25 Years of Achievements – Charity Still Going Strong

<b>25 Years of Achievements – Charity Still Going Strong</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – One charity, Christian Relief Services, has been using community partnerships to fight poverty, not only in the United States, but all around the world. As the organization celebrates its 25th year of service, it’s clear that its philanthropy has made a notable difference in communities in the United States, Africa, Haiti and Lithuania to name a few.

Christian Relief’s efforts improved thousands of lives in 2009 alone. For example, Christian Relief teamed up with Bread and Water for Africa, to ship medical supplies, hygiene items, shoes, clothing, tools, and school supplies, including textbooks, all valued at over $9 million to partner organizations in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Zambia. Christian Relief also supports sustainable grassroots programs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi and Cameroon.

Along with Americans Helping Americans (AHA), Christian Relief distributed over 1,000 pairs of new boots and 1,000 warm blankets to Appalachian children in West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in 2009. Since July 1, 2009, Christian Relief and AHA have also provided special food boxes to 8,995 individuals in the Appalachian region of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. For the holidays, Christian Relief gave Appalachian families over 10,000 whole turkeys and supplemental food, including fresh fruits, vegetables, bread and a dessert item. Christian Relief continued its support of service-enriched housing and community centers, as well as local affordable and transitional housing programs.

On American Indian reservations, Christian Relief worked with American Indian Youth Running Strong to distribute food and supplies to 12 American Indian-run church and community food banks and food pantries. In 2009, Christian Relief provided over 2 million pounds of food for over 29,000 individuals, as well as 32,000 holiday turkeys and 162,000 pounds of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals.

Over 3,000 children received 5,000 new winter coats, 7,000 new blankets, 5,000 pairs of new shoes and school supplies. In addition, Christian Relief funded the construction of water wells, community gardens and emergency heating.

For more information, visit www.christianrelief.org.

Seeking Personal Enrichment Abroad

<b>Seeking Personal Enrichment Abroad</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – No longer content with tanning on a tropical beach with some easy reading, many Americans are seeking enrichment in their travels. After all, you can read a book at home, but scuba diving, taking authentic French cooking classes or visiting ancient temples requires some traveling.

Americans find unique ways to authenticate their experiences abroad. Some travel with charities that offer volunteer opportunities. “Voluntourism” allows vacationers to experience their destination at the ground level, while also helping local communities.

Others seek opportunities to enhance their knowledge or gain new skills. For example, a person traveling to Spain might enroll in a full-immersion Spanish class or take cooking lessons, allowing them to return home with foreign language skills and the ability to cook a mean paella. Travelers can find trips to suit any interest, from learning to rate wines in the French Riviera to participating in archeological digs.

Some charities offer vacation packages that raise awareness for their causes. For example, Bread and Water for Africa (www.africanrelief.org), a nonprofit that supports grassroots efforts for community self-sufficiency, health and education, offers a Kenyan Safari and Program Tour. In addition to traditional activities like game drives and village tours, the package includes a visit to the Lewa Children’s Home, an orphanage that provides food, clean water, clothing, shelter, health care and counseling to children who have been neglected, abandoned or orphaned. Travelers, in interacting with the home’s staff and children, see exactly how Bread and Water for Africa’s work benefits communities.

Another charity, Running Strong for American Indian Youth (www.indianyouth.org), has run a similar tour every September for the past 20 years that takes participants to Indian reservations in South Dakota. Over the course of a week, visitors not only experience Lakota culture first-hand, but also see how Running Strong’s programs improve reservation life.

Nonprofits Use Technology To Reach Public

<b>Nonprofits Use Technology To Reach Public </b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Television news programs don’t cover everything that happens in the world. While some stories become media sensations, other events go unreported. For example, Americans see Britain and France in the news far more than they see Africa.

For the nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of people in third-world countries, it can be difficult to draw attention to worthy causes. Fortunately, YouTube — the source of countless dancing babies and cute cat videos — may help charities reach millions of potential donors.

YouTube videos offer nonprofits advantages that more traditional media cannot. For example, videos have staying power — viewers can rewatch them, and older videos still feel fresh. Better yet, charities can use YouTube videos to present the faces and voices of the people they’re trying to help.

For example, one charity, Bread and Water for Africa (www.africanrelief.org), recently created YouTube videos focusing on Eldoret, Kenya’s Lewa Children’s Home. The Home provides a loving environment, nutritious food, clean water, education and support for abandoned, orphaned or abused children.

The videos follow the home’s founder, Phyllis Keino, called “Mom,” as well as the children she cares for.Viewers can watch as Kenyan orphans eat their meals, go to school and do chores on Baraka Farm, which supports The Lewa Children’s Home by providing food and funds from the sale of crops, livestock, milk, cheese, yogurt, honey and sunflower seed oil. The children’s smiling faces lend a human element to a good cause — helping some of Africa’s estimated 50 million child orphans.

Other charities are also using social media to draw public attention. For example, Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization focused on bringing clean water to African villages, used Twitter to organize a “Twestival,” a series of 200 charity events around the globe. The Twestival raised $250,000 for the charity.

Links to the YouTube videos about The Lewa Children’s Home can be found on The Bread and Water for Africa home page (www.africanrelief.org).

Program Offers Kenyan Children Hope, Health

<b>Program Offers Kenyan Children Hope, Health </b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans, feeling overwhelmed by problems at home, might forget the people facing tough times abroad. Take Kenya. Although the country’s politics stabilized in 2007, the nation faces dismal health issues.

According to 2006 UNICEF statistics, 175,000 Kenyan children die each year before seeing their fifth birthday. Twenty percent of the children who are still living experience moderate to severe malnourishment.

