Posts

Help SalvadoransThe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing job training to equip Salvadorans with skills they can use for future employment and economic opportunities. Larry Sacks, the former USAID and El Salvador Mission Director, was in El Salvador in 1999 and was fearful of the violence that he experienced. He became aware that many Salvadorans are threatened by similar violence every day, and has since been part of USAID initiatives to help Salvadorans.

Youth are the primary victims of violence in El Salvador. Furthermore, many young people have a hard time accessing basic healthcare. Due to the low quality and limited access to basic health services, 41 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in El Salvador are among young people age 15 to 19.

Poverty, along with the lack of education and job opportunities, forces youth to migrate across international borders to seek better opportunities. Most make their way to the United States,  however many enter illegally. As a result, they have limited access to healthcare and social security in the U.S. as well. This puts young adults at a higher risk of becoming a part of youth gangs, participating in criminal activities and substance abuse.

USAID provides aid that will help Salvadorans thrive, eliminating the need for high rates of migration to other states. USAID is partnering with the government of El Salvador, the Ministry of Education, private sector partners and higher education institutions in both the U.S. and El Salvador.

The activities provided are directed towards young adults at the lower secondary level, grades seven to nine, as they are most susceptible to dropping out of school and most vulnerable to joining gangs.

The education programs that USAID has provided in El Salvador, particularly in high-crime areas, help to keep more than 100,000 youth in school. By providing young Salvadorans with education and a safe environment, they are less likely to join gangs. Further, with USAID’s new programs, over 20,000 youth have now received job training.

Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

Help the People of EstoniaEstonia is a crucial ally for the United States in the modern age. On March 29, 2004, Estonia joined NATO as a means to strengthen their position in the world and form stronger international relations with the West. Since then, the United States, as well as many other key NATO members, have maintained a strong presence in Estonia to guarantee the nation’s security.

To help the people of Estonia, it is important to consider how to improve the state of their home lives. There are a lot of charitable groups that donate to help displaced children and young mothers.

Caritas Estonia is a valuable organization in Estonia which dedicates itself to improving the lives of vulnerable Estonian women. Their approach to helping the people of Estonia is to provide the support necessary to empower underage mothers and pregnant teenagers to participate and advance in the Estonian workforce.

Another organization working to strengthen Estonian families is SOS Children’s Villages (SOS CV). The organization started in 1992, shortly after Estonia gained its independence from Russia. SOS CV offers a valuable service to the most vulnerable 20 percent of Estonia’s population: it’s children. SOS CV provides homes for children whose parents can no longer afford to house them.

How can you help the people of Estonia? Browse the websites of these organizations to learn more about the work they do. You can donate your time and money to a worthy cause helping to strengthen the Estonian workforce and care for children in Estonia.

You can also email Congress via The Borgen Project’s website. The Borgen Project is an American organization whose purpose is to lobby U.S. Congress to implement policy changes to help reduce poverty around the globe.

These are just a few ways how you can help the people of Estonia.

Tim Sherwood

Photo: Flickr

Hungary_refugee

Though the European refugee crisis has largely faded from the international media’s spotlight, thousands of asylum-seekers continue to enter Europe by any means possible with the hopes of starting a new life. In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the Hungarian grassroots organization Migration Aid has harnessed the power of social media as a means of delivering aid and guidance to thousands of refugees.

Migration Aid was founded in June 2015, at the height of the European refugee crisis, by a handful of concerned citizens in Budapest that desired to help people in Hungary. The organization originated as a closed group on Facebook, which was utilized as a virtual planning board for orchestrating aid delivery, which included food and supplies distribution. The organization also consisted of various specialty groups with coordinators assigned to handle legal matters, storage, logistics and any other issues. Migration Aid set up centers in the railway stations of Budapest and the surrounding area and quickly grew to over 600 volunteers.

Two years have elapsed since the group’s inception, during which time Migration Aid has helped feed, clothe and provide direction to thousands of refugees, but the situation faced by asylum-seekers in Hungary remains extremely tenuous. Hungary’s geographic location has forced the country into a major role in the crisis, as it is a popular by-way for migrants hoping to settle further afield from the Middle East in Northern and Western Europe. Between January and August of 2017, 2,491 asylum applications were registered in Hungary alone.

