Self-Help International

Self-Help International (SHI) devotes its efforts to alleviating world hunger and poverty by providing opportunities to rural citizens that ultimately lead to self-reliance. Since its inception, Self-Help has served as a vessel; training, education, and opportunities are provided to rural citizens and whole communities in developing countries so that they can have better lives. MISSION STATEMENT: To alleviate hunger by helping people help themselves. SELF-HELP'S INITIATIVE Educate: We educate the people of the United States to understand the problems of life in developing countries particularly the awareness of the perpetual struggle by millions to produce and distribute food to batt...
Mar 22, 2016

Would you give your child dirty water to drink?

Walter Acevedo CAPS Leaders with new chlorinator
Walter Acevedo CAPS Leaders with new chlorinator

...Juan wouldn't either.  Here's his story: 

In Februrary 2014, Self-Help's Clean Water Program Officer made the trek to Walter Acevedo, a town of 2,500 people that is hidden away behind masses of lush forest life, only accessible by an extensive stretch of muddy, rocky road.  Orlando was there to meet with CAPS (Comité de Agua Potable y Saneamiento  -- Clean Water & Sanitation Committee) leaders and present the benefits of water purification via chlorination with the CTI-8 system. CAPS president Roberto Martínez Aguirre told him that the town had begun chlorinating their water over a year previously, but the system had broken down, so they needed help to find a system that was more appropriate for their community.  Last summer, student intern Mack Thompson visited Walter Acevedo to check in on how things were going 16 months later.

Roberto began by explaining the context when he met Orlando, saying, “We purchased our first system, an electric chlorinator, for USD $400 but it stopped working correctly after 7 or 8 months." Roberto and fellow CAPS members Juan García and Francisco Orozco explain they decided to install the CTI-8 because of the simplicity of the system, its effectiveness, and the minimal maintenance. Francisco states, “We went door to door, telling people the old chlorinator had broken, handing out the brochures for the CTI-8 and asking them to help with the purchase of a new system… People were more than ready to pay when they found out it functioned by gravity, rather than electricity." Standing by the town’s water storage tank, he gestures towards the new chlorinator, “We’ve had the CTI-8 for nearly a year and a half now, and it cost much less than the first system [USD $130], plus we don’t have to pay for the electricity to operate it anymore."

The broken system took a toll on both family health and finances. Juan shared, “When the old machine broke, I started spending a large part of money I earned buying bottled water for my family… We had all become accustomed to drinking clean water, and I was concerned for their health." This concern was more than warranted.  Instances of acute diarrheal disease are typically attributed to some kind of contamination in the water supply and often affect children worse than adults. Before installing the water chlorinator, Self-Help conducted water tests in conjunction with the Ministry of Health which demonstrated that the village’s only water source, a nearby well, was horribly polluted with E. coli and other bacteria and unsafe to drink. 

Following the installation of the CTI-8 water chlorination system, everything changed, and the community didn't need to see the water test results to see the difference. When asked about the how the health of the populace has been affected, local nurse Idalia Rocha says, “The basic levels have clearly gone up because for every ten people we saw [before the CTI-8 installation], six or seven were for diarrhea related illnesses… now it’s more like one out of ten." The local health records confirm that the number of recorded cases of acute diarrheal disease in Walter Acevedo has been cut in half or more in most months following the CTI-8 installation. 

Roberto added, “Even when the other chlorinator worked, I had a bacteria problem in my stomach for two years… 1 month after the CTI-8 was installed, it was gone." Reina, the local school principal and CAPS leader, added that children are spending more time in her classroom, now that they aren't constantly seeking treatment at the health clinic. The CAPS leaders call the CTI-8 system a blessing. At the end of the interview they all reaffirmed, “Ahora, tomamos con confianza! – We now drink with confidence!

****TODAY IS WORLD WATER DAY!!!****  

***HELP US BRING CLEAN, SAFE DRINKING WATER TO ONE THOUSAND MORE PEOPLE LIVING IN RURAL NICARAGUA TODAY!!!  EVERY $1 DONATED = 1 MORE PERSON WITH CLEAN WATER FOR FIVE YEARS!!!!***  

 

Orlando interviews nurse from Walter Acevedo
Orlando interviews nurse from Walter Acevedo

Links:

Mar 16, 2016

I feel at ease knowing my daughter is well fed

Razak with daughter Faustina
Razak with daughter Faustina

***TODAY IS A BONUS MATCHING DAY - READ HOW YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR IMPACT BELOW***

Last July, we reported to you that in rural Ghana, quite a number of children spend time idle at home or with their parents on their farms rather than in school. The importance of formal education had not dawned on most parents within Beposo community in the Atwima Mponua District despite the nationwide push for primary education.  Now, six months later, we are finally seeing a shift in that attitude among parents in Beposo.

