Archive for Uncategorized

News Behind the News: July 2014

// July 28th, 2014 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.

News Alert: Refugees From Mosul, Iraq, Facing Starvation

Iraq Victims of Isis

Christian and Shi ite families, residents of Mosul, recently had their lives shattered as Isis, the terrorist break off from Al Qaida, took over their city. We have families living in horrible conditions with no funds even for food. $25 covers basic food for a week for a family. $50 allows us also to provide some toiletries and a few more items. They are desperate. You can help:


Section One: Feature Article of the Month

2014_06-logoIslam and International Humanitarian Law

With many of the current episodes of armed conflict taking place in predominantly Muslim countries, IRIN is currently running a series of four articles which examine the points of correspondence and differences between Islamic doctrine and international humanitarian law. The series has the following titles:

Islamic Law and the Rules of War
Jihadi Jurisprudence? Militant Interpretations of the Rules of War
Can Islamic Law be an Answer for Humanitarians?
Rough Guide to Islamic Rules of War

It is impossible to do justice to the full series in this short summary, but a few key points can be extracted. Among these are that there is no single authoritative text that lays out the rules of war.

In the first title above, it is explained that there are three main sources for Islamic scholars: the holy book, the Koran itself; the hadiths, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad; and the military conduct of the Caliphs or temporal rulers of Muslim lands. To some extent, these sources contradict one another, which leaves the field wide open to divergent interpretations of what is and what is not permissible.

There is a considerable correspondence between the basic injunctions of Islam and modern international humanitarian law in the areas of protection of civilians, treatment of prisoners, and avoidance of destruction of civilian property. The basic principle appears to be that the harm caused by war should be limited to that necessary to achieve the military objective. One quotation from the Koran is:

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits; surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.”

Yet there is also a doctrine of defensive war which relaxes the limitations on conduct, and, as applied to situations such as the conflicts in Afghanistan or Somalia, where foreign non-Muslim forces are fighting on what is considered Muslim land, enlarges the definition of legitimate targets far beyond the Geneva conventions. Thus, the Taliban define combatants as not only those who bear arms but as anybody who takes employment with or who aids the invading forces. Even in such cases, the Taliban and al Qaeda take their stand on principles (they just locate them at a different point) and deplore the behaviour of extremists who take life indiscriminately.

Humanitarian agencies often seek to understand Islamic law in order to negotiate access in conflict affected areas, and find some hope in the concept of “aman” or safe conduct, which may be extended by fighters to humanitarian workers. But experienced negotiators caution that before relying on such pledges, it is necessary to know who is giving the pledge and the geographic extent of their control. In the same vein of caution, they point out that not all fighters are even aware of Islamic principles in the conduct of war.

Section One: Focus Countries


Tree Planting For Profit Program Now Impacting Many

In Kabul Province, GHNI signed contracts with 3 new farmers who were each given 8,000 cuttings. Next year, GHNI will buy back one set of cuttings from the farmers, and will also be given one set as a way to pay back the loan of the cuttings. In this way, the farmers can earn income from the trees and also pay back this year’s loan.

From our team working in GHNI Afghanistan:

“In Bamyan Province, 11 farmers received cuttings, each of different amounts. These are on loan only and next year they will return to GHNI the same number of cuttings they received, but can sell or use the remaining cuttings they obtain from the trees.”

Burkina Faso

Launching Good Nutrition in Saneba Village

A short term team from Australia was able to use their expertise and experience in a culturally appropriate way by teaching essential and transferable principles on good nutritional practices as well as practical demonstrations. One team member was teaching the community how to make their own ‘bag garden’ to grow a variety of vegetables. This is a simple, economical solution requiring small amounts of water that will help provide much-needed nutritional balance in the lives of the villagers.

Burma (Myanmar)

2014_06Self-Sustaining Villages Emerging!

There was a time when Burma had one of the highest rates of leprosy prevalence in the world. Thanks to a sustained campaign by national authorities, in 2003 the country achieved “elimination” of leprosy as a public health issue, a level defined by the World Health Organisation as less than 1 case per 10,000 people. Community health is the centerpiece of our Transformational Community Development (TCD) training in rural villages.

