Happy New Year!
I went home to the United States for Christmas and New Year's. Upon returning to Sierra Leone in January, I felt re-energized and excited to get back into my work at Africare. January is a busy month for us, as many of our deadlines for filing reports and proposals come at the end of this month. One of my biggest tasks at the moment is to help Africare complete the annual report for an HIV/AIDS education program that we are undertaking together with the Global Fund. This program takes place in the Kenema and Kailahun Districts, and trains young people about how HIV is transmitted and what measures they can take to protect themselves. Next week I will be traveling to Kenema, in order to write some more detailed and story-based narratives on the program. In particular, we are looking for success stories, as well as some possible mistakes, so that we can discuss some of the lessons we've learned for year 2 of the program. In addition, I am working on a proposed project with UNICEF to lower infant and maternal mortality. This involves training traditional birth attendants (TBAs), educating mothers on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, and improving support for women who suffer gender-based violence.
In two weeks, I'm traveling to Nelspruit, South Africa for Princeton in Africa's annual reunion and retreat. I am very excited to be able to discuss my adventures with my fellow PiAfers. All of Freetown (and, I gather, all of Africa) was excited today for the inauguration of President Obama. While many have unreasonably high expectations of the new president, there is a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation for the United States here.
Happy New Year!
Jan 20 2009
We had a fantastic event today at the house pulling together folks from all corners of the Music Industry here in Nashville: Music City, USA. We had some artists from Country Music and some from CCM, and lots of energy to move forward to change the world. Hope through Healing Hands motto is "using health as a currency for peace." It's a slogan I think we all can get behind: a better, safer world for us all.
I was excited to meet many of the artists and managers, many of whom have been activists for HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty for years. This was Hope through Healing Hands first outreach event in Nashville as we begin pulling together the best of the Music community and the best of the Health community with a hope for synergy on behalf of the "bottom billion" - the 1 billion people on the planet who still live on less than a dollar a day. We want Nashville to be a center for excellence in global health.
Thanks to everyone who came, and if you'd like to learn more about how you can get involved with Hope through Healing Hands---if you're an artist, manager, publicist, agent, or just someone who cares about global health issues!--- Call us 615 818 5579 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to www.hopethroughhealinghands.org for more information on how to Take Action today.
We look forward to hearing your voice; your voice can change the world.
Jan 14 2009
Save the Children needs YOU!!
Save the Children posted a concept on the Change.org web site based on S25 called "Save the Lives of Children ~ Improve Global Child Health" and the idea qualified for the final round. Today a new round of voting begins, and goes through January 15th. If we're one of the top ideas, we'll be invited to a reception with the Case Foundation and Change.org will support a grassroots advocacy campaign around the idea.
The main thing we need between now and the 15th are additional votes to make sure our idea is one of the top 10. So, follow the link below and vote for our concept. Also, rally all of your friends, family, and colleagues to also vote for our concept. Email this link and lets make change for children a reality!!!
To vote, click on the following link:
If you have any additional questions, please contact Angela Smith (RD,) Christen Grasso (S25,) or Ryan Quinn (PPA.)
Jan 12 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2008
We had a fantastic event on Saturday morning with the women of Grace Chapel Church here in Leipers Fork, TN. What an amazing bunch of women!
A few months ago, my good friend Reese Smith introduced the Knit One, Save One Campaign, a national grassroots effort launched by the global humanitarian organization Save the Children and the Warm Up America Foundation, to his wife, Emily, an avid knitter and member of the "Knitting with Grace" club at the church. The initiative aims to draw attention to the 4 million newborns that die each year in the first month of life in the developing world. Participants are asked to make a baby cap, and are also encouraged to write a personal note to President-elect Barack Obama urging him to lead the way to save millions of babies globally.
Emily Smith, Beth Ann Bright, Mary Bit Mahaffey and a number of other women in the group committed to 100 caps. And, like the story of the loaves and the fishes, they just multiplied exponentially! Saturday, the "Knitting with Grace" club presented me with over 500 knitted caps and over 500 caps made by machine. Over 1000 caps!
