|J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust
GRANTS AWARDED IN 2011
The J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust is a charitable fund established in the memory of Kirby Simon, a Foreign Service Officer who died in 1995 while serving in Taiwan. The Trust is committed to expanding the opportunities for community service, professional fulfillment and personal well-being of Foreign Service Officers and Specialists and their families. The Trust has been funded with contributions from Kirby Simon’s colleagues, friends and relatives and other persons interested in the purposes of the Trust. The trustees are present or former members of the Foreign Service – State Department community and Kirby Simon’s parents.
In the Fall of 2010, the Trust once again invited proposals for the support, in 2011, of projects initiated and carried out by Foreign Service personnel or members of their families, or by other U. S. Government employees employed at American diplomatic posts abroad. In response to this invitation, the Trust received 86 proposals from 48 countries. With its modest resources, the Trust was able to provide funding for 52 of these projects representing 30 countries. Grants ranged from $500 to $4,500 for a total of $106,094.
The following pages describe the projects supported by the Trust in 2011. Four projects are not included in the following descriptions because of uncertainty, as of early December, about whether these projects will in fact be implemented. A later edition of this document will include further information on these projects. (Material in quotation marks is taken from the proposals describing the projects.)
AFGHANISTAN – KABUL – Televisions, washers and dryers for abused Afghan women and their children living in prisons – a project proposed by Charles Bullington, Embassy Management Officer, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
Afghani women who are victims of physical and mental abuse often wind up in the only place of refuge available to them: prison. These prisons allow the women to bring their children who are under the age of seven. Most of the women are illiterate but have an opportunity to obtain some education while they are imprisoned. Several other prison based programs provide basic clothing, computers and education, but this project will focus on procuring a television set to provide respite from “the challenges and difficulties of living in a prison” and washers and dryers “to make daily laundry chores more bearable” and to free time for educational and recreational activities with the children.
Funds from the Trust will be used to purchase the TVs, washers and dryers. The grant applicant will be involved in making sure the items actually make it to the women’s prisons.
ANGOLA – LUANDA – Wheelchairs for teenage polio victims – a project proposed by David Stonehill, USAID Officer.
“Today, Angola is the only country in the world with cases of urban polio.” Although donations from The Gates Foundation and others have almost wiped out the disease, many victims remain wheelchair bound. At the Ministry for Children with Disabilities, “three dozen teenage polio victims gather for encouragement, empowerment, and a sense of community.” Only a few of these children have durable wheelchairs appropriate for the rough terrain they must travel. The other children are forced to “ambulate on their hands and knees, crawling on the ground in a manner that lacks dignity.” The Angolan government has few programs for wheelchair distribution or other initiatives to address the needs of the handicapped.
Funds from the Trust are being used to purchase durable wheelchairs for some of these teens, allowing them the “dignity of efficient mobility.”
ARGENTINA – BUENOS AIRES – Playground and sports equipment for use by children who eat at a soup kitchen – a project proposed by Rachel Martinez, Economic/Political Officer.
“El Hornerito Children’s Soup Kitchen feeds approximately 130 children on weekends when they do not attend school and therefore do not have access to a meal.” These children lead difficult lives, which would be greatly enhanced by having a safe place to play.
“El Hornerito was founded and remains managed solely by volunteers.” Over the past 10 years the project has improved from a muddy field with a small wooden shack -- where food was cooked in a laundry wash basin and a hole in the ground used as a bathroom - to an actual kitchen with a brick oven, electricity, running water, a real bathroom, and computers and software for after-school tutoring. However, much remains to be done with respect to play opportunities.
Funds from the Trust are being used to improve these opportunities through the purchase of sturdy playground equipment, soccer balls and jump ropes.
ARGENTINA – BUENOS AIRES – Security items, library materials and playground equipment for an orphanage – a project proposed by Louise Johnson, Vice Consul, J. M. Saxton-Ruiz, Vice Consul and Neal Murata, Acting Cultural Attaché.
“The orphanage ‘Hogar Casa del Sol’ was founded in 2001 by a small group of Argentine professionals” with the goal of placing abandoned or abused children in new families. In 2008 the orphanage was moved to a new location in an at-risk neighborhood where more children can be housed. After a successful toy and clothing drive for the children, the volunteers from the Consular section of the U. S. Embassy Buenos Aires sought to continue their outreach to the orphanage.
Funds from the Trust will enable these volunteers to provide security items -- such as door locks, emergency lights, a protective handrail for the stairs -- and two cribs, playground equipment and materials for a small bi-lingual library.
ARMENIA – BERKABER – Books for a library in an impoverished village – a project proposed by Sharmatie Baliram Singh, Information Systems Officer, U.S. Embassy Yerevan.
