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Jolkona donors are supporting Peace Winds America for our holiday campaign, Standing with the Philippines. As part of our Partner Spotlight series, we asked PWA representatives some questions about their organization and their goals:

What’s your mission and why? What inspires your organization?

Our mission is to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific through effective, collaborative disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Peace Winds America aims to promote durable partnerships and to focus on the areas of greatest need. Among the many inspirations driving our organization is the collective response to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. In that disaster, organizations from every facet of society banded together to render assistance. We saw the potential for a truly “whole of society” response that integrates government assistance agencies, military units, local and international NGOs, multilateral organizations, and private businesses. Following that model PWA promotes training and interaction that strengthens these bonds.

What can you tell us about your project to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors in the Philippines?

PWA has been working with the Manila-based Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) since the middle of 2012. We responded together to Typhoons Saola and Bopha and PWA staff assisted in country with relief efforts. In this current relief mission, PWA is funding CDRC efforts in Busuanga Island, which is in the Palawan region of western Philippines.  Our relief will target 1,000 families and bring them essential food and non-food items including hygiene and bedding supplies. We are actively monitoring the relief efforts and have already begun discussions with our partner on how to fund recovery. We know the most heavily affected individuals were fishermen and rice farmers, and we’ll be exploring ways to aid their short and long-term recovery.

What’s the impact of every $30 raised by Jolkona’s donors?

We’ve calculated that $30 will provide a sleeping mat, utensils, and food for roughly one week to an affected family.

cdrc-relief-operations-cebu

In a nutshell, why should a donor support your project?

PWA’s relief program quickly gets donated funds to our partner on the ground, with a minimum of delays, red tape, or overhead (generally equal to or under 10%). We are a small organization and can move quickly, speedily approving relief proposals and without any need to spend time looking for new partners on the ground. We have enjoyed success in this particular arrangement in past disasters and are highly confident in the impact of our work.  In addition, donated funds always remain restricted — donors who give to the Philippines will not suddenly find their contribution being used in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, or anywhere else.

We love impact stories at Jolkona. Can you tell us about how your organization has changed someone’s life?

We’re presently awaiting reports from this current disaster, but I can give you an example from Japan. Our friend and partner Yachi Onodera owned several coffee shops in and around Kesennuma, Japan. Most were completely destroyed in the tsunami. PWA provided a grant for him to obtain a new coffee roaster, allowing him to restart his business. Today, his coffee shops are thriving and expanding.

Anything else you would like to add?

We look forward to remaining involved in the Philippines. Other relief organizations tend to pull out after the emergency phase, but PWA stays on.

Photo Credits: CDRC Support PWA, and donate to our holiday campaign, Standing with the Philippines. Your donation will make a huge impact, and will be a great way to celebrate the season of giving.

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Today is National Philanthropy Day, and what better way to celebrate than to Give Together? Take today to recognize and appreciate the positive impact the philanthropic community — you included! — has had on our world.

Our third and final Give Together partner for November, Dagbé, works to alleviate extreme poverty by providing healthcare and education to youths victimized by child labor and human trafficking. With your help, Dagbé can give some of the most vulnerable children in West Africa a chance at a better life. In the organization’s own words:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

We work with local care providers to provide basic housing, food, and restore social stability, access to education, and healthcare to orphans, victims of child trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, and destitute poverty, as identified by local authorities. Our vision is to provide support for the wellbeing of children in crisis situations, and foster an environment to allow them to develop into healthy, educated, and productive members of society.

So many Beninese children need someone to provide them with life-changing opportunities. Instead of living day-by-day working long hours just to get their next meal, we want these children to be able to go to school, enjoy their childhoods, and be set up for long-term success, and this is what drives us.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Provide Critical Care to Keep Children from Being Further Victimized by Human Trafficking

What’s the impact of every $150 that Give Together members raise for your organization?

