Nov 19, 2020

Recovery work continues

La Marana gathers leaders in Carolina, Puerto Rico
La Marana gathers leaders in Carolina, Puerto Rico

For the past few months, our new partner Protectores de Cuencas in Puerto Rico has been hard at work planting trees to restore land in the Guanica State Forest, especially coastal areas that are prone to erosion and areas burned in wildfires. They've been able to purchase a water truck and pickup trucks so that they can water, weed, and maintain more than 13 acres of reforested land. These tools are essential, as new trees need to be watered as many as 17 times per month!

Meanwhile, in the Houston, TX area, another new partner, Bayou City Waterkeeper, has used their donations to work with local government and community members to protect 269 acres of wetlands, convene decisionmakers, hold community meetings, and conduct training. By protecting wetlands, communities will be less vulnerable to flooding like what was seen in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Our long-time partners continue their important work, as well. For example:

  • La Maraña invited community leaders in Carolina, in northeast Puerto Rico, to imagine what a just recovery would look like. They also openedthree water stations and a community well in eastern Puerto Rico so that access to clean water is available even if weathering future storms.
  • The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has funded the removal of 260 cubic yards of hurricane debris from the shorelines and roadways of Coral Bay on St. John to date. That’s the equivalent of more than seven school buses! They’ve also worked with a local university to recycle glass into sandbags, to offer flood protection to residents and businesses.
  • The St. John Long-Term Recovery Group has experienced setbacks in their work rebuilding homes destroyed by the hurricanes since COVID-19 reached the island. They had to pause home reconstruction for vulnerable senior residents and experienced delays in construction permits and supply shipments due to COVID-19 precautions. Over the summer, they began to resume work, with socially distancing, portable hand washing stations, and masks for construction crew members.
  • For months, Doorways of NWFL had to close their Community Resource Center in Panama City, FL due to COVID-19, but they fielded thousands of calls for assistance. Last month, they reopened the center with safety protocols in place and delivered food to homebound and high-risk residents with the help of volunteers.

Whether reforesting land, protecting wetlands, envisioning future recovery, giving clean water access, removing debris, offering flood protection, or delivering food, these organizations are doing essential work. Thank you for your generous support to the Island Spirit Fund that helps it all happen.

Protectores de Cuenca cares for young trees
Protectores de Cuenca cares for young trees
Nov 18, 2020

What Tahera wants you to know about the road to recovery in Pakistan

Photo courtesy of Imkaan
Photo courtesy of Imkaan

While I could share countless statistics about how your donation is making a difference for communities across South Asia, I thought I’d share some insights from someone on the grounds: Imkaan Welfare Organization Director Tahera Hasan. Here’s what she had to say about overcoming the challenges brought on by this year’s devastating monsoon season.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about how your community was impacted by the floods across South Asia?

A: The community we work with is one of the largest informal settlements in Karachi, with a population of approximately 800,000. The majority of residents are of Bengali ethnicity and are therefore stateless. The community is mostly on land near the sea, and the homes are makeshift without any quality construction. The homes are lower than the level of the [road]lanes, which even in regular rainfalls causes damage as they become filled with water. The flooding this August due to its intensity left no home unaffected. There was waist-high water inside people’s homes with no place to sit, eat, or sleep. The aftermath of the rain left the community with diseases, damaged [road] lanes, and a lot of homes in need of rebuilding. 

Q: How have the funds you received from the GlobalGiving South Asia Flood Relief Fund made a difference for your community?

A: We run several projects in the community, but the maternity facility, health facility, and solid waste management facility suffered the most substantial impacts during the floods. The maternity facility, which is the only one in the community, was inundated with cases. Our staff was present 24 hours at the facility in these challenging circumstances and dealt with emergency cases effectively. There was an increase in skin infections, respiratory diseases, and gastroenteritis cases after the flooding.

GlobalGiving's South Asia Flood Relief Fund has really helped us deal with the increased number of patients that have been coming to our facilities, as the same has resulted in an increased need for medication and support. The fund has also assisted our solid waste management program, which has had to work at twice its strength to deal with the state of the community post-flooding.

Q: What are the greatest unmet, long-term needs in your community?

A: Being an underprivileged community brings challenges for all services to meet basic community needs. The added circumstance of being stateless deprives the community of any state attention or relief. The major unmet needs of the community range between health, education, recreation, housing, and water and sanitation. Because of the high levels of statelessness within the community, members cannot access government health facilities and children cannot go to school. 

