As the skies darken and the wind picks up, those of us on the East Coast of the U.S. can’t help but have the unsettling feeling that hurricane season is setting in again. It’s been almost two years since Hurricane Sandy whipped along the Atlantic seaboard, leaving devastation and destruction in its wake, and even though most of the physical scars have healed, families are still trying to stitch together lives and livelihoods fragmented by the storm. But they aren’t alone, because they’ve had help from you. Some may have lost houses, others a family member, but throughout they’ve gotten support from a global community of friends they didn’t even know they had.
Thanks to the support of wonderful donors like you, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund at GlobalGiving has been able to support a variety of ongoing recovery and reconstruction projects.
Baby Buggy continues to provide clothing, food, school supplies, and furniture to support families that are still struggling with the loss of housing and employment in the wake of the storm. In their progress reports, Baby Buggy shared the story of the Davis family, who lost both their jobs and everything they owned when Sandy hit New York City. While searching for steady employment and housing, the Davis family stayed at a Brooklyn shelter for nearly two years, but commuted over an hour each way to bring their five children back to their old schools where the older kids could remain with their friends and their youngest could continue the special needs program he was enrolled in. While they were in the shelter, Baby Buggy was able to provide the Davis family with food, clothing, toiletries, and baby supplies, and helped them search for a new apartment – where they moved in this spring!
Baby Buggy has also helped a long-time partner, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), rebuild in the wake of the storm. VNSNY runs both an early head start program and a fatherhood program. When the VNSNY building was destroyed during the hurricane, teachers and administrators came to the site even in the loss of their own homes and goods to figure out how they could provide immediate relief to families in the area. With the help of Baby Buggy, VNSNY was able to provide essential goods to families in the area at the time, and now fifteen months later, open a new center where they can continue to provide social services. The silver lining to those storm clouds? The new center has room for VNSNY to serve even more families than before, as the old center only had room for 75 children and the new center has room for 185! Even in the wake of this terrible storm, we can see the unifying power of natural disasters as communities and nonprofits work together to provide relief and rebuild.
Hurricane Sandy wrecked more than homes and amusement parks: it also caused a huge spike in the cases of cholera in communities struck by the hurricane, as well as destroying the hospitals and medicines that allow doctors to fight the disease. This relief fund also supported two projects outside the United States – one in Haiti, and the other in Cuba – that are still supplying critical medical supplies to physicians trying to lessen the spread of the disease and care for afflicted patients. The Vice-Director of Global Link’s project in Cuba said in a recent project report, “The health care kits you sent us were invaluable.” She explained that all the hospitals they visited highlighted the importance of these kits, which, complete with gloves and face masks, allow doctors to care for patients without getting infected themselves or exacerbating the spread of the disease. She shared a story of a visit she undertook with a doctor to educate a remote community on disease prevention techniques, when they were asked to examine an old man thought to be suffering from cholera. The Vice-Director and the young doctor were many miles away from a nearby hospital, and while cholera patients cannot spare hours, the two couldn’t care or even examine the man without protective material. As they “stood outside the house pondering possibilities that would allow the doctor to enter the house without putting her life at risk,” the Vice-Director realized that she had a healthcare kit in the back of the car – which allowed the doctor to give care to the patient without contracting the disease herself.
So even while our skies darken and the wind picks up again, we can’t help but feel hopeful and thankful for all that light that has poured through these clouds thanks to donors like you. Because of you, those with cholera in Haiti and Cuba continue to receive help, and a new and improved family center was able to rise from the ashes of the previous one. Please consider continuing to support these projects as they provide support for communities still reeling from the effects of the storm, and we wish you a wonderful, safe end to your summer!
In the Philippines, communities may never know when disaster will strike again. On average, eight to nine typhoons hit the Philippines each year, causing massive amounts of flooding and damage. Individuals must constantly recover from tragedy and are in need of more and more relief efforts. Luckily, there are passionate organizations more than willing to help. Thanks to your donations, GlobalGiving has been able to give funds to projects focused on rebuilding communities, distributing supplies to children and families, and preparing for future disasters. Here are some updates from these organizations:
De La Salle University, a university in the Philippines, prides itself on using local experts to lead recovery efforts (hence its project name, “Philippines Recovery Efforts Led By Local Experts”). Recently, De La Salle University worked to construct new projects based on consultations from both their internal and external partners at the center in emergency relief operations. After the consultations, the university found that instead of having projects focus on recovery relief, they should focus more on disaster preparation and management. After thorough research and discussion, this approach was found to be more effective. In the latest project report, the university announced some future plans for this project. These plans include continued capacity building, including building an emergency response team for the area. This team will include rescue swimmers and divers, as well as a mountain rescue team. We hope you are all looking forward to their future efforts as much as we are!
Asia America Initiative’s project “Provide Relief to 5000 Families In Typhoon Bopha” is working with local groups to provide relief for survivors of the on-going disasters sparked by climate change in this region. Recently, Asia America Initiative distributed school books and readers to middle schools and high schools, in order for the students to continue having a “basic education” during these disasters. To date, the organization has been able to provide nearly 100,000 books! Unfortunately, the new typhoon season sprung again in mid-May, and students started school the first week of June. Asia America Initiative is working tirelessly to provide a safe environment for the students, but there is still more work to be done.
International Disaster Volunteers (IDV) highlighted, in their latest report, one of the IDV rescue team volunteers named Maria. She, like many of the other volunteers, needed to learn basic first aid in order to help her community when disaster strikes again. Through IDV’s project “Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disasters”, Maria and the other volunteers received an intense two day course in first aid. Through this course, led by army personnel, attendees practiced and learned CPR, how to respond to spinal cord injuries and broken bones, how to navigate through smoke, etc. Thanks to your generous donations, IDV on-the-ground volunteers are better prepared to deal with health issues in the face of tragedy. IDV hopes to train even more volunteers in first aid and even supply first aid kits and life vests in the future. All of this cannot be done without your support.
Because of the on-going nature of natural disasters in the Philippines, your continued support is more important than ever before. We may never know when a disaster is about to strike, and these organizations must always be prepared to face future typhoons, flooding, and more. We may not know what lies ahead in the Philippines, but all of the progress so far would not have been possible without you. Thank you for your continued passion and support!
Dear Project of the Month Club,
Now that it is officially summer, a hot one at that, we are happy to serve you this cool glass of gratitude from the organizations you support with your Project of the Month Club gifts.
In June, the 178 members of this club raised $5,828 for “Empowering Youth in Rural Uganda” run by Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH). AAH scores in the top 1% of schools nationwide, and has a 100% graduation rate. AAH’s project leader, Maureen Dugan, was thrilled to hear the news of your donations, “We are humbled and honored to be selected as the Project of the Month! A donation of $5800 or so would be a lifesaver - literally. It would cover a year's education for 16 children, several girls mentoring activities to keep girls in school, and medicine for malaria and respiratory infections at the clinic.” Maureen and all the children of Arlington Academy of Hope thank you for your generous gift.
This month, you will be contributing to “Ensure Excellent Education for 105 Kids in India” run by Teach for India. Your donations this month will ensure that 35 students in Hyderabad get access to a hands-on education full of leadership activities to broaden their horizons. In the long run, Teach for India hopes to create a powerful network of alumni who, influenced by their experiences in the classroom, will work towards effecting multi-sector solutions to India's most difficult problems.
As the mercury rises, we hope you find a way to beat the heat and feel good about making a difference in the lives of others at the same time. We look forward to passing along more good news from the field in August!
Warmly (both figuratively and literally),
Mari and the GlobalGiving Team