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Mar 16, 2011

Hang In There Japan

This is a personal message from Mari Kuraishi, President and Co-Founder of GlobalGiving and a Japanese national, about the disaster in Japan:

Friday March 11th passed in something of a blur. I woke up, heard about the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan, and started speed dialing my family and friends. Earthquakes happen frequently in Japan, so every couple of years I end up calling, "Just to make sure." But this time, I'd gotten an email in the middle of my night, immediately after the earthquake struck in Japan mid-afternoon, from a friend saying, "This might be it. If anything happens to me, please look out for my daughter." But all circuits were busy. OK, try again later. From the quick snippets of news I saw, neither my family nor friends were anywhere near the epicenter. "Later" eventually got to be too late for me to be hassling people who may have been through a big scare and may have just gotten to sleep. So wait until the end of the day here, when it would be morning in Japan. Distract myself with work.

But working at GlobalGiving requires us to be on top of disasters, and much of the day we were scrambling like crazy to figure out what the scale of the damage was, where our project partners in Japan were, and how we could make sure to channel the outpouring of generosity that was already hitting our servers starting first thing in the morning. So I became glued to livestreamed TV from Japan. I couldn't get away from it. Knowing all I do about how difficult it is for laypeople to help directly, it was difficult to resist the feeling that I needed to get on a plane back home. Maybe I could get through to my friends and family that way.

It's inevitable when disasters happen that commentators point out that philanthropists might want to wait until after the immediate relief phase is over. But as I kept up my stream of emails into Japan, checking on existing organizations we work with, and looking for the right new organizations, I've been struck by how everyone I have been communicating with is so heartened to hear that someone wants to help, that someone out there cares enough from thousands of miles away to reach out.

GlobalGiving is working hard to identify the best local partners on the ground to receive these funds. Already, our immediate disaster response partners are having an impact.

Save the Children is working to deliver psychosocial support aimed at children, establishing child-friendly spaces in affected communities, providing support to parents, teachers, and other key caregivers, and working alongside local communities to train volunteers in sounseling techniques to help children after this disaster. International Medical Corps has already put together relief teams and supplies and have been in contact with partners in Japan in the first day of the disaster.

In the coming days we'll continue to identify additional Japanese organizations providing relief following the earthquake and tsunami and will keep you updated by email about how the funds are used and the impact your donation is making.

I was glued to the livestream most of Sunday too. It was Monday morning in Japan and TV reporters were positioned at train stations to cover how people were getting back to work. But many stations unexpectedly were closed and people ended up waiting for taxis instead. Then, the litany of train lines that were not running came on–for close to 5 minutes. That spoke volumes. It only made me realize that I had an unspoken hope that life would start returning to normal–and it wasn't going to. At least for now. The city of Tokyo is at a virtual standstill. Friends in the suburbs are wandering around looking for ATMs with cash and stores with food. Rolling blackouts are finally being implemented. Everyone–including people who weren't directly affected–is going around in a daze.

And yes, I got through to everybody Friday evening. Everyone I know is safe. But to have thousands of people willing to help means more than I can say.

 

Note: The image of band-aid and Japanese flag was designed and donated to GlobalGiving to use by Robert Troutman. Thank you!

Mar 1, 2011

Project of the Month Update: March 2011

Agnes and Winnie - More than Me Foundation
Agnes and Winnie - More than Me Foundation

Thank you so much for supporting Education for Children in Port Au Prince this past month!

Through the generosity of 82 people, we were able to raise $2,119 that will go to Education for Children in Port Au Prince run by European Disaster Volunteers.  Together, we provided enough funds to build a transitional classroom which will serve orphans and children from the local community in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

In a recent update, Emma Taylor noted that the project has "recently completed a transitional classroom at the Mix de Sabauth School and will soon be making further improvements to the school's infrastructure. These classroom builds provide safe space [for] children to attend school - a critical need in post-earthquake Port au Prince. In addition... our volunteers have also begun another build at another local school. Together, the classroom construction and school improvements at these two schools will provide a safe place for more than 100 children to attend class. And that's just the beginning. We've recently also provided our first 25 scholarships to children." We are thrilled to hear about the incredible work European Disaster Volunteers is doing and are proud to support their efforts through the Project of the Month Club.

This month, we're pleased to announce that 100 Elementary Scholarships For Liberian Children is the project of the month for March 2011.

100 Elementary Scholarships For Liberian Children is run by More than Me Foundation and helps children get off the streets of Liberia and into school. More than Me provides children with scholarships to attend school as well as with uniforms, books, supplies, and a matched mentor. At school children learn proper nutrition, are provided with immunizations, and learn about disease transmission prevention.

