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Oct 10, 2010

Housing Secured!

Emma with one of the kids your donation has housed
Emma with one of the kids your donation has housed

Hello all,

We hope you’re all well! We’re excited to write you with big news.

Following a donation of $3,000 from one of our US-based partners, Burners Without Borders (BWB) we can now say with assurance that we’ll be able to rent a safe house for all 47 children living at the Hands Together to Defend the Children Orphanage for two years!

We echo the emotions of the staff and kids living at the orphanage when we say we are awed and humbled by your support. The children who your donations will house have spent much of their young lives in dirty, unsafe shelter under threat of eviction. Your donations will provide these children with secure housing for the first time in their lives.

Success in this fundraising effort would not have been possible without the help of all who donated. So thank you all for your contributions.

We hope that this won’t be the end of your extraordinary support of the Hands Together to Defend the Children Orphanage. With housing secure, we’re turning our attention to making sure that the children have tables to sit at when they eat, beds to sleep in, can afford to see a doctor when they’re ill, and have their school fees covered.

So while further donations won’t go specifically to housing, they will still be used to change the lives of these children.

We hope you’ll help us reach this goal of going beyond housing by telling your friends and family about Global Giving’s “Give more Get More Day”. On 12th October, Global Giving is matching all donations made on their site and waiving their 15% administrative fee. Donations will be matched on a sliding scale, so donations between $10 and $499 will be matched by 30%, donations between $500 and $999 will be matched by 40%, and contributions between $1,000 and $2,500 will be matched by 50%.

Again, thanks so much for your generosity. Your donations have changed the lives of these deserving kids. We're looking forward to sending you photos and updates as these kids settled into their new house!

If you have any further questions, ideas, or concerns feel free to email me at Media@EDVolunteers.org.

Another of the beautiful kids at the orphanage
Another of the beautiful kids at the orphanage
A group of the kids at the orphanage
A group of the kids at the orphanage
Aug 17, 2010

Laying the Foundations for Sustainable Recovery

Community members and Volunteers working together
Community members and Volunteers working together

After arriving in Haiti in mid-June we’re off to an amazing start. Not only have our projects taken off, but our executive director, Andrew Chaggar, has been selected from among 2,500 applicants as a Vodafone World of Difference winner. Vodafone's support will not only bolster Andy, but provide a huge boost for EDV. Andy's Vodafone win would not have been possible without your support - so thanks so much.

During our first month on the ground in Haiti we’ve spent time building connections in the community, begun a long-term sustainable building initiative, and run a project which protected an orphanage for disabled children from flooding.

But it isn’t the small project we’ve completed or the large project we’ve begun which are most exciting for us – it’s the relationships we’ve developed with community members and local groups. These partnerships give us the greatest opportunity for a successful programme here in Port au Prince.

Many community members have told us the same thing: We appreciate the aid that’s given to us, but we need permanent change and skills, not hand-outs. That’s exactly what we aim to provide.

Our sustainable building project and its integration within the local community is a great example of how we can affect long-term change. The project aims not only to create buildings in a sustainable way, but also to teach residents how to build using locally available, affordable materials like earth, rubble, and the by-product of processed sugar cane called baggasse.

While the buildings we create are important, this project hinges on the community contacts we’ve been fostering since we arrived here. By involving the community in every step of the building process and training residents how to build with materials which are readily available to them we can empower communities to meet their own needs and direct their own recoveries.

We’ve already involved local women’s groups, schools, student groups and community organisations to begin planning workshops and skills trainings centering not only around sustainable building, but also on health, education, and community mobilisation.

When we include community groups in all our activities, even the smallest project can become a vehicle for building local capacity. That in turn lets us create more sustainable, self sufficient communities – and that is our ultimate goal.

Keep an eye out in the coming months for more EDV projects here on Global Giving. If you'd like to learn more about what EDV is up to in Haiti, please visit us at www.EDVolunteers.org. And of course, please give generously here on Global Giving to support community-based, sustainable recovery in Haiti.

Getting our hands dirty with sustainable building
Getting our hands dirty with sustainable building

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May 28, 2010

Moving on to New Challenges

Hello all,

We hope you’re well!

Most of you have already received an email with the information contained here, so if this message seems redundant to you we offer our apologies. We're intentionally repeating some information here just to be sure that all of our donors are up to date with the latest EDV developments.

After almost three months of assessment, more meetings with government and local NGOs than we can count, and more than fifteen visits to disaster affected communities in two countries, it became clear that EDV was not going to be able to deploy in Asia.

Despite all of our past experience, the nature of the disasters in Asia presented us with countless delays and challenges that we did not anticipate. While any deployment will involve difficulties, in this case the challenges formed a situation that left us unable to affect positive, long-term change in the lives of disaster survivors.

These challenges included a combination of our limited funds, politics, and the nature of the disasters which struck the Philippines and Vietnam. While for many weeks we thought we would find a way to overcome the challenges we faced, in the end it became clear that deploying in Asia was simply not possible without more funding. Since returning to the UK we have prepared a full assessment report so that everyone can have access to all the information regarding what happened on our assessment and why we were eventually forced to leave Asia. This report is quite long, as it includes as much detail as possible, so we recommend that you start by reading our assessment report summary. Both documents have been included with this update. This is obviously a disappointing turn of events - being unable to work in Asia was incredibly frustrating. But, while Asia was difficult, it also presented us with the opportunity to learn about responding to typhoons. We've spent the past few weeks reflecting on these lessons, the positives we can take away from our time in Asia and how to make EDV stronger in the future. We've also spent many hours considering EDV's next move.

Our current plan is to reallocate funding for a possible deployment in Haiti. We’ll be sending a small team to meet with an established partner on the ground, GrassRoots United, and discuss what our work in Haiti will entail.

Before launching into this new endeavour, we want to be sure that you, our donors and supporters understand and are comfortable with of our plan to reallocate funds. To this end, should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email executive@europeandisastervolunteers.org. We’d be happy to discuss your concerns.

As always, we appreciate the support you’ve already given, and we look forward to working with you as we move in a new and exciting direction.


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