Berkaber is an impoverished, desolate village where the youth have little to do. “Funds from the Trust were used to purchase 50 to 60 new publications for the library, including contemporary and classic pieces, tales, legends, encyclopedic and environmental publications and books in general which will facilitate learning of different subjects at school.”
BELIZE – BELMOPAN – Screens for the windows and doors at a shelter for abused children – a project proposed by Philip Wilson, Embassy Management Officer.
Malaria and dengue fever are endemic to Belize, and the heavily forested Belmopan area has a high rate of these diseases.
Marla’s House of Hope (MHOH) provides a safe living environment for 24 boys and girls who have been removed from their homes because of abuse. Lacking screens on the shelter’s windows and doors, the children were constantly exposed to mosquitoes and were forced to keep the shutters closed at night.
Funds from the Trust provided screens for all 45 windows and doors, helping to protect the children from malaria and dengue fever and allowing windows to be left open at night for the benefit of cooler air.
BOLIVIA – LA PAZ – rehabilitation of a three-room emergency space for families affected by domestic violence – a project proposed by Erin Sweeney, Political Officer; Kathryn Flachsbart, Consular Chief; Reginald Tillery, Narcotics Affairs Section; and Patricia Viscarra, Economic Political Section, on behalf of the U. S. Embassy’s Community Service Program.
Although Bolivia has laws against it, domestic violence remains one of the most under-reported yet most common crimes. The Family Brigade was created 16 years ago within the Bolivian National Police system to address domestic violence and other family-related police issues. In each police station nationwide the Family Brigade, staffed by female police officers who are specially trained, have emergency centers where families can come to make formal complaints and stay for up to 48 hours while more permanent shelter can be located.
When Embassy staff visited the newly opened emergency Family Brigade center in the San Pedro police station in La Paz, they were dismayed to find that the three-room space lacked lighting, heat, furniture and basic necessities to make the space function as an effective shelter for victims of domestic violence. Funds from the Trust enabled Embassy volunteers to refurbish the space to make it more functional, comfortable and safe.
BRAZIL – RIO DE JANEIRO – Creation of a sustainable vegetable garden at a school for underprivileged children – a project proposed by Christina Sawicky Mazurkevich and her husband, Dorian Mazurkevich, Regional Intellectual Property Officer.
Casa Maternal Mello Mattos was founded as an orphanage in 1924 and was converted to a school for underprivileged children in 2009. The school relies on volunteer teachers and staff and some private donations. There are 185 students, aged 2 to 10, who come to the school from the city’s largest crime-ridden slum. They eat all their meals at the school, but the limited funding from the government allows only for six staple foods that won’t spoil: pasta, rice, beans, oil, flour and sugar.
Funds from the Trust are being used to design, construct and maintain a sustainable vegetable garden at the school. The children will participate in the growing of the vegetables and will benefit from a more balanced and healthy diet.
CAMBODIA – PHNOM PENH – Preserving the living memories of aging Cambodians who lived before the devastation of the Khmer Rouge regime – a project proposed by April Ellsworth, and her husband Matt Ellsworth, Foreign Service Specialist.
“The Cambodian Village Histories Project aims to interview elderly Cambodians and to record their memories in video, voice and print as an archive” available to the public on an Internet web site. “Their recollections of culture, customs and family relationships will be invaluable to the nation as it shakes off the painful memory” of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. The project will employ young Cambodians who will be trained in interviewing, videography, cataloguing and editing.
Funds from the Trust are supporting the purchase of the equipment and salaries for the young Cambodians. The grant applicants will manage the project.
CHINA – GUANGZHOU – Providing funding support for prosthetic limbs, orthopedic supports and restorative surgeries for handicapped college students – a project proposed by Aric Lawrence Allen, Information Management Assistant and husband of Consular Officer Booyeon Lee Allen, and Andrew Griffin, Economic Officer.
“Guangzhou English Training Center for the Handicapped (GETCH) is the only tuition-free secondary education program in China focused on enrolling the handicapped.” GETCH has established a rehabilitation fund which gives grants to students to pay for prosthetic limbs, orthopedic supports and occasionally for corrective surgery. The payment awarded to a student is based on the severity of his or her handicap, economic circumstances and academic performance. “This fund is supported exclusively by private donations and money raised during an annual fundraising event.”
Funds from the Trust will be used to bolster the rehabilitation fund.
CHINA – BEIJING – Improvements in the living conditions at an orphanage – a project proposed by Dawn M. Dowling, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer.
“The Guang-Ai (Light and Love) School is a non-profit educational charity which was founded in 2003” and is “open to all orphans, street children and children of poverty stricken families.” “It provides free food, accommodation and education to poor children with the goal of instilling good values and healthy self-esteem.” There are currently 80 students from age 6 to 16.