  • $150 will help reunite a trafficked child with their family (costs of staying at our center, investigation, transport, etc.)
  • $250 will help reunite a trafficked child with their family and provide them with school or vocational training for one year to encourage stability and progress.
  • $500 will provide for school fees and expenses for five trafficked children per year.
  • $1500 funds an anti-trafficking training seminar for 50 people. Raising awareness is critical to putting an end to child trafficking in Benin. These change agents are trained to prevent, identify, and report cases of trafficking and the training seminars have proved very effective.

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

Dagbé is currently the only organization offering direct care services to children in crisis situations in this region in central Benin. Our efforts are critical to the children’s wellbeing. Our time spent living and working in the community ensures that the effectiveness of every dollar is maximized. We are committed to serving these children and this community.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Our anti-trafficking training seminars have proved very fruitful. They are very well organized and attended by approximately 50 members of the community. They are also broadcast over the local radio to an estimated 15,000 listeners. Each training seminar has produced immediate results. A year ago, community members alerted us to a trafficking case only three days after the seminar. We were able to rescue a little girl who had been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. We cared for her and were able to reunite her with some of her relatives and send her to school. We also worked with authorities to bring the traffickers to justice.

This past August, after another anti-trafficking training, we were alerted to the case of a ten-year old boy who had been taken from southern Benin to the north to work in masonry. Due to the long hours and harsh conditions, he had fled and walked nearly 100 kilometers until he was found by one of the recent training seminar attendees – hungry, with swollen feet, and in poor health. He stayed with us for several weeks while he recovered and we worked to find the best possible solution for him. His father passed away when he was young, but we reunited him with mother in southern Benin. She has very few resources to care for him, much less send him to school, and we are thrilled to be paying for all of his school expenses as well as most of his basic care needs.

These children would normally go unnoticed. Child labor and child trafficking is an issue in Benin, and many people are unaware of just how far some of these children get pushed and exploited. By raising awareness of the issue we are making a difference, with the added impact of caring for the children in the aftermath of an instance of trafficking and providing opportunities for them to have better futures.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dagbé is thrilled to continue partnering with Jolkona. In April 2013, we were honored to receive some Jolkona team members as guests in Benin and together we witnessed the positive impact that we achieved by working together.

Remember to Give Together, and check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series.

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Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (C.A.S.H.) is a nonprofit working to alleviate poverty right here in Seattle, by helping entrepreneurs become financially self sufficient. As part of our Partner Spotlight series for Give Together November, we asked the organization some questions about this month’s project:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

Washington C.A.S.H. provides the business training, supportive community, and capital to help enterprising individuals with limited financial resources gain self-sufficiency through small business ownership. We serve individuals at the most vulnerable end of the economic spectrum: people whose assets and wealth have been greatly depleted by the economic downturn, and whose circumstances — including English language barriers, lack of literacy or education, poor or nonexistent credit, or cycles of persistent generational poverty— prevent them from advancing out of low-paying, inflexible employment. Our programs equip people to take ownership over their financial situations by becoming their own bosses and making a living pursuing their passion—whether that is landscaping, handcrafting jewelry, or selling gourmet pizzas a farmers’ markets and street fairs.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Washington C.A.S.H.’s cornerstone 8-week Business Development Training equips low-income entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to become financially self-reliant through small business ownership. For financially vulnerable individuals, the BDT is a lifeline to help them build their confidence and define, organize, and launch their own micro-businesses.

What’s the impact of every $100 that our Give Together members raise for your organization?

Every quarter, at least twenty ambitious entrepreneurs want to enroll in the BDT but are unable to pay for course materials. This month, Washington C.A.S.H. seeks contributions to its “scholarship fund” to cover material fees for individuals enrolling in the next round of trainings. For every $100 that Give Together raises for this project, Washington C.A.S.H. will be able to waive the course materials fee for one low-income entrepreneur to enroll in the BDT and take their first step toward financial self-reliance.