Our partner reports:

“We conducted TCD training at Paletwa Town, Southern Chin State, Myanmar in March. 30 workers from different villages attended. They all agreed to put into practice what they have learnt at the training to their respective villages/local churches. We all are thrilled and believe that this program will be largely benefited by the village communities. We have raised funds through TCD program at Yatkha Ward, Paletwa Town. As a result, a well was repaired. That well was finished on April 7, 2014. As a second step, we are planning to make pavement to the bathroom with cement.”


Character Lessons Impact Families Living in Midst of Violence

Our GHNI team in Ezbit el Nakhl Village writes:

“Recently there was a big fight in the region between people. One man was killed and many people injured. We hold out hope for these people and wish peace for them.

“In the meantime, children prepare for school exams. We wish the best for them. We can see clearly many changes in the life of the children. We are thankful for that.

“Recently, we presented moral lesson about honesty under title ‘Be Honest.’ We also presented lesson about mercy under title ‘Be Merciful.’ We also teaching them Math, English and Arabic. We presented lesson about work hard in your life under title ‘You Will Succeed if You Work Hard.’ We presented lesson about ‘Help Your Friends.’

“Every child in our institution participated what he learned from lessons and how to make a good effect in the community to bring change. Every time we encourage children with biscuits and sweets.”


Family’s Livelihood Renewed

Our GHNI team in Ethiopia writes:

“Mohamed and his wife and their four children live in Garmaam Village. Mohamed was among the first people to understand what we were trying to teach when we started working in his village. Life was very difficult for Mohamed and his wife to raise their children. He did not have nearly enough income to feed and educate their children. His income was dependent on his cattle and when drought happened, many times he lost them.

“When he first met our Transformational Community Development (TCD) workers, he was encouraged by the ideas the workers explained. He immediately felt his future could be brighter and that he could change his and his family’s lives. After Mohamed learned agricultural methods, he started farming with a TCD group. He planted many different vegetables for his family to eat and also to sell in the market. Two months ago Mohamed made 6,400 Birr ($330) from one harvest. He is very happy and he has plans to expand his field to generate even more income!”


Women and Children Lead the Way Out of Rural Poverty

Our GHNI-India team writes:

“Transformational Community Development (TCD) in Jatapara Village is going well. The men of the village are most of the time out, working in the city. Unfortunately, whenever they are in village, they are drunk. They will not be in a condition to talk to them. But women of the village have caught the vision and they are initiating to bring a change in the village.

“Women had taken initiative to form an income generation committee. They are contributing small amount per month to develop a central fund. This fund will be used for giving micro loan for income generation project.

“Education project is also going well. Other than the lessons before school time, they are learning other skills like dance, music, drama etc.”


A Model Agricultural Pilot Starts to Multiply

“Now I believe that it’s still possible to grow cocoa in our village!”

These are the words said by one of the farmers joining the program, Pak Sabaruddin near Sendana. By seeing successful cocoa farmers in a place where the climate conditions were the same as those in his own village, Pak Sabaruddin received a new hope and has since been one of the hardest working farmers in the village.

In the past two months we have seen the farmers from the group joining the program become more and more confident about what they are doing. These new farmers are asking advice and expressing the desire to visit the plantations where grafting has been successful. The farmers joining the program from the beginning are starting to understand how much knowledge and experience they have learned the past year and are ready now to share with the people who know less than them.


Hope for Improved TB Diagnostics for Children

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine holds the hope of improved diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in children. Researchers examining children from Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa examined genes in the blood of infected children that were either activated or suppressed, and thereby identified a “signature” that could be used to predict the presence of TB with over 80% accuracy. The hope is this knowledge could rapidly be used to formulate a diagnostic test for use in field conditions.


Rural Poverty is the Most Neglected

IRIN is carrying a news report about the urban/rural divide in access to WASH (water supply, sanitation, and hygiene services) in Laos. Whereas in urban areas in 2012, 88% of residents had access to improved water supply and 91% to improved sanitation, in rural areas the corresponding figures were 64% and 48%. Inadequate WASH services are associated with high rates of diarrheal disease and continuing high infant mortality.