Among the many needs of the school are more computers, Internet access, furniture for the school’s library, wardrobe cabinets in the dormitory and chairs for the television room. Funds from the Trust will help to provide these improvements.
CHINA – CONGHUA – Eliminating mud houses for low income families – a project proposed by Vice Consuls Stephanie Fitzmaurice, Tyler Rogstad, Aaron Singleterry, Alison Behling, Allison Dyess, and Richard Fitzmaurice, and by Edward Waters, Fraud Prevention Officer, and Paul Baldwin, Political Officer.
The U. S. Consulate Guangzhou has partnered with Habitat for Humanity China to build safe and sanitary homes for poor families who live in primitive homes made of mud. These houses have no sanitation or ventilation systems and are vulnerable to floods and typhoons, often collapsing during the rainy season. The new homes will be built with baked brick walls and reinforced concrete roofs.
Funds from the Trust, combined with time, labor and funds contributed by Consulate volunteers working side by side with villagers, will produce permanent, structurally sound and sanitary homes for families whose per capita income is estimated to be only $400 per year.
CHINA – BEIJING – Tuition assistance and sports equipment for a school for migrant children – a project proposed by Jane Chongchit, Consular Officer, and Paul Stahle, Economic Officer.
Children whose parents are migrant workers are not allowed to attend public schools because their parents are not official residents of Beijing. Yuehe Migrant School was founded by Xianzhang Li and his wife Xiaoxia Fu because he had been a migrant worker himself and wanted to give migrant children a better future. The school provides basic education for up to 1,500 rural migrant children in a dilapidated building with no running water and very little heat.
The First and Second Tour Officer Committee (FAST) at U. S. Embassy Beijing has been volunteering at the school, providing English classes and technical support for the computer lab. In order to expand their commitment to the school, they have applied for a grant from the Trust to provide new sports equipment and tuition assistance for students.
CZECH REPUBLIC – EAST BOHEMIA – Renovation and expansion of a library at a grass roots environmental education center – a project proposed by Dr. Beth L. Losiewicz. spouse of Dr. Paul B. Losiewicz, Associate Director and Technical Lead of the Office of Naval Research Global at the U. S. Embassy in Prague.
A Rocha International is an non-governmental organization that provides start-up and management services to grass-roots environmental education and research organizations in small countries around the world. “Czech A Rocha (ARCZ) was founded 10 years ago with the goal of implementing research, conservation and education in previously under-cared-for natural regions” of the Czech Republic. ARCZ sponsors “summer camps for children, nature and research weekends, conferences, lectures, school visits and meetings with individual farmers and local landowners.” ARCZ has a very small and outdated library in dire need of renovations and updated books.
With hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, partial funding from the grant applicant and funds from the Trust, the library will be totally renovated, and provided with appealing and useful new books. The project will represent a significant investment in the children and the environment.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – BUKAVU – Materials for and construction of a therapeutic massage facility and traditional sauna at a community for survivors of sexual violence – a project proposed by Adela Renna, Office Manager at the U. S. Embassy Kinshasa and wife of Political Officer Daniel Renna, and Pamela Schmoll, spouse of James F. Entwistle, the U. S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
After “two hundred years of turbulent modern history”, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is “left with an infrastructure in disarray and a corrupt government.” “With a per capita GDP of $300, the DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world.” Rape, having been used as a tool of war, continues at the rate of 40 brutal rapes of Congolese women and girls daily, leaving them with severe physical and emotional wounds.
City of Joy, a center that accommodates 90 women and girls for a six month healing period, was opened in February 2011 with grants from V-Day and UNICEF. Providing support and resources for survivors of sexual violence, the goal of City of Joy is to heal and empower these women and girls so they can rebuild their lives and return to their communities as leaders. The center focuses on emotional and physical healing, and massage and sauna are recognized as clinical techniques for relaxing and detoxifying the body. Funds from the Trust are helping to add a simple facility to be used for therapeutic massage and sauna.
ECUADOR – QUITO and ESMERALDAS – Purchase of a new stove for a community organization providing basic needs to the poorest citizens and the purchase of playground equipment for a community school – projects proposed by Joan Parrish, Consular Associate and Allison Cundith, spouse of a Department of Justice employee at the U. S. Embassy, Quito.
“Founded in 2008 by several Foreign Service spouses, Quito Cares supports local Ecuadorian charitable foundations through fundraising events and volunteer opportunities.”
One organization is Pan de Vida, a nonprofit group that has provided food, low cost clothing and medical intervention to the city of Quito’s poorest citizens since 2001. Pan de Vida not only provides hot meals twice a week to anyone who shows up, but also has a more extensive social services program that serves 78 low-income families who are followed closely with the goal of helping them out of poverty. The critical need for Pan de Vida is replacing its current gas stove which has broken down several times and is a serious safety issue. Funds from the Trust paid for a new stove.
