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. 


Once again Metro Manila and the Philippines is hit by a disaster. Torrential rains have battered the megacity and floodwaters have poured in from almost all sides. A state of emergency was declared in and around Manila.

More than 50 were reported dead due to the combination of intense storms, monsoon rains and flooding, and at least 250,000 were evacuated, officials said. A landslide in the district of Quezon City killed nine people, including three children.

The flooding is the worst to hit the area since two storms in 2009 killed more than 900 people.

Manila is particularly vulnerable to flooding. The metropolitan area, which has a population of more than 14 million, sits in a low-lying area between a large lake and the ocean. The lake, Laguna de Bay, at the south of the city, drains to the ocean via the Pasig River, which runs through the center of town. The lake and the river are heavily silted and prone to overflowing their banks.

Star of Hope's school in Taytay, Rizal is in almost waist high water on Wednesday. The classrooms on the ground floor are flooded. Staff has moved books and expensive equipment to the second floor.

In some areas in Taytay, the water has reached the second floor Wednesday. Living in the area are 2 500 children attending the Star of Hope School. No reports of injured children yet but many sponsored children's houses are under water.

Pictures by Norman Coruna from Tuesday at Star of Hope School. More information soon. Internet and phone service is very poor at the moment! I wish I could be there to help out.

 

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner is very popular in his home country, but internationally she is not as well regarded. But what will happen now that the domestic economy is losing momentum?

Over the past ten years the economy has grown by an average of 7% in Argentina. It is good of course and many are satisfied. But this year the increase will, according to experts, only be 2.5%. Argentina also recently become energy importer instead of exporter.

In April, the state mysteriously took control of a local oil company worth $ 10 billion. Spanish major Repsol owner was not happy about this. Add to this the harsh verbal dispute over the Falkland Islands.

At the end of the 1990s the Argentine economy collapsed. It got very favorable loans, but now that the lenders of that time are not paid, they have turned sour and bitter over Kirchner.

With the global uncertainty in the economy together with the state's murky trade barriers and tactics have made that reality catch up. Many experts expect that Argentina will be in real difficulty within soon.
How does economy affect the vulnerable minority populations in Argentina? For the group of Qom in the province of Chaco in northern Argentina, it has become better general in some places over the last 15-20 years.

In and around Saenz Pena, Star of Hope has worked hard to improve conditions in the past thirty years. Through many different efforts the work produce even better results. More and more people come up higher in the educational system with really good grades (although racism and oppression), more and more come into work and create their own opportunities. Most have had a good start in life thanks to Star of Hope.

However, 75-100% of the Qom-population depending on which province lives with many basic needs unmet. No or poor housing, poor access to electricity, water and sanitation are common in some places.
Star of Hope's development continues, and we would like to help more people in different ways and levels.

What will happen now with the Qom population when the economy is shrinking?


 

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

I met little Paul on a visit to the village of Gomoa Domainase, Ghana in 2008. He lives with his parents and younger sister Linda. Dad Kwabena and mom Esi are farmers and operates normally other landowners farms and as salary they get to keep a third of the harvest, the other two thirds goes to the landowner. In southern Ghana, they usually get two crops per year, depending on what they grow.

Like many others who try to survive as farmers in Ghana the work gives poor income and the family lives by "from hand to mouth." They find it hard to get to it financially.

The family lives in a small room in a ruined school. A single room of 15-16 square meters is the family's home. A bed, a TV, a closet and a larger bucket is the family's possessions. With the bucket, they fetch water from a well in the yard. Cooking is done outdoors in a small campfire.

Paul goes to preschool, in the outskirts of the village, supported by Star of Hope. He thinks it's fun to learn letters and numbers. He is shy and somewhat reclusive but is diligent and take part in the activities in the classroom according to the teacher.

Thanks to dedicated teachers and support from the Star of Hope and its sponsors Paul and his classmates get a good start in life. The parents are very grateful for the support and do everything they can to keep Paul in school as long as possible so he an get a good education.

 

At the end of June Star of Hope's latest preschool in Sao Paulo, Brazil was inaugurated. It is the fifth pre-school in Sao Paulo where Star of Hope is involved. There are now 235 children nutritious food, love and care.

The pre-school has eight classrooms, a playroom and a large play area outside the building. It is gratifying to see this development. Pictures from the preschool here.

It was also in Brazil that Star of Hope's work started over 40 years ago. It was, however, in Montes Claros. I visited the area and Star of Hope's first pre-school a few years ago. Impressive was work carried out and is transferred to the new pre-schools. Some pictures from the first pre-school:


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?


 

A few weeks ago I wrote about how slow in general the construction of housing and other things are in Haiti. The reasons are many, and it is tragic for the victims.

Star of Hope has fought hard to re-build the schools that were destroyed in the disaster, 2.5 years ago. Star of Hope is also building new buildings in the projects that Star of Hope has supported for many years. Teachers are given training, water has been drawn, the classrooms have been equipped and much more.

Now, the 3 000 children supported by the Star of Hope are on summer break. From the seven projects that Star of Hope supports 150 children have completed kindergarten and will start elementary school in the fall. 130 have completed primary school and is now continuing in the secondary school.

