Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘communities’

Don’t Look the Other Way

Stop for a moment and answer this question: What can you buy for $2.50? These days, not much. A bottle of water. A candy bar, perhaps. Maybe a bag of chips.

Now think about this: Right now, half of the world’s population—more than three billion people–is living on $2.50 a day or less. With no money left over to dig their way out of poverty.

You can look away as they struggle – or you can take action.

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A small loan can be all an enterprising individual needs to begin down the path to success. Just $25 can provide a microentrepreneur with goods to sell at the local market. $50 or $100 can allow an individual to buy a sewing machine, or a refrigerator to keep food for resale from spoiling overnight. They’ll be the ones doing all of the hard work – all they need is a little help from you to get them started.

We reach more than one million clients in 22 countries – most of them women. Women in particular are using their businesses to provide for their families and to earn independence within their communities. While some 13 million worldwide have already benefited from microcredit, the need is still estimated to be 200 million people.

Around the world, our clients – and potential clients – are ready to work hard to get ahead. All they need is for you not to look the other way. You may take action and make a donation today.

Sincerely,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President
FINCA

Stealing the Land

The Truth About Land Grabs
From Oxfam America

We all rely on the land—our common ground—and farms to put food on the table. But the world’s farmland is at risk. Here in the US, we have been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute. In developing countries, the rush for land is even more intense.

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What’s a land grab?

Imagine waking up one day to be told you’re about to be evicted from your home. Being told that you no longer have the right to remain on land that you’ve lived on for years. And then, if you refuse to leave, being forcibly removed. For many communities in developing countries, this is a familiar story.

In the past decade, more than 81 million acres of land worldwide—an area the size of Portugal–has been sold off to foreign investors. Some of these deals are what’s known as land grabs: land deals that happen without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities that often result in farmers being forced from their homes and families left hungry. The term “land grabs” was defined in the Tirana Declaration (2011) by the International Land Coalition, consisting of 116 organizations from community groups to the World Bank.

The global rush for land is leaving people hungry

The 2008 spike in food prices triggered a rush in land deals. While these large-scale land deals are supposedly being struck to grow food, the crops grown on the land rarely feed local people. Instead, the land is used to grow profitable crops—like sugar cane, palm oil, and soy—often for export. In fact, more than 60 percent of crops grown on land bought by foreign investors in developing countries are intended for export, instead of feeding local communities. Worse still, two-thirds of these agricultural land deals are in countries with serious hunger problems.

Righting the wrong of land grabs

With your help, Oxfam has been campaigning on land grabs as part of our GROW campaign for food justice.

People like you successfully pushed the World Bank to commit itself to a new UN standard on how land is governed. This means they’ll work to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people have their land rights respected.

In 2011, 769 families were forced out of their homes and off thier land in Polochic Valley. Their crops and homes were burned. And three people died. Over 100,000 people signed to get the Guatemala Government to declare support for the Polochic communities and, to date, 140 families have had their land returned. The campaign continues.

To send a global message about land grabs, thousands of Oxfam supporters and Coldplay fans sent photos and videos of ordinary things out of place, echoing the displacement of land grabs. These clips were edited together into a music video that helped raise the profile of land grabs during the campaign targeting the World Bank.

What’s next?

Communities are already standing up and demanding their rights. And because big food companies rely on your continued support to stay in business, you have a rare opportunity to stand with local farmers as they struggle to retain their farmland. Visit BehindtheBrands.org and see how the 10 biggest food and beverage companies score on their land policies.

– See more at: Oxfam America.

Fracking Water Contamination

Fracking Linked to Contamination

When I’m not playing a superhero, I do my best to help out the real superheroes who are fighting to keep our water clean. That’s why I started a petition to President Barack Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, which says:

“Preliminary studies by the EPA linked fracking to water contamination in three communities: Dimock, Pennsylvania; Parker County, Texas; and Pavillion, Wyoming. But the EPA abandoned its own findings and stopped these investigations. President Obama and new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy must reopen these fracking investigations and provide residents with safe drinking water.”

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I first got involved in the fracking fight years ago when I traveled to Dimock, Pennsylvania, to meet families who were suffering serious health impacts from using water contaminated from fracking operations. I met many people whose children and pets were suffering from skin lesions, hair loss, vomiting, severe headaches, dizziness and pain throughout their bodies—and they could light their tap water on fire!