Water Supply Threatens Livelihood

A story that appeared in IRIN starts out on the hardships faced by farmers but morphs into an account of the problems of water supply. The common thread is the low rainfall which Lebanon has received over the last year, which some fear is becoming a permanent trend. Even if the current drought should be short-lived, the problem of water mismanagement is long-standing. It is estimated that half the water collected is lost due to leakage from broken pipes and wastage.

GHNI is working both in refugee camps and poor villages to help the locals solve these issues.


Women’s Wellness, the Story of a Trafficked Young Business Woman

Excerpt from a story told by our GHNI Nepal staff during a lesson:

“…After 2 months, a regular customer proposed Meena to marry with him. She did not answer him but her friend who was part of the staff of Casino suggests her to marry with him. She got married and when she became pregnant, her husband and her ‘broker’ Uncle sold her in Prostitution Centre. And not only that, but her sister Sheela was also sold in the same place. But Sheela’s boy friend came with the rescue team and they rescued the two sisters.”

Our village worker reports: “This month I have been working in 3 villages and taught lessons on Slavery Prevention in 2 of them. Also, taught Health Education Class, many of which are related to Slavery Prevention.”


Polio and Measles on the Rise

The last few years have not only seen resurgence of wild polio cases in countries from which it had been almost completely or fully eradicated, but also the murders of vaccinators by Islamic extremists. In the light of this recent history, it was no surprise to learn that another disease preventable by immunisation, measles, is also on the rise in Pakistan, with over 300 deaths in each of 2012 and 2013.

However, an article by IRIN points the finger at other factors to explain the low and declining immunisation coverage rate (down to 54% according to the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey). Mismanagement and corruption are implicated as major factors undermining public health efforts, with a widespread absence of commitment to serve the general public.


Palestine’s Looming Water Crisis Continues

The dry winter throughout the Middle East has also thrown into stark relief the water supply situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and particularly Gaza, according to an IRIN news report. The shortage of water is so bad that more than 30% of Gaza households receive water for only 6-8 hours every four days.

The shortage of water is driven partly by a shortage of power to operate pumps, and partly by the depletion of the coastal aquifer which is the main source of supply in the absence of permanent rivers in Gaza. Due to the absence of any coordination between Israel and Gaza, both sides are over-depleting the coastal aquifer, with the result that a UN report predicts the coastal aquifer will be unusable by 2016 and beyond repair by 2020.

This is a growing crisis with no obvious solution in sight.


Seeking Safety for Women and Children

One in 16 women in Somalia is likely to die of childbirth related conditions, while fifteen percent of children born will not see their fifth birthday. Sexual violence is commonplace, to the point that a Human Rights Watch spokeswoman declared “rape is an everyday fact of life for many women and girls in Mogadishu”.

Nor are women safe in IDP camps, indeed, as reported last month in IRIN, women living in camps are particularly vulnerable. In the absence of any law enforcement, perpetrators enjoy complete immunity from the consequences of these crimes.

GHNI has been working in villages with partners for several years, seeking to help these women.


Women have a special reunion after one year

Women have a special reunion after one year

Hope in their Eyes

Our GHNI-Jordan team writes:

“This past month we have had two Partner Teams come through and work with the Syrian families in Jordan. They have brought hope and visited over a hundred families. They along with us were able to sit with them and listen as the families opened up and shared about their struggles and pain. The food boxes are a bridge to the families. This is how we view progress here as the families continue to come and there is no definitive way to map out progress. The hope in their eyes is our progress.

“The plan with the Syrian Crisis is to continue to search and find new families, partner with these Syrian people, and try and create Transformational Community Development (TCD) and Vocational Training Projects for them. Our plan is to help them become stable in this new community that they find themselves in and to help them find hope. We are looking for creative ways to help the Syrian families in Jordan and are constantly in contact with them.”

News Behind the News content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.
We welcome comments to



“Everybody Can Change”

// July 4th, 2014 // No Comments » // Uncategorized


Everybody can change and so can we!  Keep your eyes peeled because is getting a makeover.

Reveal of the new and improved is coming this fall, 2014!

News Behind the News
February 2014

// February 28th, 2014 // No Comments » // News Behind the News, Uncategorized

Content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.