There is general hopelessness due to the lack of a resolution to their issues. COVID-19 has been a major eye-opener of the vulnerability of the community after not being able to receive part of any government relief program. Even most NGOs had the prerequisite of an identity card to get relief. 

Q: What about your local community’s response to the floods makes you most proud?

A: The local community deals with the challenges of rain every year with an impact on their existence. People support and help each other—there was not one home where everyone around was not helping. It is this unity that strengthens a community. 

Q: Real disaster recovery is a long and difficult process. What inspires you to keep at it?

A: I think the one thing that keeps anyone going in disaster situations is the desire to see things change for the better and the need to contribute towards the same. I have worked in several disaster situations where immediate needs are addressed as part of relief work. However, it’s the rebuilding that takes time and long-term commitment. That can come for communities working for their betterment with assistance from organizations that work in those areas.

In my view, the fact that this particular community is deprived of identity despite there being a legal framework, purely because of non-implementation, is a disaster that has impacted every facet of their lives. We at Imkaan are committed to working towards advocating for their basic rights.

The generosity of donors like you make Tahera’s commitment to long-term recovery a reality for communities in Karachi. We are incredibly grateful for your continued support. Keep an eye out for more stories of how your donations are being put to work across South Asia in the coming months. 

With Gratitude, 

Sami A + the GlobalGiving Team

Nov 17, 2020

Powering recovery through social change in Puerto Rico

Photo courtesy of Y No Habia Luz
Photo courtesy of Y No Habia Luz

It’s hard to believe that three years have already passed since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, the trauma and damage inflicted by the storm remain present to this day

We must remember that Hurricane Maria was the deadliest disaster in the United States in 100 years. It tragically left at least 3,000 people dead and the entire island without full power for nearly an entire year. The storm’s impacts not only built upon years of economic and political marginalization of the Puerto Rican people, but it also weakened local communities’ ability to respond to other massive crises thrown their way this year—like the earthquakes that struck the island earlier this year and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The reality is that the nonprofit sector in Puerto Rico and its leaders like Ana Yris Guzmán have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of recovery efforts on the island. Both federal and local government agencies have sadly failed to deliver on promised disaster aid.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm and the years that followed, you chose to join with more than 50,000 others to support GlobalGiving’s Puerto Rico & Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund. As a result of your donation, our trusted nonprofit partners based in Puerto Rico have been able to rely on GlobalGiving’s long-term support to further their critical work. Here is a snapshot of how your donation continues to help communities across Puerto Rico on their journey to recovery:

  • Y No Había Luz centers its work on the power of artistic experiences to drive social change in Puerto Rico. It recently launched its Centinelas del Corazón program to serve multiple communities across the island that were hit the hardest by Hurricane Maria. The program aims to strengthen social ties in impacted communities through art and theater, including puppetry and immersive storytelling. Through workshops (virtual until further notice) and community dialogues, the Centinelas del Corazón program will provide a space for communities to identify common issues and to design solutions in a participatory way alongside their neighbors.
  • Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio (P.E.C.E.S.) has been serving vulnerable communities across Puerto Rico since 1985 through its programs promoting education, at-risk youth intervention, and community development. The organization’s Community Sustainability Center, based in Punta Santiago very close to where Hurricane Maria first made landfall, has quickly adapted all of its programmings amid the pandemic and is now providing non-stop supportive services virtually, including counseling and other social work services. P.E.C.E.S. is also providing holistic support, such as hot meal distribution, to the elderly who were disproportionately impacted by the storm and are now at greatest risk to COVID-19.
  • Intercambios Puerto Rico is a community-based organization that promotes the social integration of marginalized groups, including people with substance abuse disorders, people experiencing homelessness, and sex workers. These groups, who are already struggling from the disproportionate impacts of Hurricane Maria, now find themselves in an even more precarious position due to the realities of the pandemic. The organization has been running its mobile services to provide on-the-spot counseling, COVID-19 safety items like masks and hand sanitizer, and information about how to protect yourself from the virus.

Thank you for your generosity and support of community-led disaster recovery. Please expect another update from GlobalGiving early next year about how your donation makes a difference in the lives of so many.

With gratitude, 

Chase + the GlobalGiving Team

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