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Apr 21, 2020

The Show Must Go On. . .

Health Lessons
Health Lessons

                If anything, 2020 is a year of change, and even our office in the mountains of Central Asia has experienced change prior to a global pandemic. One of our long-term local staff has left and that has greatly challenged our capacity in the health project. We will experience even more changes in the upcoming months. But one thing a global pandemic does not change: People’s needs.   From our ancestors of hunter-gatherers to now, we always need food. People, now more aware than ever, need quality healthcare. You can challenge, but you cannot change, those needs, and that is where our projects come in, and where you, our donors and supporters come in.  Thank you for being loyal supporters in a time of need that is global. 

                Though we have been preparing this year’s work and getting the necessary government permissions, here are some news from the mountains of Central Asia.

It's about me! Health Project

                There was a pretend sample story we had Amina read in front of the entire group. Amina was reading the story sentence by sentence. After each sentence she said “Oh, it's me! It's about me. It's about my mother-in-law!” She also said, “Who did you talk to who told you my story?” She was laughing very hard after each sentence and after each sentence kept saying, over and over, “It's me! It's about me.” The whole group thought it was funny and enjoyed that Amina felt connected to the story.

After the lesson, during the goal-setting time, the facilitator asked her what was new for her. She said that the story (of a fictional character named Shamsia) was very real for her and it was about her own life. At the time when Amina was pregnant (both times as she was pregnant twice) she didn't know what was happening. Now that she heard this story and learned today of the symptoms of anemia and ways to prevent it, she is excited to share this information with the other people in her village. Amina felt enthusiastic to share this information with as many pregnant women as she could. Her sister is not yet married but hopes to be and Amina wants to share it with her. She also wants to share the information with her neighbors and her two sons who one day may get married.

What do you think? Greenhouse Project

                We were in for a surprise when we came in our yearly visits to the government offices.  We talked about our plans this year and then we were taken by surprise:  We were asked by the city government for advice on building a government greenhouse. The city government doesn’t want to order flowers for beautifying the parks from the capital city. They want to grow their own flowers and potentially save thousands of dollars. Though we didn't build the greenhouse we were able to offer advice on how to get the most from their greenhouse and strengthen our relationship with this key stakeholder.





Greenhouse we are advising on
Greenhouse we are advising on
Feb 26, 2020

proud of our teams

Its the time of the year when annual project reports come into my mailbox. It is the time of the year where I am so proud of my people, our teams and local friends and partners. What we can achieve together you at home and we in the international office and the many many staff and volunteers in our countries - it is amazing. 

let me share my favorite story from this weeks reports. 

Alisher is a boy with autism, who struggles to interact well with his world, struggles with behaviour and attention and is not able to speak. Alisher’s mother has often in the past had feelings of shame or hopelessness when she goes with her child out into her community. She is bombarded with questions like: ‘Why is your child behaving like that? Why can’t he sit still? Why doesn’t he speak?’. For this reason she finds it difficult to take her son out into public or participate in community events like weddings.

But in December this year Alisher and his mother were invited to a community event organised by one of our key local partnres to celebrate International Disability Day (3 December). This event took place in one of the local event venues and over 100 children and their parents were there. It was a special day, with beautifully decorated tables and festive food donated by local sponsors. Children with disabilities did performances, dances and poetry recitation. Two locally famous singers came to the event, which brought a celebratory atmosphere through their music, inviting everyone to participate in local communal dancing.

During the programme, Alisher ran around in the venue. As usual he was not able to sit still for a long time, and this concerned the mother. She was wary of what people might say about her son ‘not behaving’. But one of the staff members put her at ease: “This is the day for these children to dance celebrate. Let him enjoy it!”. And he did! Alisher was so happy to run around and be a part of all that was happening. When it was time to leave, Alisher’s mother was crying tears of gratitude: “This is the first time I leave a community event without hearing criticism in my ears from those around me. Usually I hear questions and comments about my son’s bad behaviour, and that makes me not want to take him out anymore. But today both I and my son had a good time!”.

Providing a new community, an atmosphere of caring acceptance has helped this mother to receive new hope for her child and grew her capacity as a carer. 

Thanks fro partnering with us to build hope, community and capacity. 


Jan 21, 2020

Physical and Emotional Transformation

Hala is 18 years old and has been living in a Yazidi, Internally Displaced Peoples camp, since ISIS came to her village in the Sinjar region five years ago. When we first met her over a year ago, she never smiled, had no friends and had no hope in life. She would not leave her home because of her physical disability of severe bilateral clubfoot. Both feet were at a 90 degree angle pointed inwardly since birth. Despite spending all her time at home, her relationship with her family was strained. In January 2019 she underwent corrective surgery with one of our partner NGOs and had an amazing outcome of a straightened foot. We helped care for her in the hospital and back at her home with both nursing care and physical therapy. She then had surgery on her left foot in October 2019 with her cast removal just over a month ago. She now has two straight feet and is re-learning how to ambulate but is slowly walking as other young women her age!

Over the past year of working with Hala, not only has she changed physically, but also mentally and emotionally. We have really tried to instill in her how valuable she is no matter what her feet look like. She smiles now, laughs, and has started loving herself. She has friends and leaves her house to hang out with them. Her relationship with her family is also better. Just in the past few weeks she has joined one of our peer groups of young women her age with similar physical disabilities and said she really enjoyed it! She previously had not wanted to participate in a group but now says she looks forward to it. We have seen her transform from a shy and insecure girl to a vibrant, young woman.

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