Feature Film Include GHNI’s Trafficking Prevention Efforts

GHNI is honored to be included alongside other organizations in the upcoming movie release, #standwithme.  Learn how you can take action against slavery and make a tremendous impact on ending poverty!

Section One: Focus Countries

Nigeria—Diarrhea Decreasing

Nigeria—Diarrhea Decreasing


50% Malnutrition in Rural Ethiopia

Villagers in Megaladi Village find their solution!  Vegetables Help 28 Families!

“It’s great when you experience success sooner rather than later.  Although we have been working in Megaladi for a couple of years, we have only recently started a new initiative of collective farming through our Agriculture Committee. Many people from the village are excited and encouraged by the early results.

“Now approximate 50 people, representing 28 households are engaged in our irrigated small vegetable garden program.  Most of the land is covered with tomatoes, potatoes, and a variety of root vegetables.  We have been working hard in the community to show the benefits of TCD and it is good to finally taste some degree of success through your help and this new initiative.”


Turkish Minority Poor Want Education

Books to Aspiring University Students. A Volunteer Doctor Gives of Himself.

“With the help of many of you, Dr. K was able to deliver 50 sets of University Test Prep Books to poor Zaza students in the community where we usually work.  This is a very important test that is the only metric used for deciding if and where students can go to university.   It was a lot of books.  Dr K shared how education is an important part of preparing for the future and that we (and you!) will be wishing the best for all of these students.”


Nepal Suffering from High Human Trafficking but One Village is Changing This!

“As most women are uneducated in the village, they are vulnerable for human traffickers to easily make them their prey. Therefore, realizing the importance of education, we have started teaching them how to read and write, appointing one volunteer who is teaching five days a week one hour in the evening. Now, from 4pm to 5pm, these women are getting adult education in their old age.

“As the women showed interest to learn to read and write, there was no place where they could be gathered for classes. The village worker taught a group of men how we could develop our own community by our own resources. Then we started collecting locally available resources to build one classroom. People gathered locally available grass, bamboo and wood to build the hut. Within 15 days we completed this hut with the active participation of the people. Now we don’t have any problem gathering the people for TCD lessons in the village.

“This small act of community participation in the development of society has shown that if community can stand together, then there is nothing which couldn’t be achieved. This has boosted the morale of the people in the village.”


Diarrhea Decreasing, One Village at a Time

“Aisha, Blessing, and Amira are three small girls, amongst several other children in Dogon Gada who suffered incidences of diarrhea within the past year. Our Transformational Community Development (TCD) Worker and our school teacher discovered that the children have not been practicing hand-washing as they had been taught in the past. So they began to teach hand-washing again within the village and in the primary school.

“Within the quarter, the trio of girls had become diligent in washing their hands, particularly before meals. This prevented them from suffering from diarrhea like they used to. Their parents are very grateful for this TCD teaching because the children are healthier now. Not only that, but they no longer spend hard-earned money on medications.”


Indian Tribals Suffer From Alcohol Abuse and Boredom

“Jharla is a poor farmer from Dhokar Jhara. Most of the time he would drink and not do work. But after seeing other farmers who have learned from Transformational Community Development (TCD) about income generation, Jharla also decided to do second crop for additional income. He has planted potato and mustard.

“When I talked to him about this change, he was very happy and said, ‘This income will be enough for me to buy clothes for the family for whole year.’ ”


Recovering From the Violence, One Family at a Time with Education and Micro-Loans

“We succeed to find 12 ladies and we started swing training December 7. This training will take 3 weeks. After that, we will do testing to see how they doing. Everyone who pass the test, we will give her a sewing machine. We will write a contract with them and continue following them after training. Every lady will pay back a fixed amount each month. Through this amount, we plan buying new sewing machines for a number of other women so we can expand the circle of our service.”


Villages Mostly Overlooked in Development

Villagers Multiplying Education as Lessons Empower Community

“The new computer centre in Bendall is up and running! Our local Transformational Community Development (TCD) worker writes about this and the Health Lessons he has been teaching:

‘The female students have finished registering for the first course, which will teach Microsoft Word. Their lessons began on December 1st. Meanwhile, 5 male teachers who are under 28 years old are also learning computer skills, as well as 12 boys who have never used a computer before. These will be regular students at the centre.

