GlobalGiving

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Jun 20, 2016

What I saw in Turkey and Greece

A view of the Syria-Turkey border
A view of the Syria-Turkey border

Today, on World Refugee Day, we are witnessing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. When GlobalGiving created this relief fund in 2013, we couldn’t foresee that it would be even more necessary today, three years after its launch, than it was back then. There are currently more than 4.5 million Syrian refugees living in just five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. While they hope to return to their homes in Syria, it doesn’t look like the political situation will change anytime soon, and the families you’ve supported are now faced with the reality that their current situation is likely to be the new normal for the foreseeable future.

I recently traveled to Turkey and Greece to visit some of the projects that you have been so instrumental in supporting. In Turkey, I met with two local organizations supported by Bridge to TurkiyeYUVA and SKYGD—which both focused on refugees’ profound need for access to education. Currently, only one in three Syrian refugee children is attending a school of any kind. The rest face language barriers and pressure to work to support families that have few means of supporting themselves. Bridge to Turkiye’s partners are working to provide education for children and vocational and language classes for adults new to their country.

In southeastern Turkey, I had the opportunity to visit refugee families living outside of formal camps in the city of Sanliurfa. Many of these families live so close to Syria that they can see their former homes in Kobani just over the border. One family invited me into their home. The father, Abdo, proudly pulled out a stack of academic accolades his daughters had earned back in their home in Aleppo. Two of his daughters, Eva in 9th grade and Hewa in 11th grade, explained what honors each of the certificates gave them. The largest one was awarded to Eva for being the top student in her class. Abdo explained that if he had one hope it would be that his children would have access to higher education, but the family’s current situation makes him feel hopeless. This family is living outside of the refugee camps. Despite the hardships that entails—if they lived in a camp they would be provided with free food, shelter, and healthcare— the family chooses to live in a nearby town where they have more freedom and life seems somewhat closer to normal. Concern Worldwide provides the family with a small stipend (about $15 per person) each month to help cover the necessities. They receive no other support.

Just north of Athens, I visited the Oinofyta camp run by the Greek Air Force. The camp currently houses just over 100 people and your donations have allowed Do Your Part to help provide healthcare to its residents and build classrooms, a sewing room, and gardens in the camp.

I also traveled to the northern border of Greece where I visited several informal refugee camps—groups of people from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq who set up tents wherever they can. Two of the camps I visited were in gas station parking lots less than five minutes from the Macedonian border. “People like it here because there is access to water and they can buy things in the gas station shop,” my host explained to me. The rest were set up along the side of the road wherever there was available land. People were hopeful that they would one day be able to cross the border, and eventually get farther into Europe to set up a more permanent life with their families. The government doesn’t support these informal camps, but a few nonprofit organizations, including Circle of Health International, are providing health care, food, and other services.

The need to support refugees is great, and this situation only appears to be getting increasingly dire. In order to help meet the ongoing needs in these areas, we’ll be matching donations to refugee relief projects at 50% from July 12-August 16.


 

Informal refugee camp at a gas station in Greece
Informal refugee camp at a gas station in Greece
Jun 10, 2016

Project of the Month Update: June 2016

Rock-Paper-Scissors Children
Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's Fund

Dear Project of the Month Club,

After a very rainy May, we’re excited that things in June are heating up here in D.C.!  We’ll be having our Current Partner Bonus Day on June 15th with $110,000 available in matching funds and we welcomed our newest class of GlobalGiving Fellows. And of course, we’ve got a brand-new earth-changing project to share with you this month!

Last month, 262 of you gave a total of $8,695 to support the Sumatran Orangutan Society’s Orangutan Rescue: On the frontlines in Sumatra project, where your donation is going to help fund rescue and veterinary equipment for SOS’s newest rescue team!

This month your donations are supporting Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's FundCommunity Music Program for Poor Vietnamese Youth, which provides a weekly music and string ensemble after school for students in Vietnam! On weekends, this group of talented students come together to perform as a community ensemble.