The European Union has endeavored to establish a comprehensive and effective means of responding to what has become the largest global displacement crisis since World War II. In September 2015, the European Commission announced a minimum quota of refugees that each EU member country would be expected to host, with the intention of fairly distributing the burden of providing for the record numbers of migrants streaming into the continent. It was also in September 2015 that Hungary closed its borders to refugees, and began strictly limiting their movement throughout the country.

Furthermore, Hungarian officials have resisted compliance with the quotas and policies made obligatory for all members of the EU. In March 2017, the Hungarian government implemented a law requiring that all refugees whose asylum applications were pending be housed in detention centers. When it was discovered that the housing units available at these detention centers were comprised of shipping containers and that refugees were being forced to pay for their stay, the United Nations refugee agency urged the E.U. to stop sending asylum seekers to Hungary, declaring this mandatory detention a violation of international law that guarantees people access to asylum.

Additionally, Viktor Mihály Orbán, a Hungarian politician, petitioned the European Commission President to exempt Hungary from the migrant relocation quotas, a request which was denied and earned the Hungarian government a lawsuit for failure to comply.

In the face of the conditions now being imposed on refugees, Migration Aid has developed new strategies to help people in Hungary. Recognizing the need for information dissemination pertaining to the new laws and regulations, the organization developed a new application named InfoAid, which seeks to provide information to asylum-seekers in their native language. According to Migration Aid’s website, the InfoAid app seeks to provide the following types of information:

  • what rules apply to them
  • where they can receive care
  • what is going on in transport
  • where there is safe drinking water in Hungary
  • where and how they should buy train tickets
  • where they can receive medical care
  • how they should collect the waste they generate
  • where, when and why they have to register and what exactly it involves

The InfoAid app supplies information in English, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi. Migration Aid is currently seeking the help of volunteer translators so that they can keep up with the need for translated information, as well as expand their offerings to include Greek and Pashto.

Thanks to internet technology, anyone around the world with relevant language skills wondering how to help people in Hungary can act as an invaluable source of aid by donating their time and skills. More information about volunteering can be found on Migration Aid’s official website, or on the Facebook page.

For individuals desirous of contributing but who lack the language skills required to volunteer, Migration Aid also accepts monetary donations, which are fundamental to the organization’s ability to help people in Hungary. Now more than ever, the innovative and progressive efforts that this organization continues to make on behalf of refugees in Hungary is a tremendous source of hope and comfort to many.

Savannah Bequeaith

Photo: Flickr

Help People in the Republic of Moldova

The Republic of Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. The national GDP amounts to $1,900 per capita. Moldova relies heavily on agriculture as a main source of income, rendering the environment a major factor in the country’s economic affairs. It faces many economic challenges, including political corruption, which impact the economic depreciation as well. In order to help people in the Republic of Moldova, it is necessary for international aid and domestic reform.

Get Involved – How to Help People in the Republic of Moldova

Major organizations helping the people in the Republic of Moldova include recognizable institutions such as The World Bank and the United Nations.

The World Bank

The World Bank currently has eight projects underway. They are designed to help people in the Republic of Moldova by increasing internal revenue through rejuvenating local businesses and helping to construct a self-sustaining economic foundation.

You can learn more about the World Bank’s mission and how to help by connecting with them on their website.

The United Nations

The United Nations Development Programme focuses on environmental efficiency, developing an accountable and transparent government, and evolving inclusive growth for the people of Moldova.

You can supplement this mission by donating funds or by advocating for change and promoting the mission by visiting their website.

Promo-LEX

Local non-profits are working to promote equality and the insurance of human rights by working directly with Moldovan administration to benefit citizens on a residential level.

The Promo-LEX Association is a group dedicated to democratic values, civic liberties and social justice through pro-bono legal work. By subscribing to the Promo-LEX newsletter, you can keep up to date on legal movements and significant occurrences in Moldova.