And where there are unhealthy children, there are unhealthy parents. In 2006, UNICEF estimated that 750,000 Kenyan women, ages 15 and older, lived with HIV/AIDS. Without the treatments available in the U.S., mother-to-child HIV infection rates proved high — 35 percent of the children born to infected mothers contract the disease. Many of these children eventually lose their parents. In 2006, 2.3 million orphans lived in Kenya — 1.1 million lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

Kenya’s health care system is unable to provide for its citizens. Few hospitals exist, and they find themselves overwhelmed. Patients often share beds. Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital asks patients’ families to provide food and medicine.

Foreign charities are helpful in bringing much-needed health care to Kenyan mothers and children. For example, Bread and Water for Africa, a project of Christian Relief Services that promotes positive change in Africa by supporting grassroots initiatives for self-sufficiency, health and education, is currently working to build a health center. The Lewa Community Health Center in the town of Eldoret will not only provide health care, but also help establish a sense of community.

Medical personnel will find jobs. Patients will have access to quality care. The locals displaced by political turmoil in 2007 will find reason to return to their homes.

In tough economic times, many Americans struggle to make ends meet. But even small donations can add up in big ways — a few dollars can go a long way toward improving the life of a Kenyan child.

For more information, visit www.africanrelief.org.

Walking the Walk for AIDS

<b>Walking the Walk for AIDS</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – UNAIDS estimates that more than 37 million adults and 2 million children are infected with HIV worldwide. The AIDS epidemic has hit the hardest in sub-Saharan Africa, where 75 percent of the women ages 15 to 24 are infected.

Closer to home, 40,000 people per year in the U.S. are infected, more than half of whom are African-American women. The latter group by itself accounts for 72 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in women.

In the face of these overwhelming statistics, what can be done? Some corporations are making a difference with contributions to charities supporting the cause and helping in other ways.

For example, Roche, a pharmaceutical company that developed the HIV protease inhibitors Invirase and Viracept, has not filed any patents for its medicines – including those for HIV/AIDS – in the least-developed nations and sub-Saharan Africa. This means that these countries, which are devastated by the epidemic, can manufacture and sell cheap, generic versions of the drugs without waiting for the patents to expire.

The company also is dedicated to increasing awareness of the illnesses.

“Roche is committed to driving social responsibility programs that increase awareness and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the local and international level,” said George Abercrombie, president and CEO, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., the U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters of Roche.

Beyond this, Roche and its employees are working more directly to address the problem through the company’s annual Global Employee AIDS Walk in observance of World AIDS Day.

Roche employees have been participating in the walk for more than two years. In December 2005, more than 11,000 employees from 85 affiliates in 42 countries walked to raise funds for AIDS organizations. The money raised through their pledges was matched by the company.

Some of the funds are distributed to local HIV/AIDS organizations. In New Jersey, for example, funds will go to the NJ AIDS Partnership. The rest goes to children in Malawi, Africa, who have been orphaned by AIDS. The money goes to buy everything from food and clean water to shelter, books and sewing machines.

HIV is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles or syringes with someone who is infected or – less commonly – through transfusions of infected blood. Babies of HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth or through breast feeding.

For more information on HIV and AIDS, call (800) 458-5231 or visit www.cdc.gov/ hiv/pubs/facts/transmission.htm or www.thebody.com.

Changing Children’s Lives: A Woman’s Mission

<b>Changing Children’s Lives: A Woman’s Mission</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Life changed for Dorothy Samson in an Indian orphanage. Seeing the incredible needs of the children there, the Colorado resident knew she could make a difference.

So started a journey that led her to Compassion International and its unique child sponsorship program. Now, after just five years working with the ministry, 25 children count on Samson for prayers, letters and support.

“They crawl up into my lap; they call me ‘Auntie Dorothy,'” Samson said. “They are my children.”

Although Samson never had children of her own, that didn’t stop her from sharing her love and compassion with little ones.

“I always wanted to have 12 children with an abundance of boys,” Samson said.

From her home in Grand Junction, Samson began her Compassion sponsorship experience in 1999 with four children from India and one from Haiti. That number soon grew to 13 children, and she got that abundance of boys.

Later, when she learned that there was a need for sponsors for African children, she didn’t hesitate to take on even more.

“Compassion told me that there was a lack of sponsors for African children because of the HIV/AIDS problem,” Samson said. “I can understand people wanting to invest their money in children who are certain to grow up to be healthy, productive adults. But all children are precious, even those who might be HIV-positive. They aren’t responsible for having the disease – they are innocent victims, and they, too, deserve the opportunity to have a happy childhood and to be loved and cared for.”

Responding to the need, Samson sponsored 12 African children – eight of them in Uganda. And in September 2002, she spent five special days with “my youngsters,” as she refers to them. She treated her children to a game park, a safari and a boat ride to see hippos.

“Of course, the kids were so excited. They’d never seen animals in the wild or even taken a boat ride. It was wonderful to see their excitement,” Samson said.

Since she’s returned from Africa, Samson has had several opportunities to share her experience and tell others about her precious Ugandan children, several of whom have already had to deal with the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, having lost parents, siblings and other close relatives to the disease.

“I don’t know if any of my children have the disease,” Samson said. ” I pray that they do not. But it would never change how I feel about them. I love them as my own children. My hope for them is that they can have a happy childhood and become all they can be in Jesus – free from AIDS.”

When Compassion International opened its first projects in Uganda in 1980, the scourge of HIV/AIDS had not yet affected the world. Little did anyone know that only a few years later, many of the children Compassion serves in Uganda would battle the effects of this deadly, incurable disease. Compassion International currently ministers to more than 164,000 children in five countries in East Africa.

Compassion International partners with local churches to help implement development programs for children in their communities. To learn more, visit www.compassion.com or call 1-800-336-7676.