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Jun 1, 2017

Building Capacity in the Sindhuli District

Safe Demolition of the Bal Lahari school
Safe Demolition of the Bal Lahari school

Dear Supporter,

I am writing to thank you for your continuing support, which has made a big impact as Concern worked to assist in rebuilding people’s lives in Nepal in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. We responded to the disaster by assisting in repairing schools, providing shelter support, and distributing emergency kits, allowing households to meet their most pressing needs. Concern continues to work within Nepal on longer term reconstruction projects and an emergency preparedness plan.   

In March of 2016, Concern Worldwide implemented the Safe Demolition and Debris Management (DDM) Project in the Sindhuli District of Nepal in partnership with the local non-governmental organization Relief Nepal. The project recently wrapped up, and Concern’s team on the ground in Nepal reports that it has been a great success. The aim of the project was to assist targeted communities in safely demolishing four schools in the Sindhuli District that were heavily damaged during the earthquakes of 2015 and to educate the communities on the proper reuse of the salvaged debris for the construction of new buildings. The project ensured the safety of 437 individuals (425 students and 12 teachers) from accidents and risks posed by the unsafe buildings. This project has also served to build knowledge and skills on demolition and debris management and earthquake resilient construction within the community, while also providing opportunities to earn income. 

Project activities began by training 40 local workers on safe demolition and debris management, including the safe demolition of buildings, identification of hazards, and categorization and storage of debris materials such as wood, stone, and metal roofing sheet, which will be used in subsequent construction projects. The trainees were selected through criteria that aimed to give opportunities for the most disadvantaged people in the affected communities to build skills and receive cash for work. Trainees were then employed in the safe demolition of the four targeted schools in the Sindhuli District. Next, trainings were carried out on earthquake resilient construction techniques. These trainings aimed to enhance the knowledge and skills of existing local masons so that they will be able to build earthquake resilient structures that comply with Nepal’s national government standards and building codes. 

Durga, 39, had been employed as a mason and was engaged in demolishing buildings and reconstructing houses that were destroyed by the earthquakes. Before he and his colleagues became involved in the project, the community had never used safety measures during the demolition of buildings before. After successfully completing the training through Concern’s DDM project, Durga was employed on the safe demolition of the Bal Lahari school in the Sindhuli District, and received payment for his work. Below, Durga discusses his positive experience with the program:

“Wow, what a practice of demolition of buildings with all the safety measures! I was surprised when I heard about the training for demolishing buildings; for me it was an opportunity to learn something new. We were practicing unsafe building demolition works after the catastrophic earthquake and many of us were injured because we did not use safety measures. I now feel safer while demolishing a building. With the income from the project I was able to buy stationery for my daughter, pay medical bills, and buy a drum for our water supply. The knowledge and skills that I have gained will last longer and help me find employment in the future as well.”   

All four of the targeted schools were safely demolished, and all debris generated from the demolition work was stored appropriately on-site, ready for construction. Excavation work was then carried out in order to level the land and create a safe area to be used by the school. The schools will be reconstructed in a subsequent project. The DDM project has greatly improved demolition of damaged buildings, the management of debris, and the separation of materials which will be re-used in reconstruction. In the long run, the increased level of skill within the communities will allow the Sindhuli District to be more resilient to natural disasters, while also increasing the earning potential of its residents. 

This Global Giving project is coming to an end, but we thank you so much for your support and hope that you will continue to support out other projects around the world. We would especially like to direct your attention to our response to the Hunger Crisis in East Africa, which can be found here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/combat-hunger-in-east-africa/ 

Durga B.K. in front of the demolition site
Durga B.K. in front of the demolition site
Build Back Better reconstruction training
Build Back Better reconstruction training
Salvaging debris for further reconstruction
Salvaging debris for further reconstruction
May 5, 2017

Facilitating access to healthcare for Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Beneficiaries of the protection program in Turkey
Beneficiaries of the protection program in Turkey

Dear Supporter,

With no end to the crisis in sight, Concern Worldwide continues to help Syrian refugees meet their most urgent needs, and we are so grateful for your generous support which makes this work possible. As part of our response to the Syria Crisis, Concern conducts a protection program in southeastern Turkey which has proved to be critical for refugees living in the region.  

According to figures from the Turkish government, as of the beginning of 2017 there were approximately 2.9 million Syrian refugees registered under temporary protection in Turkey. Syrians who have registered with the Turkish government receive a temporary protection status, and can freely benefit from public services including health care, education, and vocational training in the province of their registered residence.

Among the Syrian refugee population in Turkey, there is a wide variety of individuals and households which have unique needs requiring a case management approach. This type of approach is needed when assistance and support is required to help that person navigate the various specialized services to meet their protection needs, in the form of their one-time aid or longer term support. Concern excels at this kind of individualized case management, and we are pleased to share with you a story of one of the beneficiaries of our protection program:   

For two years, Rima* has lived in a two-room apartment on a narrow, cobble-stoned street in a city in southeastern Turkey. She shares the space with nine family members: her grandmother and grandfather, her aunt, and her uncle, his wife, and their four children. The meager space and adjustment to a new city and language would be an ample challenge already, but the family has faced much more since they fled their home in Syria.

