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Feb 15, 2018

Shinning glimmers of hope on the shadows of disabilities in Central Asia

In the shadows
In the shadows

Almas' mom stood in our office holding her son and with tears rolling down her cheeks.  When Almas was born, doctors had told her that she must get rid of her son because of his disability.

"They told me he isn't even human and I must just give him to the orphanage, but today I saw my son standing and playing and you have given me hope.”

So often children with disabilities in Central Asian countries (and around the world) are viewed as being a disgrace to their family and commiunity. 

It is tough if you are a disable person. How do you deal with that if you are a parent, sibling, or relative of a disabled person?

Operation Mercy staff are there to help change this world view about people with disabilities.  Our programs help children with disabilities but also, help promote and demonstrate their dignity to themselves, their family, and their community. 

Feb 12, 2018

Hope for a Victim of Trafficking

Blerina's Story
Blerina's Story

At only 15 years old Blerina was trafficked within Kosovo and made to work in brothels. Here she was forced to drink and take drugs. She tried to leave several times but without an alternative place to live she ended up returning to the brothels. After 9 years of this living hell, she started a new life at O.Mekembjes. This is a safe place for her to live and while there she is receiving intensive psychotherapy and counselling as well as health care. She has started to work towards finishing high school and is enjoying a fitness class and learning English. She has discovered that she has real talent for caring for pre-school children and she would like to pursue this in the future.  

There are many girls like Blerina in Kosovo. Once abused, they become stuck in a circle of violence and exploitation. Even if they decide to try and leave they have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. O.Mekembjes is the only project providing long-term assistance once they decide to leave abusive situations.

To continue to provide this level of intensive support we need continued funding.

Thank you for your interest. Please consider sharing this project with others you know, who might want to help young women like Blerina.

Feb 5, 2018

Putting your money to work

Poverty assessment
Poverty assessment

Since the last report winter has hit the mountains of Tajikistan. Whilst not as bad as last year, night time temperatures have plunged to -20 degrees and snow is knee deep in some of the villages.

 

But we have not be idle. Each project has been taking part in exercises to understand how our project partners and their community define ‘poverty’. Also how they see the impact of poverty on their lives. This is providing us with really important information that will help us to work ever more closely with our partners as we tackle some of these issues. Problems ranging from wolf attacks to the price of food have come up. But we have also seen so many strengths: the spirit of volunteerism still thriving, more work available in the towns, and the hope brought through savings groups.

 

The Greenhouse Project

 

It has been a slower month for the greenhouse project for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, we have been gathering data, from a greenhouse we have supported at a technical college, to assess the potential for extending the vegetable growing season. It is exciting to see the opportunities here to train young people in the use of greenhouses.

 

Another of our partners has been experimenting using sawdust fired stoves to see whether it would be possible to grow herbs during the winter months. The exciting news is that he is about to harvest his first crops. We are still not sure whether this will be a viable option but the achievement of growing vegetables in this village for the first time is huge.

 

The Fruit Project

 

In the last juicing season, our three juicing partners produced more that 16,000 litres of fresh, organic apple juice. It is for sale in many shops in the town and the juice was the talking point of many a New Year party.

 

Now the important work of securing packaging suppliers begins as well as working out how we can support the businesses to become totally self-reliant over the next twelve months.

 

The Health Project

 

We have been working with a village nearby to the town for the past month, teaching about good health during pregnancy. We have observed two major changes already. The first is the attitude to the importance of drinking water. The perceived wisdom is that tea is encouarged and water is not – cold water is assumed to lead to health problems such as saw throats and could even damage the baby. They now see the benefits to immunity, and to the health of vital organs, and have started to drink more cold, clean water.

 

The second change is related to iron. At this time of year, particularly, it is difficult to find natural sources of iron and many women are anaemic. We have been teaching about the use of iron tablets and the participants have committed to understanding their haemoglobin counts and to take iron tablets during their pregnancy when needed.

Juice waiting to be sold
Juice waiting to be sold

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