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.
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.
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.
In February we updated you on the progress we've been making in our discussions with Engineers Without Borders on our 'One Brick At a Time' community development program and we have more good news to share.
Please share this update with people and organizations you are connected to.
We're Excited - We ARE moving ahead!
As you might have known our negotiations and discussions with Engineers without Borders have been going well and we have been recently been informed that the 'One Brick At a Time' program will now proceed, with the first visit, taking place in September of this year, which is spring in Bergnek. The Bergnek community and ourselves are certainly excited about what's taking place and are truly grateful to our partners and supporters at Engineers Without Borders for working through the process with us.
This is the next BIG step in helping the Bergnek community to achieve a sustainable water source as well as build out distribution and access, particularly for the children and the elderly in the community.
The BIG idea?
Unemployment is a huge problem in Bergnek and South Africa as a whole, for that matter. To address unemployment in Bergnek, Bergnek Community Projects and My Arms Wide Open® support the community to establish projects that connect over the immediate, medium and long term. The One Brick at A Time initiative is one that is more long term, and has a number of nearer term objectives included in it, such as the collaboration with Engineers Without Borders. Each project within the program will not only transfer additional skills into the community it will also provide additional employment in Bergnek, and help to generate the resources to address other priorities within the community including health-care and housing needs.
The program starts by addressing water access and distribution. The community needs a reliable power source and a larger water capacity. This is being addressed using solar-based pumps that can pump the volume available, which is more than the current pump can handle. The next project in the program addresses sanitation needs, particularly for children and the elderly. From there we extend infrastructure and with the increased water capacity have the ability to begin a brick making business to generate revenue and to enable the community to build much needed housing and a healthcare centre.
As you can tell, this is a BIG idea and the Bergnek community is intent on making it a reality.
We NEED your Help to BIG idea manifest in Bergnek
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. Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please consider it and take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for all of the support you have already given them.
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 EcoTravel link below for more information.
Thank you for your continued support of the women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities.
In our most recent report we talked about the progress we've been making with the One Brick at A Time program. We call it a program because it is actually a series of projects that lead to the outcome the community of Bergnek has established as their intent and goal for the program overall.
Over the holiday season the application with Engineers without Borders proceeded from the local chapter level in the United States to the National level. The community has been proactive and responsive to the questions they've been asked and additional information required to support the proposal and things are looking very favorable for an overall approval very soon. We will certainly be posting more on this as soon as news becomes available.
Help this BIG idea manifest in Bergnek
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. Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
We are excited to share our latest project update and report with you. We have lots of activity taking place that supports the Bergnek Communities goals to create employment through the One Brick at a Time project.As you know the project is not just about establishing a brick-making business in Bergnek. It's about establishing the brick-making project as an anchor in the community to create a sustainable business that generates revenue to support a whole host of initiatives within the Bergnek Community. These include:
Over the past few months we have been working hard to come to an agreement with Engineers Without Borders, in the United States as we reported earlier. We are very happy to report that we have completed the project planning paperwork and submissions. Our next step is to break the overall project, which is sizeable, down into three projects that will each be implemented in 2014 and 2015. The chapter supporting the project is getting everything ready to present to Engineers Without Borders, USA for approval.The commitment My Arms Wide Open has made is to raise 5% of the total costs of the over-arching project directly, in support of the community. That’s where we need your help and support. Please support the women and children of Bergnek and make a donation today. If you can make a recurring donation, that is greatly appreciated by the women and children of Bergnek. Together, we can do this and support a highly disadvantaged community to sustain itself in the long term. Thank you for your ongoing support!
One of our biggest challenges in getting our 'One Brick at a Time' project to a point where we can begin work is in establishing a direct, reliable and sustainable water source.
Well pumps and reliable water sources
In 2011 we funded the installation of a new pump and well in Bergnek. With the help of the City of Polokwane we have been able to maintain that pump and keep the water flowing enough to support only the basic needs of the community. Last year we were able to get a second pump installed too.
Unfortunately this year we had a breakdown in the equipment and the person supporting the maintenance of the pumps was not able to repair it and the city could not commit to costs for the new parts needed. We have since stepped in and provided the funding for the parts to restore the pump, however the community had gone without water for nearly two months before we where made aware of the problem. This has forced us to find other solutions as the volume of water is now only back at the basic needs level.
Partnering for success
Over the past few months we've been in discussions with a number of other organizations, including Engineers Without Borders, to find the partners we need to fund the much needed infrastructure needed for this project to ultimately be successful. Negotiations are going well and we are almost at the point where we have a commitment to fund the purchase of a much larger well pump as well as the solar power to keep the pump running sustainably going forward. We will publish an update as soon as we have a firm commitment from Engineers without Borders, who have now had representatives visited the community.
We need your help
We are grateful for your continued support. This is an important project for the community to build housing, a medical centre and provided much needed employment. Please support the project in any way you can. Think about joining us on one of project trips as part of our Eco-Travel initiative. Visit our website for more information about the Eco-Travel and we will also give you more information on how you can make a portion of your trip costs a deduction by contributing through the GlobalGiving project.
Thank you for all you do.
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