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What do you think the world needs more of? Today is U.N. World Humanitarian Day, and your chance to spread the word, literally. Aug. 19th is the beginning of a monthlong campaign called “The World Needs More.” Tell the U.N. what you think the world needs in one word, through a Twitter hashtag or through a donation on its website. Jolkona’s suggestion?  #WHD2013 #TheWorldNeedsMore #GiveTogether.

World Humanitarian Day acknowledges the sacrifices of those who put themselves on the line to bring help to others. Set on Aug. 19th, the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, World Humanitarian Day in 2008 to honor those who have died giving humanitarian aid, and those continuing to make a difference around the world. In particular, this holiday celebrates first responders to crises, like conflict or natural disasters. These volunteers are often as affected by events as those they aid, and are more likely to lose their lives while helping someone else.

World Humanitarian Day also aims to encourage everyone to be a humanitarian at whatever capacity. Many parts of the world still need aid, and only global and international cooperation can effectively address some of these issues. Humanitarianism on a global scale needs the involvement of everyone who wants to help, even if it’s through making an important word reality, or a small donation.

Beyoncé stepped out in support of World Humanitarian Day 2012. This year, the Kid President is asking you to become a global citizen. With the World Needs More campaign, you have a chance to make a direct impact with your word of choice, and make a difference.

At Jolkona, our philosophy is that a small action can make a huge impact, and that anyone can be a philanthropist. Through both our Give Together program and Give Direct, choosing your cause and making a high impact donation makes humanitarian aid both easy and effective. Your donations not only provide help for under empowered people globally, but also support the dedicated volunteers making it all happen.

With the launch of Give Together, our goal is to make giving more communal, compounding the contributions of many to make a bigger impact. In that spirit, we think the world needs more #together. Take the time to check out the project page and use Twitter to spread #GiveTogether as your word of choice.

For more information, check out the World Humanitarian Day on Facebook and Twitter.

Remember: @Jolkona @UN_WHD #WHD2013 #theworldneedsmore #GiveTogether

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Feeling crafty?

In celebration of our new Give Together monthly philanthropy program, we are hosting an arty party at Seattle’s Material Good, home of the adorable Little Shirley vases!

Material Good vases

Paint your own pottery, enjoy some tasty food, sip a little wine and support a great cause with great company.

  • What: Paint Together, #GiveTogether
  • When: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm (or whenever you can get there!)
  • Where: Material Good Studio, 2959 Utah Ave S., Seattle
  • Why: Food, wine, live music and an excuse to get crafty. Did we mention it supports a great cause, too?
  • Tickets: Admission includes a pottery item of your choice to paint + food and wine. $20 for single tickets or $35 for 2 tickets in advance; $25 at the door.
  • How: Buy tickets here.

Grab a friend and join us on Friday, Sept. 6 – we hope to see you there!

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Calcutta Kids, the second Global Health project partner in this month’s Give Together program, provides medical treatment, fights malnutrition and analyzes data to battle India’s health problems before they become unmanageable. We recently spoke with Calcutta Kids founder Noah Levinson:

What is the inspiration behind your organization?

[The inspiration for Calcutta Kids] came the summer between high school and college when I volunteered with Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying Destitutes in Kolkata. While deeply moved by Mother Teresa’s sole mission to give love to those who would otherwise die alone, I was unsettled by people dying of curable diseases. I wrestled with the question of whether more needed to be done.

The following summer, I returned to Kolkata and again worked at the Home. A young man, Sudip, was brought to the Home because he was dying of an infection on his head: a rusty nail had penetrated into the skull. I recognized Sudip from a program I had volunteered at the previous year. He was one of the kids still in line to receive treatment when medicines and bandages ran out. The following day Sudip died in my arms because of that untreated head injury. The pain and anguish I felt was excruciating…I then founded Calcutta Kids.

What’s the story behind your project?