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

  • Washington C.A.S.H. serves only low-income individuals; the average entrepreneur supports a family on $22,267 per year.
  • Washington C.A.S.H. is unique in the Puget Sound region in that it offers aspiring entrepreneurs a comprehensive toolbox of services that includes training, coaching, financial assistance (micro loans and matched savings accounts), AND retail incubation through the Ventures retail store.
  • Washington C.A.S.H. is remarkably successful: on average, businesses more than quadruple their revenue, and just over half (51%) of clients experience an increase in household income, within the first year and a half of receiving services.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Before finding Washington C.A.S.H., Nelson faced challenging circumstances; he spent years in and out of homeless shelters and battling mental illness. Then a counselor referred him to our program, and Nelson began working closely with one of our experienced business coaches. Through customized training and coaching, Nelson learned how to overcome obstacles to the success of his business. Staff at Washington C.A.S.H.’s Ventures retail store in Pike Place Market helped Nelson refine his products and prepare them for larger markets. Now, nearly two years later, Nelson is CEO of Organic Teas United LLC and sells unique organic tea blends in several large retail outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Uwajimaya. Nelson is proud to be a client of Washington C.A.S.H.; he says, “The program reminds me of essential vitamins…our bodies won’t function optimally without the essentials.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Our services helps people change their lives; with your help, a struggling single mother becomes CEO of her own small business; a disabled veteran launches his own company; or a young ambitious immigrant family opens up shop in their new country.

Give Together today to empower low-income entrepreneurs to become financially self-sufficient through small business ownership!

Check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series.

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It’s still Diwali for a few more days, so let’s start our November Partner Spotlight series with a nonprofit organization that fights poverty in India: Upaya Social Ventures.

Upaya logo

As one of three organizations in this month’s Give Together campaign for Poverty Alleviation — and also our neighbor in Jolkona’s new downtown Seattle office! — Upaya is creating silk weaving jobs in northern India for skilled workers living in extreme poverty. In his own words, Steve Schwartz, Upaya’s director of strategy and operations, explains why it’s important to support this project:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

Upaya Social Ventures builds businesses that create jobs and improve the quality of life for people living on less than $1.25 a day. We do this because we believe that giving someone a change to earn a stable and dignified living is the best way to ensure that everyone has a chance to permanently break the cycle of extreme poverty.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Upaya is working with a Bhagalpur, Bihar-based startup that trains Tasar silk weavers on new skills, techniques, equipment and designs. By contributing to this project, you are supporting Upaya’s ability to provide both the startup capital to launch the business and the management support to create new jobs and remain competitive in the marketplace.

If Jolkona’s Give Together members raise $250 for your organization, what’s our impact?

Based on the program costs for its current portfolio, we estimate that Upaya spends a mere $250 for each job created — a job that can continually support a family for a lifetime.

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

The real question is “If a job is the key to providing food security, housing stability, and a chance to invest in children’s education to families living in extreme poverty,” the question really becomes “Why shouldn’t Give Together members support the Upaya project this month?”

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Just one? I’d encourage everyone to check out the Face-to-Face section on our website to hear all about the folks who are having their lives changed by their first stable job.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I am not just representing a Give Together project; I’m also a member!

Join Give Together, and check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series this month!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Our second Partner Spotlight for October’s Give Together for Women and Girls is MADRE, an organization that works with local, regional and international women’s groups to address issues like human rights, education, and economic development. We asked them some questions to help you get to know them.

Remember, we have $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation for October’s Give Together campaign for Women & Girls. Join Give Together and your donation will be doubled this month!

What’s your mission? What inspires your organization?

MADRE works to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. We work towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights, in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably, in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society, and in which people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. MADRE’s vision is enacted with an understanding of the inter-relationships between the various issues we address and by a commitment to working in partnership with women at the local, regional and international levels who share our goals.