‘The men who benefitted from the TCD lessons are already teaching their families about the health lessons, such as disease prevention. One of the men who attended the lessons, Elan*, is 38 years old and has 4 children. During the health lessons, he learnt how to check blood pressure and afterwards he went and bought a sphygmomanometer so he can check the blood pressure of himself and his family.’

“This is good news! High blood pressure is a particular problem in the area and it is exciting to see locals taking the initiative after their TCD lessons and teaching their families what they have learnt.”

*For purposes of security and well-being, “Elan” is a pseudonym of the person being helped by this project.


Burkina Faso
Water is a Crisis in Most Rural Areas but Village Unites and Solves Problem

“Last year we helped repair two water pumps in Saneba. In order to ensure community ownership in this sector, we created a Water Committee to ensure the follow-up and management of these pumps. The water committee has been doing a stellar job since.

“The water committee has come together to establish a fund that people who use the pumps pay into each month. A few months ago one of the pumps required another repair. However, this time because they owned the pump, they were able to pay for the repairs themselves.

“Inspired by what is happening in Saneba, one TCD participant, Claude, from the village of Pana (3km from Saneba) talked about how he shared the training with people in his village. Members of the community united and were able to raise the necessary resources locally to repair a further three wells! He was so excited about the training he received and how he has been able to use it to impact his community.”

Slum Families Transformed

“We have been conducting a training for eight women in Camba Berua for the last two years. These eight women have been diligent week in and week out, and have consistently progressed with our professional trainers. They have all begun small businesses using the skills they have learned not only as tailors but as small business owners and all the responsibility that brings (finances, sales, etc).

“This past December we held a graduation for all the women who faithfully attended the sewing program. During the graduation ceremony we allowed each woman an opportunity to speak and share their experiences in the sewing program. In the speeches, the women talked about how they had doubted themselves in the beginning or they felt like they wouldn’t be able to learn something new or wouldn’t be able to really contribute to the family financially.

“But now they all have a sense of pride, a new skill, and are contributing significantly to their families. These eight women have gone from thinking they were incapable of much to realizing how much capability they have. This is what real transformation is about, giving people the knowledge to succeed and encouraging them along the way.”


Culture Clash Amongst Syrian Refugees

“Living among her friends and fellow Syrians, Sabeen*, a young mother needed help. She asked for assistance but her friends would not assist her because she didn’t wear culturally appropriate clothing.  She insisted she was part of their culture even though she chose not to dress this way. This highly troubled her.

“Later, she was at the hospital with her young daughter and talking with the nurse. She told her the problems she had faced. The nurse told her of GHNI. The woman was hopeful and asked if GHNI would help her even though she didn’t dress for the culture.

“The nurse smiled and said, ‘Yes, they will help you.’”

*For purposes of security and well-being, “Sabeen” is a pseudonym of the person being helped by this project.

Section Two: Feature Article of the Month

Reconciliation Bring Hope and Change in Attir, Kenya
By, Jeff Power, GHNI US Partner Development Team

We’ve all heard the powerful expression, “Love your neighbor.” It’s not ultimately a religious or philosophical statement, but rather a statement of need – it’s what NEEDS to happen to change the world.

In that sentiment, we’re thrilled to announce — GHNI is beginning a Transformational Community Development (TCD) program with Attir Village in Kenya, a village that used to be enemies of a village that graduated from our TCD program this past summer:  Gambella Village.

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll recall that Gambella Village (of the Borana tribe) was brutally attacked in ’09 by Attir Village (of the Turkana tribe). Eight of Gambella’s men were killed and thousands of animals were stolen. It was tragic, almost ending Gambella’s existence.

We urged Gambella and all other Boranas NOT to retaliate, to help end the cycle of violence, and they agreed.

Tragedies always have the power to become life-changing opportunities if we’ll let them.

After the attack, our GHNI-Kenya team joined with the regional government to help facilitate peace between the tribes in that area. It worked! For the last two years Gambella and Attir have been on truly friendly terms, with their children learning side-by-side in the Gambella Primary School.