These little caps will each be shipped, along with thousands from all 50 states to pregnant women and new moms and their babies in Save the Children's programs in Africa and Asia. Hypothermia is a contributing cause of death for newborns, especially small babies unable to maintain their body temperature. To keep infants safe and warm, these little caps will be given for them to wear along with helpful advice to moms about hygiene and breastfeeding. These little caps will be a key component of a life saving package.
It was so exciting to see the amazing work these women had done. Thank you Grace Chapel Church for your initiative, advocacy, awareness-raising, and hard work for the least of these.
To read more about the campaign, and see how many caps Americans have made, go here: www.savethechildren.org/knitonesaveone. The deadline for the project has been extended to January 31st. Let us know if you would like to be involved!
Colonel Bill Coultrup
Dec 17 2008
Staff and employees of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center; local citizens of the Marawi region; and several distinguished visitors, including Undersecretary of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, Edilberto Adan; Lanao del Sur First Lady to the Governor, Raifa Adiong; Professor Paladan Badron, Marawi City Administrator (on behalf of Mayor Fahad Salic, al Hadj); Dr. Amer Saber, Chief of APMC; Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, AFP WESMINCOM Commander; Brig. Gen. Magalso, AFP 1st Infantry Division Deputy Commander; Col. Rey Ardo, AFP 103rd Brigade Commander; Colonel Bill Coultrup, Commander of the JSOTF-P; and Mr. Harold Wolf, President and CEO of ENDEC, Inc.
With the cut of a ceremonial ribbon, leaders from across the Mindanao region inaugurated the new Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC)-just 8 months from when the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines awarded a contract employing local workers to build the new Center. The U.S. provided $660,058 (US) to fill the void left by a 2006 fire that destroyed the former facility.
Government, medical, civic, and military leaders were on hand to celebrate the occasion with a crowd of about 100 Marawi citizens, including many doctors, nurses, and staff from the APMC.
Colonel Bill Coultrup, Commander of the JSOTF-P-who attended the ground-breaking ceremony last spring-gave keynote remarks. Additional speakers and distinguished guests included: Undersecretary of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, Edilberto Adan; Lanao del Sur First Lady to the Governor, Raifa Adiong; Professor Paladan Badron, Marawi City Administrator (on behalf of Mayor Fahad Salic, al Hadj); Dr. Amer Saber, Chief of APMC; Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, AFP WESMINCOM Commander; Brig. Gen. Magalso, AFP 1st Infantry Division Deputy Commander; Col. Rey Ardo, AFP 103rd Brigade Commander; and Mr. Harold Wolf, President and CEO of ENDEC, Inc.
"This will make a big difference in the lives of the people of Marawi and the people of Lanao," said Secretary Adan, who, on behalf of the people of the Philippines, thanked the U.S. for making the project a priority.
Professor Badron referred to the new Center and its medical staff under Dr. Saber, as "a ray of hope" for the people of the Lanao region.
In keynote remarks, Col. Coultrup spoke of the new building's genesis, following the fire of 2006. "The Marawi community incurred a great loss when the former Amai Pakpak Medical Center was destroyed by fire in 2006," he said. "One of the first things the Armed Forces of the Philippines did was to team up with medical professionals here in Marawi, as well as one of our liaison teams [from JSOTF-P] to conduct a Medical Civic Action Program."
Just two weeks after the fire, "The MEDCAP immediately provided free medical aid to people of the Marawi area," he said. Approximately 1,000 patients were seen.
"Then, in concert with our AFP partners, we found funding for the project...and just eight months ago, I remember challenging the contractor to get the project done by December. And they came through and produced exactly what was needed. It's a job well done and shows the excellent work of the people of Marawi who helped to construct this beautiful building," said Coultrup, noting that this wouldn't be the last demonstration of teamwork between the people of the Lanao region, the AFP, and the US military.
To the tune of traditional music from the region, a troupe of APMC employees in cultural dress capped off the ceremony with a series of entertaining dances.
The new, two-story Center is approximately 11 meters by 51 meters. A regional hospital, it will serve the medical care and medical training needs of the region's communities.