To complete the vision in Haiti, Star of Hope needs more sponsors in the fall. Would you or someone you know become a sponsor, let us know as soon as possible.



Recently I wrote about ant loving Denis. Here are a few lines about another sponsored child who raised animals. I met fourteen-year-old Steven a year ago. He enjoys school but has no particular favorite subject, but he dreams of becoming an engineer when he grows up. He thinks it looks interesting, and he believes that there are good labor market for this profession.

In 2010, Steven received a monetary gift from his sponsor in Sweden. He knew immediately that what he wanted to do for money. He bought pigeons, because they are relatively easy to maintain and is a little unusual where he lives in the village of Rigaud. He built a cage for the pigeons and they multiply rapidly. He sold the pigeons on the market, and raised new ones. He had to build a new cage for his growing pigeon herd.

When he raised enough money, Steven bought new shoes to use for school. Then Steven got some money to. For the money, he bought a turkey that is also reproduced, and he sold them as well at the market. For the money, he bought new shoes. Nice to see such a young ambitious guy fight in order to help himself.



 

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.

According to a report the Philippines struggles to curb child labour. More than half of the country's five million child workers do so under hazardous conditions. For example they work on garbage dumps, in charcoal factories and in sugarcane fields.

But now the government says its new policies will be able to eliminate child labour by 2016.

Many children work because they want to support their parents, but they are part of the illegal economic system of child labor.

Every child has the right to the most basic of necessities in life like a healthy environment, formal education, and most importantly, a loving family to come home to. Yet, poverty hinders the child to any of these things and forces labour in farming fields, mining shafts and peddling in the busy and dangerous streets in Manila and beyond.

Star of Hope runs two schools and one preschool in the Philippines. All together almost 3,000 children get their basic education and family support by Star of Hope to get a good start in life to create a more positive future for themsleves!

 

 

 

As part of the village development in northern Ghana, Star of Hope in 2004 together with local authorities built the Kulbia dam in the Bolgatanga area. This was the third dam Star of Hope helped with since 1997.

The purpose to construct the dam was to alleviate poverty and underdevelopment in the villages through development programs in the fields of agriculture, and food security.

Approximately 10.000 people live in the area and benefit from the dam.

The villages concerned were very much engaged in the planning and their representatives have been in meetings with both Star of Hope and the Ministry about the construction and their participation.

The primary use of the water from the dam is for the domestic animals and the secondary use for prolongation of the time for kitchen gardening and fields, from the normal four months rainy season up to the year around.

With only four months of rain there is not much water for the development of agriculture – which is the main economic activity of the people of the area. It is not surprising that the area has been experiencing perennial drought and famine with short farming seasons and lack of grass to feed the livestock.

These dams that Star of Hope built has been very useful and appreciated in a very poor area of Ghana.

 


Pics by Björg Farstad

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

 

 

 

As part of the recovery program after the earthquake in January 2010 Star of Hope started a sewing school in the fall of 2010, as a pilot project where young women and men from the Boyer area have received professional level seamstress training.

They have been taught appropriate technology and given design skills to enable them to produce products that are marketable both inside Haiti and outside.

The school was a success and the pupils graduated in the summer of 2011. The program continued to Jeanton village in late 2011 and the students will graduate next week. In the fall the program continues in Hesse.

You can pictures from last years graduation here.

 

 

An important part for Brazilians is the body language as a supplement to speech, and a common sign is a thumbs up as below.

 Common is the thumb along with the phrase "tudo bem". Tudo bem is both a question "everything ok?" and the answer "everything ok!".

Tudo Bem is also used as a general simple courtesy phrase but is an important part of everyday communication.


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.

 

SPONSOR NEXT YEARS CONFERENCE, BE THE CHANGE

BE A SPONSOR

 


During the last 2 ½ years since the earthquake the number of displaced Haitians has dropped from 1.5 million to just under 400,000 changing the look of a capital whose landscape was defined for many months by piles of rubble and fraying tent encampments.
But the progress is largely cosmetic. Although a few camps have benefited from aid programs, a grave underlying housing shortage means that the majority of those who left the camps have disappeared into the overcrowded homes of relatives or constructed precarious shacks in hillside slums, which is really another disaster to happen.
The recent clearing of the major public square Champs de Mars is one sign of how urgently Haiti's government and its image-conscious elite want to return public squares to normality.

On the eve of the earthquake it was estimated that 300,000 new lodgings were required in Port Au-Prince. And a post-quake survey showed 20 per cent of the estimated 414,000 buildings in the capital were damaged beyond repair, with 25 per cent needing structural repair.

The report shows reconstruction efforts have focused on building temporary shelters, which have absorbed 79 per cent of the $461m spent. A total of 109,000 temporary shelters have been constructed while only 5,000 permanent homes built.

All the above feels very strange and beyond my understanding somewhat. Why is everything so delayed and not happening?


Four years old Akiela from grade two at the preschool Star of Hope Maloney in Trinidad shows her workbook.

