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What do mosquitoes, freshwater snails and ticks have in common? All three are vectors – critters that transmit deadly diseases like malaria and dengue fever – and therefore major villains in this year’s vector-borne disease themed World Health Day, the April 7th World Health Organization observance that raises awareness of serious global health problems.

Three facts to think about over the weekend:

  • More than 1 billion people are infected and more than 1 million die from vector-borne diseases every year.
  • Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17 percent of all infectious diseases.
  • Malaria causes more than 600 000 deaths every year globally, most of them children under 5 years old.

Many of these diseases are preventable, primarily by improving access to clean water and sanitation. Jolkona’s partner MADRE works in Kenya to provide sources of clean water in rural, indigenous communities. This project builds communal collection points in villages in schools, and trains local people in hygiene, health, and water system maintenance.

Along with preventing and treating vector-borne diseases, our health partners also work hard to improve access to prenatal care, lifesaving surgeries and prosthetics. You can make a difference, too, by supporting any of these projects:

You can observe World Health Day on Monday by learning more about vector-borne diseases and contributing to a global health project — even with just $10. As we say here at Jolkona: every drop counts.

Photo Credit: WHO/S. Hollyman

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The end of August means many things: that summer will give way to cozy sweater weather and the first orange leaves, that pumpkin spice lattes will soon be available at coffee shops around the country.  Here at Jolkona, the end of August means that our second month of Give Together is coming to a close, and it is you last chance to give to Global Health before we feature three new projects!

Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to increase our Global Health project goals twice, raising $640 in monthly donations through our Give Together community so far. Whether you vote for mother/child health care in India, prosthetics and amputee rehabilitation in Haiti, or cleft palate surgery in Bolivia, you are part of a global movement to save lives.

Online access to philanthropic causes has truly revolutionized microgiving and individual donor impact. Check out eBay‘s infographic, 16 Ways the Internet Has Proved it Has a Heart, demonstrating the various times in the last few years where online communities have pulled together to make an incredible impact. From raising thousands for Doctors without Borders, to raising more than $1 million to bring clean water to parts of Africa, to even helping to fund cryogenic freezing as a terminal cancer patient’s last wish, the ability of online communities to mobilize funds for issues like Global Health is unprecedented.

sample - viral giving

At Jolkona our unique Give Together community makes giving even easier, and is tapping the potential of viral giving.

Next month, Give Together September will continue this trend of online philanthropy with an Animals theme, featuring projects from the Snow Leopard Trust, Reading With Rover, and Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Check back on this blog for more information about these projects over the next few weeks.

Use these last few days of August to Give Together for Global Health. And, as you snuggle up against the coming fall chill with your favorite pet and your obligatory pumpkin spice latte, prepare to Give Together for Animals.

You can keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Our third partner in August’s Give Together campaign for global health is BRAC Haiti, an organization fighting chronic poverty by providing prosthetics, orthotic  and other comprehensive support programs to rehabilitate physically disabled Haitians. In the organization’s own words, here’s more information about this month’s project:

What’s the inspiration behind your organization?

BRAC is a development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. We started in Bangladesh in 1972, and over the course of our evolution, have established ourselves as a pioneer in operating innovative antipoverty interventions at scale. BRAC organizes the poor using the communities’ own human and material resources to catalyze lasting change and create an ecosystem in which the poor have the chance to seize control of their own lives. BRAC has developed support services that are geared toward inclusion in the areas of human rights, legal aid, education, social and economic empowerment, finance and enterprise development, agriculture, environmental sustainability, disaster preparedness and of course, health care.

Renade below the knee prosthetic

What’s the story behind your project?

BRAC has worked directly in Haiti since shortly after the devastating earthquake that hit in January 2010, drawing on its own experience of starting up and operating relief and rehabilitation programs in post-conflict and post-disaster environments. Our immediate disaster relief efforts included replication of BRAC’s Limb and Brace Center in Bangladesh to help victims of the earthquake. BRAC Haiti’s Limb and Brace Center opened in September 2010 in Port-au-Prince and continues to make and fit low cost, quality artificial limbs and braces, in addition to providing counseling and rehabilitation services. The Center is staffed by qualified local Haitian technicians and a medical officer that received hands-on training and guidance from BRAC’s team of professionals from Bangladesh for over two years.

