Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘families’

What “Minimum Wage”?

Dear Gabriel,

Anyone who has ever worked for minimum wage knows you can’t survive – let alone raise a family – on a minimum wage salary, even if you work full time.

The minimum wage is a misnomer – it doesn’t even cover the bare minimum costs needed to survive.

President Obama charged Congress with lifting American families out of poverty by raising the minimum wage, and California Rep. George Miller and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin answered the call. They have introduced the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013,” which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and link it to inflation going forward.

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Tell Congress to pass the Fair and Minimum Wage Act now.

This legislation should be a no brainer – families everywhere are struggling, and the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009. While banks continue to destroy our economy without consequences, working families are drowning in debt.

Support working families. Tell Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Thank you for taking action,

Colleen H.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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

California OneCare Call

Dear Gabriel,

We join The Coalition for A Healthy California and PNHP-CA to seek your help starting Friday, February 15th.

Please take a moment to make brief, polite phone calls to encourage an Assemblymember to author and introduce single payer legislation in the Assembly by next Friday, February 22nd.

If the bill is not introduced in time, there will be no single payer legislation this session, which lasts two years.

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Background:


Senator Mark Leno authored the single payer legislation, SB 810 in the past two sessions (four years) and the bill failed last year by only two votes. At the end of last session, Senator Leno declined to author the bill again and suggested we seek an author in the Assembly. Despite concerted efforts, we have not been successful in finding an Assemblymember to introduce the bill. We are told that the legislature is focused on implementing the private health insurance exchange mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Single payer bills SB-810 and SB-840, which passed twice, had over 40 Co-Authors in the legislature previous years!

Tell our Assemblymembers they can chew gum and walk at the same time! A single payer system cannot be implemented until 2017 – the date the Affordable Care Act allows states to go beyond the ACA and set up their own healthcare systems. We can both implement the health exchange this year and get California ready for single payer in 2017.

HOW TO HELP

Please call the following legislators starting Friday and request that they carry the single payer legislation. Ask for the legislative aide listed below. If they are not available, please ask for their voicemail and leave a brief message. If voicemail is unavailable, simply leave your message with the person who answers the phone. Be sure to mention if you happen to live in the district.

Here are the legislators to call, with the name of their aide:

1. Paul Fong (28, Sunnyvale): Andrew Medina (916-319-2028)


2. Bonnie Lowenthal (70, Long Beach): MJ Gascon Flores (916-319-2070)


3. Rob Bonta (18, Oakland): An-Chi Tsou (916-319-2018)


4. Richard Gordon (24, Los Altos): Angela Pontes (916-319-2024)


5. Mariko Yamada (4, Vacaville): Robert McLaughlin (916-319-2004)


6. Mark Stone (29, Monterey, Santa Cruz): Arianna Smith (916-319-2029)


7. Shirley Weber (79, San Diego): Crystal Quezada (916-319-2079)

PLEASE CALL!

We need and appreciate your ACTION NOW. We also appreciate your generous DONATIONS. With your help, WE WILL WIN!

Sincerely,

Andrew McGuire, Executive Director, California OneCare Campaign & California OneCare Education Fund

(Our thanks to our friends at PNHP California (Physicians for a National Health Program – California) for this Alert)

Call Today

Dear Gabriel,

DAP-one-million-sig-enoughMy son Blair was murdered with a gun on his way home from school. He was riding a Chicago city bus, and he was caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting just a few days before Mother’s Day.

Newtown, Connecticut doesn’t look a lot like the South Side of Chicago. But when I hear the stories of Newtown families, I am familiar with their pain.

One month has passed since the heartbreaking mass shooting that took the lives of twenty first-graders and six adults. No community should have to go through that kind of terror, and no parent should have to feel so much loss.

Please join me and the families of other gun violence victims in saying: ENOUGH.

We recorded a new TV ad to Demand A Plan from our leaders in Congress.

Take a minute to watch the ad and call your members of Congress RIGHT NOW.

Today, more than forty mayors across the country organized events with law enforcement officials, faith leaders and survivors of gun violence to commemorate the tragedy at Newtown and demand action from our elected leaders in Washington.

More than a million people have signed the Demand A Plan petition calling on President Obama and Congress to step forward with a real plan to end gun violence.