The second beneficiary of Trust funds under this proposal is Colegio Crisantos, a community school in Esmeraldas, Ecuador which serves 40 children in grades 1-6 with one teacher. With little support from the government, the school is in poor condition. In spite of this, “the parents are very involved and desperately want to improve the school, both academically and structurally.” The children currently play on a dirt soccer field, but funds from the Trust are providing a structured play area where children can increase their social interaction through safe play.
ECUADOR – QUITO – Creation of a homemade dog biscuit project to serve as a permanent fundraiser for an animal shelter – a project proposed by Mark Flores, son of Special Agent Jacinto Flores, Drug Enforcement Agency.
P. A. E. (Proteccion Animal Ecuador) was founded in 1984 to protect the rights of all animals in Ecuador; it runs two low cost veterinary clinics in Quito, as well as a spade/neuter van. Mark Flores, the grant applicant, is a twelve year old sixth grade student who has been volunteering at the animal shelter, writing articles about protecting animals for his school newsletter, and donating money he has raised by baking dog biscuits, advertising and selling them at his school, in front of his house and through the Embassy staff newsletter.
When the clinic realized what a good idea Mark had, it decided to expand the project and keep it going as a permanent fundraiser, even after Mark has left Quito. Mark chose a simple recipe that the dogs seem to love, and his mother will help him teach clinic staff the routine and connect them with Mark’s advertising connections. The Trust is funding the start-up costs for this project, including an oven, a commercial mixer and the other necessary equipment and supplies.
EL SALVADOR – CÁNTON EL HIGUERAL, MUNICIPIO SAN FRANCISCO MORAZÁN, CHALATENANGO – Repairs and improvements to a community kitchen – a project proposed by Fernando Herrera, Embassy Information Specialist.
The cánton of El Higueral is a small community of subsistence farmers located at the end of a long and treacherous dirt road. Although the community is extremely poor and isolated, the members have used grants from several foundations to improve their situation with solar electricity, clean water, a community house and clinic, and micro savings and loan groups. In 2009, using a micro loan, the women of El Higueral organized a small community kitchen where they make money by preparing and selling special foods to others. The small structure is in need of repairs; it has no electricity, no tables or chairs, no cooking utensils or pots and pans (the women bring these items from home). The industrious women came up with a plan to improve the kitchen, to add an oven and learn how to bake bread and pastries, so that they can improve their income, thus benefitting the entire community. Because they are providing all the labor themselves, their plan will be implemented at a fraction of the normal cost. Funds from the Trust will be used for materials.
EL SALVADOR – SAN SALVADOR – Construction of two bathing sinks at a children’s shelter – a project proposed by Navarro Moore, Foreign Service Officer, and Lisa M. Petzold, Foreign Service Officer.
“Centro Infantial de Proteccion Inmediata (CIPI) is the first point of placement by judges, police, and social workers for children entering the Salvadoran child protection system.” The population of the center varies, but generally the center serves 120 children, about 35% of whom are infants, toddlers and handicapped children. Although CIPI’s major source of funding is the government of El Salvador, the center relies heavily on private donations to ensure a basic level of care but continues to “suffer from many deficiencies in its infrastructure, equipment and staff training.”
After meetings between CIPI staff and U. S. Embassy volunteers, it was decided that the most urgent need was for the upgrade and repair of the sanitation facilities for the children - in particular, the sinks where the infants and toddlers are bathed, which were being used both for bathing the children and cleaning the facility. The Trust is funding the construction of two sinks designed solely for bathing young children.
EL SALVADOR – SAN SALVADOR – new beds, mattresses and sheets at a foster home for abused children – a project proposed by Cristina Selva, Budget / Administrator Assistant at Force Protection and spouse of Carlos G. Selva, Head of the Corps of Engineers, U. S. Embassy.
“Hogares Providencia Foundation Home is a non-profit organization that provides a home to about thirty boys who have been victims of abandonment, intra-family violence and sexual abuse.” In one of the world’s most violent countries, these at risk children would become “easy prey for the youth and adult gangs dedicated to criminal activities, drug trafficking and other connected crimes,” were it not for the nurturing and supportive home environment at Hogares Providencia.
This year, funds from the Trust are being used to solve the problem of broken beds, worn out mattresses, a lack of sheets and protective covering for the beds, giving the children a good night’s sleep and “a sense of a good home.”
ERITREA – ASMARA – Providing art supplies, art training and English Language lessons - and sponsoring art gatherings - for underprivileged artists – a project proposed by Lidia Vesselinova Rozdilsky, spouse of Ian Rozdilsky, Political/Economic Officer.
