This is one of my favorite pictures from the preschool in Boyer, Haiti. I feel joy when I see these two happy girls eat lunch at school in November 2010.


Boyer is very near the area where severe cholera outbreak started just weeks before this picture was taken. Star of Hope, purified drinking water with Aqua Care, and vaccinated all the children in the Boyer against cholera. Later Star of Hope build a water system to secure safe drinking water to the kids and the staff.


Star of Hope has been supporting the school in Boyertown since 1993 and the current school year has more than 550 students. Children receive education and school lunches and thus help to a good start in life.

Speaking of the cholera outbreak, it seems they are more problems. Some expect that up to 250 000 people may suffer from the desease this year. 7,000 have already died since the outbreak started in autumn 2010. The bacteria may have split up into two strains, which may increase the problems. Those who have already been hit once, may be hit again by the new strain.

Many aid organizations have withdrawn from the hardest hit area around Mirebalais where it all began. Health clinics in the area are short on antibiotics and clinic staff in some areas have not been paid since January.


I hope they can get to the bottom of this. The sick and suffering people I saw in late 2010 was not a pretty sight. The authorities must get help from various area to overcome this once and for all.


To many child laborers.

Today is the International Workers' Day. All around the world 215 million children work, many full-time. They do not attend school and have little or no time to play. Many of them have no proper food or care. They are denied the opportunity to be children. More than half of those exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as working in hazardous environments, slavery or other forms of forced labor.

215 million child laborers is 215 million too many.

Please give these children a thought today.


 

Last week offered many emotions in the Philippines. To be part of the inauguration of Peter Ek Education Center and celebrate the anniversary of the Star of Hope School in Taytay was real big thing. Then we worked on and visited the newest school project in Infanta. It is a small but very fine school. With support from donors in Norway, we will now be able to build two more classrooms there. Super great.


On Friday it became a little heavier emotionally. Then we visited the vulnerable families in the slums of Taytay where we run the big school. Most are living on the borderline and every day is a struggle. Star of Hope is helping many families and children, but more need help. The first thing many families cut back on the education of children, which only creates further problems in the long run. Education is an opportunity out of poverty, all children should benefit from. Star of Hope trying to help as many as they can and are able to.

 

Over the weekend, I have gone through the material from the week. Unfortunately, the Internet was unstable and sometimes nonexistent. But pictures and videos are coming. For now a picture of a strong woman in the slums Taytay.


At the moment I’m goring through the material from Ghana and especially from Bolgatanga district in Ghana's north-eastern province. Bolgatanga is the capital of the province and is one of the poorest regions of Ghana. Star of Hope has been involved in education in the area in many schools for many years.


It is seldom I take the time to have look at the entire image archive for Bolgatanga but have done it now. Have found several pictures that I might not seen since they were taken and sent to office years ago. Nice to rediscover them again.


It is nice see and feel again the joy for these children that they have a school to go to. Some children walk maybe mora than an hour to get to school. I’m extremely glad I got to see their joy at close range. They want to learn, they have dreams and hopes for the future. They want to satisfy their hunger.

Star of Hope has helped them a bit on the way to their goals.

Good, it's necessary!

 


 


Star of Hope has worked in Haiti for many years. We have helped thousands of children to a better start in life in one of the poorest countries in the world. Through education, nutrition, health projects and other things we have, together with sponsors and institutions helping children, youth and families to a better life and given them hope for the future.

 

 


Now the Star of Hope has a half-dozen newly constructed and renovated schools, ready to provide even better training. Many school teachers have received training to provide even better support to 3,000 students. Children have access to great facilities, nutrition and safe drinking water.

 

 

<Star of Hope> many years in Haiti


However, we want to develop the schools even more and help more children better. The Star of Hope needs more sponsors for Haiti.

The pictures in the article are from the school in Rigaud Haiti, let me know if you have any questions. More photos on SOH Flickr.

