Posts Tagged ‘education’

Coffee Kids=Grounds for Hope

Photo: Coffee Kids

I drink more than my fair share of coffee. I know what I want and I’m not afraid of the scorn of my fellow customers nor the barista when I ask for my very specific order. I don’t crow about it or demand certain temperatures or anything too over the top, but if you drink essentially the same thing every morning for ages, you kind of plan on consistency.

Because it is often in the community conversations online and elsewhere, I grow ever more aware of things like free trade and shade grown and why they matter. Because my cup o’ Joe matters to me, a new (to me) organization that cares for coffee-growing families also matters to me. Coffee Kids works with local, community organizations in Latin America to improve programs in education, health awareness, micro-credit, food security, and capacity building. More than 125 million people around the world depend on the coffee harvest for their income. This is a nice grassroots effort putting the decision making in the farming community (instead of dropping in and telling a certain population what they need–a danger of many international organizations). The main job of Coffee Kids is to provide technical resources and support, training, and follow-through for the locals, based on the community’s needs and priorities. Since every coffee farming community is unique, every project has a unique focus–it is nice to see an organization serving many populations while rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach. There are four main categories of projects: Health Awareness and natural medicines (including pre- and post-natal care), Education (from learning materials to school building maintenance and even scholarships for higher education), Micro-Credit (more than 4,000 women are now running their own businesses through this initiative), and Capacity Building (bringing technical expertise into a region).

Photo: Coffee Kids

There are ways for you to help and get involved, in every day circumstances as well as in disaster relief situations, when Coffee Kids and their partners take the lead in these rural communities. Jump in–your cappuccino is worth a little give-back, doncha think?

READ Global

READ Global is a pretty amazing organization that started by building and stocking libraries in remote rural villages of the world, and has expanded with the times to really personalize community services in the locations where they work. Places like Bhutan, India, and Nepal—Himalayan villages where education never had a fair shake, but is growing as a priority for the youth as materials and opportunities are provided where there parents and grandparents never had access.

Rather than digest their carefully explained mission and goals, I’ll let their website text speak for itself–you’ll be inspired (hopefully to support them with a donation or with your volunteer work–perhaps even travel to and visit a READ Global project).

Our Approach

Every month, 5 million people flee the poverty of rural villages and head for the city – to find work, to feed their families. The resulting urban overpopulation and squalor impacts all of us—through increased pollution and diminishing resources, the spread of disease, lack of clean water and safe food, and drained economic resources. These problems don’t know borders; they threaten the health of the global community and the strength of the global economy.

Today we face a rural imperative: the urgent need to make rural villages places where families can thrive.

The READ Global Solution

The READ model partners for-profit business enterprises with non-profit Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers).  This unique approach allows the local community to sustain the operations of the READ Center over the long-run while creating local jobs.
How READ Works
Enterprise: READ Global works with community members to seed for-profit business enterprises that meet local needs, provide job opportunities and generate sustaining revenues for the READ Center.

Education: READ Global works with communities to fund and build READ Centers that meet the unique needs of each village.  These Centers provide access to books, computers, educational materials, job training, health services and workshops on leadership and conflict resolution. With these resources, individuals and families can learn, grow and reach their full potential.

Prosperity: With a strong emphasis on both education and enterprise, the READ Global solution brings communities together to share ideas and build relationships that enable families and children to stay and thrive in their own communities.

Key to READ’s Success
The READ model enhances rural capabilities, it does not replace them. We work closely and respectfully with local villagers to leverage their assets and talents to meet their specific educational, community, and employment needs.  Villages contribute between 15%-40% of the total cost of the project along with land and labor and READ makes up the rest.  This local ownership of such a community solution is essential to long-term success.

The Loomba Trust

The Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Trust (The Loomba Trust), was named for a woman who in 1954 became a widow in Punjab, India. Left to support her family on her own, without any formal education herself, she beat every odd and the societal norms and succeeded in education all of her seven children.

The Loomba Trust, and the American offshoot, The Loomba Foundation, USA, are committed to caring for widows and their children around the world.In so many societies and cultures, when women lose their husbands, they lose all standing in the community—they lose their place in society, and in some ways, lose their life. They are marginalized and discriminated against, turned out, often by their own families, and their children become nothing more than collateral damage. The Loomba organizations make sure these women and their children don’t fall through the cracks…and you can help. Reach out today.

The Loomba Trust & Foundation presently educates over 3,600 children of poor widows in all the 29 states of India. It also supports 1,500 HIV orphans in South Africa in partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite. The Loomba Trust & Foundation Entrepreneurship programs, started in 2007 in Kenya, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, help widows establish businesses and become economically self-sustaining. These programs are in collaboration with Youth Business International, which is HRH The Prince of Wales’ charity in the UK. More recently the Trust has been working in Rwanda to address the needs of widows surviving the 1994 genocide.

In conjunction with various governments, The Loomba Trust & Foundation are seeking to have the United Nations recognize International Widows Day to draw global attention to the plight of the estimated 100 million destitute widows around the world. International Widows Day was launched in the UK at the House of Lords in 2005.

The organization helps poor widows and educates their children, regardless of gender or religion.

Pakistan Education

TCF Primary School , Machar Colony, Karachi

It’s tough being a kid anywhere, and in Pakistan, the cultural influences discouraging and effectively prohibiting education for girls as well as the impoverished makes it nearly impossible for the next generation to break the cycle. Rural Pakistani children have not had access to education in meaningful ways, and tend to be forced by circumstance to follow in the heavily trod footsteps of their parents. The Citizen’s Foundation is a non-profit organization set up in 1995 in Pakistan to try and open the doors of education, both literally and figuratively, to children regardless of sex and class.

They have built 600 schools from the ground up, enrolling 80,000 students. Even more astounding in this region is that female enrollment makes up 50% of the student body. This is shaping up to be the first generation where girls and young women have had these opportunities. The schools have also employed a female work force of teachers, giving jobs to 4,150 women, most of whom would otherwise never have had the chance to work and earn income for their families. 6,025 jobs have been created by TCF, and there are more on the way.

More are on the way, because there is a lofty and brilliant goal of building 400 ADDITIONAL schools in the poorest urban slums and remote rural communities of Pakistan.

This is where you come in. Of course, donated dollars are a huge help in this fight for education and freedom from poverty…and donated volunteer hours are also an enormous gift. From the website: “You may contribute in many different ways regardless of your age or your country of residence. You can give as little or as much time as you choose. Volunteer work with TCF can range from projects available at the head office, collection of books for school libraries, teacher training, running a donation drive, to helping out in the fundraisers organized by our chapters, setting TCF chapters worldwide for rounding up global support, etc.” Find out about the volunteer position that fits your passion and talents here.

This isn’t even about giving people a second chance–it’s about giving them a first chance. You want to be part of that.