MADRE photoWhat’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

We are supporting women farmers in eastern Sudan by helping provide the seeds, tools, and training they need to feed their families and generate income for their communities.

If Jolkona’s Give Together members raise $250 for your organization, what’s our impact?

If Jolkona members raise $250, we’ll be able to cover all expenses for two women to attend two days of training, where they will learn new skills and techniques for a successful harvest. They will be able to share what they learn with other women when they returns home to their villages. In addition, we can buy 50 lbs. of seeds, enough for 10 women to sow sorghum, sesame and millet for one season.

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

When you give to MADRE, you can be sure you’re making a concrete difference in the life of a woman who is struggling to build a better future for herself and her family. By supporting women farmers in Sudan, you’ll help provide them with the seeds, tools and trainings they need to feed and support their families for the long haul.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Since Zeina’s participation in the Women Farmers Union, she’s been able to grow the food her family needs to survive. Income generated from surplus crops allowed Zeina to send her daughter to school. Her daughter is now attending a nearby university. She is the first person in Zeina’s family to go to college.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your October contribution to MADRE, or one of our other Women and Girls projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #WomenandGirls

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

This month, our Give Together projects focus on supporting and empowering women and girls. Our first partner, the Jubilee Women’s Center, provides essential services like affordable housing and job training to homeless women in the Seattle area, to help them transition out of poverty. Follow them on Twitter: @JubileeSeattle.

We have up to $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation for October’s Give Together campaign for Women & Girls. So join Give Together and your gift will be doubled this month!

Jubilee photo2What’s your mission? What inspires your organization?

Jubilee Women’s Center’s mission is to support women experiencing poverty to build stable and fulfilling futures, one extraordinary woman at a time. We are inspired by the women we serve who, although they have been through terrible circumstances, are all – we believe – extraordinary. Jubilee works to help them overcome their circumstances and build resiliency for a healthier, more secure life ahead.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Recently, Jubilee has expanded the capabilities of our Learning & Opportunity Center so we can now serve women in the community in addition to our residents here. We can now offer computer and life skills classes for up to 22 women at a time! Classes range from Introduction to Computers to Conflict Resolution to Resume Writing. All of these skills can give women the skills they need to have a more secure future.

If Jolkona’s Give Together members raise $250 for your organization, what’s our impact?

If Give Together members can raise $250, Jubilee can offer a four-class series to 12 women on career exploration, resume writing, job interview skills and job searching. With these skills, women can begin to work toward a career that will pay them a living wage and insure their independence.

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

Jubilee relies on the support of our community to help women transform their lives. Led by the guiding principle that all women are to be treated with respect and dignity, Jubilee’s holistic programs, housing and support services help women make permanent life changes. We do this by providing safe, affordable and supportive community housing and educational resources to empower each woman to become financially independently, regardless of her circumstances.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

There are so many stories of how Jubilee has changed women’s lives! The first one that comes to mind is a resident who drained her savings and retirement fund when she was treated for breast cancer. When it came back, she found herself homeless. She found Jubilee as she was losing her apartment, and had time and space to go through treatment and get healthy. She took advantage of the many resources at Jubilee and is in college, working to earn a degree in accounting. There are so many stories like this!

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your October contribution to the Jubilee Women’s Center, or one of our other Women and Girls projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #WomenEmpowerment

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

There’s just 10 days left in our Animals theme for Jolkona’s Give Together campaign. Our growing community’s September donations are supporting the Snow Leopard Trust’s big cats, the Woodland Park Zoo’s baby animals and Reading With Rover’s therapy dogs. Have you joined yet?

RWR-Logo-Full-Color_

Reading With Rover, based in the greater Seattle area, may seem like the underdog in terms of organization size and social media footprint — but don’t be fooled. Who can resist a good dog? (Who’s a good boy? Whozagooboy? You are! You are!)