By providing artificial limbs and braces to the poor, BRAC is helping to reduce the burden on families of physically disabled individuals by increasing their ability to participate in daily life and other social and economic activities, thereby allowing disabled Haitian citizens to contribute to ongoing, post-earthquake recovery and rebuilding efforts.

How did you become connected with Jolkona?

BRAC has been acquainted with Jolkona since your organization started after your founder reached out to us to offer a platform to raise funds for our important programs – his family is Bangladeshi and he was aware of BRAC’s work and so extended the invitation to our team in the US.

Can you tell us more about your current project?

The BLBC offers physical therapy and other rehabilitation services, and counseling to the physically disabled and their family members. It is equipped to accommodate patients who come from outside of Port au Prince or who otherwise require overnight facilities. BRAC’s Limb and Brace Center is the only provider of customized, durable braces in the Port-au-Prince area. All prosthetics and orthotics are manufactured onsite using suitable technology deemed appropriate by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) that takes into consideration the Haitian context and convenience and ease of maintenance to the beneficiaries.

The clinic has served over 2,392 patients as of April 2013. While the BLBC continues to see patients injured as a result of the earthquake, it is increasingly serving patients injured by accidents, and children born with limb deformities and disabilities. Approximately 74% of patients treated at the BLBC are under the age of 15.

Patients receiving treatment from BLBC are shown as below:

Particulars Total Male Female Adult Child
Total Patients 2,392 1,158 1,234 636 1,756
Total Prosthesis 123 48 75 52 71
Total Orthosis 1,926 964 962 470 1,456
*Others 343 146 197 114 229

What kind of lasting impact do you hope to achieve?

Haiti’s population of citizens living with untreated physical disabilities was high even before the earthquake due to a lack of sufficient development in the health care sector and poor infrastructure conditions fed by unfavorable economic and social conditions. Everyday life in Haiti paints a picture that can be harsh at best and those living with a disability are often regarded as economic burdens or social pariahs. A locally-based and consistent supply of quality, cost-effective limbs, braces and patient services, including counseling, are required to unlock the potential of this often disregarded segment of Haiti’s population.

Let’s say Give Together raises $150 for your project by the end of August. What’s our impact?

The BLBC offers a range of treatments to individuals – from brace and split orthotic devices all the way through to prosthetic limbs. A donation of $50 provides a foot orthosis that can correct a prohibitive deformity. A donation of $75 can provide a long leg brace that can make walking possible in spite of lack of certain leg muscles or can provide a custom ankle foot orthosis that will allow a patient to perform a wider range of physical activities. A donation of $530 would mean that a patient could receive a needed below the knee prosthetic limb and $720 would provide a full below the hip prosthetic limb to an individual in need. Beyond providing the devices themselves, these amounts include the cost to provide important counseling, rehabilitation and follow-up care to the Center’s patients by a team of qualified and caring professionals.

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

Viola is 34 years old. She had a small roadside business and was working there when the earthquake started in January 2010. When the tremors began, she fell down and a neighboring building collapsed on top of her. Viola faded in and out of consciousness for several hours and was taken to the hospital by community volunteers, where she finally woke up. The doctors there informed Viola that her leg was severely damaged and that they had no choice but to amputate. After the amputation, Viola was unable to walk. She could no longer operate her small business and had no way of generating income for herself and her daughter. Viola’s partner had left her after the amputation and the little support he provided went toward school fees for her daughter. Each day was a struggle for Viola and her child.

Then one day a neighbor told Viola about BRAC’s Limb and Brace Center and she made her way to the Center. After her first visit, she thought, “They will give me the ability to walk… I was happy”. Two weeks later, Viola was fitted with a prosthetic leg, designed out of durable material that is easy to clean and maintain. She practiced walking on her leg, which felt heavy at first, and gradually grew accustomed to it. Soon after, Viola was back to work. “I do the same business as before,” she says. “I have no problems.” Now, instead of worrying about how to provide for her family, Viola spends her free time playing with her daughter. She hopes that her daughter will grow up to be a doctor, so that she can help others.