When the going got rough, a group of concerned citizens and I stepped in to help these people get safe drinking water. Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency came to the rescue and delivered families water while conducting an investigation. But when the EPA abruptly closed the case, stopped water deliveries to the residents and deemed the water safe to drink, we knew something was wrong.

Thanks to EPA whistleblowers, the Los Angeles Times was recently able to report that the fracking investigation in Dimock was shut down despite evidence from the EPA’s water tests showing that Dimock’s drinking water was severely impacted by fracking. Since that time, many residents have not had access to safe drinking water.

That’s why I started a petition to President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling on them to reopen the investigations into water contamination from fracking. We’ll deliver the petition signatures to the EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday this week to show the public demand for action.

Can you add your name to my petition, and then share it with your friends?

The EPA has also shut down investigations in Wyoming and Texas. Early results of all three investigations showed that the EPA had evidence linking gas drilling and fracking operations to groundwater contamination. Yet instead of protecting people in these areas, the EPA ignored its own scientific data and abandoned the investigations.

It’s time for the EPA to do its job and protect the drinking water of the American people from toxic fracking. Join me in calling on the new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and President Barack Obama, to reopen the EPA investigations in Dimock, Pennsylvania; Pavillion, Wyoming; and Weatherford, Texas; and provide safe drinking water to the residents of these communities during the investigations.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

Mark Ruffalo
MoveOn.org

Good Small Things

Dear Gabriel,

They say the best things come in small packages. At FINCA, we think so, too. That’s why we believe in the power of our small loans. Time and time again, we’ve seen poor women transform a loan into a life-changing opportunity. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in someone’s life – just a small act of faith.

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Did you know that, within a year, one single donation to FINCA can fund as many as three loans to hardworking women? Did you know that $50 is enough capital for a hardworking mother to buy more materials for her small business so she can send provide for her children? Small loans like these have unlimited potential to support FINCA clients all over the world. Small loans for big change – that’s our mission, and it wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Bit by bit, we can help break the cycle of poverty that grips many of the world’s working poor. FINCA’s clients are doing their part by using their loans to build self-sustaining businesses that transform their families and their communities. Their repayment rates are remarkable – as soon as one FINCA woman repays her loan, another deserving entrepreneur is given a chance. Every small loan counts. The more loans we can give, the faster the progress, the bigger the success story. No matter how small or large your donation is, it will leave a mark much bigger than you can ever anticipate.

Help us write the world’s success story today, and support small FINCA loans for big change. Support hard work, the human spirit, and resilience. Donate today, and join the global fight against poverty.

Thank you for your generosity,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President,
New Business Development

Working Hand-In-Hand

Dear Gabriel,

What would you do if your income was suddenly gone – and at the same time every single store raised its prices?

In Mauritania, many families’ crops died in the fields; then, because food was scarce, food prices skyrocketed. In Senegal, a poor harvest forced some farmers to eat their seeds simply to survive – leaving them with little left to plant.

It’s a story that repeats across the Sahel region of West Africa and around the world: when crops die, food prices go up. Families are faced with the terrible decision to sell or eat whatever they have simply to survive – even though selling their goats, plows and other resources will make rebuilding or weathering the next crisis even harder.

To make a difference in a disaster like this, we need to be there before it strikes and stay long after other groups leave. That’s what Oxfam supporters make possible – not only helping families access emergency food and water, but also restoring wells, providing veterinary support for livestock, supporting women-run small businesses and more – all to create lasting change.

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Before the year ends, we need compassionate people like you to stand with us and be counted – without you, none of this happens. Can you help now?

Your gift of $50 today will help families build a life free of poverty, hunger and injustice from the Sahel to Haiti and beyond. Please donate now.

As an Oxfam supporter, you understand that a long-term commitment is key to saving lives when the toughest times hit and righting the wrong of hunger and poverty in the first place. You get why we have to be in this fight for the long haul.

You want to fight root causes – not just symptoms. When emergency aid is what’s needed, you’re there to help. But you know that the root causes of hunger are poverty and injustice. Together, we work to empower communities, giving people the information, tools, training and help they need to change their situation – for the next harvest and the next generation.

You know the power of working with local communities. Instead of telling people what to do, we listen to their ideas. Then, together, we provide the resources and work hand-in-hand with local partners to improve their communities together.

