six years after her husband’s death, his simple advice of “if there’s a tornado, get to the utility room,” saved 93-year-old Mildred’s life when 25 percent of Joplin, Mo. was destroyed by an F5 tornado May 22.

Once Mildred got inside the small, window-less utility room, she could hear the two large window panes on either side of her living room burst.

“If I had been out there, I would have been cut to pieces,” Mildred said.

That night, her daughter and son-in-law drove to the edge of the destruction and walked the rest of the way to Mildred’s house. Some of her neighbors’ houses, which were built decades after hers, were completely destroyed; Mildred’s house was not structurally damaged. Of course the windows were shattered and the flying glass cut up most of her furniture and belongings and the yard was unrecognizable, but for the most part, the house was in tact.

For three months, Mildred moved in with her daughter and son-in-law across town as her house was being repaired via insurance money. In late August, she was allowed to move back in, yet her yard was still a mess including her husband’s favorite trees knocked out by the tornado, the torn up garden and lots of debris from the rest of the neighborhood.

“It’s better that my husband passed before all this. He loved his garden,” Mildred said. “I always took care of the inside (of the house) and he took care of the outside.”

Mission Joplin volunteers work to remove Mildred's trees from her yard. Photo by Lainie Mullen.

So when Mission Joplin sent a volunteer team to finish removing the trees, Mildred couldn’t help but cry thinking of the memories connected to the trees. Yet at the same time, she was grateful to have her yard look normal again.

“I’m too old for this much change,” Mildred said. “I was very lucky.”

Mission Joplin was created to mobilize volunteers to serve the city. After May 22, that role became increasingly significant. They have helped more than 250 families, done more than 500 projects and mobilized more than 1,000 volunteers. I have had the privilege to work with them twice since the tornado and I know they are invested in the long-term recovery of Joplin.


Mystery Church (sponsor of Mission Joplin) August video update

Karis Community Church in Columbia video update from Joplin

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Ever wonder where the money goes when you donate to various charities? If you are like me, you have. Are those organizations taking a certain percentage of the money? Are they spending it wisely, efficiently and to the best of their abilities? With the natural disasters that have taken place over the past few years (Japan tsunami, Katrina, Joplin, Irene, East Africa drought and many others) there have been multiple opportunities to donate.

One organization that you can absolutely trust to spend your money wisely is World Vision. A recent blog post from World Vision reveals a little into where donated money goes. A good round number to start with is $100. According to the post, $100 can help a tanker truck bring fresh water to a family of six for a month. For $110, a family of six will be provided with grains, beans and oil for a month. Or for $110, a family will be provided a survival kit made up of items such as a mosquito net, tarp, three blankets, two buckets, 100 water purification tablets, one kitchen set and one hygiene kit.

If you are like me (on a budget), $10 can also make a difference. According to this World Vision link, because of multiple government grants, a donation can be multiplied five times. If you and a friend donate $10 each, after the multiplication you have given a family of six a month of fresh drinking water.  For $25 you can give a family two chickens.

For more ideas an opportunities to help East Africa, go here.

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A Greater Hope

Kit and Ream Carson with their two biological children Samuel and Joesph. Photo by Erica Simone.

“I was looking for direction in life,” is a term we as twenty-somethings involved in this start-up are very familiar with. There are so many opportunities, career paths and needs in the world available to us as young Americans to tackle; it can be intimidating.

But when I heard this quote come from Kit Carson, director one of the founders of A Greater Hope Orphanage in the Takeo province of Cambodia, I was naively surprised. Since my mind associated him with an established organization, family and life in Cambodia, that did not leave room for me to think of how he got to that point.

Leading up to his first trip to Cambodia in 1999, Kit was training to be a firefighter but had no passion for the job. He decided to go on a mission trip with his church in search of a different purpose.

“I came on the mission trip open and wanting to be used in whatever way God would use me,” Kit explained to me in a recent email.

He found a nation healing from the Khmer Rouge of the late 70s, but also vibrant people and culture.

“I fell in love with the Cambodian people. I loved the fact that I had very little to offer but that was more than enough to help people here,” Kit said.

In particular, Kit took notice to Ream, a Cambodian woman who worked as a translator and cultural liaison for NGOs in the area and whose father was a local pastor. As their relationship developed across the Pacific after Kit left, they both dreamt of ways to invest their lives in the future of Cambodia and the long cultural healing process Cambodia has gone and is going through. When they were married in America in 2003, they sought out ways to return to Cambodia long-term.

“Ream was a blessing and bonus to the trip. I do have to say that I was coming back to Cambodia for God not Ream. It was wonderful that God had prepared Ream for me, she is my partner and she keeps me going. Without Ream and her abilities here, I would not have been able to do this work,” Kit said. “So you might say the story is more about Ream and how I am able to help her do the work here.”

In 2006, they were able to return to Cambodia as directors of A Greater Hope Orphanage through Calvary Chapel Fallbrook, the same church Kit first went with to Cambodia. With 43 children at the orphanage now, there is room for expansion.

“We have a very difficult time with the public system here. There is a long and lengthy list to the problems we have with our kids going there.

“So here we are right now trying to open school for our 43 children to attend where teachers don’t smoke in class, or encourage the children to cheat, pay bribes or use them to work in their fields,” Kit said. “We want a school that is focused on God desires for our life, where they are encouraged to think and be creative.”

I asked Kit all this because I will be going with a team of seven MU students (not connected with this start-up) to help document their inspirational stories and get the word out about what they’re doing, the school they are building and recruit others to step up and find their part.

This story reflects Kyrsten’s journey of searching for direction and finding a seemingly huge and impossible task worth taking the risk for. Her vision to use powerful storytelling skills to inspire action and support existing efforts for good in the world is worth investing in. Keep an eye on this one, the potential is staggering!

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