Stephanie Hood, the Executive Director of More Than Me Foundation, says, "The collective power of GlobalGiving astounds our all volunteer nonprofit, More than Me Foundation, everyday. The donations made through the Project of the Month Club this month means 10 more years of financial support for education including tuition, uniforms, books, supplies, maxipads, and gym shoes-anything our girls in the West Point area of Monrovia, Liberia need to get to school, and stay there."

"Featured in the top photo are two girls, Agnes (left), a More than Me scholarship program recipient, and Winnie (right), one of the girls on our waitlist for next year. What can 10 years of education mean to these girls? Agnes lives in the West Point neighborhood of Monrovia, a disadvantaged neighborhood of one of the poorest countries in the world, Liberia. Agnes' family brings in only $150 a month which does not leave enough money after food and rent for Agnes to attend school. Agnes is playful, she has a HUGE personality and she loves to play school. Though only 5 years old she pretends she can read and loves holding books. When asked why she wants to go to school Agnes told us she wants to 'write books about the ABCs.'"

"Fast forward 10 years. At 15 Agnes will be at high risk in her neighborhood of West Point. High risk for prostitution, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, early pregnancy, disease, and rape. Education will decrease the likelihood that Agnes will be stuck in an inescapable cycle of poverty. Agnes will be empowered and in turn empower her children."

"Your donations are changing a life which in return will change lives. Agnes is one girl, there are so many more, like Winnie, that are on our waitlist and who we are working tirelessly to find funds to put into school."

"Thank you GlobalGiving donors for supporting our work in Liberia-getting girls off the streets and into classrooms."

It is projects and stories like these which inspired the creation of the Project of the Month Club.

If you know of someone who you think would enjoy joining the project of the month club, we encourage you to send them an email or share it on Facebook.

We'll be in touch next month to report on the impact we've made together and tell you about our next exciting Project of the Month. Until then, we welcome your feedback about the Project of the Month and this monthly report.

Thank you again for your support,
Mari and the GlobalGiving Team

100 Elementary Scholarships For Liberian Children
100 Elementary Scholarships For Liberian Children
Education For Children In Port Au Prince
Education For Children In Port Au Prince

Links:

Feb 1, 2011

Project of the Month Update: February 2011

Education for Children in Port au Prince
Education for Children in Port au Prince

Thank you so much for supporting Give Hope & Healing To Abused & Trafficked Women this past month!

Through the generosity of 90 people, we were able to raise $2,364 that will go to Give Hope & Healing To Abused & Trafficked Women run by Hagar USA.  Together, we provided enough funds to provide job training to 50 abused and trafficked women in 2011.  Next month, these funds will help Hagar Vietnam to offer its fourth job training in the past year and a half!

The job training includes personal development, soft skills training, and vocational training. The personal development training uses art and group therapy.  After completion, soft skills training and vocational training begins.  This training includes effective communication, ethical behavior, dealing with conflict in the work place, positive thinking, and how to perform well at work.  The six-month vocational training teaches the women specific skills such as hospitality, cooking, and housekeeping. 

Through this increase in job training and employment services, many of the women are now employed through Hagar's enterprise partner, Joma Bakery and Café.  Click on the video link below to see some of these women working with the skills they've learned.

As we commemorate the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, we're pleased to announce that Education for Children in Port Au Prince is the project of the month for February 2011.

Education for Children in Port Au Prince is run by European Disaster Volunteers and aims to give earthquake-affected children in Port au Prince the chance to attend school by providing scholarships and constructing classrooms.

School in Haiti is not free. The earthquake has destroyed schools and robbed many parents of their livelihoods leaving them without means to pay school fees. The combination of fewer classrooms and fewer jobs has resulted in many children being unable to access education. Lack of education locks these children in a cycle of poverty. Ensuring access to school not only improves children's lives, but Haiti's long-term ability to recover from the earthquake.

EDV can build a transitional classroom in an orphanage or community for as little as $2,000.  Emma Taylor, the project leader on the ground, tell us she has a list "longer than my arm!" of requests for these classrooms.

While the situation in Haiti continues to seem dire even a year later, Emma says that survivors continue to make progress step by step.  "Teachers form classes for children who can’t afford school fees, teach literacy to teens who have never been able to go to school, and parents make sacrifices to make sure their children can learn," she says. "They’ve not lost hope, and neither should we.  With our support, more children in our community will attend school in 2011. Positive change is possible and is happening every day."

Please spread the word about the Project of the Month Club.

If you know of someone who you think would enjoy joining the project of the month club, we encourage you to send them an email or share it on Facebook.

We'll be in touch next month to report on the impact we've made together and tell you about our next exciting Project of the Month. Until then, we welcome your feedback about the Project of the Month and this monthly report.

Thank you again for your support,

Mari and the GlobalGiving Team

Give Hope & Healing to Abused & Trafficked Women
Give Hope & Healing to Abused & Trafficked Women

Links:

 
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