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Apr 19, 2019

A look at the ongoing recovery in Guatemala

Photo from Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Photo from Habitat for Humanity Guatemala

In our final update on the Guatemala Volcano Relief Fund, we're proud to share stories of progress made by our partners who've been helping communities recover since Volcán de Fuego's eruption last June.

In Valle de las Flores, where Habitat for Humanity Guatemala has been building homes for families affected by the disaster, it's been an exciting last few months. The first set of 16 new houses were completed in December, and Habitat's team organized a joyful, emotional ceremony where their partner families received the keys to their new homes. The organization plans to finish building 42 new homes in Valle de las Flores by the middle of April.

Since Volcán de Fuego remains an active volcano, it's important to ensure nearby communities are prepared to withstand future eruptions. To that end, Long Way Home recently completed construction of a sustainably-sourced disaster relief shelter in Alotenango. Built in partnership with PuraVida Atitlan, the Carpinteros Alotenango, and the municipality of Alotenango, the shelter was constructed from eco-bricks composed entirely of recycled waste materials like plastic water bottles and bags and is powered by solar panels on its roof. When not in use as a refuge from future disasters, the facility will be used as a communal space for children from a nearby refugee camp to engage in arts and music programs.  

Long Way Home has also partnered with Rekko, an Italian NGO that has been providing healthcare to rural Guatemalans since 1998, to build a clinic in San Antonio Sibija for families who’ve been relocated due to the eruption. They’re using the same eco-brick construction for the clinic and will be developing a disaster preparedness plan with residents from the village and surrounding area.

IsraAid has also been focused on disaster preparedness, and have been partnering with local agencies to develop programs to bolster communities' readiness for future disasters. After their team recently completed a disaster risk reduction training for 30 teachers from Escuintla, Marleny, a teacher from Cañaveral Primary School, shared that, "Now I feel more prepared to face situations that beforehand, I had never even considered. I can teach my students to take measures that both prevent and answer to natural threats." With two other teachers from her program, Marleny then volunteered to lead a similar training for another 50 teachers from across the region.

Integral Heart Foundation, which runs a school for children born into generational poverty in Antigua, will be supporting six families impacted by the eruption throughout 2019 with free tuition, transportation, and food baskets.

Thank you again for your generous support of this relief fund—your donation helped make stories like these possible and is helping Guatemala rebuild resiliently after last year's eruption. We're also grateful for how you decided to give—donating cash is the smartest way to help those in need after a disaster.

With all of the donated funds now disbursed to our partners, we are closing the Guatemala Volcano Relief Fund at this time. If you'd like to keep informed on our partners' ongoing efforts in Guatemala, we encourage you to visit our website and read their latest project reports.

 

With gratitude,
Will + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from Long Way Home
Photo from Long Way Home
Photo from IsraAID
Photo from IsraAID
Apr 18, 2019

Creating opportunities for refugees to thrive

Photo from Pomoc Deci
Photo from Pomoc Deci

In a briefing to the United Nations Security Council late last month, leaders from UNOCHA reported that "the scale of the humanitarian challenges facing the people of Syria remains staggering by any measure. International support for efforts to respond to the needs of millions of Syrians remains critical." The numbers bear this out: More than half of all Syrians have been displaced by war. 5.6 million have fled the country as refugees, and another 6.6 million have been forced to leave their homes behind but remain in Syria.

Your generous support has funded a wide range of vetted GlobalGiving nonprofit partners throughout the Mediterranean region who are providing support and relief to Syrian refugees, some of whom are now approaching nine years away from their homeland. Since our last update, we have new reports of progress to share from our partners assisting refugees in Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Serbia, and Turkey.

Personal safety is a serious concern for women refugees, whether they're living in dangerously overcrowded camps or unfamiliar cities where they may encounter hostility to their presence. The Starfish Foundation, based on the Greek island of Lesvos where roughly 7,000 refugees currently reside, is addressing this issue by offering self-defense classes tailored to Syrian women.  

We Need Books is launching a free, six-month Greek language program to help Syrian refugees living in Greece acclimate to their new home. Since the Greek government provides support for language learning to those who are under 18, We Need Books is focused on helping adults learn the language. The course is accompanied by monthly cultural activities to further help students become more comfortable in Greek society.