Dennis


March 22, 2012,  Francoise Claulande is pride as well as other students of last fashion blouse that she has been able to make as homework from last week class. The 40 future seamstress students that attend the sewing class in Jeanton school are very enthusiast to pass all sewing class of different model dress to be qualified for graduation and to have the diploma next July.   It is an occasion to thank all sponsors who support sewing school in Jeanton through Star of Hope. Together we can make the difference. Tony

Linda Borror, my wife and Star of Hope staff member and Sam Thier from Great Bend, Kansas left this morning on a very long journey. They will travel for some 30 hours to arrive in Saenz Pena, Chaco. It is a smaller city in northern Argentina.

While there they will walk the proposed sports complex, where Elijah has dreamed of playing soccer and building self worth. This is the site of The Wall. They will meet Elijah and the other young Toba indians who are growing into educated, healthy adults who love Jesus and care about their communities.

For Sam, it is his first visit to a Star of Project county. He is excited about seeing what God is doing and how the donor accomplishes great things through Star of Hope.

Upon their return, both hope to share with as many people the excitement that I saw already in their faces as they drove off this morning.

StarTeams do so very much. They help the children we are serving, they encourage the donors by reporting back what they see. But, perhaps more importantly they grow themselves and often change their priorities in life.

How about you? Could you see yourself on a work team or mission trip?


April 15, 2012: Tony and Myrtha are in Sweden for funds-raisings events: to meet star of Hope sponsors and media to presente Star of Hope completion of 5 schools reconstruction work, organize Haitian dinner for staff and sponsors, participate in Ice Gala funds-raisings for water project in Haiti. Sweden is a blessed country, peacefull place, forest and trees everywhere, lake, river and water everywhere, but very cold, snow cover the whole place where we stay. Iy is a great suceessful vlisit! Tony

Today we went Infanta on the east coast of the Philippines' largest island, Luzon. Star of Hope has been working there since 2004 after the severe disaster. It's always fun to get there. Unfortunately it rained the whole time during the three hour journey and the road was in worse shape than it was six months ago. Oh well.

 



Once in place, it's always fun to see the children. I think it's fun for them with international visitors. This school year there are 84 students in grades 1-5. In a few weeks during the nearly three month long school holiday the construction of two more classrooms will start. From next year we will provide preschool and grades 1-6. This school is small but nice and the kids have every chance of a good start in life, which is important.

A little fun that kids will remember my name, too. Admittedly, I have now been there three times in just over a year now, but still. I like the school in Infanta strong.


9,755 people has been injured or killed by landmine in Colombia since 1990.

Of the nearly ten thousand victims of the past 22 years, more than 10% were children, while 2,044 people died from their injuries. Approximately 6,000 of the victims were members of the security forces and the rest civilians.

It is widely accepted that Colombia's two biggest rebel groups, the FARC and ELN, are most responsible for the laying of mines.

Colombia has the second highest casualty rate of landmine victims in the world, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

Colombia had 512 victims either maimed or killed due to landmines in 2010, putting the country second after Afghanistan with 1,211. Pakistan is third with 394 casualties.

Landmines killed 1,155 people around the world last year and wounded 2,848 --  a 5% increase from the previous year. The figures may be even higher as data from many countries is often incomplete.

Star of Hope has been working in Colombia since mid 1980’s through its partner Cirec. Cirec is one the finest institutions and grass root organizations regarding the work with physical injures regardless the cause. They have had around 40,000 patients, and many of them are landmine victims.

The pictures above shows two landmine victims that have been helped via Star of Hope and Cirec.

  

 

I was reading the other day about the difference between values and beliefs. I do believe that people who hold values in common can and do work together to accomplish certain things, even if their beliefs are different.

Christians, Jews and Mormans all hold a basic set of values that come from the 10 commandments. This is a reason that often it is seen where the three groups work well in a disaster situation. The shared value is the worth of human life.

Star of Hope attempts to build partnerships and programs that bring the best resources possible to see children grow in all areas of their life. In education, health and social development we can and do work with a broad base of resources and groups.

As a Christian organization, in matters of faith (beliefs) we seek to partner with like minded people.

I invite your comments.

