Since there are only a few weeks left to make your 2012 tax year donations count, I thought you might like to know how to double your gift!

There are an amazing number of companies that will match their employees giving. You should check with your companies HR department to see if yours is one. GreatNonProfits has a good blog entry which also includes a listing of some of the bigger companies that match. You can read it here and check the list.

Employeer matching donation. Good stuff. Thank you to all the companies who do good by matching the passion of their employees.

Even in Ghana Star of Hope is working particularly with the education of children in poor villages. Star of Hope is also active in the northern part of the country, in the poor region of Bolgatanga.

My trip to the area a few years ago was really an eye opener. It was really amazing to see what the Star of Hope does for the rural poor. Children get a good start in life that they might not otherwise get. It was an fantastic trip and it would be a dream to go back there. Here are some pictures from the trip:

A few days ago the Haitian president and premier minister issued a State of Emergency i the country. The situation is very serious and Haiti is now also threatened by food shortages and possible starvation.

80-90% of the countries crops are washed away or being destroyed by the flooding. Many have no food or no money to buy food for. Another disaster threatens.

Star of Hope wants to help as many as possible in the projects were we work. First with food supplies, later with farmers tools, seeds and livestock.

Please give your gift here.

Pictures from the major disaster relief in 2008. We need to do it again.

I have been to the small pre-school that Star of Hope operates outside Mombasa several times. I'm always happy to go there. The children bursting with joy, the teachers are dedicated to teaching the children and there are nice tools at hand.

Two of the children I remember below. Of course remember more but these two boys were energetic and fun in many ways. It's got a good start in life, even though they live in simple conditions. I hope to return sometime in the future to this preschool for getting to experience the energy again.

Trevor was very focused on learning as much as possible.

David was always fun and with something going on.


Yesterday it was the official World Toilet Day. It may sound funny or weird, but it is a huge problem with toilets around the world.

2,5 billion people still don't have access to a safe clean toilet.

1,800 children under 5 die each day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by lack of hygiene, sanitation and safe water.

Just think about it!

 

Once again Haiti is paralyzed by a natural disaster. I suffer with the people. Why should one of the world's poorest countries and its extremely vulnerable people suffer again and again? I've been in Haiti after several natural disasters and know how difficult it is for them.

This time, the hurricane Sandy created "flash floods" with flooding and strong winds have broken trees, banana plantations, and many houses have roofing blown away. At least eleven people have been killed at the time of writing.

At least two of the seven schools that Star of Hope works with have suffered.

All photos taken by Star of Hope's employee Tony Boursiquot.

Star of Hope has worked with education and other things in Kenya for decades, especially outside the coastal town of Mombasa. Many children have gone through the Star of Hope's schools, and thus had a good start in life. I have been to Kenya several times to document the work up close.

Kenya is a great country in many ways and when. Beautiful national parks, high mountains and beautiful white beaches at the coast, but the people are the greatest asset I think. However, the country has in recent years been hit by drought, ethnic strife and more. Recently, several bombs melted the country with several dead and injured. Tragic that these disturbances will haunt the country.

Star of Hope is struggling on to give as many people as possible to a good start in life.

Some more about the fine preschool Maloney which I visited a few years ago. Preschools in Trinidad is over three years and in preparing the children for primary school.
The children come to school at 9:00 and goes home 14.30. Every day, some 90 kids get a good start in life. They learn the alphabet, word formation, and also to form simple sentences. They learn to count. They are taught to draw and paint, and then talk about what they have created. Obviously, there is room for play and other fun stuff. Yep, it's very loud just as it should be when the children run around and play.
I had a lot of fun in Maloney and it would be fun to go back there sometime to see how it looks now.

ken borrorMy father, Ken Borror, turned 86 on Oct 23, 2012. He is active and engaged in all aspects of life. Living in Colorado with my mother Violet, he still volunteers many hours a day to Star of Hope.

He retired from IBM and has brought all that education and experience to Star of Hope as a volunteer. He does computer programming not only for our USA office but also our field offices around the world.

His tireless energy is a true inspiration!

Keep it up, Dad!

Love, Your son

Barry

The Haitian Government have asked the international community of two billion U.S. dollars to fight the cholera outbreak that is still raging in the country. The cholera came to Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal in 2010, and 7,500 people have died of cholera. That’s more than those who died in the unrest that led to UN troops came to Haiti.

334 000 people were affected by cholera in Haiti last year, more than the rest of the world combined.

Haiti has a ten year plan to significantly improve sanitation and water issues, and thus raising the standard of living for the entire population.