Volunteering Moldova

Volunteering Moldova is a state-run non-profit charity whose objective is to aid vulnerable populations including children, the disabled, and those facing financial hardship.

You can get involved by volunteering at group homes, disabled institutions and orphanages. Donations are equally important for non-profits that rely on benevolence; learn how you can fund supplies including diapers, food, medicine, books and school supplies and other general goods. Your efforts will help people in the Republic of Moldova.

Moving Forward

Despite these hardships, Moldova’s economy is growing steadily. Legislative efforts, combined with those of independent organizations, have contributed to successfully reducing poverty. This shows hope for a promising future for the Republic of Moldova.

Sloan Bousselaire

Photo: Flickr

Free EducationPresident of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has shown full support for the Government’s Free Senior High School (SHS) program, which launched on September 12, 2017. The initial implementation of this policy was held at West Africa Senior High School (WASS) to officially integrate free senior high school education.

The Ghanaian government’s decision to implement this program was based on the desire to educate at a faster rate to encourage national development and progress.

“By free SHS, we mean that in addition to tuition, which is already free, there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science center fees, no computer laboratory fees, no examination fees, no utility fees. There will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals and day students will get a meal at school for free,” said President Akufo-Addo.

The program covers topics including agricultural, vocational and technical studies at the high school level, which will prepare students to be successful members of the community.

With free education opportunities, more children throughout Ghana will be able to attend school, especially girls who struggle with increasing teen pregnancy and teen marriage rates.

Students interested in the free SHS program need to apply, and the most eligible candidates are granted access. Girls, for aforementioned reasons, are prioritized in the decision process in an attempt to increase the number of educated Ghanaian females.

All applicants are fairly reviewed for the free education program, and so far over 420,000 young Ghanaians have applied. Out of these, 267,327 applicants have been accepted and placed in schools. When students are denied initial acceptance into the free SHS program at the school of their choice, they are placed on a waiting list and provided a selection of schools with vacancies.

The free education program has been fully supported by the Ghanaian government, and the opening ceremony at WASS was attended by the President, Vice President of the Republic, Minister for Education, Minister of State for Education and several officials from the Ministry of Education.

The work done by the Ghanaian government to provide free SHS opportunities will open the door for several young students who would otherwise remain uneducated with slim to no future career prospects.

“The coming into effect of the free SHS policy is vital for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Kassidy Tarala

Photo: Flickr

South Sudan AidSince South Sudan became independent in 2011, they have been facing a humanitarian crisis. This is partly due to displacement from conflicts and refugees from the north pouring in, depleting any resources South Sudan had to support that many people. Poverty, lingering effects from the conflict with Sudan and continued tension with Sudan make South Sudan aid, both in food and non-food aid, vital.

Throughout the crisis in South Sudan, the total USAID and state emergency funding in FY 2017 is a total of $728,685,903. The United States is the largest humanitarian donor to South Sudan. That funding may no longer exist as Mark Green, administrator for the U.S. agency of international development, threatened to cut USAID to South Sudan due to the chaos that is currently taking place there.

Green is considering ending South Sudan aid due to human rights violations and violence that are occurring in the country. In Green’s opinion, South Sudan has become too dangerous for humanitarian workers to bring aid to the country.

Green is also considering the removal of aid because he believes that this growing crisis, with six million people facing life-threatening hunger, is man-made and something that the president of South Sudan, Salva Kirr, can solve.

UNICEF said that there are more than 1 million children in South Sudan who are malnourished and are likely to die without intervention. American food donations to South Sudan are said to reach 1.8 million people each month, saving many lives, and if the United States cuts funding, those 1.8 million people will no longer receive that food. It is nearly impossible to match the money that the United States has been giving to South Sudan, so if they do cut the funding, it is highly unlikely that South Sudan will find anyone else to fund them in their place.

In the meantime, there are still many ways that individual American citizens can help the people of South Sudan. UNICEF is accepting monetary donations towards relief efforts. The International Rescue Committee has a strategy action plan for South Sudan through 2020 that aims to create economic wellbeing, safety and health improvements in the country. The UNHR is collecting monetary donations for the people of South Sudan as well.