In the organization’s own words, here’s why it’s worthwhile to help dogs help kids learn to read:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?jaba_001s

Our mission is create a safe reading environment for children by volunteering with our Reading with Rover therapy dogs in schools, libraries, community centers and anywhere there is a need. What inspires us is the joy on a child’s face when he/she reads to the dogs. What inspires us is when we hear from a father: “I’ve never heard him read aloud before, we were not sure he could read!” We make a difference in our community and we get to see that difference in the smiles on the children’s faces and the letters we get from parents. Helping kids learn empathy, become better readers and show kindness to a dog is a gift not only from our dogs but from the human end of the leash as well.

If Jolkona’s Give Together members raise $175 for your organization, what’s our impact?

$175 helps a dog and handler become a registered team by supporting the training class. $75 sets up one low-income child with a beginning reading bag, reading books appropriate for their age and needed start up school supplies. $300 pays for a therapy dog team to get the training, testing and register to volunteer.

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

Reading is an essential skill that children need to be successful. 40% of all children by 4th grade are not reading at grade level and do not have appropriate reading material in their home. We not only want to help children be better readers, we want them to discover the JOY of reading by volunteering with these non-judgmental creatures, our dogs. We have been able to achieve that. We also help children who have physical challenges, and autistic children as well. We are all things kids and dogs, both making a difference in the world we live in. The world to a child is a better place when they can not only read, but love reading as well!

We took a school whose lowest attended day was Thursday, and that day is now the highest attended day — the only thing that changed is it’s Reading with Rover day at that school. When children know there will be a dog in their class room that day, they show up!

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

A thank you note from a parent –boyanddog

How can I say thank you enough for everything that Reading with Rover has done for our daughter. I have always known that animals can have remarkable effects on humans and your Reading with Rover program just proves it. Our daughter has NLD, a Nonverbal Learning disorder, which effects her in many ways. One being reading and another is nonverbal social cues. She is very smart and so sweet but she realizes she is different and making friends is very hard for her. She is self-conscious about reading out loud, but when she read to the Reading with Rover dogs it was amazing. She wanted to read to every one of them that very first night and ever since then we have made it to every Reading with Rover event and will continue to do so. Our daughter gets headaches every time she reads, so it makes it very hard to motivate her to read but not at Reading with Rover. She doesn’t feel judged and that is so wonderful for her. We have seen a big improvement in her fluency and she has even started to read a little to her own puppy now, which we hope to train to be a Reading with Rover dog in the future.

I would recommend this program to any parent whether their child loves to read or not, it is just a great experience all around. Every one of the dogs and their handlers is so wonderful with the kids. My husband and I are avid readers and we have been reading to her since she was a baby and when we couldn’t seem to break through that barrier to get her to enjoy reading by herself we felt helpless but we don’t feel that way anymore and it is all due to your Reading with Rover program! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping our daughter raise her self esteem and know the joys of reading.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Jolkona and look forward to helping our local children and of course the dogs with your support.

See? Good dog. Here’s a cookie! Gooboygooboygooboy.

For more on good dogs, and perhaps a cat or two, stay tuned to the Jolkona Blog and our social media channels (see below) all next week — we’ll be sharing #PetAdoption stories from our team, and would love to hear yours, too!

This post is part of our Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your September contribution to Reading With Rover or one of our other animal-related projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #Animals.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

The Woodland Park Zoo has joined Jolkona for this month’s Animal-themed Give Together campaign. The organization, a leader in educating the greater Seattle area and our visitors about wild animals and conservation, is raising money to help feed and care for its newest addition: a baby giraffe!

Tell us about your current project:

Woodland Park Zoo has been blessed with the births of some amazing animals. Our current baby boom started with four lion cubs in November. Then came the twin sloth bear cubs in December, followed by the triplet jaguar cubs in March, and our giraffe calf and six flamingo chicks this summer. All these animals are thriving at the zoo and inspiring people who see them to take conservation actions to protect their cousins in the wild.