Attir has watched Gambella’s transformation. And they’ve opened themselves to learning. As a result, Attir committed themselves to forsaking banditry and learning how to truly transform. And we have committed ourselves to helping them.

And here’s some additional great news – Gambella’s leaders are joining in to help teach them, too.

News Behind the News content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.
 We welcome comments to

News Behind the News: January 2014

// January 30th, 2014 // No Comments » // News Behind the News, Uncategorized

Content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.


Do you like the “News Behind the News?”

We value your opinion!

Please take one minute to answer these three questions.

Sri Lanka--children in tutoring class inspired by GHNI

Sri Lanka–children in tutoring class inspired by GHNI


Burma   (Myanmar)

Education Isolation

IRIN reports the obstacles which confront children attending schools in Chin State, the poorest in the country, near the border with Bangladesh.  Just getting to school is a problem on account of the isolation of villages in rugged mountain terrain, where roads and bridges are frequently swept away in heavy monsoon rains.  For rural children, the chances of getting any secondary education are low, as virtually all secondary schools are located in the nine townships.

GHNI was recently invited by one of the Government Ministers of Chin State to start our sustainable work amongst the rural poor there. Education will be high on our agenda.



Some Churches Fight HIV/AIDS

Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia differ from the rest of the country in that they are largely populated by ethnic Melanesians, of whom many are Christian in contrast to predominantly Muslim Indonesia.  Some of the Christian churches, of which there are more than 45, are keen to join in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, which has a higher than average prevalence in these two provinces. One evangelical church runs a shelter for patients undergoing treatment, supplying the good nutrition that is an important adjunct to the free antiretroviral drugs supplied by the nearby government hospital.  Another crucial role of the churches is to combat the stigma and discrimination encountered by those living with HIV. (more…)


// January 27th, 2014 // No Comments » // Human Trafficking Prevention, TCD, Uncategorized


In recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we are excited to announce the launch of  AddressSlavery was created to raise funds and awareness for the prevention of human trafficking by collecting and selling high-quality, gently-used garments and accessories. 

AddressSlavery was birthed by former GHNI staff member, Jessica Marchand, who recognized the value of beautiful special occasion gowns that often get worn once and then stuck in the back of a closet somewhereJessica tells us, “I thought, ‘how many times do ladies really wear those bridesmaid dresses, engagement photo-shoot garments, or gala gowns? Yet we pay hundreds of dollars for them!’”  She devised a plan to help free some storage space in our homes while helping to free slaves across the world.

The funds raised will support villages being helped by GHNI’s Before I am Taken initiative to stop human trafficking in poor rural villages. As part of our Transformational Community Development program which aims to train villagers to solve their own issues of poverty, Before I am Taken incorporates human trafficking awareness and prevention training.   Eradicating poverty through this method is arguably the most viable solution to the problem of slavery today.

All funds raised by the sale of AddressSlavery products will be used to help fund an annual grant.  The grant will be awarded to a GHNI-sponsored village seeking to eradicate inequality and prevent human trafficking. (by way of: school tuition for impoverished girls, micro-loans for rural village women, fair-wage opportunities for boys/men at risk of becoming enslaved, etc).

We invite you to visit the on-line store,, where you can purchase products or donate items.  Also, please feel free to e-mail with any questions/suggestions that you might have.

Merry Christmas!

// December 25th, 2013 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

2013_12 Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

May you make many happy memories with your loved ones, from our family to yours.



Syrians Given a Little More Hope

// September 18th, 2013 // No Comments » // Disaster Relief, Syria, Syria-Refugees, Uncategorized


Children are so happy to receive gifts!

What began as Disaster Relief for Syrians fleeing to Jordan has become an on-going project for the GHNI team in Jordan.  Despite the hardships, the team is often rewarded by the gratitude of the Syrians.  The GHNI Jordan team shares about one such instance:

Syrian Refugees in Jordan

“Working with the Syrian Refugees in Jordan is a work in progress.  We are having many teams that are visiting homes of the Syrians and working with the children.  There are many Syrians still fleeing to Jordan.  This has become a never-ending work for us at the office.