To prevent more unnecessary deaths like Sudip’s, we started a mobile health clinic which drove around the streets of Kolkata providing medical treatment to street children. The basic premise behind this project was to prevent street kids from dying at the Home for the Dying Destitutes.  We collected treatment data and analyzed it regularly. Through this data we found out that while children were happy that they could be treated for their illnesses free of cost, they were coming back to the clinic again and again with the same illnesses. Basically the mobile health clinic was a band-aid solution to a larger problem. The larger problem was that most of these kids were malnourished as younger children and had weak immune systems and incomplete brain development. It was clear that if we really wanted to prevent people from ending up at the Home for the Dying Destitutes, we needed to work with children under the age of three. In addition to this, we needed to  help ensure that mothers give birth to healthy children with good birth weights and that malnutrition does not plague them and retard their development.  We therefore decided to start the Maternal and Young Child Health Initiative.

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Let’s say Give Together raises $250 for your project by the end of August. What’s our impact?

The adoption of a pregnant woman/child pair. With that money, Calcutta Kids provides: pregnancy counseling in the home once a month for the pregnant woman by a qualified Community Health Worker, a minimum of three antenatal check ups with our qualified female doctor for the pregnant woman, a minimum of 2 tetanus toxoid inoculations for the pregnant woman, and access to folic acid, iron, calcium and vitamin A to the pregnant woman and mother through lactation. In addition to this, the mother would receive daily access to a free clinic for the pregnant women and receive free medicines, access to a delivery savings scheme in which Calcutta Kids matches the patient party’s savings up to half the cost of a normal delivery ensuring that the child’s birth is facility-based, the required immunizations and micronutrients for the child, and monthly check-ups for child to monitor growth. If it is found that the child is not growing normally, the child will be invited to participate in the Calcutta Kids sponsored daily feeding program. The mother will also be provided with counseling in the home once a month and access to 24 hour emergency care for child at the local clinic.

In a nutshell, why should Give Together members choose your project this month?

If you care about pregnant women and young children, evidence-based interventions,  using effective and tested behavioral change communication to ensure lasting positive change, and believe that empowered community health workers can be change agents to improve their communities… then please join the Calcutta Kids family by supporting our work.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. Throughout the month of August, you can sign up to join Give Together and choose Calcutta Kids or two other global health projects. Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

We would like to help you get to know our three global health projects for this month’s Give Together, through our Partner Spotlight series. First up is the inspirational Esperança, which provides life-saving surgeries and medical training to rural communities in Central and South America.

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What is the inspiration behind your organization?

Esperança began in 1970 but one of our two founders, James Tupper got his first close look at medical deprivation and poverty in 1960 while traveling to the South Pole abroad a U.S. Navy icebreaker bound for Antarctic.  The 26-year old Medical College of Wisconsin graduate couldn’t believe his eyes when the shipped docked along the coast of South America.  He went ashore and saw families living in shacks built on islands of trash in open sewers, children with swollen bellies sat listlessly in front of mud-and-stick hovels and adults coughed up blood into dirty rags.  These images haunted James for many years.

When his military service was completed, he entered the Franciscan Order. After his ordination, Father Luke was assigned to Brazil and began the overwhelming task of bringing medical care to the people of that region. In 1970, His brother Jerry, an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, incorporated the nonprofit organization, Esperança, to support Luke’s tireless efforts.

During this time, Luke encountered about 250,000 people in the Central Amazon Region who needed medical care, but it took them up to three days to travel by boat to reach the Esperança clinic. In 1972, Esperança solved that problem with the purchase of the San Diego passenger ferry, the Point Loma, for $15,000. Over the course of 18 months, with donated materials and volunteer labor, the Point Loma was converted to the hospital ship Esperança.

Ten years after arriving in Brazil, Esperança’s medical and surgical facilities were moved on shore.  Today, the Fundaçao Esperança occupies a full city block with up-to-date medical facilities. They are a self-sustaining operation after 30 years. This endeavor was the backbone of how we operate as an organization now. We now partner with NGO’s in the countries we operate in and help to provide sustainable disease prevention and control with a working relationship within the community.

What’s the story behind your project?

Of all the work Esperança conducts, none has more dramatic effect than our surgical missions.

Each mission is dedicated to either general surgery or a surgical specialty such as plastic surgery, orthopedic, ophthalmology, pediatric, gynecology, and urology. All operations performed significantly improve quality of life for our patients and in some cases are life-saving. Volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses come from throughout the U.S., procuring medical supplies for their mission and paying their own travel expenses. Each team travels 1-2 weeks and accomplishes between 40 and 50 surgeries. Training of local health professionals is an important component of our program.