Star of Hope has long been working with these issues. We have built various types of water systems in the projects in which we are working to ensure safe drinking water for the villagers and schoolchildren.

However, we need to be dig more wells and build other aquatic systems to ensure clean water for more people and to reduce the problems of disease and death.

Please click here to know how you can support us.


The goal of Star of Hope's preschool activities in Trinidad is to give poor children the skills necessary to be able to get into the primary school, so that in future they will be able to control their own lives. The Star of Hope's nursery, the children also a receives nutritious food. We simply want to give them a good start in life, as all children deserve.

This year Star of Hope in Trinidad celebrates 25 years, as well as preschool Maloney who has been there from the beginning. The preschool in St. Joseph is celebrating 10 years. We want to give more children a chance to get a good start in life, so if you want to help us with this please contact us.

 

A few years ago I was on a Mother's Day celebration in Latvia. Organizer and participants were a support group for mothers whose children have disabilities. The event was very successful. There was singing, dancing, food, and of course Mother's Day gifts to all mothers. In addition, there came a clown with balloons and entertainment. Participants were all happy and satisfied.

Star of Hope started this support group in the 90's and it has evolved a lot since then. In the beginning the mothers were all shy and embarrassed for their children. But the Star of Hope, along with the group changed attitudes and took down barriers. Today, this group is completely self-sustaining with lots of activities.

It was really fun to go there and see how everyone really appreciated this group's activities and the Star of Hope's employees, who have worked hard to improve the living conditions of these families. Such an event would really like to experience again.


Star of Hope has worked with the village of Jeanton since 1989. They have mainly been supported to school and the kids, but Star of Hope has also helped with village development.

They have received goats and chicken. Recently Star of Hope built water wells in the village to secure safe drinking water. Last school year Star of Hope also organized a sewing classes for the youth of Jeanton. Many of these youngsters can now make money with their new skills.

Here are some pics from my trips to Jeanton.


One of those now getting ready to receive and then distribute Christmas packages is Liana in Latvia. She has together with her husband Ivar ran the Christmas package distribution for Star of Hope for many years in Latvia and they are real fighters who will do anything to get the packages delivered before Christmas.


I was thinking about our sponsors today and this quote came across my twitter feed.

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito" -Unknown

It is a great reminder for all of us that even small things can make a real difference. Your sponsorship gift is like that mosquito, it just makes itself known all the time. You cannot get away from its presence and neither can your sponsor child.

Every child that has access to better education because of a sponsor won't forget it.

You shouldn't either.

Barry Borror

President & CEO

 

Star of Hope has worked with the village of Marigot since 1998. They have mainly been supported to school and mentor the kids, but Star of Hope has also helped with village development. They have received goats, chickens and help with seed.

Marigot is on the south coast of Haiti and affected almost every year during hurricane season, most recently in 2012 when the village was flooded thoroughly on several occasions.

I like Marigot. It is beautifully situated on the coast, and the trip there over the mountains is interesting and soothing. The village leaders fighting hard for the children to get a good education and good start in life. With the recurring natural disasters, it's a tough job, but it tries to do his best.

More sponsors are needed. You can become a sponsor here.


 

Today I have been thinking about money that was donated to political campaigns this year, by some estimates more then 2 billion dollars, and am excited to see people willing to give to things that interest them and causes they care about.

I also gave to the political campaigning, but I give more to see that children have access to education, health and to hear the good news that Jesus saves. Children across the world are waiting for that one person to care enough to help them. Is that person you?

It is well said that we put our money where our heart is; Do you?

 

Learn more about sponsoring a child.

Star of Hope has for many years distributing parcels before Christmas and Mother's Day to the needy in several countries, including Latvia, Romania, Belarus, Haiti and the Philippines. It is always appreciated by the recipients. They are so grateful for their package that includes food, candy, and clothing.

Donors come from several different countries. Some donate money so the products can be purchased in place in the countries. Other pack their own pacels and send them.

An important contribution is made ??by the Star of Hope's employees in the different countries. In Latvia, the Liana and Ivars handles it all. Below some pictures of Liana in the well-stocked warehouse before the pacels are handed out and at a dividend.

It has been a pleasure for me to see this of commerce at close range. Firstly, the joy of Star of Hope's staff works hard with the distribution, and secondly the joy of the poor and vulnerable beneficiaries.


 

In some ways giving during the Christmas season can be every bit as daunting as going to a black Friday sale at a technology superstore! The solicitations and information from each non-profit and mission can overwhelm the best of us. How do we choose? How can we truly be a cheerful giver?