You want charities to be careful with your money. We design all our programs to be efficient and effective, and we constantly measure results. In the years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake, as international aid slowed, Oxfam has carefully identified where we can do the most good – and focused on the critical need to boost rice agriculture so farmers can make a living and help the country better feed itself.

img_savinglivesAnd finally, when you know you can make a big difference, you don’t stand on the sidelines. There are families going hungry, mothers struggling to serve their children even flour and water. In a world as rich as ours, we all know this is wrong. And we know that together, we can do what’s right.

We need to raise $2.6 million by midnight on December 31. Can you help?

Your gift will help fight poverty, end hunger, stop injustice and change lives. I hope you’ll make a generous commitment to Oxfam before the end of the year.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

Keep Girls Strong

Dear Gabriel,

A baby girl comes into this world brimming with potential – ready to grow, live, and dream.

But too often, society will get in her way, stacking up a mountain of challenges in front of her.

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Sometimes it starts right away by robbing her of her health because of a lack of food or clean water. Sometimes it comes later – when her family cannot afford to send her to school or her local school refuses to allow girls to attend. Before she is twelve, she may even be forced to marry a man twice her age.

For over 60 years, CARE has been addressing the underlying causes of poverty and attacking the obstacles that stand between girls and their ability to realize their full potential.

With your help, we can meet a girl’s basic need for food, water, and a place to live. We can build schools and help communities realize that girls belong in the classroom, not at the altar.

Together, we can help women fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams and watch women lift up their families, and entire communities, out of poverty.

That’s what works… but only when people like you commit to pitching in. Every bit will help rush urgently-needed support to the girls and families who need it – and until December 31st, your gift will be matched. Make a gift now!

That’s right – when you donate before December 31st, your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million. This amazing opportunity could not come at a better time.

In many parts of the world, educating and empowering girls is a deadly serious matter. A few months ago, just days before the first International Day of the Girl, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head because of her outspoken advocacy for the rights of girls to go to school. Miraculously, she survived and from her recovery room refused to abandon the belief that girls deserve a fair chance in this world – the kind of chance they get when they go to school.

When girls are willing to show such amazing courage, we must step up to act as safeguards – we must stand strong in the fight to win girls’ right to dream, learn, and grow.

CARE has not only helped build schools for girls in the region Malala calls home – our field staff also partnered with local organizations to rebuild over 40 schools for girls in the country of Pakistan. CARE supports youth activities like sporting events and youth forums. Globally, our education work focuses on girls between the ages of 10 and 14, when they are making the critical transition from childhood to adulthood.

Around the world, we are fighting poverty in many different ways – through repairing community wells, creating village savings and loan associations to help poor communities start small businesses, managing crises, and so much more. When I think about the path to a brighter future, I firmly believe that working with girls is the key to our success.

Please help keep girls strong. Every gift matters – please give today and help us meet our goal of $1 million by December 31st. Every dollar will be matched.

Thank you for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Tolli Love
Vice President, CARE

Tibetan Stories

sunshineOn, Dec 10, 1948. in the aftermath of WW2 and the Holocaust, the UN established a new commission, largely spearheaded by Eleanor Roosevelt, to monitor and assure that human rights were protected in even the most vulnerable communities throughout the world. Today we honor that profoundly compassionate action and all those whose diligent commitment moves us towards a more awakened relationship to one another and our world.

Please take a moment and watch an inspiring video from the International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights about wounded communities and how you can help.

Living In Exile

Gaea Logan
International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights

CARE CEO Gives Thanks

Dear Gabriel,

If your family is anything like mine, I’m sure you are busy preparing for the holiday this week. I hope you will take a moment to take a step back from the preparations and think about what is really important this Thanksgiving.

I wanted to wish you a joyful holiday full of good company, good food, and lots of love.

Here is a shortlist of things I am truly grateful for this holiday:

My family.

My dear friends.

My colleagues at CARE.

Getting to spend my days making the world a better place, and being able to see how much our work really does matter. You’ll never forget the look on a mother’s face when you’ve helped to save her child’s life – or given her child a chance to have a better life. I can never really express what it’s like in words, so maybe this picture will help:

The support of people like you. Your dedication to fighting global poverty by empowering poor families and communities is inspiring to me. I will never stop being grateful for these things.
From the CARE family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

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