My Arms Wide Open

My Arms Wide Open's purpose is to rebuild communities through supporting mothers, children and youth to break the chain of their parents' past prejudice, to create community and preserve their culture. Guiding principles for My Arms Wide Open mirror those of founder Warren Te Brugge. "These are the principles by which I live my life and make decisions to deliver value in the eyes of the communities I serve."
Aug 4, 2014

Water, water everywhere... and not a drop to drink

Don
Don't wait to get water to the children of Bergnek

Water, Water everywhere… but not a drop to drink

In our previous update we brought the news of progress on our planning with Engineers Without Borders (“EWB’) in our ‘One Brick at a Time’ program. The latest news is that our trip with EWB has now been slated to take place the last week of October and through the first week of November. The timing is actually very good for us, because we will be at the end of the rainy season and before the hot summer weather actually sets in.

Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.

We need to raise 5% of the total cost of the program ourselves and need your help. That's a total of $7,500. Help us to get more and more people involved in the One Brick At a Time Program, which provides a direct benefit to the children and people of the Bergnek community in rural Limpopo, South Africa.

An Update from EWB

Preparing for Solutions

Some may already know but I wanted to confirm that the Water Initiative Program in Bergnek has been approved and adopted by the EWB Central Houston Chapter. This is a large step forward. Many of us have been eager to get started.

This means that EWB Houston will be partnering with My Arms Wide Open in the water projects and potentially sanitation projects later on depending on our combined success together. This is a multi-year commitment from the EWB Central Houston Chapter and we look forward to working with everyone to deliver sustainable solutions to empower and improve the lives of the Bergnek community.

First Step

The first step, now that we have the official approval and adoption of the project by the EWB Central Houston Chapter, will be the assessment trip. During this trip we would hope to survey the land, determine where we can buy materials in country, visit existent available wells, and other suitable water sources. Furthermore, we would like to better assess the needs of the community by conducting surveys to cover health issues, hygiene, water access, amount, travel time, along with other topics.

In addition to the data collection we will want to have regular meetings with community stakeholders (daily, every other day, or as required while on the assessment trip. This way everyone can ask questions together, review progress, discuss needs, and the various topics meaningful to the group.

Pulling it all together

In summary, we want to gather enough information for us all to determine together where the most good can be done with the available resources and then have the data needed so we can start developing solutions.

Tentatively, we would like to travel between October 25th through November 8th and coordinate with Warren's travels. We would hope to assemble a team of 4 to 6 people for the assessment.

Your contributions make the difference

Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for your support.

Take a Trip and Get involved

Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful people in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the ‘My World In a Garden’ EcoTravel option.

Gratitude

We are grateful for your support. The women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude and thanks.

Links:

Aug 4, 2014

How can you help to keep girls in in Africa in school...?

Kids need to worry about playing.. not surviving
Kids need to worry about playing.. not surviving

How can you help to keep girls in Africa in school… ?

Keeping girls in school is a great cause and we love what we get to do with your support, however the picture is far more complex and bigger than you might possibly imagine. In one of our other programs, GirlStuff – Pads4Girls that can also be found on GlobalGiving, we provide girls with the washable and reusable menstrual supplies they desperately need so that they don’t miss any time off from school, simply because they can’t afford to buy menstrual supplies.

We’ve learned that the menstrual kits we provide get girls back to school but do not necessarily keep them in school. Why? Well, part of what girls are supposed to be doing for their families is to find food for the next meal. Something boys are not expected to do.

How do we help?

How we help is by building our vertical vegetable gardens in the form of a 40 foot wall using a variety of technologies in the design as well as how we operate and maintain the walls to product fresh, non-gmo vegetables and herbs while using a small fraction of the water that would be otherwise used in an open ground plot. We have learned to build the walls whereby we can get the fresh vegetable sand herbs up to 150 people would need in a week, each week, from one vertical garden. We call them ‘My World In a Garden’, as you probably already know.

Our next gardens

In a previous update we let you know we are looking to build at least 6 more ‘My World In a Garden’ vertical gardens in Bergnek and since then we’ve also been asked to build walls in additional communities who are also being supplied with our menstrual kits from the Bergnek Community Projects, GirlStuff community business.

You CAN help and we NEED your help!

Your contributions make the difference

Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for your support.

Take a Trip and Get involved

Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful people in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the ‘My World In a Garden’ EcoTravel option.

Gratitude

We are grateful for your support. The women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude and thanks.

Links:

Aug 4, 2014

Menstrual Kits, Food, and School Uniforms

Sports Gear from GirlStuff
Sports Gear from GirlStuff

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together

Menstrual Kits

Keeping girls in school is a great cause and we love what we do, however there is a bigger picture we need to consider aside from providing the reusable, washable, menstrual kits we make and supply to the girls in the communities we work in.

Fresh, Healthy Food

Proving the menstrual kits for the girls that simply cannot afford to buy menstrual kits is a key part of helping to get girls back into schools and to support them all the way through grade 12 and beyond. Another part of the picture includes providing support for the food they would otherwise be gathering or working for to bring home to their families. 

To address this, My Arms Wide Open also has the 'My World in a Garden' program, also on GlobalGiving, in which we grow healthy vegetables and herbs in vertical garden walls We establish and build these gardens on the school property or in the community center compound, if there is one in the community. The technology we use allows us to produce enough fresh vegetables to be able to support the girls and their families each week, up to 150 people per wall. We use less water and the girls are able to tend the walls and reap the benefits for their families.

The clothes our girls need

In addition to the fresh vegetables and herbs our gardens provide, GirlStuff has now also started making full school uniforms and sports gear that the girls need in order to attend school.

Completing the puzzle

Once we address all three of these needs, we have a chance to keep girls in school longer, and hopefully all the way through Grade 12 and beyond to enable them to afford themselves of the same opportunities boys have without having to go through the complications girls do.

To complete the puzzle My Arms Wide Open and it’s partners also build and support infrastructure development in the communities. Our focus in our ‘One Brick at a Time’ program, also on GlobalGiving, is on water, sanitation, housing and healthcare.

Your contributions make the difference

Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for your support.

Take a Trip and Get involved

Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful people in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the ‘My World In a Garden’ EcoTravel. Option.

Gratitude

We are grateful for your support. The women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude and thanks.

School Uniforms by GirlStuff
School Uniforms by GirlStuff

Links:

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