MerryChristmas and HappyNewYear

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Dear readers, I thank you for year of support, uplifting comments and well, just for reading and following this blog.

Some of you are not aware of this, but I am, in fact, the entire IHF team. I don’t have a crew that does all the work…I’m managing director, marketing director, secretary, director: social networking, facility coordinator, receptionist, donations manager: receiving and distributing, etc, etc….thank goodness I don’t get funding yet…then I would have to wear a financial hat too! During this year I added another fun role to my repertoire anyway….I went to war…against cancer.

I’m not telling you all this so that you can go all “Aw, shame…” on me….I’m telling you this to explain why I’ll be taking time off.

As of today until January 13, 2015, this blog will be silent. I’m in downtime. I have to recharge properly, because 2015 is going to be a huge year for this foundation.

I’m planning at least 5 new projects, 2 training programs and several intervention programs in lower income areas around the city, plus my involvement with Santa Shoebox Project will continue as it did for the past few years.

Drop in at My Kassie 2nd Chanz Foundation Gift Wrapping Kiosk – Kolonnade

@MyKassie_Eish

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Yes, you are invited!! Come have a chat with the My Kassie-team during this festive season and have your gifts wrapped for you at the price of a small financial contribution.

Keep an eye out for us in the Musica court on the upper level.

A special guest will be helping out on the 20th and the 21st of December.

The kiosk opens at 9:00 daily from 11 December to 24 December 2014.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!!!

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My Kassie is a community based organization that focuses on social upliftment in Eersterust, Pretoria. Visit their website here to find out more about the team and the wonderful work they are doing.

Mooikloof Estate Donations – First Drop-off

 

Yesterday I received a wonderful donation (mentioned in an earlier post) from the residents of Mooikloof Estate in Pretoria East. Today I managed to drop off some of those items at a place of safety in Montana Park.

Have a look at the video above to see what items I delivered and view the photo’s of the grateful beneficiaries at Rock of Hope.

Rock of Hope falls under Tshwane Place of Safety and provides home to abandoned and abused babies and toddlers. Mientjie and Wouter Prozesky opened their home to these little ones and care for them with love and affection, like they would do with their own children.

As you can imagine, caring for little babies (sometimes as many as 7 under 6 months old) can be extremely daunting. Not only do you, as caregiver, have to provide the necessary love and attention, you also have to feed and clothe them, take them for their vaccinations and to the doctor if they get sick. Providing in their daily needs can be quite expensive, as those of you with babies may well understand. Rock of Hope constantly needs financial support, as well as donations of formula, nappies, baby toiletries, baby clothes, first foods, etc. If you would like to follow the example of Mooikloof residents, please email me here or complete the contact form below with the subject: Rock of Hope.

Once again, thank you so much to Mooikloof Estate residents for their generous donation.

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Thank you residents of Mooikloof Estate

 

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It is with humble gratitude that I’ve received the most amazing donation today. To many it may seem like nothing at all, but to the people who will receive it, it will mean the world.

A special thanks to Zantie Swanepoel for mobilizing her community into action and encouraging them to donate items to help those in need. Zantie managed to collect baby toiletries, nappies, soft toys, clothing, linen, adult clothes, redundant printers, biscuits and much, much more. The residents of Mooikloof Estate, I salute you for your efforts in bringing some hope in desolate lives over this festive season.

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The following facilities have been selected as beneficiaries so far:

  • Rock of Hope Place of Safety in Montana Park will receive the baby goods
  • Uncle Ben’s Den in Daspoort will be picking up the adult clothing, linen, biscuits and one of the printers.
  • The rest of the clothing and printers will be distributed to various other needy facilities during January 2015.

I will keep you posted on progress with drop-off/pick-up of these donations, so keep an eye out for fresh photo’s showing off the joy you are bringing to these people. The first will be coming to this blog tomorrow when I take the baby things to Rock of Hope.

Once again, Zantie and residents of Mooikloof Estate…..thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Ebola in Guinea – changing entire cultures in 12 months

Via UNICEF BLOG

By Christophe Bouliera and Timothy La Rose on Dec, 9 2014

Loma Proverb: What you don’t know looks older than you

Why is it taking so long? Why are people still resistant after months of explaining and explaining about Ebola prevention? The people of Guinea, fatigued international responders, tired doctors, and weary communities grow impatient as the outbreak drags into its twelfth month. My colleagues in UNICEF Guinea have been working 16-20 hour days, no weekends, traveling on impossible, impassible roads, trying new ideas, new methods, breaking down resistance one house at a time.

But still the outbreak persists and the resistance grows and shrinks, or pops up in completely new places. Not wanting to pile more work onto my exhausted colleagues, I accepted their request to go myself and find the answers to these questions. I left Geneva and travelled to Conakry, then a quick flight to Nzérékoré, one of the epicentres of the outbreak.

