A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to travel to Niger with Mercy Corps, and I wanted to send you an update on the situation people are facing there right now and the support they are receiving because of your generosity.
I spent two days visiting villages in Ouallam, a region in western Niger that was at the epicenter of the food crisis in 2012. Unfortunately, drought returned again this past fall, and the vast fields of millet, their staple crop, barely grew. It is brown and dry and empty as far as you can see. In Tolkoboye Fondobon village, the women told me that most households only have enough food to eat one meal a day until the next harvest in September.
But they were also eager to show me their new sources of hope and pride — the goats they received from Mercy Corps and the savings they have accumulated in the village savings and loans groups we helped them form. Both of these assets will allow the women to buy food in the market when they need it most this lean season. It's the first time in many of their lives that they've had the resources to help their families themselves.
These women struggle just to eat every day, but they are so strong. I spent some time with one woman named Santou. I was so happy to see that the two goats that Mercy Corps gave her over a year ago have now turned into five. Though she worries about the bad harvest, she is focused on her animals and what they can provide with her hard work — an income that is not dependent on the unpredictable rain.
That's what I saw over and over throughout my visit — communities asking for the opportunity to work hard to help themselves. And a team who is dedicated to finding the solutions that work best in these harsh conditions. I hope you will accept my sincerest thanks for your support on behalf of families in the Sahel. This is another difficult time in Niger, but without you, Mercy Corps would not be able to help families through it.
You can continue to make a difference by:
The numbers are staggering. More than one million Syrian children have been forced to flee their war-torn country. Of these young refugees, one in every three is between the ages of 12 and 18.
This is the generation that will be tasked with rebuilding Syria. And yet, according to UNICEF, 68 percent of young refugees are not able to attend school due to social, legal or economic barriers. Because of this, they are consistently missing out on critical life milestones like building social skills, developing confidence and getting an education.
Young refugees need your help now to ensure they do not become a lost generation.
Because of your donations to date, Mercy Corps has delivered lifesaving relief to more than 2.5 million refugees. Because of you, more families have food to eat, clean water to drink and a place to sleep at night. And because of you, young refugees have access to safe spaces and important activities to help them process and heal from the trauma they have experienced.
Right now, Mercy Corps is working with young refugees to engage them in community projects and creative activities that allow them to express themselves and develop positive life skills. Helping long-term refugees move forward with their lives requires long-term thinking. In addition to responding to urgent needs, we are focused on helping this generation of young people recover from trauma and look towards a productive future.
Watch these powerful videos made by four young refugees living in central Lebanon. Hear their stories, in their own words – stories of fleeing their homes in search of safety and their hopes for the future. You can continue to make a difference by:
In the six months since the devastating storm tore through the Philippines, your generosity has helped more than 140,000 people survive the chaos of disaster and begin putting their lives back together.
Thanks to you, families in the hardest-hit areas received:
• Food, clean water and hygiene supplies immediately after the storm
• Safe spaces for their children to recover from trauma
• Tools, materials and financial assistance to help survivors rebuild homes and businesses
Today, because of your support, children are sleeping under new roofs. Fishermen are repairing their boats. Parents are reopening their family businesses.
We know recovery from a disaster of this scale takes time. In the aftermath of a crisis there is an opportunity to build back better. That’s why, with your support, we’re working to improve access to clean water and mobile banking in underserved Filipino communities. We’re focused on ensuring thousands of vulnerable families have what they need to rebuild now and meet their needs for years to come. See photos
The courage and determination of the Filipino people to move forward is extraordinary. And your kindness in their moment of greatest need is a source of great hope for the future. As Anna says, our work would not be possible without you.
Daghang salamat. Thank you.