Barry Borror
President & CEO

A long day in the car today. We went to the other side of Luzon in Quezon it took 4 hours by car one way. I saw all the places who were hit by the typhoons in 2004. Now everything is grown over with trees and bushes but I remember how terrible the area was hit then. When we arrived at the Star of Hope school in the village Ilog we were met by happy school children meeting our Swedes with songs and waving of Swedish flags. It was great.

 

 

As I written before- Do I have a great job or what :-)


May 11,2012: Rigaud new school reconstruction financed by Star of Hope is near to completion. It is a construction of three unit buildings, each building measures 200 square meter and has 3 class-rooms.   The inauguration of rigaud new school is scheduled June 9th. Tony

We woke up at 6 in the morning to go to the village of Ilog, Infanta. It is located on the island of Luzon, which is the same island as Manila but on the East coast. To get there we had to go over two mountain ranges. There are so many squatters who have built houses along the roadside that we had to drive very slowly. It was a 4 hour trip one way.  

In November/December 2004 when four Typhoons hit the area it looked a lot different. Much of the vegetation was gone because of mudslides and all the logging, both legal and illegal, the trees and mud ran down the mountains devastated the plains and stopped at the Philippine Sea. It was a true catastrophe. Now it looks totally different, all green and lush. There is no indication of the big disaster. We were there just a few days after the tragedy and I will never forget how it looked and how many people who suffered. Over 100,000 homes were lost and at least 5,000 people died. This disaster lead to Star of Hope building over 300 houses and delivering emergency aid such as food, water, blankets etc. to thousands of families.  Ine hundred and twenty five (125) houses were built in Ilog village and we had the pleasure to have the Swedish Ambassador at that time, Annika Markovik, to inaugurate the “village”. Today we also have a school in the same location as the row houses for first to fifth grade (next year there will also be a sixth grade). Those school children were the reason for our visit.

When we arrived, we were met by the students and teachers. Every time I visit a Star of Hope school it is the happiness and curiosity of the children that excites me the most. When the children come up to me and asks questions it makes me happy. The strangest question I think I have ever gotten is “How do you bury your dead when your ground is frozen?” after explaining snow and cold weather. I actually did not know the answer so I had to look it up.  For you curious people it is a special machine which heats the ground.

As is very common in the Philippines the children were dancing and singing for us. Song and music is a big part of the Filipino life and it impresses me so much when I see the children, especially the boys, (my boys would have to be threatened to sing and dance in front of an audience) sing loud and proud.

There are still needs at the school but most of them are simple things like basketballs, volley balls, chess boards and scrabble boards. We also have to put up a wall/fence. Not as big as the one in Argentina but still a good size. There must be a wall there so that squatters do not enter and assume ownership of the land, thieves do not enter and destroy property and steal equipment and so that animals don’t enter and eat the newly planted mango and other trees.

infanta philippines maria presson starofhopeusa

I also walked around the row houses. You could tell there was some wear and tear but everyone we met was happy with the opportunity to live in their own home. While walking around I saw a Sari Sari store, a small general store where you can buy most everything you would need from shampoo to food items. 

The lady running the store Marife Ly said it does really well. On a good day she sold  between 500-600 pesos (14 dollars ) worth of merchandise. Her biggest seller was biscuits, detergent bars and soap. A detergent bar cost 6 pesos (15 cent) and is used for hand washing clothes. She worked long hours from 5 am to 8 pm and was telling me how happy she was her two children John Marc and Maria was able to go to the Star of Hope School. “It means I can let them walk there themselves and I don’t need to spend money on transportation to the public school so far away.”

boys volleyball champs infanta philippines

The teachers at the Star of Hope Christian School in Ilog were very proud to show the pictures from a volleyball tournament in which the children had participated. It was a regional tournament for 26 elementary schools. Eight teams from the area played in this event. The tournament took place at the Infanta town plaza about 20 minutes away from the school on the 21 of March. The boys from Star of Hope Christian School won 2nd place and everyone was extremely proud. They received medals, a diploma and a really nice trophy. Next year they will expand and also include girls. To continue preparing for next year’s tournament they are in need of new volleyball nets and volleyballs.

Be a Sponsor here.