Rima was born with a ventricular septal defect – a hole in her heart. Overcoming the odds, Rima survived, and her condition remained relatively stable until war came to her district and she and her family were forced to leave Syria. With her health rapidly deteriorating, she saw a Syrian doctor in Turkey who said the solution was surgery – a procedure he couldn’t perform because it was complicated and dangerous. While the support offered through the temporary protection status provided through the Turkish Government is generous, the process of obtaining it is rarely simple. Rima tried repeatedly to get a temporary protection ID and was declined each time. Barred from receiving Turkish medical care without this ID, her condition only got worse.

One day, in a hospital waiting room, she was approached by Concern’s case manager, who noticed she was pale and unable to walk. Learning of her situation, he took up her case and lobbied the doctor at the hospital to write up her case informally. The case manager then took the health assessment to the directorate general of migration management, hoping they would recognize the dire need for treatment and grant her temporary protection status. The tact worked: Rima was given temporary dispensation to receive a full and official medical report, and then ultimately registered for Temporary Protection. She stayed in a university hospital for 33 days after this, with her aunt and a translator provided by Concern at her side.

Even without these added health expenses, the cost of living in Turkey is more than Rima’s family can afford. Rima’s uncle works as a casual laborer but has struggled to find consistent employment, and her cousins are too young to work. Were the war to end tomorrow, the family’s future would still be uncertain: shortly after they crossed the border, their home was destroyed by a stealth missile.

Yet the family remains incredibly resilient. Concern spoke to Rima and her aunt a few days before they were to travel for the heart surgery that she needs to survive. The trip and the surgery are both supported by Concern’s protection program, and if Rima were to be placed in longer term alternative care following the surgery, Concern would also have to arrange accommodation for her aunt. When this was mentioned, Rima’s aunt shook her head. She didn’t care, she said, where she stayed, as long as Rima could have a translator by her side to explain the procedure. Both Rima and her aunt spoke quietly and deliberately, their bravery made all the more remarkable by a clearheaded acceptance of their current circumstances.

“For every two cases I open, I find eight more,” Concern’s case manager said, noting that while Rima’s family’s specific condition is unique, the severity of their needs is sadly not. Out of the 2.9 million registered Syrian refugees in Turkey, over 2 million require basic needs assistance. Thanks to your contributions, Rima and her family, at least, can look ahead towards the possibility of stable and safe life in Turkey.  

 

*Name changed for protection

 

Mar 21, 2017

Progress Visible in La Gonave

Road rehabilitation on La Gonave
Road rehabilitation on La Gonave

Dear Supporter,

With your generous support, Concern Worldwide continues to assist Haiti in its recovery from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. Nearly six months ago, Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti, devastating the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation. The storm destroyed homes, livelihoods, and infrastructure, leaving more than 10% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation remains dire in Haiti: more than 800,000 people urgently need food assistance, almost 150,000 people are still displaced, and the damage to the agricultural sector is estimated at over $500 million.

Concern continues to support Haitian communities as they rebuild and recover from Hurricane Matthew. While most of the damage from the storm was concentrated in the southern and northern regions of the country, many other regions were also hard hit. Among those was Haiti’s largest island of La Gonâve, just off the coast of Port-au-Prince, where over 20% of the population was severely affected by the hurricane.

Already one of Haiti’s poorest areas, La Gonâve suffered heavy losses to agriculture and livestock, as well as destruction of sanitation infrastructure, agricultural and fishing equipment, and many homes. With means of food production damaged and markets unable to function, food prices on the island have increased over the past few months. Many people have trouble affording food, and even those that can afford food face difficulties accessing it, as 80% of La Gonâve’s infrastructure was damaged by Hurricane Matthew’s punishing rains.

In response to the need in La Gonâve, Concern conducted seven distributions, assisting over 8,000 people. Recipients were provided with essential items, such as hygiene kits, tarpaulins, jerry cans, and tents. After the storm destroyed sanitation facilities, including toilets, and left behind stagnant water, cholera quickly became a worry. Concern supplied water purification tablets to ensure people have access to safe drinking water and educated residents on cholera prevention. Though cholera swept through the country’s southern peninsula after the hurricane, Concern recorded zero cases of the disease on La Gonâve.

To help the hundreds of families whose homes were swept away in the rain and flood waters, Concern has also distributed nearly 500 shelter repair kits. In addition to the tools, recipients received support and training to build better, more resilient homes.

The rehabilitation of over a mile of strategic roads on La Gonâve has been a critical step in the recovery process. Through a cash-for-work program, Concern worked with residents to rebuild almost 4,000 feet of road that connects Anse-à-Galets to Points-à-Raquettes, the two main towns on the island. Another stretch of road was rehabilitated between Anse-à-Galets and Palma, which is vital for those who rely on the road to reach the main market.

More than 250 of the island’s poorest and most vulnerable households participated in the program over approximately two weeks, and the vital cash injections helped families purchase food and cover basic needs during a difficult time.

On behalf of Concern and the communities on La Gonâve, we send our sincerest thanks for your compassion and support.

Remote area of La Gonave
Remote area of La Gonave
 
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