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. 


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.

In the left column you can read about KSN news and see the TV report they did on Star of Hope, that was great for us to get the word out as our goal is to help the people who are marginalized and just don't have any resources to speak of.    

The article from the Great Bend Tribune is here and thus no blogging is needed from me.

However please take a moment and see if you might spare 10 or 20 dollars a month to make a real impact on a poor family; men women and children.

Mark Presson

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.

Access to clean drinking water and sanitation - still the most important factor for development. Those countries with large portions of population that lack access to safe water and sanitation show slower economic growth than those have it. Unsafe water and sanitation is the cause of one tenth of all cases of sickness globally.

Urban populations have increased by 53 per cent since 1990, but access to urban sanitation grew by only 2 per cent. This cause big problems when countries and cities are not prepared for these fast pace changes. A poorly developed country, like Haiti, is a good example for that. Access to clean drinking water and sanitation are far and beyond even in the national capital Port-au-Prince.

At the seven schools and the children home sponsored by Star of Hope we always tried to supply clean drinking water. At all projects we have now increased the efforts for this very important issue. At all the projects we work the children, staff and villagers now have access to safe drinking water, but further improvements might be needed.

The need for safe water in Haiti has been extra important since the cholera outbreak in October 2010. With still many new cases of cholera two years later, there is a big risk that this will increase further after that tropical storm Isaac passed over Haiti over the weekend. There is also a major risk for other waterborne diseases. Is Haiti prepared for another outbreak?

At the time of writing the over all damages seems less than when Hurricane Thomas passed over Haiti in 2010 and left 20 people dead. However, some of the Star of Hope projects and schools are affected. Details are sketchy for me; at least a couple schools lost their roof. And many families close to other schools live in very poor houses and have moved in to the schools. Lets hope that damages are limited.   

Resolutions adopted by the United Nations in 2010 and 2011 recognize access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right. While several nations have implemented this right and worked proactively to increase water and sanitation coverage, some nations
still have chosen not to recognize this right.

But who is to pay for water and sanitation supply?


 

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

New water-related disaster in the Philippines. New water-related disaster in Haiti. At the time of writing we don't know how difficult Haiti is hit. But the little I learned so far several Star of Hope projects are affected in one way or another. Now we keep our fingers crossed that nothing really have happend.

Your gift is needed more than ever. You can donate here on the website.

I will in the next few days blog and tweet about water in general and what it means in various Star of Hope projects around the world.

Some facts about water: 97% of all water on Earth is salt water. 3% is fresh water, 70% of it is frozen in the polar ends.

Less than 1% of the world's fresh water is available for humans.

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.


Having lived in Kansas now for one year I have learned a small bit about agriculture and livestock. One thing I realized is that most people on this globe have no idea how this industry works; I am talking about how grain comes to be Ritz crackers or corn to Cornflakes and of course how a magnificent black Angus steak gets on my BBQ grill. (By the way that’s a good place for it too.)

I have not looked at industry statics or read the farmers journal I have just been observant and listened to the farmers when they talk about their fields and such; that is a rare thing in itself, farmers rarely talk about yields.

Shriveled wheat

 

Not seen in Central Kansas this year

 

When I arrived in August last year Central Kansas looked like something from what I imagine the dust bowl must have looked like or something from Stephen Kings Gunslinger series. Burnt auburn crops and dead grass everywhere, it mattered not if it was wheat, rye, corn or even private houses front yards, it was almost like the color green was outlawed and was subsequently nowhere to be found.

I learned then (last year) about the drought and the effects were spoken of: feed, food, ethanol prices would spike and even surplus crops would be affected, for example US government aid donations to poverty and disaster stricken nations would fall. Farmers would be the biggest losers even if they had crop insurance.

Fast forward to this year and the situation is even worse. Crops have shriveled and dried up. Fields with production worthy of going to market have produced low bushel figures per acre, and again the warnings have come.

The drought in the USA is real and I have heard if it had been any other country it would be the catalyst for an appeal to other nations. But it seems the US will be able to absorb another pitiful year in agricultural production, of course there must be many family farmers who are facing personal disasters; will we hear of them or not, who is to say.

Farmers tend to do different things with their failed crops and I presume that has to do with their own disposition and of course insurance. We passed a field this morning in Barton County Kansas and saw the cattle had been let loose in the stunted corn field. That must be like a kid in a candy store for the cows and a visual reminder of another failed year for the farmer. I do care and I am empathetic but I was wondering too how long until that beautiful Angus would take to wind up on my grill.

This post is a result of the fact that Star of Hope has in the past received generous gifts from farmers who have had a normal or good year and it goes without saying that in a drought we do not receive these gifts. This means we cannot help as many children or produce the outcomes we hoped for, yes hoped for.