Wednesday 21 march

Today was a special day again. I got to sit down and talk to my sponsor boy Hernan Barosa. Well, he is not a boy anymore. He is a man with a college degree. I was fortunate to be able to put him through college and now he is a math teacher at Star of Hope School in Taytay. When he called me his angel I thought I would start to cry.



The feeling to know I had the ability to change a boy’s life to the better is more than I can explain in words. He has been raised by his grandmother with very little means. Without help he would not have been able to go to college. He would be stuck in a downward spiral with no future. I know I might be perceived to be very intense but I have a deep desire to change children’s lives. It is inherited from birth. I can see the difference Star of Hope means for all our children over the world. I´m blessed because every day I go to work I make a difference.

 

May is the major month for Mother Day celebrations around the world. Countries like the U.S.and many more are celebrating this coming Sunday. 

Share your blessings this MOTHERS DAY help a Haitian mom provide food for her children.

Amid all work (text, video and images) with the Philippines, I today went through some photos for another project.

I was in Ghana for the second time in my life 2008. We went up to the district of Bolgatanga as Star of Hope has worked there in a disaster since a number of years before. I visited thirteen kindergartens in four days. It was tough tempo as tough roads. But at the same time very interesting and rewarding. The support we gave to these pre-schools was vital in many cases. I met many children these days. It is impossible to remember all of course. But I remember the boy below. He just stood there in the semi-dark room built of clay. A simple pre-school, but he got his a, b??, c, and 1, 2, 3. He said nothing, but his eyes, I remember forever.

 



Today was an equally interesting day at the school in Taytay just like everyone else. It started when I would get a young student to talk on video. I told her in brief what I was after. He said he wanted to write his own script so he could make it interesting and meaningful from his point of view. Kind of ambition I like. He was not happy with first take so he rewrote a little and on take we had whar we both wanted. Fun.


The school in Taytay is now in the Star of Hope's possession as previously reported. So nice. Besides the very important financial injection from family EK has three more people have been very important in this process. The picture below shows lawyer Romualdo de los Santos, Mayor Guia G. Gomez and Star of Hope Country Manager Gani Coruna, where they discuss various projects. We visited the Mayor Gomez who told us about further plans for San Juan and the poor in Taytay. Very interesting meeting. She has always been fair to Star of Hope which is appreciated of course.

 

I shoot a lot of pictures of faces. I’m fascinated by the various faces and eyes that tell so much. You see joy, suffering, hope, curiosity and more. In rural areas in Ghana, you notice an extra curiosity for me and the camera. Who is the man with the camera? It's fun, I think. Most kids want to be in the picture, and get very confused when they can see themselves on the LCD screen on the camera back. Some want to be photographed again and the second time around the kids a pose or make a face. All images above were taken in Ghana.
These brief meetings are fun and interesting wherever you are. Usually it will be much laughter and joy. We do not understand each other but both have something to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


march 28, 2012: Dano school that has been destroyed by the earthquake in Haiti has been rebuilt with support of donors through star of hope. Today was the inauguration day of the new school buildings. Many people that have been invited was present in  the inaugural ceremony to thank all donors that have given money to rebuild Dano school for 600 kids that are enrolled in this school  
Tony



Today was an equally interesting day at the school in Taytay just like everyone else. It started when I would get a young student to talk on video. I told her in brief what I was after. He said he wanted to write his own script so he could make it interesting and meaningful from his point of view. Kind of ambition I like. He was not happy with first take so he rewrote a little and on take we had whar we both wanted. Fun.


The school in Taytay is now in the Star of Hope's possession as previously reported. So nice. Besides the very important financial injection from family EK has three more people have been very important in this process. The picture below shows lawyer Romualdo de los Santos, Mayor Guia G. Gomez and Star of Hope Country Manager Gani Coruna, where they discuss various projects. We visited the Mayor Gomez who told us about further plans for San Juan and the poor in Taytay. Very interesting meeting. She has always been fair to Star of Hope which is appreciated of course.

StarTeams are a small team of volunteers that Star of Hope invented a few years back! They go to a foreign country to help out for a few days or a week. Star of Hope is looking for StarTeam members that are ready to go to Haiti and Bois Negresse in the summer to help out building the roof on the school being built.