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 BRAC or two other global health projects.

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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.

CalcuttaKids1

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.

If you are between the ages of 15 and 24, log onto Facebook, update your Twitter, and post a selfie on your Instagram because today is International Youth Day #InternationalYouthDay #Celebrate #NoFilter. Every August 12 is International Youth day, a day meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the young people of the world. The UN chose this years theme to be “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward.”

Benefits of Youth Migration

The Pew Research Center described Millennials as, “confident, self-expressive, liberal, and open to change.”  These characteristics, paired with relatively cheap transportation costs, make international travel a viable option for many young people who don’t have strong ties at home, or who are just adventurous in general. Many young people (th

Holding Hands Around the World 2

e majority being young women) migrate to another country to learn another language, to gain new experiences and to look  for work. The United World Project recently talked about youth migration stating, “They can provide financial as well as social remittances, including innovative ideas, practices, identities, and social capital.” Although it seems like both sides of the equation are equal and mutually beneficial, some young people who migrate aren’t always welcomed with open arms. (Photo by: UofL International Student & Scholar Services).

Risks of Migration

The same United World Project article described a number of risks that young migrants may face: “Pre-departure through in-transit, post-arrival and return and reintegration to their own society.” The article goes on to say that migrants are “often misguided and susceptible to abuse and exploitation.”  This is an unfortunate reality because some young migrants don’t know their rights, or didn’t do their research. “Information is power,” says Jo Rispoli of the International Organization for Migration. If someone is misinformed, it may cost them dearly, especially if they are far away from home.

What Should Be Done

The familiar picture of stick figures holding hands around a world is supposed to signify  camaraderie, tolerance, and a global community that stands together. However, this is not even remotely the case. Migrants being taken advantage and being misinformed about the place they are traveling to is the norm, and this is a big enough problem that the UN made it a topic for an international holiday. Migrants should read up-to-date guidebooks and always do their research on places and jobs they have accepted.  Doing this could mean the difference between a positive life changing experience, or a very dark one.

Here at Jolkona, we are all about positive life changing experiences, and give you the opportunity to change someone’s life. This month is Global Health month, and through our Give-Together campaign, your micro donations can make a real impact on a global scale. Check out this month’s projects here, and donate!

You can 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.

Tom's Bolivia trip 2012 039

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.

You can keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

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

CalcuttaKids2

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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Whenever a Miss America contestant is asked a question about how she would change the world if she wins the crown, her answer will sound something like, “I will try to attain world peace, end poverty, improve health worldwide, and teach little children how to read.”  As overly ambitious and cliché this answer is, the world has made strides in the area of global health with the help of vaccines.

Needle by Dr. Shepard

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are twenty eight Vaccine-Preventable Diseases that have vaccines fighting against them including:  Hepatitis A and B, Measles, Lyme Disease, and the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and many more. These vaccines have prevented the spread of disease, and improved the quality of life of all who have been vaccinated. However, vaccinations aren’t always readily available, and when supply is short, the consequences could be disastrous.

It was reported just earlier this month that a measles epidemic hit Pakistan, and this epidemic has already claimed 500 children’s lives (the full article can be read here). Measles is preventable with a vaccine, but not all have access to said vaccine. Dr. Zahid, Medical Superintendent of Mayo Hospital (one of the many hospitals seeing many of the patients with measles) said, “About 80 percent of patients were not vaccinated.”  The power of vaccinations is incredible, and their importance shouldn’t be underestimated. More vaccines could have saved 500 children.

This past month at Jolkona was education month, and we are grateful for the generosity of our readers.  I would like to officially announce that Jolkona will focus on the topic of global health for the month of August. Global health is an issue that many in our office feel passionate about, so dedicating three projects to improving global health was a no-brainer. Please stay tuned for more information coming soon.

By partnering with Jolkona, you get to choose how you impact the world. Join our Give Together program today!