The contract's statement-of-work for the contract included provisions for:
• Intensive Care Unit Complex
• Central Supply & Sterilizing Room (CSSR)
• Private Rooms
• Connecting Link Bridge to the Operating Room Complex
• Connecting Link Bridge to Emergency Room Complex and Operating Room Complex
• Ramp to Laboratory & Radiology
• Main Stair of Laboratory/Radiology & Admin Building
• 2nd Story Waiting Lounge
• Hospital Bed Type Elevator
• Fire Alarm/Fire Protection System
6 December 2008.
Amai Pakpak Medical Center, Marawi, Lanao region of Central Mindanao.
A regional hospital, it will serve the medical care and medical training needs of the surrounding communities whose population is about 50,000.
1. Visitors arrive for the inauguration of the new Amai Pakpak Medical Center on 6 Dec 2008.
2. Distinguished guests, from left: Mr. Harold Wolf, President and CEO of ENDEC, Inc.; Brig. Gen. Magalso, AFP 1st Infantry Division Deputy Commander; Lanao del Sur First Lady to the Governor, Raifa Adiong; Undersecretary of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, Edilberto Adan; Colonel Bill Coultrup, Commander of the JSOTF-P; Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, AFP WESMINCOM Commander; Professor Paladan Badron, Marawi City Administrator; and Dr. Amer Saber, Chief of APMC.
Dec 15 2008
Dec 10 2008
CCM Artist Sara Groves invites listeners of Christian Radio this Holiday season to "Share the Joy" of giving by supporting new mothers in developing nations to have safe deliveries and healthy, warm newborns. A gift of $10 will help provide newborn care kits for mothers so the chances of their newborns surviving the risky first month of life are improved. The kit contains items to improve hygiene at delivery and promote proper care of newborns, and will be paired with health worker counseling to support new moms on issues like exclusive breastfeeding. The kit’s contents vary by country and may contain items such as soap for hand washing, a new blade for cutting the umbilical cord and a clean string for tying the cord. Each kit will be coupled with a hand-made cap, knitted or crocheted by a caring person who took part in Save the Children's Knit One, Save One campaign, and will keep the baby warm during the first critical hours and days after birth.
Sara's radio spot reads as follows:
Hope through Healing Hands-A Better Beginning for Babies this Christmas
(To hear the spot, please click HERE.)
Hi, I'm Sara Groves.
During the Holiday season, we reflect upon the humble beginnings of a baby born in a manger over 2000 years ago.
But did you know that babies are still born in stables and on dirt floors in parts of Africa and Asia today?
Over 4 million newborns die each year; more than half from preventable or treatable causes.
That's why I am asking you to consider a simple gift for a new mother across the world: a NEWBORN CARE KIT.
This ten dollar kit, at HOPE THROUGH HEALING HANDS.ORG provides a new mother with the advice and supplies she needs to help her new baby survive.
Simple household practices that keep an infant clean and warm make for a better beginning for babies - even those born in the humblest of circumstances.
Go to HOPE THROUGH HEALING HANDS.ORG today and make a real difference this Christmas.
Please join us today in caring for a new mother and her precious newborn baby this holiday season. With the simple gift of $10, you can save a life.
Dec 03 2008
Dec 01 2008
Nov 29 2008
by Kelly Madigan
November 29, 2008
Although I have been back in the states from Bangkok for six months now, there is rarely a day that goes by without a reminder of my month spent there. Especially around the holidays, I am so grateful not only for my own family, but also for the opportunities I have had to make a difference in the lives of others. While teaching the alphabet, colors, and numbers to toddlers may seem inconsequential, the impact our presence had on the kids was clear. After missing just one day at Kudee Khaa Preschool to observe at a hospital, the students were overjoyed upon my return, exemplifying the influence I had on their daily lives. It is extremely difficult to return to our fortunately privileged lives and leave a Cross Cultural Solutions site behind, knowing some children were getting their only meal of the day at the school. However, it is empowering to know that the legacy of CCS will continue on with a constant flow of volunteers, enriching the lives of people worldwide.