If South Sudan aid really does get cut, it will make these organizations and any others looking to help with the humanitarian crisis more important than ever.

Téa Franco

Photo: Flickr

Teaching Impoverished Women Solar Panel EngineeringA business partnership between law firm Hogan Lovells and Barefoot College seeks to help women in the developing world rise out of poverty by offering programs in solar panel engineering. Barefoot College, founded in 1972, is a college built by and for the rural poor, whose main objective is “to demystify and decentralise technology and put new tools in the hands of the rural poor with a singular objective of spreading self-sufficiency and sustainability.” This initiative, conducted in partnership with Hogan Lovells, focuses on teaching impoverished women solar panel engineering. The objective is for these women to bring the technology back to their villages and provide a renewable light source to destitute rural areas.

The project estimates it will bring clean, renewable power to over 200,000 people by training 400 women at five centres in Latin America, Africa and the Pacific Islands. Since 2008, when the initiative started, the college estimates it has trained 1084 women, or ‘solar mamas’ as they call them, from 83 different countries in solar panel installation and maintenance. Hogan Lovells is now providing Barefoot with pro bono legal advice and financial backing to help with the most recent expansion of the program.

Although a majority of the women are illiterate, through sign language and color-coded textbooks they are taught how to create, install and maintain solar panels for their community. Not only does this help bring a renewable power source to thousands of destitute villages, but by teaching impoverished women solar panel engineering, it helps to develop gender equality in these regions. The ‘solar mamas’ become respected community advisers and hold a high position as the installers and maintainers of a village’s main power source.

Installing solar panels also brings an array of other benefits to poor, rural, areas. It replaces the use of toxic kerosene, allowing children to study at night with the use of lamps, and family incomes tend to rise, since they pay less than what they paid for kerosene, batteries, candles, etc. Barefoot estimates that it has replaced over 500 million litres of the highly toxic and flammable kerosene since the program started.

Barefoot College and its ‘solar mama’ initiative in cooperation with Hogan Lovells is an example of the innovative progress made by non-governmental institutions in the race to meet the U.N’s Sustainable Development Goals. By training impoverished women in solar panel engineering, Barefoot, in a single program, addresses seven of the 17 goals, including tackling poverty, promoting gender equality and developing affordable and clean energy. It is an example to be followed.

Alan Garcia-Ramos

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in LaosMore than half of the population in Laos lives below the poverty line. This is one of the highest statistics of poverty in the world. Unfortunately, a massive proportion of these individuals are children. Children living in poverty in Laos frequently do not have access to healthcare or education. This is one of the biggest humanitarian issues facing Laos, but, of course, there are also many others. Here is how to help people in Laos, especially children:

Firstly, you can donate or contribute to a variety of organizations that do work in the region. SOS Children’s Villages International is an organization that works to protect the rights of children in Laos and other countries. They focus on providing quality emotional and physical care to children who have lost their families or are not in a position to stay with their families. You can sponsor a child or a village, or make a one-time donation.

Care is another organization that works in Laos, among many other countries. Care’s goals are to cut poverty off at the root by providing substantial and sustainable change to those who are most vulnerable to poverty, hunger and disease. They also provide emergency relief when necessary. Care accepts donations.

ChildFund Australia is another organization that works to secure children’s rights and promote community development. They work in a variety of countries, including Laos. ChildFund Australia puts 78 percent of all funds towards program expenditures in the countries they work in. They accept donations and allow you to sponsor a child.

There are a lot of other nonprofit organizations that work to protect children’s rights in Laos, but these are a few of the largest. Whichever of these organizations you donate, volunteer, or contribute to, the people in Laos need all the help they can get. Now you know what to say the next time someone asks how to help people in Laos.

Liyanga De Silva

Photo: Flickr

Help People in ZambiaZambia – a Sub-Saharan African nation that has the largest copper industry and is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – is one of the poorest nations in the world. Despite its beautiful Victoria Falls attraction and other scenery, 60 percent of Zambia’s population (16 million people) live below the poverty line.