Bolivia Mother child

How did you become connected with Jolkona?

Esperança was originally contacted by Jolkona because of our high ratings for efficiency and accountability.

Can you tell us a bit more about your current project, and how it’s going?

This past year at Esperança in our surgical program alone we saw over 1,000 patients! This does not include the numerous consultations and training hours for local area doctors to learn from our surgeons.

What kind of lasting change does the project hope to make?

Esperança as an organization hopes to use the training from the missions and the expertise of our surgeons to educated local doctors to the point that our assistance in not needed.

So say I give $15 to the project, what will be my personal impact?

A single surgery cost $156! By giving $15 you are able to start building the resources for a surgery to be completed along with the training of local doctors.

We love stories at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite impact story you can share?

Maria Galvan, a 28-year-old Nicaraguan mother, formed a powerful bond with her daughter Claudia, the moment she laid eyes on her. But, little did she know that only a month later, that loving bond would be put to the test.

Claudia was born at home in a single room, thatch-roofed house deep within Bosawas rainforest. According to the midwife, she was a perfectly healthy baby girl. But about a month afterwards, Maria noticed something was seriously wrong. Claudia never had a bowel movement. Claudia’s life was in danger and that she needed to take her to a hospital right away. The closest hospital was on the other side of the Bosawas rainforest, the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. Maria had never been outside her own village. To save her daughter, she would have to travel over 375 miles through dense, dangerous, and unfamiliar jungle, carrying her baby every step of the way. But despite her fears, her motherly bond with Claudia made the decision simple. The following morning Maria set out, hiking hour after hour through 24 miles of rainforest to the closest major river. From there, she took an 18-hour boat trip before finally arriving in the city of San Jose Bocay.

But her journey wasn’t over yet.

It turned out that the doctors in San Jose Bocay weren’t equipped to properly diagnose Claudia’s condition, and their only option was to refer her to a hospital in Jinotega. By the time she arrived, Claudia was severely dehydrated and in septic shock. It took several days of intensive care for Claudia to stabilize. Once she was stable, the doctors diagnosed her with rectovaginal fistula, a birth defect that leaves an open passage in the bowels. Unfortunately, none of the surgeons had the skill or expertise to properly treat such a condition. The best they could do for Claudia was to perform a colostomy. Happy that she was alive, but devastated by the fact that her little girl would always carry this burden, Maria set off on the long journey back home.

Six months went by before the stopgap procedure failed. Claudia’s colostomy tube had become obstructed, and she began to descend again into septic shock.

Maria prayed for the chance to save Claudia’s life, she wouldn’t accept defeat; she simply couldn’t give up on her daughter. Days later, she heard about Esperança on the radio and that we were going to be in her area with a surgical mission. So Maria set out in a race against time to the hospital in Jinotega.

Esperança had brought surgical volunteers to Jinotega that week to perform vital surgeries far above the capabilities of any local physician. Holding onto hope, Maria brought Claudia to one of our best surgeons, Dr. Daniel Custer, for evaluation. After a thorough examination, he scheduled Claudia for immediate surgery. He not only cleared the colostomy, he was able to remove it altogether because he was also able to mend the rectovaginal fistula that was causing all of Claudia’s problems in the first place.

Maria couldn’t believe that the nightmare was finally over. Dr. Custer had fully cured her daughter and, in doing so, given her a bright new future! After a few days of rest and some teary goodbyes, Maria set off on her final journey – to return home with her healthy baby girl. Without a doubt, Maria is an amazing mother who went to great lengths to save her child.

In a nutshell, why should someone give to this project?

Because of the countless stories like Claudia’s — about 1,000 stories last year! Let’s see how many we can make this year.

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Our theme for Give Together in August is Global Health! 1094765_10151501495977396_94142620_n

We have three partners making a difference worldwide by providing quality healthcare to underserved people and their communities. Check out their profiles, and join our Give Together program to donate to your favorite. Make a difference in Global Health today!

Adopt a New Mother in India’s Slum’s

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Calcutta Kids is a medical treatment and preventative healthcare initiative based in the slums of Kolkata. In addition to providing needed medical treatment, they also gather and analyze data to effectively battle major issues — such as malnutrition and poor development — by treating them before they become crises. Their Maternal and Young Child Health Initiative focuses on making sure that pregnant women receive the prenatal, postpartum and pediatric care their families need to survive and thrive.

