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May 7, 2020

A quick update regarding our operations...

Shree Manakamana Basic School (before and after)
Shree Manakamana Basic School (before and after)

Greetings friends and supporters of our Nepal Relief Program,

This past March, we celebrated the completion of our Makwanpur Program and the Shree Manakamana Basic School. The team completed an impressive scope of work, making sure the school could comfortably and safely accommodate the 140 students that attend it. We also continued to provide Female Mason Training on both programs operating this season. To date, 25 women have successfully completed this capacity building training course, during which they learn about disaster resilient building techniques that they can share with their larger communities.

This spring, we had planned to complete three brand new schools prior to monsoon season (which typically starts in mid-June). Today, I have an update regarding the way COVID-19 has affected our operations around the world, and what this means for our team in Nepal. Our top priority is and will continue to be the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, volunteers and the communities we serve. For this reason, effective March 12th, All Hands and Hearts temporarily suspended all operations, withdrawing over 400 staff and volunteers from seven program locations in the US and around the world in 72 hours. After careful consideration, our leadership team has now determined that it is unlikely we will be able to restart our volunteer-driven operations before September 2020. However, our commitments to beneficiary communities remain resolute. As of September 1, we expect to begin reopening programs on a case-by-case basis, based on local government guidelines and the advice of medical experts.

We know that the poor and vulnerable populations we serve are already feeling a disproportionate impact from COVID-19. Stay-at-home orders, closed schools, layoffs, and medical shortages land differently on those sheltering in a damaged home, in a community without internet or one without a clinic, or for those already struggling to afford basic necessities. Our goal now is to sustain our model and prepare to meet the challenges that COVID is already injecting into the disaster recovery landscape, so we can serve our mission over the long haul.

We are incredibly eager to return to the field and continue the important work we started in Nepal. There is a critical need to make our schools safe so children can relocate from temporary classrooms into the main buildings and have appropriate shelter. We are monitoring local restrictions to determine if, and when, local staff can return to the Thakureshor and Janakalyan schools to complete construction and finalize the buildings. If staff can’t continue this work by May 15, the sites will stay closed until the monsoon season recedes in October.

Thank you for following our progress, and for your ongoing support! We look forward to updating you again soon.

One of our mason trainees
One of our mason trainees
May 7, 2020

A quick update regarding our operations...

A hurricane damaged home in Jackson County
A hurricane damaged home in Jackson County

Greetings Friends,

This month marks the passing of more than 1.5 years since Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Northwest Florida coast, leaving behind a path of devastation from which communities are still working to recover. In our last report, we were excited to share that a new Hurricane Michael Relief program was set to open this past April. Today, I have additional updates to share with you related to this, and an update regarding our operations overall in light of COVID-19.

With respect to the global pandemic, our top priority is and will continue to be the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, volunteers and the communities we serve. For this reason, effective March 12th, All Hands and Hearts temporarily suspended all operations, withdrawing over 400 staff and volunteers from seven program locations in the US and around the world in 72 hours. After careful consideration, our leadership team has now determined that it is unlikely we will be able to restart our volunteer-driven operations before September 2020. However, our commitments to beneficiary communities remain resolute. As of September 1, we expect to begin reopening programs on a case-by-case basis, based on local government guidelines and the advice of medical experts.

We know that the poor and vulnerable populations we serve are already feeling a disproportionate impact from COVID-19. Stay-at-home orders, closed schools, layoffs, and medical shortages land differently on those sheltering in a damaged home, in a community without internet or one without a clinic, or for those already struggling to afford basic necessities. Our goal now is to sustain our model and prepare to meet the challenges that COVID is already injecting into the disaster recovery landscape, so we can serve our mission over the long haul.

We are incredibly eager to return to the field, and continue serving families that still need our help. This fall, as soon as we are safely able, we will be setting up a program serving Jackson and Calhoun Counties. If all goes as planned, we will be able to engage staff and volunteers early in our operational re-start timeline (which in this case means we may have boots on the ground in Florida as early as September 1st)! I look forward to keeping you updated as plans progress, and the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves.

Thank you for your ongoing support. You have our gratitude and sincere wishes for your health and well-being.


Mar 2, 2020

Six months after Dorian, and we're still here!

Hurricane Dorian was a great disruptor to the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama. For many, their families are separated and spread among the islands of the Bahamas and even further abroad. It’s sinking in more and more each day that it will be a while before they can all be together again. The waves of depression and frustration are real, but the helping hands who have come to help them from all around the world are a true treasure. Our team rises at six am every morning, putting their boots on the ground by seven. These volunteers come from all walks of life, but have one major thing in common: They've come to help families move forward, in spite of the long road of recovery ahead. We are fortunate to be able to connect directly with the families we are working together to help, and invite them to a weekly dinner to get to know them better and reflect on progress made.

All Hands and Hearts has been on the ground since early September, and, with the help of 433 volunteers, we have served over 2100 people. With a daily average of 80 volunteers in the field, we have been a part of the rebuilding of eight schools in Abaco! We have completed our work on St. Francis de Sales school, and are currently focused on two more schools. Every Child Counts is the only school on the island for kids with special needs, and Central Abaco Primary School is the largest primary school on the island, serving over 800 students. With the word spreading of schools reopening, and hope spreading with it, we’re seeing so many people return home to rebuild their lives. We hope to have a part of the campus completed by mid-April for students to re-enter Central Abaco Primary and Every Child Counts by September.

In addition to our growing list of school projects, we have also been working hard on over 70 homes! Even though we celebrate that number, we still have over 100 families in our queue, with more being added every day. These families have had their homes mucked out, sanitized for mold, dried in and roofs repaired. The level of gratitude expressed by these folks is always so heartwarming to our teams, and we extend that gratitude to you as you've helped make all of this possible!  

We sincerely thank you for being a part of this tremendous work, and we look forward to updating you again soon!

After Every Beam is Scrubbed - It's Spraying Time
After Every Beam is Scrubbed - It's Spraying Time
Central Abaco Primary School
Central Abaco Primary School
St. Francis De Sales School
St. Francis De Sales School
Every Child Counts School
Every Child Counts School
 
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