You can keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Sunday, April 7th is World Health Day, celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of the World Health Organization in 1948. It is a day to bring attention to the significant global health issues that impact people all over the world, and a day to donate to a project through Jolkona, that will improve the health of individuals, and of a community.

This year’s theme of World Health Day is cardiovascular disease (CVD), and high blood pressure.  CVD (including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure) is the leading causes of death and disability world wide, representing 30% of global deaths (17.3 million people). In fact, as cause of death, it is far more common in developed countries than it is in undeveloped countries. So this year, in honor of World Health Day, we are asking you to think locally by taking action to reduce your own risk for CVD, whilst also acting globally by working to alleviate health concerns that under-empowered people face, such as malnutrition and poor sanitation.

You can be sure to lower your risk of CVD and other related non-communicable diseases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some key ways to protect heart health.

  • Avoid excessive tobacco use, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet.
  • 30 minutes of physical activity every day of the week.
  • Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, as well as limiting the amount of salt to less than a teaspoon a day.

Find out more about CVD at the WHO

While you take steps to improve your health, remember that CVD is a global epidemic, and disproportionately affects the developing world.

  • 80% of people who die from non-communicable diseases live in low or middle-income countries.
  • Low birth weight, folate deficiency, infections and poor nutrition are risk factors for non-communicable diseases that significantly impact people in developing countries.
  • People in developing countries are usually unable to access the resources needed to effectively diagnose and treat their disease.
  • The lifestyle changes associates with industrialization and urbanization, such as a sedentary lifestyle, and increased alcohol and tobacco use increase the risk of CVD in developing countries.
  • Premature deaths due to CVD reduce the GDP of low and middle-income countries by as much as 6.8%, resulting in a heavy burden on rapid economic development*

*Statistics taken from WHO’s CVD Factsheet

While maintaining a healthy heart is certainly important, you can also impact global health by donating to a project that benefits under-empowered communities who face pressing health crises due to malnutrition or disease.

  • Donate $100 through the Mali Health Organizing Project to provide a year of high-impact health care for 10 people living in slum neighborhoods in Mali. Your donation enrolls families in a comprehensive healthcare program through a local clinic. The program provides home visits to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases quickly and effectively, educating communities about healthcare, and reducing child mortality.
  • Donate $40 through Friends of Orphans, to provide a month’s worth of fresh seasonal produce for an orphan in Mexico. The children receive a balanced diet, which aids in physical development, and prevent micronutrient deficiencies.
  • Donate $260 through the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society to build a hygienic and environmentally friendly toilet in the poorest parts of rural India. This allows people, especially women, to perform bodily functions in safety and privacy, while reducing contact with waste, which causes 80% of preventable disease in rural communities.

Spend April 7th making the world a little bit healthier. Make changes to your lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease, and lengthen your life, and reach out to a community that faces a pressing health crisis. Think locally and act globally on World Health Day.

Spread awareness about global health via social media: like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and re-pin our pins on Pinterest.

 

July 9th saw the start of our Give Health matching campaign designed to coincide with July’s Global Health month here in Seattle.  The match was a generous $3500 and finished fully funded!

We want to thank everyone who participated: the sponsors, the donors, the volunteers, and also S4SC for throwing us a great party and showing us how to socialize for social change!

The final amount raised was:

$9569!

And here’s the impact you’ve made:

  • 2 prosthetics provided in Bangladesh
  • 49 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 4 booklets about improved mental health distributed in Japan
  • 12 children received complete dental care in Bolivia
  • 12 participants in Kenyan soccer tournament sponsored
  • 60 children fed for a week in Uganda
  • 2 families of 6 people fed for three weeks in Somalia
  • 20 people received healthcare in Mali
  • 2 dogs vaccinated in Nepal
  • 8 weeks of medical supplies provide in Bangladesh
  • 2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
  • 10 children received complete dental care in Bolivia
  • 4 weeks of health screenings provided in Bangladesh
  • 70 health kits provided in Somalia
  • 2 children’s dental visit sponsored in Bolivia
  • 4 water construction tools provided in Kenya
  • 20 people received oral rehydration salts in Somalia
  • 2 children received vitamins and medicine in Sierra Leone
  • 2 children’s medical needs supported in Cambodia
  • 2 malnourished children saved in Nepal
  • 2 weeks of care provided for a mother and her baby in Guatemala
  • 2 bags of seeds provided in Nicaragua
  • 2 children sponsored for a dental visit in Bolivia
  • 7 women health workers supported in Peru

Thank you everyone!