I was asked to spend time in the Forest region and bring my perspective from years of working in emergencies to this response. When I arrived in Nzérékoré, I was met by the UNICEF Chief of the Field Office in Guinea Forestière, Dr. Thierno Bah. He looked tired. He told me the story of how he sent the first email, last February, about a mysterious disease that was killing people. He quickly distributed chlorine and soap that he had on hand knowing that it probably wasn’t cholera but hygiene always helps. One of UNICEF’s major focuses in combating this outbreak is the mobilization of communities to protect themselves and prevent further spread. I asked him what his challenges were in stopping the outbreak.

‘There are many factors,’ he explained, “contributing to the difficulty of response. In a region where there are no less than 30 languages, deeply rooted traditions, ancient grudges, and general suspicion of outsiders and authorities, we have to go village to village, house to house, listening and explaining. Many times we have gained the trust of communities, only to find resistance crop up again and the whole process has to be restarted. And then there is the violence. People are afraid. They believe that there is manipulation. People are taken to the treatment centres, sometimes they don’t come back. How would you feel if someone came into your house in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), took your mother and you never saw her again? And, understandably, fear of the disease itself. The answer is in the communities themselves and that’s what we are working towards. You should see for yourself.”

I agreed. That’s why I came to Guinea. Thierno assigned me a driver, Mary, and gave me a choice. Did I want to see a village that was already cooperating with health officials or one that was, after many visits and discussions, just about to open its doors to the Ebola response? I chose the latter—-the village of Bokoulouma in Balizia. Mary and I set off. I noticed as we got closer to the village, Mary, normally quite animated, grew very quiet. It was only later that she confided in me that she was afraid. She was supposed to be a driver for the ill-fated mission to Womey ending in the brutal deaths of several sensitizers and journalists. Just a few weeks ago she had been threatened in Beyla and her car was pelted with stones. Mary was well aware of the risks of her job and the realities of ebola sensitization on the ground.

Upon arriving at Bokoulouma, there was a welcoming sign—compulsory hand washing at the entrance to the village. This meant that the messages were getting across. We were greeted by the community and members of the local administration and the social mobilization team including UNICEF, the NGO Association d’Action Communautaire en Guinée (AACG) and the local Pastor.

When you visit a small village in Guinea, like most places in Africa, you should respect the protocol and meet with the local leaders first. In this situation, it is vital to the success of the mission. These are people who are confronting a new and deadly disease in their country. They are mostly cut off from mass media; they’ve seen and heard terrible things. Without showing respect and understanding, sensitization teams won’t make much progress.

The UNICEF social mobilization teams know that the most important thing to do is to listen. Oftentimes, people just want to be heard. So we met the elders and listened carefully to the people. Dalla, 52, a mother of three told the team, “We were afraid. The first time a team came, we refused to receive them. Then a woman in a neighboring village died from Ebola. Shortly after, the disease took her son and three others. We were forbidden to visit the village.”

“Because of our resistance, our own Chief was not permitted to attend a prefecture meeting. That’s when we decided to listen to the teams that came here. We used to eat from the same bowl, now we use our own bowls, even within our families.

“Still, Ebola creates anxiety. It is always on our minds. When we go work in the field, we can’t work because of this anxiety.”

This struck me. UNICEF has been working with families and affected children for a long time to reduce trauma through psycho-social support. However, these people had no cases and lost no members of their community, but their trauma was visible.

We asked a young man, maybe 28 years old, “what did Ebola change for you?” He looked away for a minute and then responded, “Lots of people died…other people won’t buy our crops. Our students are idle and restless with no school. Ebola robbed us of our incentive. We believed that the first sensitization team was here to mislead us. We heard ‘spraying equals death’.”

I’ve heard this rumor before. People were naturally quite put off by men and women in full protective gear spraying the homes of Ebola victims with chlorine. To facilitate a better understanding, spraying teams conduct demonstrations for communities. They show them how they suit up, load the sprayer and invite them to participate in spraying non-contaminated, demonstration homes.

We listened and discussed and listened again for over four hours. It was here that I finally started to really understand the challenges facing social mobilization teams throughout Guinea. The fear that exists, the patience required, the trauma that people face is daunting.

As the conversations ended, I was given a live chicken and, despite my feeling that I was really just observing, the community gave me a new name, Christophe Guilavogui—-a common family name in Bokoulouma.

When I left the village, I passed several other villages on the way back to Nzérékoré. Considering the vastness of this land, the difficulty in reaching communities, and the diversity of cultures, I could clearly see the challenges that lie ahead for this region. Tomorrow would be another day, another village, oftentimes another culture—many teams and many communities are working in many places. Maybe they would be lucky again tomorrow. Maybe not.