I have been to Haiti when a number of different StarTeams have been there to do some work; fixing a roof, painting classroom, building school furniture and so on. There has always been time to educate the kids in many different ways as well.

To be a StarTeam member I think it is fantasic way to do something really good! Here are some videos and pictures from StarTeam activities:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COm91dMO_2w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgPTyjAHrIA

It is for sure a life chaning experience in many ways to go to Haiti and do someting good!

 

 

 

Tuesday 27 of march Graduation Crame

My last day in the Philippines and now I am surrounded by wonderful children with big smiles. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the graduation of the children in Star of Hope Preschool in Crame. At the end of the week there will also be graduation in Taytay for the elementary and high school children and in the beginning of next week the children in Ilog, Infanta will have the very first class of children to graduate as that school is new.

 

When the big event started here in Crame they played happy yet celebratory music while the children walked in all in a long row. There were 70 graduates between 4 and 6 years old, oh so cute they were in their white miniature graduation gowns and white hats. All the girls were wearing corsages and a flower necklace with pink ribbon while the boys wore flower necklaces with blue ribbon. It was so cute!

See all the photos here!

In the Philippines the children even graduate from Preschool and then from elementary school and finally high school. It is a very big deal and a big celebration. The parents are so proud of their children and that they have finished the first part of their education. Other big celebrations in the Philippines are the two special birthdays, when the children turn one and seven. This has to do with that the child has survived their first and the seventh birthdays. The celebration when they finished preschool is because they are now starting another milestone on their way.

The ceremony started with the Philippines national anthem “Bayang Magilius” and everyone stood up holding their hand on their heart while they sang. Directly after a six year old girl Jasmine Joy Ureta held the opening prayer as; her proud parents had tears in their eyes. We also were proud to have as special guests such as the vice Mayer of San Juan Francis Zamora and other councilmen. In their speeches they were talking about the children as “Little big stars” and one of the councilmen said to the children to “aim for the stars, the clouds is not a bad place to be”. The Vice Mayor also said to all of us “we are all partners in education”. They also gave out ribbons and medals to the children and I saw how proud the parents were to shake the Vice Mayors hand when their children received their medals for outstanding School achievements.

All the children got a least one ribbon and it was everything from most active to the neatest, most thoughtful to the most generous, most kind to most behaved, it was a lot of medals . The medals were in different “levels”; bronze, silver and gold was given for school achievements like math, reading, writing, art etc. I would not mind having my own medal as they were really nice looking.

In between the giving out ribbons and medals some of the children were dancing in white clothes to the Christian song “Above all” with the chorus “crucified laid behind a stone”.  The girls did a great job and I couldn’t help but sing along. The last thing on the agenda was to give out the diplomas and then all the children sang “Diyos nang salinlahi”, my absolute favorite Filipino song. It means The God of all generations and our father is so good.

What a great ending to my trip to the Philippines yet I will blog some more when I get back to the states I have still so much to write about.

Maria

What a glorious dance show the students at Star of Hope Christian School in Taytay, Manila preformed on the 23rd Foundations Day. This year the celebration was extra special.  Normally the Foundation Day is held in the end of January but this year it was postponed to March 19 as we also celebrated the re-inauguration of the school Peter Ek Education Center/Star of Hope Christian School.

Under the shining sun the schoolyard was filled with hundreds of children in beautiful clothes who danced and sang. 10 year old Csyra O. Musa preformed a fantastic solo number with the song ”I want to break free”  (you can watch it on Star of Hopes facebook) which was followed by dances describing Pilipino traditions. The smallest children in Grade 1 danced “The Pearly Shell” and then students from every grade preformed different dances.
Some of the dances referred to the country’s history and culture, for example ”Bulaklakan”, a flower dance in honor to Virgin Mary, ”Banaue Rice Terraces” which symbolizes the beautiful rice terraces in the north of the Philippines. ”Ati-atihan” in which weapons and fire are included is a very old dance originating from the first settlers on the islands and ”Daklisan Festival” in which they show their appreciation to their patron of La Paz for blessing them for peace and safe voyage when fishing.

I have the best work ever.

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".