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On Thursday of last week, a group of passionate individuals got together in a trendy building on Lenora and 1st to celebrate Jolkona and make their impact. That’s right, Socializing for Social Change‘s (S4SC) event benefitting Jolkona was a great success! Here’s the story of how the night went, and in true Jolkona fashion, a report of the impact the event had.

Volunteers from Jolkona and S4SC assembled at Maker’s Space at 4:00 to get ready for the event. They prepared food, put out the raffle station, hooked up the sound system, and set up two projectors; one highlighting different Global Health facts and Jolkona projects, the other broadcasting any tweets featuring #S4SC live. At 6:00, guests started arriving.

They were greeted at the door, and given a nametag featuring their twitter handle and the project they donated to with their ticket. They then got food, drinks, and raffle tickets; a chance to win one out of four fabulous prizes. At 7:30, S4SC founder Antonio Smith officially welcomed everyone who attended, and introduced our very own Nadia Khawaja, who gave guests the rundown on Jolkona. At 8:30, the raffle tickets were drawn, and everyone received swag bags filled with great prizes. By 9:30, the event was over, and volunteers helped return the space to the neat order it was in before.

I felt that the evening was very successful; S4SC created a lively atmosphere and a great forum to talk about Jolkona and giving. This kind of event is a great way to attract the vibrant and young community that Jolkona loves. Seeing the twitter wall live, and hearing about the potential amount of publicity for Jolkona, showed me yet again that each and every one of us, each drop of water counts towards making a difference.

The Impact:

-The hashtag #S4SC potentially garnered 30,000 impressions the night of the event!

80 Event tickets were sold, meaning:

10 youth will be sponsored to attend the Kick It with Kenya soccer/leadership conference.

23 children will receive diarrhea treatment in Kolkata, India.

8 Women will receive training to be community health promoters in rural Peru.

56 Raffle tickets were bought; and Jolkona received a total of $1,100 for Global Health, finishing our Give Health matching campaign!

A huge thank you from all of us at Jolkona to Socializing for Social Change! Their work and partnership is what made this amazing and fun event possible.

See the total impact our Give Health Campaign had. If this event sounded fun, get ready for Corks N’ Forks on October 4th! Read more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Editors Note: This post was written by the one and only Chi Do!

I grew up in Vietnam, where I witnessed first-hand the inequalities of the health care delivery system in third world countries. Access to medical care was only for the more privileged, smaller sector of the population. If you were poor and lived hundred miles from the city, disease would almost be a death sentence. My childhood dream was cultivated from this knowledge. I wanted to become a medical doctor who would bridge that gap, bringing health care to the poorest of the poor, and to the most remote areas of the country.

That childhood dream took a back seat when my family immigrated to America and as I worked hard to build up a new life, aiming for the American dream. In 2006, the University of Washington, my alma mater, started a new tradition called the Common Book, in which every first-year has to read the same book prior to attending their first college quarter. The first book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains: the Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World” by Tracy Kidder captured my heart. It reminded me of that childhood dream I once had – the dream to bring health access to all. I started seeking for opportunities to get involved and found the Jolkona Foundation. The idea that a small donation makes a large impact speaks so much to me. Everybody can be a philanthropist. Everybody can help make life better for another person, whether they are right next to you, or half the world away.

A couple months ago, I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in the middle of the largest urban slum in the country. There was a small building nestled in the corner, away from all the noises of daily life. It served as the slum’s clinic sponsored by Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI). While we were there, a middle-aged woman came in carrying an infant on her arms while a young girl walked shyly behind her. I came to find out the baby was born to this young girl, who was barely 17 years old. She was married when she was 13. The older woman was the baby’s grandma. They came to seek medical care for the baby boy who had a common cold. Hearing their story, my heart flew to them. Many young girls in developing countries today have never had the opportunity for education, never known anything else beyond the 4×4 wall of their family house in the slum, and have often entered motherhood and faced too many maternal health problems at such a young age.