Eritrea is one of Africa’s most politically and economically challenged countries, and artists face tremendous obstacles in producing art and earning even a meager existence. In the last year, working within severe restrictions by the Eritrean government on travel and employment for the diplomatic community, the grant applicant and her husband have used their own funds to provide art supplies, art classes and lectures, English classes and monthly “art salons” for underprivileged artists. Their volunteer activities have resulted in several artists winning awards in the 2010 International Art Competition organized by the delegation of the European Union to Eritrea, based on the theme ‘A World Where No One Is Left Behind.’ The Rozdilskys’ efforts have also helped other artists to sell their work, and have served as an example of how to build good will in spite of serious obstacles.
Funds from the Trust will allow this project to continue.
ETHIOPIA – ADDIS ABABA – Creating an English language library and tutoring for disadvantaged Ethiopian children involved in a tennis development program – a project proposed by high school student Jasmyn Roecks, daughter of Alan Roecks, Embassy Management Counselor, and Jane Roecks, teacher at the International Community School of Addis Ababa.
“Tariku and Desta Kids’ Education through Tennis Development (TDKET) – Ethiopia was founded by internationally accredited tennis coaches, Tariku and Desta Tesfaye, and currently serves 24 children, ages 5 to 16, all of whom come from impoverished backgrounds.” This program, initiated in 2003, was created to help these children escape poverty by expanding their tennis skills, their commitment to education and their understanding of the value of hard work and hope. Several of the children have been quite successful at international tennis competitions.
Funds from the Trust help to create an English education library and to support a tutoring program in which student volunteers from the International Community School help the children to acquire English language skills, a major weakness for students in the overcrowded Ethiopian public schools.
HAITI – PORT-AU-PRINCE – English language resources for a school destroyed in the earthquake – a project proposed by John Armiger, Foreign Service Officer and Nancy Ruppel, USAID Officer.
Ecole Sacré-Coeur is an all girls’ school that was destroyed in the earthquake on January 12, 2010. The students range from kindergarten to senior year of high school, and prior to the earthquake they participated in a very active English Club, where students went to improve their English skills. Unfortunately, all resources available since the earthquake have been devoted to rebuilding the school. Volunteers from the U. S. Embassy have been spending time teaching English to the English Club on Saturdays, and the club has become so popular that they do not have sufficient resources to include all the students who want to participate.
Funds from the Trust will enable the English Club to expand from 45 to 70 students.
HAITI - PORT-AU-PRINCE – Leadership training, resources and materials for caretakers and older children at an orphanage – a project proposed by Sonia J. Kim, Foreign Service Officer.
“Prior to the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Rose Mina de Diège Center, a privately owned and operated orphanage and school founded in 1997, cared for and educated 75 abandoned children between the ages of six months and eighteen years old in Port-au-Prince. Rose Mina is now home to more than 100 children, many of whom were orphaned by the earthquake.” A grant from the Trust in 2009 was used to construct solidly built classrooms, which withstood the earthquake and served as a shelter for many during the aftershocks. In December 2010, the orphanage experienced an outbreak of cholera, and, to prevent further spread, Embassy volunteers organized a cholera prevention and hygiene training workshop for caretakers and older children who serve in caretaker roles, effectively ending the outbreak.
Funds from the Trust are being used to provide additional leadership development - including communication, problem solving, hygiene, self-responsibility, self-esteem, change management and cooperative economics - to caretakers and older children, skills which are valuable to the children when they enter the labor market.
INDIA – NEW DELHI – A health clinic for the “Untouchable” population – a project proposed by Chuck Wright, Regional Medical Officer, U. S. Department of State.
Although the caste system in India has been outlawed, discrimination against the “Untouchable” class continues. The Kasturbha Balika Vidhyalya School, located in a very poor section of urban New Delhi, serves 750 lower caste girls from grades 6 – 12 (ages 11 – 19), 250 of whom live at the school. These girls have no access to medical care unless they have a serious medical emergency.
The Trust has funded the creation of a small clinic at the school which will provide on-going basic medical screening and treatment to the girls. Volunteers from the medical community agreed to donate time at the clinic and it is hoped that the program can be an example to other schools.
INDONESIA – JAKARTA – Renovation of a day care unit for children with cancer – a project proposed by Michael Thoman, Foreign Service Officer, and Benny Junito, Embassy Political Assistant.
“Harapan Kita Children’s Hospital is one of five hospitals in the greater Jakarta area that provides treatment and care in pediatric oncology. The day care unit consists of one room with eight beds used for outpatient chemotherapy sessions.” The room is small and not at all friendly or cheerful.
This project is intended to renovate the room and provide toys, books and games for the children. U. S. Embassy volunteers and volunteers from a children’s foundation will work together to renovate the room. Funds from the Trust will support their efforts.