But our leaders need to hear our voices every day. Please watch our new TV ad and make a call TODAY:

http://DemandAPlan.org/ENOUGH

I’ve met parents and loved ones of gun violence victims from all across the country. We share a connection because of the pain we’ve all been through, and we can offer each other some comfort and understanding. But there’s nothing that would make us happier than never adding a new member to our group ever again.

Thirty-three people are murdered with guns every day in America — sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. We’ve had ENOUGH and it’s time for our leaders in Congress to act.

Thank you for calling your members of Congress to Demand A Plan,

Annette Nance-Holt
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

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

When Catastrophe Strikes

Dear Gabriel,

CARE-EOY-2012-COB1When a typhoon hits, we’re there.

We are there when a drought causes crops to fail, leaving families desperate for just one meal a day.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding: we can’t predict when they’ll come, but we can predict that we’ll be there, responding to the most urgent needs. We will stay for as long as it takes.

Even with all our trained and dedicated staff on the ground, none of our work is possible without the support of people like you.

Your gift will help girls, boys, and families living in poor communities during emergencies by providing tools and resources to help them rebuild their lives. Your help is especially crucial now: if you make a donation before December 31st, your gift will be matched, up to $1 million.

Will you help by making a gift to support families in need? Every dollar you give will help us reach our goal of $1 million before December 31st.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke recently about suffering around the world – and what gives him the strength to keep going. He said, “When I travel, I make it a point to go where people are suffering. I have spoken to families who lost everything, women who have been raped, children who have been orphaned. It would be easy to lose hope.

“But I was amid people who show extraordinary courage in the face of their suffering. I am especially inspired by the field workers like your CARE staff, who dedicate their lives to helping others. The United Nations can never succeed without such a strong partner like CARE.

“Let us work together to do everything we can to empower girls. I’m confident when we empower them, they will change our world. Change our world for the better.”

As a CARE supporter, I know that you share Ban Ki-moon’s passionate beliefs. Please help us continue to help send girls to school, empower women facing gender-based violence, and build communities where families have lost their homes due to disaster. We cannot do it without you, Gabriel.

Work with us for a better world in 2013. Any help you can provide is truly appreciated. Please make a tax-deductible gift today, and it will be matched up to $1 million.

Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work.

Sincerely,

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

In Jail With Her Innocent Clients

Dear Gabriel,

ye2012_nasrin_rcNasrin Sotoudeh has had enough.

One of Iran’s most prominent human rights attorneys, Nasrin is serving a six-year prison sentence for defending political activists and juveniles facing the death penalty.

While Nasrin is in jail, authorities have gone out of their way to harass her husband and children.

LIGHT THE WAY to freedom for prisoners of conscience around the world. Click here to support Amnesty International’s work to defend human rights.

Iranian authorities are doing their utmost to silence the families of political prisoners.

When Nasrin’s husband Reza Khandan wrote a letter protesting her harsh treatment in prison, he was accused of “disturbing public opinion,” detained in Evin Prison overnight and questioned while blindfolded.

When authorities discovered that Nasrin had been using a tissue to write her defense for an upcoming court hearing, they cut off face-to-face visits with her 13-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.

Nasrin went on a seven-week hunger strike in protest.

But there is hope. The “judicial restrictions” placed on Nasrin’s daughter were removed today after increased public pressure from Amnesty International activists and others, ending Nasrin’s hunger strike.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has denounced Nasrin’s unjust imprisonment, calling her a “sincere colleague and a very courageous Iranian attorney.”

In October, after receiving the Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders, Nasrin issued the following statement from prison:

Iranian society has never ignored its fundamental rights, but has paid heavily in doing so. They have never stopped their efforts because of arrest, incarceration, [or] judicial prosecution. I am proud to defend each and every one of [my] cases. I am glad and satisfied to endure incarceration alongside my innocent clients.

Nasrin’s children need their mother back, and the Iranian people need their brave human rights hero set free.

Your gift today can make a difference to victims of repression like Nasrin. Donate now.

Gabriel, your generosity makes Amnesty work.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Nossel
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

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

Uganda Village Banking

From FINCA (Foundation for International Community Assistance)

Celebrating 20 Years of Village Banking in Uganda!