I am proud to be volunteering for Jolkona, to spread the word, to cultivate philanthropy within my social circles, and to lend a helping hand. I do all this with the hope that more young girls and women around the world are given the health care and educational opportunities they deserve. I urge every one of you to do the same, to seek the passion that speaks to your heart. And if it is to share or to serve the underprivileged, join us!

During the month of July, your donation to any Global Health project will be matched. Consider donating to the slum clinic in Dhaka that I mentioned above. With $50, you can provide medical supplies for the whole clinic or cover the cost of a general practitioner, both for an entire week. For the majority of people living in the slum, this is the only place they can go for medical care. In addition, join us tonight at Maker’s Space, where Socializing for Social Change is hosting an event benefiting Jolkona. To attend, you must make a $10 donation to one of three health-related projects!

Inspired? Find more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Read more about Jolkona’s visit to the DCI Clinic here!

Global health has never been more important. In our increasingly globalized society, where one can travel to the other side of the world in mere hours, improving quality and access to health not only benefits others but also ourselves. New medical breakthroughs protect millions of people from debilitating diseases and prevent even more from contracting them. But without access to these services, millions fall between the cracks.

In my own experience, access to health services is a major concern in all parts of the world. The United States, despite its status as a Western industrialized country, has significant problems providing healthcare to its own population. Over 50 million people are uninsured and cannot effectively access services without making a large financial commitment. I currently work at a hospital clinic and every day I face situations where patients feel overwhelmed by skyrocketing medical bills. Some of our cancer patients in particular must significantly downsize their lives to afford care. These problems similarly plague the Indian healthcare system, where hospital accessibility and quality varies with socioeconomic status. My father once fell ill during a visit and though his every need was met promptly, it was expensive and likely more than most Indians could afford.

Jolkona’s GiveHealth Campaign, connects people to many amazing projects that aim to close this gap. I helped support women health workers in Peru run by our partner, Awamaki, which provide health services to people in the remotest regions of the country. During my travels in South American with fellow Jolkona volunteers last winter, I observed first-hand how difficult life can be in rural areas. Through this organization, many villagers can gain access to medication and educational opportunities to improve their lives. Make sure to check out what other remarkable projects you can support and this month only, DOUBLE your impact!

You can also support women health workers in Peru by attending the #S4SC event this Thursday July 26th @ 6pm and choosing to donate your ticket fee of $10 to the Awamaki project.

Stay in touch with Jolkona and the impact your donations are making on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Imagine a woman working at a marketplace in the US . She needs to use the restroom, so she walks three minutes around the corner, grumbles about the line that has formed, but then uses the toilet and gets back to work.

Now imagine that woman living in the Shivaji Nagar slum in Mumbai. She has held it all day to avoid this moment, but she desperately needs to go. She walks 20 minutes just to reach the nearest women’s restroom to find it filthy, stained, and disgustingly odorous. After she finishes, the male attendant asks her to pay. “But I only urinated,” she protests. “How should I know?” he replies, still barring her exit. She hands over four rupees, about 1/6th of her daily earnings, and then is allowed to leave.

The above scenario happens daily for thousands of women in India as highlighted by these two New York Times articles. The lack of access to improved sanitation is a huge problem in India. In New Delhi alone, the national capital, there are 1,534 men’s toilets to just 132 for women. The situation is so dire that often women purposefully don’t drink water just so that they will not have to use the restroom, leading to further health problems than poor sanitation. Worldwide, around 2.6 billion people (36% of the world’s population) do not have access to improved sanitation facilities, and access is not increasing at the rate it needs to in order to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline of 23% in 2015.

While this data seems grim, in reality this lack of progress can be attributed to aid not going to the right places.