Sara Nerone, the Founder of Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's Fund, has this message for you:

We cannot express how excited our board, staff, and students in Vietnam all are! It is often very difficult to raise money for music programs, nonetheless expand them. With this generous gift we will be able to allow more students to participate in our creative programs. In addition to all of the wonderful benefits that one-on-one and group music lessons provide to the kids, our small schools have become a place for mentoring, friendship, peer sharing and bonding. Amidst the struggle of living in poverty, our music students are inspired to always be curious, continue learning and continue their education. Thank you again!”

When we asked Sara what $8,700 could do for Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's Fund, she knew exactly how your donations would be put to use:

“A donation of $8700 will allow us to purchase violins for an additional 20 students and provide them with weekly lessons for one year! We have been hoping to expand our music program to the kids of Ngoc Anh Village, Thua Thien Hue Province. We currently hold art classes there for 32 kids, and have a very successful program. This gift will allow us to expand the program to include music! Also, $2000 of your gift will help to support our summer music camps in two ethnic minority villages. Each summer we provide day camps where volunteers play and teach musical games and activities and at the same time we provide meals and school supplies to the kids. Last summer we hosted 400 children at our camps. Thank you again for your generosity!”

An entire year of violin classes for twenty students? Now that’s music to our ears! Thank you so much for your generosity and we cannot wait to share the positive change your donation will create next month!

Warmly,

Mari Kuraishi + the GlobalGiving Team

Sumatran Orangutan Society
Sumatran Orangutan Society
May 27, 2016

Project of the Month Update: May 2016

Sumatran Orangutan Society
Sumatran Orangutan Society

Dear Project of the Month Club,

We’ve had quite the busy few weeks here at GlobalGiving. We commemorated the Nepal earthquake with a 100% matching campaign, welcomed a number of new organizations to the community, and even celebrated earth-changing moms for Mother’s Day! It wasn’t just a busy month for the team in D.C., though. Let's see how your let’s see how your donations were hard at work in April.

Last month, 265 of you gave a total of $8,717 to support Chef Ann Foundation’s The Lunch Box Expansion Project. The Chef Ann Foundation is going to use your generous donations to create nine brand-new recipes for lunchrooms and families across 49 states!

This month your donations are traveling halfway around the world from our office in Washington, D.C. to support the Sumatran Orangutan Society’s Orangutan Rescue: On the frontlines in Sumatra project. This unique effort works with farmers and plantation workers on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia to protect and rehabilitate critically endangered orangutans.

Helen Buckland, the director of Sumatran Orangutan Society, has this message for you:

Sumatran Orangutan Society is a small organisation with a big impact, and even bigger ambitions. We want to not only halt the decline in orangutan numbers and the destruction of their precious rainforests, we want to reverse these trends. Our vision is a thriving and growing orangutan population, living safe, wild, and free in the Sumatran jungle. The rescue team work at the frontline of orangutan protection, and for this project to be chosen to receive the GlobalGiving Project of the Month support for May is an incredible boost - they are so grateful to know that you are standing alongside them.”

What can $8,700 do for the Sumatran Orangutan Society? Helen had a few ideas:

“A donation of $8,700 will go a long way on the ground. We are in the process of establishing a second branch of the rescue team so that we are able to reach even more orangutans in danger, as currently there is only one team of five people covering the whole of northern Sumatra. The funds donated this month will equip the new team with the veterinary and rescue supplies they need to safely evacuate orangutans from condemned forests and transport them to safety. A heartfelt thank you on behalf of the whole team.”

Let me echo Sumatran Orangutan Society’s heartfelt “thank you” for the impact you are making each month. Your dedication to supporting earth-changing organizations around the world is such an inspiration!

Warmly,

Mari Kuraishi + the GlobalGiving Team

Chef Ann Foundation
Chef Ann Foundation
 
   

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