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

Nov 16, 2020

Your donation is driving long-term recovery in Mexico

Photo courtesy of Manos Que Reconstruyen Oaxaca
Photo courtesy of Manos Que Reconstruyen Oaxaca

This past September marked the third anniversary of the pair of devastating earthquakes across central and southern Mexico. Much has changed since that time, including the current realities thrust upon the world by the COVID-19. What hasn’t changed is the dedication and hard work of the dozens of GlobalGiving’s local, community-led nonprofit partners in Mexico that continue, day in and day out, to meet the long-term recovery needs of communities impacted by the earthquakes.

Thanks to your incredible generosity and support for our Mexico Earthquakes Relief Fund, our nonprofit partners still lead the way on the long journey to recovery. Here is a snapshot of how your donation continues to help communities in Mexico impacted by the earthquakes of September 2017:

  • AYOK delivers high-quality workshops to families in Huejotengo in Morelos that saw more than 80 of their homes damaged or destroyed. The organization focuses on fostering economic reactivation in the community by offering carpentry workshops to women who can then apply their new skills to generate a side income and contribute to the overall reconstruction effort in Huejotengo led by the community.

  • Cooperación Comunitaria remains committed to reducing the vulnerability of communities impacted by the earthquakes. Working hand in hand with community members (with COVID-19 safety measures in place) in La Blanca, Oaxaca, the organization is constructing traditional kitchens and ovens and carrying out a natural assets recovery plan. Through participatory methods, Cooperación Comunitaria is ensuring that families in La Blanca have the tools and knowledge that they need to self-manage the natural environment around them in a sustainable way.
  • Manos Que Reconstruyen Oaxaca (Una Mano Para Oaxaca) centers its work on Indigenous knowledge to promote food security and strong mental and physical health for families still grappling with the long-term impacts of the earthquakes. Working in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, the organization is tapping into and preserving Indigenous knowledge, which is critical before, during, and after times of crisis. The organization has spent the last months training families in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to create backyard gardens for self-consumption and, at the same time, how to avoid food waste by using every part of the flora growing in these gardens.

All of this critical work has been made possible by your donation. From everyone at GlobalGiving, thank you for joining with more than 18,000 people to drive long-term recovery in Mexico. We will be back in your inbox early next year to update you further about how your donation is making a difference in support of local, vetted nonprofit organizations.

With gratitude, 

Chase + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo courtesy of Cooperacion Comunitaria
Photo courtesy of Cooperacion Comunitaria
 
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