  • Drinking water and Sanitation often get lumped together into one aid category, but aid is often allotted to the first and not the second. By 2015, access to drinkable water will have far surpassed the MDG target.
  • Furthermore, as reported by the 2012 GLAAS Report, “only half of development aid for sanitation and drinking-water is targeted to the MDG regions of sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and South-eastern Asia where 70% of the global unserved live.”
  • Lastly, most of this aid is directed to urban areas, but urban residents represent less than 1/3 of people lacking improved sanitation.

While building toilets might be less attractive than building wells, improved sanitation has an enormous benefit to the people who have access to it. It reduces disease, child mortality, and helps practically all the MDGs. It increases dignity within a community, can help raise education, end the poverty cycle, and even increase GDP.

For example: Improved Sanitation addresses the Gender Equality MDG in many ways. More toilets increases women’s mobility, dignity, and ability to work, and lessens incidences of assault or rape. In addition, the 2012 GLAAS Report that showed that improved sanitation in schools lead to better attendance. For example, if schools worked to improve menstrual hygiene they could encourage girls who often miss class when menstruating to attend. This in turn helps close the education gap.

What is Jolkona doing about it?

We’re running the Give Health matching campaign, and Jolkona has three projects (Project 67, Project 76, and Project 95) that address the sanitation situation. Two of them build sustainable latrines in rural Southern Asia, and the other builds either temporary or permanent latrines in Haiti. If you support one of these projects, you will receive a photo of the latrine you provided, and information about the family you are supporting. Donate this month and make double the impact!

Keep up with us and the Give Health Campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Also check out the #S4SC Event!

Charts from: WHO and UNICEF (2010) Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water; 2010 update. Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. [http://www.unicef.org/media/files/JMP-2010Final.pdf]

 

When we start talking about Global Health, there’s always the risk of creating an impression of generality. We can easily succumb to the idea of a vast plethora of ‘worldwide issues’ clumped together, one indistinguishable from the other. Needless to say, this is not the reality. So this month, Seattle’s Global Health month, Jolkona is bringing the Global to the personal. Today we’re thrilled to launch the Give Health matching campaign. By donating to any one of our Global Health projects we’ll directly show you the impact your donation makes in the lives of those the project supports. Even better: we’ll match your donation, double the impact, double your proof. The match will be up to $3,500, which has been generously provided by a group of anonymous donors.

What is Global Health?

Global health refers to health problems that transcend national borders or have global political and economic impact. This includes not just problems such as infectious and insect-borne diseases which can spread from one country to another, but also health problems that are of such magnitude that they have a global political and economic impact, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and malaria.

Why Global Health?

Because health is one of central foundations of a good and just society – and we passionately believe that. Because Global Health indirectly and directly impacts all of us: the spread of a crippling disease in another country, while confined to its borders, can still have major economic and political repercussions in your country. Furthermore, an uncontrolled disease that transcends a country’s borders obviously has the potential to wreak havoc on a truly global.

But we care most about Global Health because we know what it means be in good health and, more importantly, because we know what it means to have the support of healthcare facilities and medications when we are not. The tragedy is that there are billions of people worldwide who do not have access to the most basic healthcare. It is devastatingly unjust – almost unthinkable to us – that a mother should lose her child because of something as mundane as diarrhea.

Bring the Global to the Personal

During this campaign we want to show you that you can make a difference by showing you how you make a difference. So give to any one of our 30+ Global Health projects and we’ll match your donation, whilst you see double the proof of impact. For example, give $10 to save a child in India from diarrhea, we’ll donate an additional $10, and we’ll send you copies of both the discharge certificates for the children whose treatment you provided. You are the person who makes the difference, and you see the difference made in the person’s life. This is how we’re making Global Health a personal issue.

Go to our campaign page to view our Global Health projects. Find one you care about. Donate.

Giving Health, socializing for change

As part of the campaign, our friends at Socializing 4 Social Change (S4SC) are throwing us a party to help draw awareness to three of our Global Health projects. The evening will be replete with giveaways, music, food and drinks, as well as a silent auction. Buy a ticket for the event and the full amount will go to one of the three projects of your choice. The event is on the evening of July 26 and you can get your tickets here. At $10 a pop, how could you not?

Give Health and make Global Health a personal issue.

Keep up with us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

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