Five million people in Zambia do not have access to safe water, and eight million of their people do not have access to sufficient sanitation. These cause diarrheal diseases and often death for children under five. Aside from physical health deterioration, many kids do not get the proper schooling, which in turn makes it more difficult to get jobs in the future to financially stabilize themselves and their families. This is a major concern for Zambia, with more then half of the nation living below the poverty line. Luckily, there are many easy ways to help people in Zambia.

Donate
One way to help the people in Zambia is to donate. There are multiple organizations that accept donations which go directly to Zambia. An organization called Children’s International uses donations to pay for school uniforms, supplies, scholarships, tutoring and medications that are inaccessible to people in Zambia. Children’s International also works with setting kids up for employment by holding mock interviews, resumé building workshops as well building both workplace and technical skills.

Sponsor
Another way to help those suffering in Zambia is to sponsor a child. An organization called Children International works to create a better environment for kids to grow up in by running a sponsorship. Sponsoring a child in Zambia would allow Children International to continue to provide education and healthcare to children in need.

Hands-On Volunteering
For those looking to get first-hand experience acting on the poverty crisis in Zambia, you can join one of the many organizations that work hands-on in the country. One of the best ways to help people in Zambia is to volunteer your time on the ground. One organization that works in Zambia to create sanitation facilities throughout the country is called Water Aid. In 2016, Water Aid was able to provide 61,000 people with safe water and 62,000 people with better sanitation.

Support the Bill
Another way to help people in Zambia is to be a voice by supporting the AGOA & MCA Modernization Act. If passed, the bill will authorize the Millenium Challenge Corporation to operate concurrent economic compacts in other countries, including Zambia. Contacting members of congress by phone or email to let them know you support the bill is an easy way to help out those in Zambia. The people in Zambia are not able to provide a voice for themselves, but others have the ability to stand up for them.

Donating, sponsoring a child, volunteering and supporting the AGOA & MCA Modernization Act are all fantastic ways to get involved and help the people of Zambia. The more people willing to help, the sooner Zambia can start to see its citizens being lifted out of poverty.

Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in Moldova

Finding out how to help people in Moldova does not necessarily require a singular approach. But whatever the method, it must be efficient, as a press release from The World Bank highlighted it as “one of the poorest countries in Europe.” Over 5 percent of the country’s people endure extreme impoverishment, and its administration “pledges to take out of poverty over 150,000 men and women” by the year 2020.

The United States AID explorer page marks the country as lower-middle income. For 2015, U.S. disbursements to the nation reached over $136 million, with its top sector focusing on agriculture. Furthermore, 11 percent of these U.S. funds took the form of military aid, while the rest fell under the economic umbrella.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released an analysis with potential growth changes needed to help Moldovans have a better quality of life. It broke down the needs into categories with the percentage of growth for each:

  • More decent jobs (89 percent)
  • Higher and fair pensions and social benefits (64 percent)
  • A reliable justice system (36 percent)
  • Access to high quality health services (36 percent)
  • Promotion of a healthy lifestyle (24 percent)
  • Investment in infrastructure (22 percent)
  • Transparent governance (20-21 percent)

UNDP mentioned that with U.N. support, the National Bureau of Statistics would consult with those “from vulnerable groups” in the spring of this year to allow better evaluations of “the complexity of poverty phenomenon and its dimensions, given that economic indicators…are not always in line with those experiences and perceptions of people…”.

The World Bank named some of the highlights from the Moldova Poverty Assessment 2016:

Pensions
Pros: Increased income
Cons: There are better methods that benefit disadvantaged groups

Labor markets
Pros: “Contributed to the progress”
Cons: This progress occurred “mostly through productivity increases rather than job creation”

Because a significant part of confronting Moldova’s poverty revolves around the workforce, it is paramount to support legislation that addresses this. This may seem like a daunting task for ordinary people outside of the country to fulfill. But for those questioning how to help people in Moldova, supporting important legislation like the Economic Growth and Development Act—which strives for “market-based economic growth in developing countries”—can be one of the most effective methods in making headway.

Maleeha Syed

Photo: Flickr