INDONESIA – SURABAYA – Installation of a septic system and toilet at an impoverished school – a project proposed by Tara Visani, spouse of Maurizio Visani, Information Program Officer at the Surabaya Consulate.
Tulip Indonesia is a nongovernmental organization started in 1998 by a group of Dutch women, which now has volunteers from nine countries. The group raises money for school renovations and tuition for impoverished children. Tulip Indonesia now addresses the need for a septic system for one of the most impoverished schools, where children have been forced to urinate in the gutter outside the school or pay to use the toilet at nearby businesses. Funds from the Trust are being used to install a toilet and septic tank for the school.
KENYA – MOLO – A kitchen facility at a school for orphans and abandoned children – a project proposed by Douglas L. Briller, Security Engineering Officer, U. S. Embassy, Nairobi.
“The Chazon Children’s Center is a privately run school that takes orphaned, abandoned and under-privileged children from the Molo, Kenya area and provides them with education, nutrition and care at little or no cost.” The center was started in 2007 by Samuel Kimatha and Lucy Njenga, who sold their businesses and used the proceeds to fund the center, which started with 23 children and now serves two to three hundred children, many of whom receive their only meals each day at the center.
The center has relied on a very small wooden cooking shed that provided little protection from the elements and no hygiene. Funds from the Trust are being used to build a new kitchen structure that will be more efficient, safe and hygienic.
KYRGYZSTAN - BISHKEK – Improving sanitation and hygienic conditions at a group home for children with disabilities – a project proposed by Vicki Burnham, Foreign Service Health Practitioner, and Dr. Magazova, a physician employed by the U. S. Embassy.
Center Obereg is a rehabilitation center opened in 2003 by volunteers concerned by the lack of educational resources for children with severe disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, autism, mental retardation and traumatic brain injury. Funds from the Trust will improve physical conditions at the center through the installation of a shower, a toilet and a hot water heater. (Before their arrival water for bathing has had to be heated on the stove.) The replacement of severely damaged linoleum will make the floor easier to clean and will protect the children from tripping, and the replacement of a door will keep the cold out.
MEXICO – GUADALAJARA – Expansion of a “Healthy Living” program to 15 public schools – a project proposed by Vice Consuls Erin Williams, TJ Dunaway, Suzanne Wong, David Stier, and Robin Cromer, and by Julie Korb, Consular Assistant and spouse of Vice Consul Lawrence Korb.
After First Lady Michelle Obama started the “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity, a team from the Consulate General in Guadalajara raised money for equipment and materials to launch a “Healthy Living” program in several schools. The program included an educational talk, dance activities and healthy snacks, along with a poster contest called “What Healthy Living Means to Me”.
Funds from the Trust enabled this team to expand the program into all 15 public schools in Guadalajara.
MEXICO – CIUDAD JUAREZ – A small medical office for an underserved community – a project proposed by Jerome Sherman and Marlene Phillips, Foreign Service Officers.
“A grisly war between rival drug cartels has transformed Ciudad Juarez into one of the most violent cities in the world.” Between the violence and the global economic crisis, the once booming town is now crowded with unemployed people who have no money for medical care. “Jesus es Mana,” an evangelical group with ties to neighboring El Paso, Texas, has been working with a group of young professionals to construct a small medical clinic staffed by volunteers and provide basic medical care for the impoverished people of Ciudad Juarez. Construction of the clinic was halted due to a lack of funding for materials.
Funds from the Trust are paying for the materials needed to finish the project. Consulate personnel are working side by side with the local community to get the clinic built – a collaboration which is helping to break down barriers between Consulate personnel and community members.
MEXICO – MERIDA – A vegetable garden, medical care and supplies to meet basic and educational needs at an orphanage – a project proposed by Maureen A. Smith, Section Chief of the U. S. Consulate in Merida.
Amor y Vida is a nonprofit shelter founded in 1989 for 30 children who have suffered neglect, abandonment and abuse. The orphanage barely gets by on the private donations it receives, leaving no resources for improving the physical environment or educational opportunities offered to the children. Funds from the Trust are being used to remove a section of the concrete playground and plant a vegetable garden (which the children will help to tend), to make other building improvements and to provide educational materials and experiences for the children.
NAMIBIA – KATATURA – Seed money for an income generating project for a youth group – a project proposed by Debra Mosel, Deputy Director of USAID/Namibia.
Katatura, in the capital city of Windhoek, is a section of the city set up in the 1950s as an apartheid township and is now home to many of the poorest residents of the city. The Young Achievers is a voluntary association of Katatura teens and young adults who are promoting educational and professional development opportunities for their members. They designed an income generating project in the tourism market which will not only support the organization, but will also develop skills and future opportunities for the participants. Members of the Young Achievers are being trained as tour guides for the many tourists who have expressed interest in learning more about the people of Katatura.