A few days later I learned that UNICEF and partners had successfully set up a Community Watch Committee (CWC) in Bokoulouma. CWCs are made of community members who act as liaisons between the population and Ebola services available to them. The truth is only the communities and a community response will end this outbreak.

Next stop: Kourémalé to visit another community on the Mali border.

Christophe Boulierac is a UNICEF Spokesperson based in Geneva. He recently traveled to Guinea to witness the response to the Ebola outbreak. Timothy La Rose is a Communication Specialist with UNICEF Guinea.

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children #EVERYchild

Via #Buzzfeed #UNICEF

1. School-in-a-Box

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

Books, pens, rulers, paint and brushes, chalk: these sound like the normal things you’d find inside a classroom.

And they are also some of the things you’ll find inside our School-in-a-Box – a part of our standard response in emergencies. With this one box even a teacher whose classroom has been destroyed, can go back to teaching, and children can go back to learning, with enough supplies and materials for a teacher and up to 40 students.

2. Mosquito Nets

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

Annoyed by that mosquito flying around at night preventing you from falling asleep?
In many parts of the world, a mosquito’s bite can be deadly.

But mosquito nets are a super simple, cost-effective way of protecting people from mosquitoes that spread malaria and other diseases.

In 2012, there were 207 million cases of malaria worldwide. UNICEF is one of the largest buyers of mosquito nets in the world – in 2013 we delivered 29 million nets to 38 countries.

3. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

We all love peanut butter, but did you know it’s been used to save the lives of children all around the world?

Peanuts are a crucial ingredient in something called Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) paste. It’s a mixture of peanuts, sugar, oil, milk powder and micronutrients, and it delivers much-needed energy to malnourished children.

It also doesn’t expire for two years, and requires no water, no preparation, and no refrigeration – making it perfect for use during emergencies. In 2013, UNICEF bought enough RUTF paste for 2.6 million children.

4. Salt Iodization

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

Can you believe simply adding iodine to the salt that we sprinkle on our food has helped prevent intellectual and developmental disabilities in millions of people around the globe?

Iodine is very important for our health – but we don’t get enough of it from the food we eat. So adding it to something we all eat – like salt – is a simple way of making sure millions of people get the right amount they need to stay healthy.

At UNICEF, we’ve been talking about the importance of salt iodization for a long time – and working in different countries to make it happen. Today, around 70% of the world has access to iodized salt. We’re so glad to see the impact that this simple idea has made – and we’re still working to reach the 30% who don’t have access.

5. Oral Rehydration Therapy

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) are not your ordinary table salt. They are special salts, which mixed with clean water can help a person who is dangerously dehydrated.

Before the introduction of oral rehydration therapy, death from diarrhoea – caused by diseases like cholera – was the leading cause of death for infants in developing nations.

Between 1980 and 2006, each year around 2 million infant deaths from diarrhoea have been prevented. In 2013, UNICEF procured 34.3 million ORS sachets.

6. Vaccine Brokering

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

We’ve told you before why vaccines are so important, but we’ll say it again. 

And because they prevent the deaths of millions of children each year, we spend millions on them. Specifically, about $800 million a year – making us the world’s largest buyer of vaccines.

In 2011 we decided to tell the world how much we pay for vaccinations. Doing this has helped to drive down prices – helping save more lives.

Let’s Reimagine The Future For Children

6 Amazing Ideas That Save The Lives Of Millions Of Children

Turning these amazing ideas into reality wasn’t done by just one person.

From our first Goodwill Ambassador Danny Kaye (that’s him in the gif!) to each and everyone of you, we need a lot of help to make the world better for all children.

Will it be your amazing idea that we feature here in a few years?

Get more inspiration from State of the World’s Children 2015 – our crowdsourced digital report featuring innovations like solar powered hearing aids and floating schools helping us reach #EVERYchild.

2014: A devastating year for Children

Via @UNICEF on YouTube

 

The year 2014 has been one of horror, fear and despair for millions of children, as worsening conflicts across the world saw them exposed to extreme violence and its consequences, forcibly recruited and deliberately targeted by warring groups. Yet many crises no longer capture the world’s attention.

As many as 15 million children are caught up in violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, the State of Palestine, Syria and Ukraine – including those internally displaced or living as refugees. Globally, an estimated 230 million children currently live in countries and areas affected by armed conflicts.

Click here to donate to UNICEF now: http://smarturl.it/Donate_to_UNICEF

The official UNICEF YouTube channel is your primary destination for the latest news updates from the frontline, documentaries, celebrity appeals, and more about our work to realize the rights of every child.

Click here to see all of our latest trending videos: http://smarturl.it/TrendingAtUNICEF

For more about UNICEF’s work, visit: http://www.unicef.org