FINCA Uganda, the first FINCA Subsidiary launched on the African continent in 1992 is celebrating 20 years of providing life-changing financial services to both urban and rural clients throughout the country. So it was fitting that, as a show of appreciation, FINCA Uganda returned to communities in which it operates, especially its inaugural community of Jinja, by providing clients and their families with access to free health screenings and hands-on care.

So far about 10 of such events have been carried out at its branches in partnership with AAR Health Services, where they have provided, among other services, voluntary HIV/AIDs testing and counseling, body mass checkups, blood pressure testing, nutrition counseling, family planning methods and HIV/AIDs control measures, as well as general health consultations, all at no cost. The health screenings have been open to FINCA Uganda’s clients and their families as well as to entire communities.

FINCA Uganda’s Marketing Manager, Simon Ahimbisibwe, said that Jinja holds a special place in FINCA Uganda’s history as it was the location of the subsidiary’s first branch.

“At FINCA Uganda, we believe that a healthy body makes for healthy banking; that is why we brought these services to the people free of charge,” Mr. Ahimbisibwe said. “We will continue to engage in such services that impact the lives of our clients positively, especially as these services are sometimes not easily accessed, mainly due to logistical challenges”.

FINCA Uganda currently serves more than 54,400 clients through a wide variety of products and services including Village Bank Group Loans, Solidarity (Small Group) Loans, Individual Loans, Local Currency Loans, Savings, Money Transfers and Insurance. More than 3,000 Village Banking groups can be found throughout its service areas, and loans average $395. FINCA Uganda employs more than 570 men and women who mainly come from the local communities, and is recognized as one of the local financial services industry’s top employers.

FINCA Uganda holds the distinction of being the first Microfinance Deposit Taking Institution (MDI) to be licensed by the Ugandan Central Bank in 2004, and is able to offer services that include savings, loans and money transfers at all of its 27 branches country wide.

FINCA Uganda also holds the distinction as being one of FINCA International’s primary programs to pilot new products and services, and has successfully implemented ATM services, a solar energy loan product, and youth-focused savings programs including Smart Start and StarGirl. Both savings programs target youth aged 10-24, providing education about the importance of savings as well as additional life skills such as soap and candle making and other handicrafts.

Syrian Refugees Survival

Dear Gabriel,

I recently returned from 6 weeks in Jordan, now home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. My stay included time in Za’atari, the camp for Syrian refugees, not far from the border to the war-torn country. What I saw and what I learned in conversations with the families who have escaped from the brutal violence of the Syrian war was shocking.

The camp was started at the end of July. When I first visited, there were only maybe 3,000 refugees. By the end of August, there were 40,000.

Even though there is an effort underway to double the camp’s capacity before the end of the year, it’s not nearly enough space for the families fleeing their own country, where war and terror and violence are raging.

Check out more information about the dire and worsening conditions in Jordan, including my interview on Al Jazeera.

In the camp, wind is blowing constantly, and fine-grained sand is everywhere. The camp is a safe place, but of course, it’s not a home. It’s not anywhere close. Nearly every refugee I’ve talked to says if the war ended, they’d go back immediately. They want to rebuild their destroyed homes, to secure a future for their children, and get them back in school.

So far, that doesn’t look likely to happen soon. Instead, thousands more exhausted families stream in every day. A lot of times they refuse to be registered by the Jordanian government. They fear retribution and sometimes the Syrian government has taken their passports, making a return to their homes even more difficult. UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, is expecting 250,000 refugees in Jordan by the end of the year. The Jordanian government estimates an even higher number – 350,000 or so.

Everyone on the ground, including UNHCR, has been working like mad and doing everything they can to step in, especially before the frigid Jordanian winters make tent living truly hazardous. At CARE, we’re scaling up our response to help distribute emergency support so that refugees have basics like food and medicine, and also psychological support to help bring healing to those traumatized – especially children – by the brutal, horrifying events they’ve endured.

Things are changing rapidly here, so we’re prepared to be flexible. Even at the end of September, the needs were 300% higher than we’d expected 2 months before. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the refugee crisis as it progresses.

Sincerely,

Thomas Schwarz
Director International Communications, CARE

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