On February 9, I visited Beposo along with our school feeding program officers to talk with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) about how things are going in the community, and what their goals are for their children’s education. The strong turnout of parents at the midday meeting demonstrated their commitment to their children’s education, and what they shared was even more encouraging.

Razak is a farmer whose daughter Faustina is in the same class as Agnes and Akwasi. He shared that the school feeding program has been great for his family because it gives him peace of mind knowing his daughter will get breakfast, even if he has to go out to the farm before feeding the kids. 

“Since the feeding program was introduced, I feel much more at ease any time I leave the house for work because I know my daughter is in school and is being taken care of by the teachers and is being fed well,” said Razak.  “I feel at ease and feel relaxed with my work, and I appreciate the fact that the feeding program is here. I am very grateful.”

Razak’s story was not unique. Many of the parents spoke up to say that the school feeding program makes life a little easier and lessens their worries. Fathers like Razak set out for the farm early in the morning before children are up and about so they can get work done before the heat of the day gets unbearable and they have to take midday breaks. Mothers also have to leave very early in the morning to walk to other rural communities to sell their wares as petty traders or to take their produce to the local market on market day. Staying home to provide breakfast for children and see them off to school before going to work means missing income-generating opportunities that are critical to putting food on the table. Even in the dry season when food is more scarce, they know their children will eat breakfast.

Thank you for your support, which is easing the burden on hardworking mothers and fathers who want what we all want: what's best for their children. When you give a gift to support the school feeding program, you ensure that a child like Faustina gets the breakfast that she wouldn’t otherwise eat, ensuring that she starts the day well fed and ready to learn.

***Please support the school feeding program TODAY, MARCH 16 with a gift any time from now until Midnight Eastern / 11 PM Central. All donations made today will be matched so your gift nourishes even more children!!***

The PTA discusses school feeding program
The PTA discusses school feeding program
Parents share the impact on their children
Parents share the impact on their children

Links:

Mar 16, 2016

Finally! Practical Training for Ag Science Class

Justice warns students about the tough job market
Justice warns students about the tough job market

***TODAY IS A BONUS MATCHING DAY - READ HOW YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR IMPACT BELOW***

Students at St. Joseph Senior High School now have the practical skills they need to be able to enter the rural workforce. A few months ago, we started a remote training workshop series on mushroom production at the high school, located at Bekwai, Ahwiren in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The training workshop was organized to create awareness among the General Agriculture Science students about the current youth unemployment crisis in the country, and to empower them with practical skills and knowledge to start up their own oyster mushroom production enterprises in case college education is not an option following graduation.

The mushroom training was divided into three sessions, one theory course, then two practical sessions.  In the theory course, participants at the workshop were briefed about Self-Help International, our mission and vision with an emphasis on how to adversities in entering the workforce, including opportunities available to them through the Young Adult Training Center.

During the second training session, the students were guided to prepare 100 kg of compost, which the medium that mushrooms grow in. One critical aspect of the training was how to determine the composition of the compost. The students learned the proper ratio of 500 kg of sawdust, 35 kg of rice bran, and 3.5 kg of oyster shells. Most of the students initially had difficulties determining the proper ratios when scaled down to one fifth of the ratio, but eventually they all got it correct. At the close of the second training session, the students were counseled to turn the mixture every four days for the next twenty-eight days in order to complete the compost preparation.

Once the compost was prepared, I returned for the third and final training session, where the students were taken through the process of bagging the compost for mushroom production. A total of ninety 6” x 12” plastic bags were filled with compost. These bags were then sterilized, the spores added, and they were stored in a cool place. The students were pleased to see their hard work come to fruition when they harvested the first crop of mushrooms. 

After completing the workshop courses, the students expressed satisfaction with the training received. This is their first time ever to have received such hands-on training, and they enjoyed reaping the benefits of their hard work!

Thank you for your support, which is enabling hundreds of students to learn the practical skills they will soon need to become a productive member of society.  This free course is only possible thanks to the generosity of donors like you! 

 ***Please support the Young Adult Training Center TODAY, MARCH 16 with a gift any time from now until Midnight Eastern / 11 PM Central. All donations made today will be matched so your gift nourishes even more children!!***

Turning sawdust-rice bran-oyster shell compost
Turning sawdust-rice bran-oyster shell compost
Students bagging the compost
Students bagging the compost
Students show off their mushroom bags
Students show off their mushroom bags
Students with bags after spores added
Students with bags after spores added

Links:

 
   

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