HelpAge USA

HelpAge USA, an affiliate of HelpAge International, builds awareness of global aging issues among US audiences; advocates for the empowerment of older, vulnerable adults in the developing world; and raises funds to support the programs of the HelpAge network. The HelpAge vision is of a world in which all older people fulfill their potential to lead dignified, active, healthy and secure lives. HelpAge is driven by a fundamental understanding that older people have the wisdom and the personal drive to contribute to their own wellbeing and to that of their families. We believe that the contribution older people make to society is invaluable. Yet older people remain some of the poorest and ...
Feb 12, 2013

Meet Amelia

Ms. Amelia, Age 89
Ms. Amelia, Age 89
Your donation has helped ensure that hundreds of older people in Bolivia have reliable access to water and food. One of those older persons is Amelia. Here is how you have impacted her life:
  • NAME: Amelia Suarez Oni.
  • AGE: 89
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: San Joaquín, Bolivia
  • SELF-IDENTIFICATION: Indigenous
  • SCHOOL: 3rd grade, Primary School
  • LIVES IN: San Joaquín, Bolivia

Ms. Amelia was born and lives in San Joaquín, an indigenous community in rural Bolivia. She is a widow and recently has had three sons and one daughter die as well. Having barely attended school, Ms. Amelia's main livelihood has been working off the land to grow and sell agricultural produce. Water is increasingly becoming scarce, forcing her to walk long distances in search of clean and adequate supplies. She laments that things used to be better years ago, but now, the changing climatic and weather patterns are forcing her and her neighbors to resort to other sources of income such as collecting chestnuts, which is a difficult task at her age. 

Since 2012, with help from your donation through Global Giving, Ms. Amelia's life has changed for the better. Now, water is being provided right to her doorstep, through the very simple yet efficient micro-irrigation system that the project has provided older farmers in her community. The water is channeled through pipes from a natural reservoir uphill. Not only does she use the water for consumption, but also for irrigation and to feed her small livestock. In her garden, she can now plant cassava, sweet potato, rice and corn.

Amelia is just one example of over 400-headed families who have benefited from this project. This community-based water management project has had tremedous impact on improving the lives of older peasant farmers. Through this HelpAge initiative, older people have formed 15 organized groups that are not only supporting each other, but also lobbying for inclusion in the municipal climate change adaption plans and strategies.   

With just a little support, older people's contributions to their families and communities are being maximized! As Amelia explained to a HelpAge coordinator, “Thank you all for your help, without which we wouldn’t be feeding ourselves and our grandchildren."

Ms. Amelia in her garden
Ms. Amelia in her garden
Oct 2, 2012

Now we have food all year round...

Older farmer tending his irrigated garden
Older farmer tending his irrigated garden

Each time we get an update from the field, we are reminded how grateful we are that you have chosen to support our project. Because of you, hundreds of older farmers in Bolivia are adapting to the changing climate and now have reliable access to adequate supplies of food and water. 

In March, HelpAge staff officially handed over the first 20 micro irrigation systems to 20 older people headed families in the locality of El Carmen, Chuquisaca, Bolivia. The project now is in its second phase of implementation and we have seen remarkable progress.

Over 900 direct and indirect beneficiaries from five communities of the Tarabuco Municipality continue to receive water for both irrigation and consumption, including for new livestock that older farmers are now able to raise as an extra source of income.

Right now, HelpAge staff and partners are focused on training the older farmers on the reasonable use of natural resources, especially water, as well as specific training in the practice of horticulture. These training activities are providing older people with the necessary knowledge and skills which will help them to become self reliant in managing their gardens in an efficient and sustainable manner.

Hilaria Pucho’s family, one of the first older woman beneficiaries from the community of El Carmen, is already regularly consuming the organic vegetables that she has been able to grow because of her access to water. She will soon start selling the surplus within the community.

“Usually, around this time of the year when it is cold and dry, we would be almost dying of hunger because nothing grows," Hilaria says. "Thanks to the project that has provided water for irrigation, we have food all round the year.” 

We wanted you to know that your donation is still transforming lives of poor older people in rural Bolivia. Thank you for helping us make a difference.

p.s. On October 17th, Global Giving will be matching 30% of any gift up to $1,000.  It is the LAST Bonus Day of the year. We will be send you a reminder in a couple weeks with hopes you may want to maximize your contribution by simply donating on October 17th!

Older Bolivian farmer, HelpAge beneficiary
Older Bolivian farmer, HelpAge beneficiary
Older Bolivian woman at new community water tank
Older Bolivian woman at new community water tank
Livestock older farmers are now able to feed
Livestock older farmers are now able to feed
Older woman watering plants
Older woman watering plants
Site of new community irrigation tank
Site of new community irrigation tank

Links:

May 3, 2012

Your support is improving older people's lives in rural Bolivia.

Older farmer tends his new vegetable field
Older farmer tends his new vegetable field

Funding YOU donated last winter to our project is now helping older farmers in Bolivia achieve reliable access to adequate supplies of food and water.

On March 16th 2012, HelpAge staff officially handed over the first 20 micro irrigation systems to 20 older people headed families in the locality of El Carmen, Chuquisaca, Bolivia. The project aims at building 90 water-efficient micro irrigation systems to cover over 200 beneficiaries. The systems consist of equipment for water collection and storage.  Training on water-efficiency management as well as tools and seeds for nutritious Bolivian crops are also being provided. 

Kizito Chiwala -- HelpAge Bolivia

“The vegetable gardens we’ve set up take advantage of natural water sources. There are springs in the land higher up. From there, the water is brought by a system of pipes to a storage tank, and then to the vegetable gardens to provide irrigation. Based on that, the vegetables are being grown organically, with the aim of guaranteeing food security for the family. All this has been done with the participation of the whole family, but the older people have played the leading role, because they promoted it, they are active in their community and all we need to do is give them a bit more support.”

Sabino Arancibia -- Older farmer 

 “My life has changed with this vegetable production, now we’re eating and selling our produce. I feel better, my health has improved thanks to the vegetables. Vegetables are a healthy food.  We no longer have to go and buy vegetables in the city, because we have our own vegetable gardens here. With what we earn from selling them we buy pasta and rice, because we don’t produce rice and pasta here.”

Thank you so much for helping us relieve the chronic food and water insecurity faced by older farmers living in this rural agricultural community in Bolivia. Your support is having a direct impact on their lives. Much more can be done with your help; please consider continuing your commitment to these older farmers today.

Older farmers with one of water tanks built
Older farmers with one of water tanks built
Irrigating crops with harvested rain water
Irrigating crops with harvested rain water
Building a new water tank
Building a new water tank
New water tank provided by Global Giving donors!
New water tank provided by Global Giving donors!
Nutritious crops harvested
Nutritious crops harvested

Links: