With winter just around the corner, we are ramping up our fundraising efforts so we are ready to support our next special needs child in China as soon as he or she "walks" through that proverbial door.
Why is winter such a concern? Hand-in-hand with the harsh temperatures often comes pneumonia, one of the greatest health concerns for these already at-risk infants. The little ones that we serve already have severly compromised health when they are brought to our attention and become "Red Thread kids".
Babies with serious birth defects such as myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bifida when the spinal cord is exposed through an opening in the spine) and other critical conditions need surgery within days of birth. These procedures leave their tiny bodies weakened and extremely susceptible to pneumonia and other secondary complications that are often as life-threatening as the original abnormality.
We take winters in China seriously and make every effort to have the funds available so that when a child needs swift intervention, they can get the treatment necessary and are in an environment that keeps them warm and safe, thus reducing their risk of complications. When even one baby dies from a birth defect or complications from surgery, it is one too many.
With your help, we can and will be ready to tackle winter head-on and make a difference in as many children's lives as possible. Thank you for your support.
Since 2008, Jacob's Fund, the U.S. program of The Red Thread Promise, has been giving disabled kids hippotherapy at McKenna Farms in Dallas, Georgia.
Now, on our first mission trip to the farm, we'll get physical with our efforts. Individuals and families will travel from several states to the farm in Georgia to work the weekend of November 4, 5, and 6.
The farmhouse turned offices/therapy rooms will be transformed again, this time into temporary sleeping quarters for the individuals and families who'll mend broken fences and care for the Jacob Beachy Sensory Trail.
This sensory trail consists of multiple stations, each of which stimulates one of the child's senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Children ride their therapy horses from one station to the next around the circuit, interacting with brightly colored shapes, chimes, natural textures, and other stimuli.
During our visit, we'll begin planning a future mission blitz: erecting a viewing room along one end of the covered arena. The viewing room, equipped with a one-way window, will allow parents to observe their child while undergoing hippotherapy without creating a distraction that could interfere with the child's progress.
We'll take measurements and begin listing the materials and supplies we'll need when we return to erect the room. That trip is targeted for spring 2012.
During our many visits to Haiti since 2009, we have taken a long, hard look at some basic necessities that, while abundant in many parts of the world, are at a premium in Haiti. One of those critical necessities is potable water.
Potable water is pure enough to drink with a low risk of harm, both immediate and over the course of time. In Haiti, thousands upon thousands of people have inadequate access to potable water. Water sources are often severly contaminated, as most recently demonstrated in the cholera outbreak which plagues the country to this day. (For the latest in the cholera epidemic, please see: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/haitians-risk-cholera-deaths-as-aid-agencies-withdraw)
The Red Thread Promise is working with several other agencies to install a large water filtration system at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in downtown Port-au-Prince. St. Vincent's serves children with a variety of disabilities (including hearing impairment, sight impairment, loss of limbs, etc), providing an education, medical services and home for students and orphans in their care. During the months at the height of the cholera epidemic, the Center's Director had to make critical choices with St. Vincent's limited funds: provide a meal or fresh water for the students. Naturally, water was the choice. Students went with little to no food for some time as funds were constantly being used to purchase expensive clean water.
Working together, our team is currently fundraising and planning for the installation of a water filtration system so that the Center's Director no longer has to make this critical choice. Once in place, a constant source of potable water will be available for the Center, staff and students. Extra water will be sold to the public for a nominal fee in order to generate enough income for the filtration system to be self-sustaining. Routine maintenance will keep the filtration system in operating condition constantly so no child has to go without water.
Thank you for your supporting The Red Thread's efforts to provide clean drinking water to orphans and students at St. Vincent's as well as the people in the surrounding area.