Seed money from the Trust was used to purchase uniforms and training for the guides, and to set up a marketing program. Fees paid by tourists will allow the program to continue as a self-sustaining business.
NEPAL – KATHMANDU – Improvements for a bakery opened as a livelihood project for disadvantaged women – a project proposed by Rajiv Malik, Embassy Financial Management Officer, and his spouse, Sandra M. Malik.
This women’s livelihood project was started with funding from churches and private donors with the goal of employing as many disadvantaged women as possible. The women are being trained in baking, sewing and quilting. Recently the project obtained space for a bakery/café which is intended to be self-sustaining in the future.
Funds from the Trust will help “establish the bakery with appropriate shelving and display racks and additional machinery that is needed.”
NIGERIA – LAGOS – A basic health clinic on Tomaro Island for impoverished residents – a project proposed by Prasanna S. Arvind, Community Liaison Office Coordinator; Linda Goodman, Office Management Specialist; and Kris Arvind, Vice Consul, all from Consulate General-Lagos.
“Tomaro Island is an impoverished island of about 50,000 residents located off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria, 10 minutes by boat from the U. S. Consulate. Most of the residents are either fisher folk or unemployed. The island had no medical facilities or medical doctors.” The lack of a medical facility hampered efforts by the U. S. Consulate medical team and the local medical community to conduct regular “medical camps.” It was determined that “the island was in dire need of a sustained and consistent medical presence.”
Funds from the Trust provided materials to build a one room building to be used as the island’s medical clinic. Twenty volunteers from the U. S. Consulate staff and family committed time to the building project.
NIGERIA – LAGOS – Equipment and supplies to disseminate medical knowledge and health in free medical clinics – a project proposed by Dr. Jan Flattum-Riemers, Regional Medical Officer, Lagos Consulate; Seun Kuteyi, Consulate Nurse; and Dr. Ena Onikoyi, Medical Director of First Providence Medical Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria.
Since 2009 the First Providence Medical Foundation has provided free health clinic and screening facilities to the indigent population in Nigeria. In collaboration with the U. S. Consulate, this organization conducted preventive health screenings, including blood pressure and blood sugar analysis, dietary advice and sanitation education, for residents of coastal islands who had no access to healthcare.
Funds from the Trust will be used to purchase a projector and laptop with compact disc capability and a copier to disseminate information in local languages, enabling the First Providence Medical Foundation to conduct health education and to address health issues in simple lay terms.
PAKISTAN – KORANGI TOWN, KARACHI – Equipment for a student laboratory at a charter school – a project proposed by Mary Vargas, Political Officer, and Jennifer Bridgers, Consular Officer, both at the U. S. Consulate General, Karachi.
Educators Dar-us-Salam School, a charter school run by a private foundation, has a student population of over 1500, most of whom come from working class families. “Madrassa education is usually the only viable course for children from working class families,” but the tuition at Educators Dar-us-Salam School is kept low, and the school “offers a secular education with a broad based curriculum to children from a very vulnerable segment of society. “ Funded by private businesses and donors, the school lacks an adequate student laboratory, which is necessary for senior students to be competitive for university admission.
Funds from the Trust will be used to equip the student laboratory, a project that will also help to improve relations between the U. S. Consulate and the local community.
TOGO – LOMÉ – Expansion of classroom space and establishment of a computer room at an elementary - middle school – a project proposed by Natalie Dosiere-Spencer, spouse of Lanta V. Spencer, Embassy Economic Officer, and Loretta E. Bass, spouse of John C. Kmetz, Embassy Political Officer.
Le Nouveau Monde (The New World) Elementary and Middle School in Lomé, Togo is an award-winning school serving working and middle class students. “With a slogan of ‘honor, virtue and labor,’ this school inspires young people to respect one another and the community, and to work hard in order to succeed.” Because of its excellent results and its affordable tuition, the school is operating at maximum capacity. “The school subsists on its own private financing without government funds or help,” but “there is an increasing unmet need for the use of modern computer technology.”
Funds from the Trust are helping to add classroom space and a computer lab. The Foreign Service grant applicants both volunteer at the school, providing English language learning to elementary level students who would not otherwise receive training in English until they reach age eleven.
UGANDA – KAMPALA – Design and construction of a public park and playground – a project proposed by Virginia Blaser, Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, and Mitch Blaser, spouse of Virginia Blaser .
“Kampala has well over 1.5 million people, and yet there are almost no public parks or play areas in the city.” “With an exploding population – more than seven children per woman – children are everywhere in the streets.”
The grant applicants are combining funds from the Trust with their own money to design and build the park and playground and are enlisting family and local Kampala friends, as well as Embassy personnel, as volunteer assistants.