The teacher has put a little sticker to show that she has approved the assignment. This time Akiela gets credit for the letter fCongratulations!


I am reading the book Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta.  His book deals with the big picture of how our society's thinking on charity actually hinders and prevents non profit organizations from truly creating change.  While an interesting read, it has given me cause to reflect on how Star of Hope acts and communicates.

Specifically it has caused me to think about charity and how we approach donors. I have come to realize that many donors give out of a sense of duty. They feel blessed and believe that they should share those blessings. To me this is charity. It is something good. But I want more than charity. Something better.

I believe that some donors want to make an impact with their gifts. Not just an impact but a high impact. The most bang for their buck, if you will.

Star of Hope has some of the most effective projects at affecting change or having a high impact across the world. That is something I am proud of as the President & CEO of Star of Hope here in the USA.

If you are looking for a way to have High Impact as a donor, give me a call. I would love to talk to you about it. My number is (866) 653-0321.

Barry Borror

Pre-school Star of Hope Maloney opened in 1987 and celebrating its amazing 25 years this year. Pre-school Star of Hope St. Jospeh is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Hundreds of children have started their school years by Star of Hope in Trinidad and the fine facilities. They have learned to read, write and count. They can play and have fun at the pre-school. Furthermore, everyday the kids get a much needed lunch. The teachers do everything for the children to get a good start in life.

A very important person for that work has moved on so well in Trinidad is country manager Naomi Reid, who is with her big heart very popular among the kids. Here are some pictures of Naomi among the children where she enjoys very good.


My wife usually takes the lead but when it’s time to clean out the house and take items to the local goodwill shop I get involved too as I usually have to carry, load drive and so on but I also have had the joy to go to the kids and guide them through the process of sorting their rooms to find items to give to the local charity. I don’t know why but they always have enjoyed this tradition and usually want to give away something quite new and relatively expensive and keep the old “obvious to me junk” it’s a pick your battle type thing and in the spirit of giving I usually let their will or heart decide.

Sometimes the cleaning for the needy becomes over the top as one of my son’s tell me “it will serve them better than me” and even if the item being lobbed onto the pile is a new or again an expensive item I am locked as I can’t really say “you can’t give that away” or can I?

In any event when my boys have had to weed out for charity it has always been a joy to see them, even from an early age, transform into a philanthropist and a true giver with smiles and purpose.

Sure they have had sponsored kids in their name since before they could talk and inherited the annual birthday giving to the sponsored children as they matured and were able. That info card and photo is proudly displayed in their rooms as it has been for many years, usually proudly displayed.

I do not know if their attitude was learned from me or my wife, or both. Perhaps it is instinctual, I do know it is a trait I am pleased with and it without a doubt is a small piece of the family puzzle that brings us closer together.

I know my youngest still wants to help all the strays and heaven forbid you walk past a beggar without giving. No point in dissecting the pros and cons of giving to beggars it’s just “dad we have to give” so we do. I think that is a good thing too, as the other side of that coin is rather cold. Concerning my kids empathy is alive and well and I always go back to our sponsored kids and wonder if they were the key, who knows, but being a sponsor is something we all can share and it has without a doubt added to my children’s compassion, willingness to give and just added to their being.

Do you sponsor a child somewhere?

If you are a sponsor, don’t forget to take down the photo you have of your sponsored child and talk with your kids about the child, share the photos and the letters. If you’re not a sponsor why not jump in and help a child while you at the same time teach your own a valuable life lessons to your children, its close and personal and takes very little time. Sometimes giving should be for the joy of it, for yours and your children’s, but there are many added benefits not in the least the life of the sponsored child.

 


There is a new StarTeam in Haiti. Four men from Ellinwood, Kansas will be installing and teaching how to install “hurricane ties” on the new roof structure on the new building in Bois Negresse.

This is a follow up team to the Swedish E-Team that was just there painting the new building.

By seeing that the foreigners place such an importance on this structural tie down Star of Hope project manager Tony has observed that local builders often adapt to these technologies. The acquired skills they then use to improve homes and other buildings in the area.

When I stayed in Haiti for longer period of times in 2010 and 2011 I meet many StarTeam members and it was great times. They brought happiness, joy and they taught the kids and the school staff many different things.

One team came down to teach local workers to produce all the school furniture that Star of Hope now uses in the newly built school.

I’m looking forward to the reports from this week’s StarTeam.

These pics are from earlier Starteam trips when I was in Haiti.

 

 

 

 

 

You remember how Gorbachev tore down the wall and how Pink Floyd sung about it, well we want to build a wall. The wall is to keep the kids in one of our projects in Argentina safe and active in a safe place.We just need bricks - a lot of bricks.



Click on the link and buy a brick then share with your friends or whoever and we will have this wall up in no time and the kids will be safe and happy as they play soccer.

 

Northern Argentina is home to the Toba people. Because this group is on the margins of society their children are at risk. The goal of The Wall is the first step in giving them a safe place. A place where they play soccer, meet other children, learn to work together, while learning more about Jesus. Together with your help The Wall can be built.

YES I WILL BUY A BRICK

 

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".