Idea #1 – Pick a cause that excites you, not one about which you feel guilty. If you want to be a cheerful giver, give to something that gets you passionate enough to share it with your friends. We’ve all seen images that make us want to help from a sense of guilt. Rather, give to an organization whose vision and goals get you excited.

Idea #2 – Be generous, but not foolish. No matter how much we give, the needs are there and often we feel we should give more. But if we give beyond our means, it ceases to be fun and becomes poor stewardship on our part.

Idea #3 – Do your research. In addition to the material before you, check out other sources to be sure the organization is legitimate. Sites like www.guidestar.org can serve as a great resource to help you relate what the organization says with what it truly accomplishes.

Idea # 4 – Give locally as well as globally. We live in a big world, but hurting people can be found everywhere, even in your own neighborhood. Find non-profit organizations and ministries to give to in your city as well as some that work nationally and internationally.

Idea # 5 – Give more than your money; give your time. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. To be a cheerful giver, give of yourself this year and serve somewhere. It is more likely you will find greater joy in this than any other activity.

Idea # 6 – Talk to your friends and family about giving. They might have some great non-profit organizations they know about and can offer insight through their experience.

Idea # 7 – Check out organizations that have local offices. They offer the advantage of being able to visit and talk with someone you might know.

Remember, when you begin to think, “What can I possibly do to help end hunger around the world? I can’t even help the hungry people on this street!” -- Mother Teresa responded to this question with, ”you just need to do the thing that’s in front of you. No more.  No less.”

Barry Borror
President & CEO
Star of Hope
www.starofhope.us

Star of Hope goat program started before Christmas 2008 after the natural disaster of a hurricane and three tropical storms in a short time. It is very popular among the recipients.

Those who receive a goat or chicken in a gift given information about the program and all must share the offspring within a year to other villagers so that more families can take part in the program.

Star of Hope has distributed more than 800 goats since its inception, and we want to give more. Now, more than ever after Hurricane Sandy, a gift in form of a goat to a poor and affected family is very important and appreciated. The goat gives the family hope for the future.


 

I met Iverson for the first time at Star of Hope's school in Taytay, Philippines two years ago. A lively happy boy with a twinkle in his eye. He is a good student with several prestigious awards despite his young age. He lives simply with his family in a slum but they make the best of it. Even so, he has made ??a good start in life, thanks to Star of Hope.

A young boy with ambitions goals in the short and long term. I hope to keep in touch with him to see how it goes in the future. Some pictures below of him plus a video that I made 2010.

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dsvgzeS-ro&


Some more pics from the schools in the poor area of Bolgatanga in Ghana. Thanks you to all the sponsors that make the support possible.


Hurricane Sandy stricken Hesse village really bad. Parts of the school roof was destroyed, the water line through the village was broken so it is difficult for the villagers to get water again.

Large areas of crops (bananas, Congo beans and milo) that would be harvested soon was destroyed, and many goats and other animals have died.

The situation is now urgent for the people of Hesse. The only thing they have to eat is what you can find on the ground before it rots. I really suffer with the people of this somewhat shielded part of Haiti. Life is always hard up there in the mountains, but now it is extra tough.

Your donation to the poor and severely affected people in Hesse is needed now more than ever.

You can donate by clicking on this link.

All pictures by Tony Boursiquot, the project manager in Haiti. More pictures available on Flickr.


In 2002, World Leaders committed to the eight Millennium Development Goals, Goal 7 of which is “to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people with sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. The world is on track to meet the drinking water target, but at current levels of progress will miss the sanitation target by 700 million people. 

The sanitation and health story is usually told in numbers, and most of the news is not good. 884 million people – about half of who live in Asia – still rely on drinking water from unimproved sources such as ponds, streams, irrigation canals and unprotected dug wells. 2.5 billion (two in five) lack access to safe sanitation. 3.6 million people die each year from water-related diseases, 43 per cent of which are due to diarrhea. Most, 98 percent, are from developing countries and 3 million of which are children under fourteen. 5 000 children under age 5 are killed every day by diarrhea alone.

Star of Hope has improved the water issues at various projects around the world. In one of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti, Star of Hope has dug wells, built water reservoirs, and so on to improve the water security level for some 3 000 sponsored kids and their families. But we want to do more. More has to be done and we all have to it together. 


Did you know that...

18 landerThanks to you, Star of Hope works in 15 countries around the world.

30000 barn

Also because of people like you, more than 30,000 children receive education and care through Star of Hope.

GOLDSTAR REAN

Trusted for over 50 years to "make change happen".