Port Au Prince, Haiti
This project is direct to make a difference in 98 children living in Port Au Prince, Haiti, the largest city in the country that is still devastated by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that decimated the area in January of 2010. Nearly 250,000 people were killed and 300,000 were injured; 1.3 million people were displaced; over 97,000 houses were demolished and nearly 200,000 were damaged. While some foreign aid continues still to help this city recover from the earthquake’s devastation and to develop a more modern infrastructure, aid is still needed directly to its people.
Haiti being listed as the third hungriest country in the world with a poverty rate 77 percent. The most affected population is children who do not have access to enough nutritious food. The top cause of death for children under the age of five is malnutrition, taking the lives of more than 3.5 million children every year throughout the world. Children who survive malnutrition face lifelong consequences to their physical and mental health.
Only fifty percent of children living in Haiti are able to go to school, while 30 percent of those only go as far as the fifth grade. Many children do not attend school because they have to work to earn money for their family. Others cannot afford the uniforms, shoes or supplies. Without an education, these children cannot earn an adequate income to support themselves. As a result, half of Haitians are illiterate and without a proper education, Haitians are unable to break free of the cycle of poverty. Unfortunately, as time continues, the world at large has turned away from the struggle the Haitian people continue to face to focus on newer problems around the globe.
Making A Difference Foundation believes we can make a difference with food and education, even if it is just one child at a time. With your help, we can bring food and other necessities, assist in medical clinics, and teach English to 98 children. In the middle chaos and devastation, we can make a difference in these children’s lives.
This project was born out of Ahndrea’s mission trip to Tacna, Peru and her desire to make a difference. During this trip, her heart was broken by the living conditions of the people, especially the children. Many of the families of Tacna live in four-walled straw huts, without bathrooms, running water, or electricity.
The average family income is $150 and the lack of food and clothing is the norm. Also, education is also not a priority or a reality as many of their children remain at home in order to take care of their younger siblings while their parents search for work.
Finding work is very difficult as there are no major industries and the majority of the people do not have marketable skills. Finally, healthcare and hygiene is virtually non-existent.
Ahndrea was saddened as she was not aware that these types of conditions still exist in the world, let alone in South America. Seeing this was devastating and overwhelming. She cried for many days asking God, “Why was he showing her such horrific conditions?”
After much crying, Ahndrea realized that it was to make a difference. But how? What could one person do to make a difference in such horrific conditions? She quickly realized that there were numerous things that could be done to impact this area and these people. While in Peru, Ahndrea was able to feed 100 people for a month. Further, she was able to provide some in-kind services by helping the people learn marketable skills in order to build products to sell on the open market as well as teach the people how to market their crafts.
As Ahndrea’s mission trip ended, she promised the children and families of Tacna, Peru that she would continue to help to make difference.
You can also help. Please help us make a difference in the lives of the children and families of Tacna, Peru.
South Africa Project
This program was launched July 2011 with LoveLife, Inc. in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2010, we were given the opportunity to travel with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to South Africa to explore developing partnerships with community based organizations. GoGogethers, from the word ‘gogo’ which is an affectionate term for grandmother, are part of a network of 500 grandmothers across South Africa who support teenagers and their younger siblings to develop a sense of purpose and belonging in life. The grandmothers of LoveLife, help keep young people in school, access social grants, prevent sexual and physical abuse, and increase access to food. Many of these children and teenagers come from families impacted by AIDs.
The South African grandmothers reminded us of many grandmothers in the USA; especially a very special grandmother, Mother Almeta Witherspoon. Mother Witherspoon was a grandmother who encompassed the spirit of a goGogether. She supported many children and was a counselor, mother, friend, and advocate. To honor her legacy, we launched a partnership with the goGogethers of South Africa. The Mother Witherspoon goGogether project provides educational materials and many other special resources needed to support the goGogethers in Soweto and the Greater Johannesburg region. There are 25 goGogethers in the Gauteng Province serving over 136 teenagers. In addition, all of the grandmothers in this cluster have community projects ranging from school feeding programs to afterschool care and homework classes reaching a minimum of 30 children each. Therefore, Greater Johannesburg serves 136 orphans in addition to approximately 180 vulnerable young people. For the entire Gauteng Province, there are about 600 young people on the goGogethers program.
In July 2011, with the support of many, we were able to send over $18,000 in books, games, toys, educational materials and school supplies.