Why should Give Together members support your project?

Zoos are responding to species decline and are leading the way in preserving animal populations. Wildlife and habitat conservation is the cornerstone to Woodland Park Zoo’s mission. Through the animals in our collection, we provide a window into the lives and habitats of the world’s wildlife, inspiring people from all walks of life to learn, care and act on their behalf. You can inspire conservation stewards and support animal ambassadors by contributing to this campaign.

How will donors see their impact?

Your gift supports state-of-the art veterinary care and feeding of the baby giraffe. We will share photos and videos of the calf and our other new animals as zookeepers and veterinarians work with them to ensure they receive the best care possible.

Tell us more about your organization:

Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the award-winning Woodland Park Zoo is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting international standards for zoos in animal care, conservation and education programs. Woodland Park Zoo is helping to save animals and their habitats in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. By inspiring people to care and act, Woodland Park Zoo is making a difference in our planet’s future. For more information, visit www.zoo.org

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your September contribution to the Woodland Park Zoo or one of our other animal-related projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #Animals.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

It’s Animals month for Jolkona’s Give Together campaign, with three animal-friendly options for our growing community’s September donations. Our first partner spotlight is on the Snow Leopard Trust, which works to protect this endangered species through research and community outreach programs.

snow leapord 3

What’s the story behind your project?

Snow leopards are one of the least well understood of the big cats. Truly protecting them will require a deeper understanding of their needs. What food do they prefer, and how much do they need to survive? What habitat features are needed to allow mothers to successfully raise their cubs? These questions can only be answered with strong science. Snow Leopard Trust is undertaking the most in-depth scientific study to answer these questions. By carefully fitting a few snow leopards with GPS tracking collars, researchers are learning new information each year. For instance, a cat names Ariun recently expanded the largest area we thought possible for a cat to regularly monitor. And after a female named Agnes recently gave birth, we were able to witness a visit to the den site by the suspected father – an event never expected or previously recorded.

While more information is needed to protect these cats, it is not enough. The cats’ large ranges mean that they regularly interact with communities that share their mountain home. This often leads to conflict, as impoverished herding families often are driven to hunt snow leopards who threaten their livestock. The Trust works to protect snow leopards by working directly with communities. In some communities, the Trust helps women produce and sell handicrafts that can help them weather losses to their livestock. In exchange, they commit to protecting the cats.  In other communities, the Trust has helped establish insurance programs so that herders can insure their livelihoods.

snow 2

What kind of lasting change can this project have?

Solid scientific understanding will support stronger conservation of snow leopards and other high mountain carnivores throughout central asia. And the education and community programs are increasing the acceptance of snow leopards in the herding communities. In short, the Trust is working to save a species. Our hope is that the cats will recover their populations, and remain in their mountainous home for our children to appreciate.

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

Right now, we are tracking a new mother named Agnes. Her new cub was just born in the summer. But Agnes is not a first-time mother. A previous cub, Dagina, is also wearing a GPS collar. Dagina and her cub live not far from Agnes. The fact that generations of snow leopards are helping researchers understand snow leopard activities and reproduction makes me hopeful that we’ll be able to learn enough to save this fragile species.

Another story I love is about Shonkhor, a snow leopard who ate a number of sheep and goats, then guarded his meals avidly. Instead of harming him, the herder sought the help of Trust staff. Together, they were able to get Shonkhor to leave the herder’s land, and help get the herder into a livestock insurance program. The story shows the ability of people to take a situation of conflict, and find a resolution that respects both animals and people.

In a nutshell, why should our Give Together members support your project?

Someone should give to this project if they care about wildlife and people too. This project is a wonderful mix of wildlife conservation and community development. Beautiful animals benefit, and so do people struggling to live alongside them.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you sign up to join Give Together, you  can choose to allocate your September contribution to the Snow Leopard Trust or one of our other animal-related projects.

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.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

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.

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.

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