Friday, May 23, 2008

Learning Self-Sufficiency and Fighting Poverty....

After years of living in famine, and hardly able to feed her family at all, Sonnie Georgette can now sufficiently feed them. She is one of the beneficiaries of World Vision’s agricultural assistance program.

I have always believed that teaching people like Sonnie to sustain themselves by learning to be independent and self-sufficient instead of relying on donations of food to feed her family was always a better and more efficient approach. Sonnie's story is a perfect example of a success story of self-sufficiency.

World Vision's agricultural assistance and training program includes providing assistance to the people for seeds and tools to assist farmers to raise crops and livestock; and, training in agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, drip irrigation, and the planting of trees to enrich overworked soil.

World Vision has moved Sonnie's town of Lumata in the Democratic Republic of Congo from one plagued with famine to one with people who are self-sufficient through its farming and agriculture program and health care-initiatives.

It would be good to hear more of such initiatives from other cause-oriented groups...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Damienne’s story: Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention through open dialogue

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Togolese Government and UNAIDS, recently supported a national youth campaign against HIV/AIDS in Togo. The main objective of which is to promote HIV prevention among the youth by organizing discussion forums, awareness-raising events and concerts.

Damienne is a 17-year-old high school student who has been a peer educator for five years, teaching her classmates about HIV prevention. She met with schoolmates and engaged them in a debate regarding the three recommended means of HIV prevention: abstinence, fidelity and the use of condoms.

She discussed with them myths about aids and clarified that taking an aids test will not infect them with it but rather, protecting oneself is a means of preventing AIDS infection.

A video on the Myths on AIDS is posted for viewing and I hope it helps others widen their knowledge and understanding of it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The 7.9 magnitude quake in China brought back memories almost 18 years ago when a quake of almost similar magnitude hit my parents' place and caused the collapse of hotels and school buildings trapping children and adults alike.

From the last news, more than 19,000 have perished in the China quake and over 100,000 were injured. There is also a strong fear that the damns in the quake-affected areas might be in danger of bursting and cause further devastation. I'm sure that people in China directly affected by the quake are going through a traumatic experience that may take years to recover from emotionally and physically. At times like this, it is comforting to know that there are people readily willing to extend a helping hand to the victims in whatever way.

Other nations have in the last few days, also suffered from one devastation or another. Indonesia was hit by an earthquake just days before China. Missouri and Myanmar have just been ravaged by very strong storms causing heavy floods and displacing thousands of families.

Early Wednesday morning, 2 areas in the northern part here in the Philippines were also rocked by intensity 4 and intensity 2 quakes. Fortunately, there were no damages. I suppose the quakes were something many were not surprised about since China and Indonesia are neighbor countries. The fault lines extend to the Philippines as well.

One can never really be fully prepared for such wraths of nature....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Breadwinner at 15....

Tiyamike's picture doesn't look like that of a 15-year old teenager. He looks much older and mature. At such a young age of 13, he and his siblings were orphaned by a father who died of AIDS and later their mother who was infected with the HIV virus.

Tiyamike had to stop school and grow up fast to be breadwinner and support his four siblings. It's still quite shocking to realize that a family of 5 has to live on $5 a month while working 9 hours a day.

When I read that UNICEF has reached these children from Malawi, I honestly wondered where that place was and thought it must be far away. I never heard of it and had to google its location. It's in Africa and the country has 1 million orphans, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

Helping 1 million orphans is a big task. Tiyamike and his siblings are among the fortunate ones reached by UNICEF. A year and a half ago, the Tiwasamale Community-Based Child Care Centre identified Tiyamike’s family as a child-headed household in need of urgent assistance. I'm sure there are many more like them who need help, especially the innocent ones who have no one in the family like Tiyamike who can help support or take care of them.