UGANDA – KAMPALA – Improvements at an animal shelter – a project proposed by Wolfgang Hladik, Epidemiologist, Center for Disease Control and Prevention based at the U. S. Embassy.
The Uganda Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (USPCA) is a nongovernmental organization which operates The Haven, a shelter for animals that houses up to 100 dogs and 25 cats until they can be adopted. The Haven runs free veterinary clinics in slum areas for rabies vaccinations, deworming and neutering, provides Animal Humane education courses in the local schools and lobbies against cruel animal practices.
The Haven has been over-crowded and unable to provide services to all the animals in need. Funds from the Trust are being used for necessary repairs to the kennels and for the expansion of the available space.
UGANDA – KAMPALA – Nutritional supplements for a children’s prison – a project proposed by Trisha Miller Manarin, spouse of Louis Timothy Manarin, Embassy Political Officer.
Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Center for Youth has been an impoverished place with no electricity and no social worker. The center provides no medical care, no education and very little food for the children who are imprisoned there. “The Center is for juvenile delinquents and ‘stubborn’ teenagers who are dumped there by family members.” Street children are placed at the center by the police and - if no relatives are found - are forced to remain there until they are 18.
Footstep Uganda is an nongovernmental organization that has been providing what it can for the children -- a small amount of basic food, clothes, medical care, and school fees for about 100 children ages 3 to 17 -- but the children, who receive only one meal daily consisting of Posho and beans, suffer the effects of malnourishment. Funds from the Trust are helping to provide weekly food supplements for the children.
UGANDA – KABALE – Transforming an existing “Readers Corner” into a public library – a project proposed by K. Anita Mpambara Cox, spouse of Paul C. Cox, Embassy Management Officer.
Kabale, a city of 597,000, had no public library. In partnership with Books for International Goodwill, the Mpambara – Cox Foundation, a charitable organization created by the grant applicants in 2008 and dedicated to advancing global understanding, shipped nineteen pallets of used books to Kabale, resulting in the creation of a “Readers’ Corner” in the Computer Literacy Center. This rudimentary “Corner” became very popular, with an average of 500 visitors per month, and demand outpaced the manual and informal book borrowing service.
Funds from the Trust will be used “to extend the shelving units, add 10,000 books along a bare wall, establish a computerized library system and train a librarian, transforming the Readers’ Corner into the only public library in Kabale.”
UKRAINE – ODESSA – Repair of toilet and shower facility at an orphanage for special needs kids – a project proposed by Kathleen Hennessey, Consul General; William Humnicky, Consular Officer; and Parvina Shamsieva-Cohen, Consular Associate, U. S. Embassy-Kyiv, Ukraine.
The 150 children who live at Orphanage #34 are between the ages of 7 and 17, and their conditions range from learning-disabled to autistic. The living conditions at this orphanage are very poor, and the funding received from the government covers only salaries of the staff and feeding of the children. The structure, built in 1900, is “challenged by outdated plumbing and heating systems and is in a sad state of disrepair,” especially the toilet and shower area for the primary school children.
Using funds from the Trust for materials, apprenticeship training teachers and older children who live at the orphanage are performing the repairs, giving the children access to a functioning and sanitary toilet/shower area.
UZBEKISTAN – TASHKENT – A children’s book publishing initiative – a project proposed by Laura S. Whitton, spouse of Matthew D. Whitton, Foreign Service Officer.
“Following Uzbekistan’s declaration of independence in 1993, Uzbek was declared the official language of the country with a switch from Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin alphabet. Generations of Uzbeks had been schooled in Russia and or Uzbekistan with books written in Cyrillic. With children now studying Uzbek in Latin characters, there is a generation gap between what parents can read and what their children are taught to read and there are very few Uzbek children’s books written in Latin text.”
Hoping that this project will “be a spark in children’s publishing that would spur Uzbek writers, illustrators and publishers to create books that can be enjoyed by very young readers and their families,” the applicant received funds from the Trust to pay for illustrations for two high quality Latin-text books to be presented to local publishers for production, distribution and sales.
VIETNAM – BAC NINH – Improvements to school libraries – a project proposed by Thomas E. Moyer, 7th grade son of David Moyer, Foreign Service Officer, and Audrey Moyer, Foreign Service Officer, Hanoi, Vietnam.
The 13 year old grant applicant is working toward the level of Eagle Scout, which requires that he complete a project that helps his community. He has been involved with an organization called Blue Dragon, an Australian charity that helps street children sent by their parents to earn a living in the city and "also has projects in the country-side to help keep kids at home with their parents so they can be safe." The applicant's project is to “create a small library in a primary school in a poor province in Vietnam and to fix up the secondary school library in the same village.”
Funds from the Trust are providing the necessary supplies for the libraries. The applicant has recruited volunteers to help him paint the rooms, build the shelves, get book donations and design a mural for the children to paint.