There is not a point to this post I just wanted to share some observations, I would like to motivate you to support your local farmers and if you are able sponsor a child.

Have a great day

Mark Presson

 

 

 

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

Reported by Star of Hope Romania

Family from Iasi center

We are Mariana and Daniel Darie, we have been married for 13 years. My husband Daniel is working as a driver and I'm a personal assistant for my child. Cristian, was born 8 and half years ago. We have dreamed so much about having this child and it's the only one we have. At the age of three Cristian was diagnosed with ADHD syndrome and later appeared autism element's. Even if it was hard, the boundaries in our family are very strong and we have support from our parents, from our friend and from Star of Hope Foundation where Cristian is doing therapy.

Mariana and Daniel Darie

This is the first time we have come to this kind of conference. This is was a very nice experience for us because we shared our life experiences with many other parents. It was a very good time for us because we were surrounded by special people who just made us feel very emotionally comfortable. Everything that took place in this conference: the conference organization, the translators it was all very well done. We wish we can join this kind of conference again in the future. After this experience our relation as husband and wife has been improved, we strengthen our basic family values. We learned how to be more open to each other and how to appreciate what we have, to be more receptive to people's needs.

 

Profiri family from Iasi center

I came to this conference with my husband and our three children. Bianca is 4 years old and she is very happy because she met new children. She was also enthusiastic by the nature and by the employers of Star of Hope Foundation which have been very open to her needs. Filip is our two year little boy which was born with Down syndrome. He certainly felt love by the people who walked him and who played with him while we were discussing at the parents meetings. Teodora is the youngest member of our family. She is one month old and I'm happy that I had the chance to come here with my whole family.

 

Profiri family

I'm getting back home full of enthusiasm and with more strength knowing that 25 000 women are praying with me and because we know that God sees us, He hears us and He doesn't stay indifferent. After this experience i'm going home with the will of showing much more love for each member of my family. I have lived with God for nine years and I was always sure that He was preparing me for a great mission. I'm still searching the way God could use me in this mission serving the people around me. One thing is for sure: the prayer that comes from an innocent heart is much more than anything I could do. I have to thank you for the fact that you are supporting my family and praying for it and because you gave me the chance to fill up my soul this weekend that I spent in Sucevita.

Testimony of Iasi mother

It was a new experience for me this kind of conference. I was impressed by the fact that everyone was treated equally, beyond social position and status that we have. I was also impressed by the life stories of the guest from abroad and their capacity to overcome the heavies moments of their' s life. These three days were very sweet, it was a period of relaxation in which we could detach from everyday problems. I thank God for having allowed to come into our existence the special people from Star of Hope Foundation which always give us support and help.

Munteanu family from Iasi

We want to thank the team of Star of Hope Foundation which gave us always the strength to go on when we thought that everything was broken-down. Octav, our boy which has Down syndrome, bound us much more as a family. We believe that we are today here with you, because we are a family chosen by God to attend His plan.

Husi mother

Although I'm a mother of two healthy children, sitting in this conference made me understand how much I should thank God for the blessing received. I was impressed a lot of the mothers whose children has disability. Now, I will not remain indifferent when I'll meet this kind of situations and I'll try to get involved both emotionally and financially.

Husi mother

I felt very well in these three days, Ii learned new things and I heard that there are a lot of people which struggle like us for their children. For us as a family it is the first time when we go out together; this brought us more closer, we are more united. Before we came to the center of Star of Hope Foundation we did not know what to do with our child. We've prayed a lot that God show us what to do with our child, to open me a door. Shortly after my prayer, I met the Star of Hope team, some wonderful people who gave us strength as parents and support for our child. Thank you for the support that we have received and for this wonderful time spent together during these three days.

Dorohoi mother

This conference gave us support and strengthened our faith. Here, on this conference I met new people and I shared impressions with the others parents. This experience will make me able to say to others that a child whatever it is, is a gift from God. I have no words to thank Star of Hope Foundation team for having organized this conference and gave me the chance to participate in it.

Father from Iasi

These three days were a period of relaxation; we have time to think of our souls, to be closer to God and to forget the everyday worries. It was very good that we were together mothers and fathers, because we succeeded to get closer.

Father from Barlad

I want to thank Star of Hope Foundation and to the sponsors for the organization and for the opportunity that gave us the possibility to be together. I was really impressed by all the activities. In these three days I received only positive energy to go on and to be able to overcome the life problems.

 

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Also every day, more than 12,000 children receive education and care through Star of Hope? Also, we touch over 30,000 children each day with services!

 

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