Turkey is home to 3.5 million Syrian refugees—more than any other country. More than 90% of refugees in Turkey are living in non-camp settlements where, due to their refugee status, maintaining a steady source of income can be extremely difficult. To address this common challenge, Turkish NGO Hayata Destek Dernegi is launching a new "Makers Shop" in their community center in Istanbul that will offer a six-month textile-making course, along with a stipend to supplement learners' incomes while they're developing their new skills.

Fleeing the violence in your homeland is a traumatic experience yet mental health services can be difficult to access for refugees. Three of our partners are working to help refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Serbia heal from the trauma they've endured.

With support from GlobalGivers, the International Humanistic Psychology Association is expanding their Refugee Women and Girl’s Safe Space project to additional sites throughout Jordan. The program provides trauma recovery treatment, medical health screenings, parenting skills workshops, and a range of activities designed to restore self-confidence and self-esteem.

At sites in northern Lebanon and northern Jordan, the International Association for Human Values has developed an integrated strategy for addressing the mental health needs of refugee children and the adults who care for and teach them. They're providing a series of workshops for youth focused on stress and trauma relief and resilience, as well as their Youth Anti-Violence and Peace Ambassadors program, which works to empower youth with the values, skills, and tools to become leaders in violence prevention and peacebuilding on their school campuses and in their communities.

And finally, in Serbia, local NGO Pomoc Deci is offering psychosocial support programs for Syrian refugees, along with programs aimed at educating refugee youth about how to avoid human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.  

Your donation and those of thousands of other GlobalGivers who've raised more than $1.84 million for our Syrian Refugee Relief Fund have helped make these stories of hope and progress possible. Thank you for your generosity, and for choosing to support community-led organizations responding to this ongoing crisis with your donation to this fund.

 

With gratitude,
Will + the GlobalGiving Team

 



Photo from We Need Books
Photo from We Need Books
Apr 17, 2019

Turning hurricane-damaged houses into homes again

Photo from Green Lamp
Photo from Green Lamp

The impact of Hurricane Florence and its catastrophic flooding is still being felt throughout the Carolinas, where thousands of individuals and families remain in temporary housing seven months after the storm made landfall. Our nonprofit partners, with the generous support of donors like you who've raised more than $775,000 for community-led disaster response, have been hard at work helping hurricane-affected residents recover and rebuild.

Here's a look at the work your donation is helping make possible in the Carolinas:

  • Greene Lamp is assisting 100 low-income families from eastern North Carolina whose homes were destroyed or had damage severe enough to force them to relocate by covering relocation expenses, rent, utilities, energy efficient appliances, and food. They're also stocking libraries in schools in Duplin, Jones, and Onslow counties with laptops, tablets, and new books.
  • Instead of simply distributing donated furniture, Furniture Finders is providing individuals and families with a selection of furniture to choose from to replace what was lost to the storm, with the aim of preserving dignity and helping make their houses feel like homes again.
  • Lutheran Services Carolinas has focused their recovery efforts on the most vulnerable of individuals and families displaced from their homes by Florence. In particular, they assist those who are elderly, living with disabilities, and low-income, with temporary housing assistance until more permanent housing can be secured.
  • Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders are organizing volunteers and supplying construction materials for families with flood-damaged homes in New Bern—one of the communities hardest hit by Florence—with a special focus on uninsured, low-income households.
  • Carteret Warriors for Recovery and the Green Chair Project are helping families in eastern North Carolina replace damaged household furnishings, including mattresses, dining tables, living room furniture, dressers, linens, and kitchenware.
  • The Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry is assisting six low-income households in their community rebuild and recover. Their volunteer construction teams are repairing and replacing roofs, windows, doors, siding, and making any other repairs that are needed.

Thank you again for making the smart decision to donate cash after the storm, and for choosing to support community-led disaster recovery efforts through our Hurricane Florence Relief Fund. To learn more about our unique approach to disaster recovery, visit the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving.

 

With gratitude,
Will + the GlobalGiving Team

 
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