The key to improving global health is effective preventative medicine. Calcutta Kid’s data-based method has reduced malnutrition in the slums they work in by 75% in 3 years. Through Give Together, you can help make even more of an impact. Your donation will contribute to “adopting” a mother/child pair, providing counseling, vitamins, vaccines, check-ups and a safe delivery.

Make Bolivian Babies Smile

Esperança provides medical treatment and much needed surgeries to some of the poorest and most remote communities in South and Central America. The organization brings mobile teams of volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists and technicians to villagers who would otherwise be unable to seek treatment for chronic or emergency health problems. In addition, it trains local doctors and medical practitioners so they can make a sustainable difference on the ground.

Last year, Esperança treated more than 1,000 patients. A surgery from Esperança, such as repairing a young child’s cleft palate, costs as little as $156 and has a permanent, positive impact. Contribute through Give Together to Esperança and begin building the supplies for a surgical team to treat rural communities.

Get Haitians Back on Their Feet

In many communities, people with permanent physical disabilities are unable to work, and are therefore stuck in poverty. BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) recognizes that providing medical care is central to fighting poverty, resolving this problem by providing services like prosthetics, orthotics and training for poor people living with disabilities.

The devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti resulted in thousands of additional amputees, overtaxing a healthcare system that already struggled to provide major medical care. BRAC stepped in to turn their Limb and Brace Center into a sustainable health enterprise, not only by supplying much-needed prosthetics and orthotics, but also through counseling and other patient services. By contributing to BRAC Haiti, you can provide the means for Haitians with disabilities to lift themselves out of poverty.

By contributing to any of these three projects, you can improve the quality of life for vulnerable people, and make an impact in Global Health. Give Together today!

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Give Together is live! And our opening feature issue is Education1005044_10151427376962396_1217417665_n

We have three projects that significantly help both teachers and students internationally move towards a brighter future. Give Together today, choosing your favorite project and pooling your contributions with others who share your same interests.

Here is an introduction to our featured projects:

Empower Burmese Women to Become Effective Teachers

Educational Empowerment supports education in SE Asia, especially in Myanmar. A third of children in the country are unable to access education at all, and 70% of those who do never move beyond primary school. Educational Empowerment has made it their goal to fix this deficit by providing training and educational materials to teachers (90% of whom are women) in poverty stricken communities in Myanmar.

This project not only enhances the education of young children, providing them greater opportunities in the future, but it also empowers the women who teach, allowing them to be more effective in the classroom, and prepare them better for their careers. Both teachers and children face poverty and unequal opportunity. The $250 fundraising goal for Educational Empowerment will purchase the necessary materials to contribute to the essential development of primary school children, and allow their teachers to become confident  role models.

Providing Play-Powered Lanterns for Rural Students in Ghana

Empower Playgrounds, Inc. is an innovative company that installs playground equipment for schools in Ghana, which charge special lanterns that students can take home with them after school to study. In most villages in Ghana, there isn’t a reliable source of power. The village of Ahiatroga, is no different. This makes it difficult for students to continue their education outside of the classroom, which is essential for increasing the quality of their education.

The $500 fundraising goal will install a merry-go-round for Ahiatroga’s school, charging portable LED lanterns for students to take home and study with. Empower Playgrounds, Inc. has already installed 40 of these innovative merry-go-rounds, benefitting almost 10,000 students in Ghana. Donate today, and add the students of Ahiatroga to this growing number.

Fund the Education of Underserved Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

The Technology Access Foundation (TAF) is an organization in King County, Washington, that is working on improving the STEM education for communities of color, better equipping underserved students to enter college, and helping them pursue careers in fields of science and technology. Their summer program provides camps focused on a number of topics, such as robotics, aviation and design. The students attend a field trip, and present their work at the end of the session.

The fundraising goal of 2 scholarships at $350 will allow some of the highest need students from White Center Washington, where as many as 82% of students qualify for free or reduced lunches, to have an in-depth, and hands on experience with a STEM field of their interest. The summer program will supplement their education, preparing them for college and science and tech based career.

Donate today, and use Give Together to pick one of these organizations and improve education worldwide!

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GET INVOLVED!