 “With supplies and support coming in from many countries, we are able to make many home visits and work personally with the Syrians who have fled from their homeland.  Our plan is to continue this work as long as there are hurting people who are needing a little hope in their lives.

“It was evening and the little room next to the meeting was full of little children from Syria. We played and told them stories while the meeting was in progress with their parents.  After that, they were all given gifts from a Western organization. They were so excited to receive presents especially during the time of Ramadan. It is tradition to give children gifts but many parents from Syria are struggling to get something nice for their children. With the boxes, the parents felt happy that their children received something nice.”

Country of the Month:
August 2013

// August 1st, 2013 // No Comments » // Country of the Month, Ethiopia, Ethiopia-Megaladi, TCD, TCD Water, Uncategorized

2013.08 CotM EthiopiaMegaladi is one of GHNI’s newest Transformational Community Development (TCD) Villages. 

The living conditions in the village are particularly difficult.  For example, before GHNI, there was no potable water within the village for drinking or irrigation.  The villagers have seen other organizations attempt to help; all have withdrawn before any significant change happened.  Even the government has given up on them.

Abandoned in one of the hidden reaches of the world, the village has had hurt piled on top of hurt.  Understandably the people in Megaladi are a little standoffish and wondering, “When GHNI will abandon us, just like the rest?”

So, what makes TCD different than the other organizations that there is now hope of transformation in this community? 

ET 007 Megaladi 13Q2 Photo 1 of 1The answer is community ownership and community participation.  GHNI didn’t impose a formulated solution to their water problem, but asked the community to identify, prioritize and solve their own problems.

Working together, with GHNI’s help, the community identified a previously untapped water source.  Working together the people of the village, armed with shovels and motivation to work hard, prepared a pond whose water can be used for irrigation.  Now fifty men and women are working together to build terraced farmland for cultivation.

Together they have accomplished more than any of them imagined possible and slowly the people are warming to us and are beginning to trust us.

Still, many challenges face the people of this village.  Read the full story…

Hunger Inspires Bakso Business

// July 10th, 2013 // No Comments » // Indonesia, Indonesia-Tanakeke-Batu Ampara, TCD, TCD Food, TCD Income, Uncategorized

Daeng Tola and Daeng Baji in front of their home in Batu Ampara,Tanakeke.

Daeng Tola and Daeng Baji in front of their home in Batu Ampara,Tanakeke.

Tanakeke-Batu Ampara, Indonesia

From the desk of Phil, GHNI National Leader for Indonesia.  Phil and his wife, Tiffany, are Americans dedicating their lives to the Indonesian people since 2010 and 2008 respectively—

“It was one of those nights that make us love what we do despite the many challenges. Sitting on Haji Ero’s front porch of his traditional Makassar wooden house, sipping on local tea that’s almost too sweet to drink and talking until midnight about things that really matter in life; this is when the conversations get really good.  This is why we live in a third world country, eating less than desirable food and traveling on motorcycles to remote villages on roads that can hardly be called a road. On this particular night, we were sitting on Haji’s front porch, drinking our tea when Daeng Tola wandered over from the other side of the village and sat down with us.

“Daeng Tola and his wife Daeng Baji were one of the poorer families in Batu Ampara, living in an incredibly modest house built out of rattan and wood. For years, Daeng Tola had tried to support his family from his fish pond harvests, but it just wasn’t cutting it. Several times in the past year his family had gone for days without food, and he’d had enough. He finally took a risk that not many people in his village would be willing to take and went to the city looking for a job.  He had found a job selling bakso (Indonesian meatballs), working for a man who had several bakso carts and several employees. For more than eight months he had learned the bakso business, earning enough money to support his family.

“Now, sitting on Haji’s front porch, Daeng Tola’s eyes gleamed as he told me the ins and outs of his job, how much he loved making his customers happy and how he loved cooking the most delicious bakso he could every day. He told me how he really loved his job, and how during the past fasting month he had earned almost $100 USD selling bakso. He was providing an income for his wife and small daughter and he was proud of it.

“As long as I live, I’ll never forget Daeng Tola’s next words,

‘My dream is to one day having my own bakso business just like my boss. Someday I’ll be able to earn enough money to buy my own motorcycle and my own basko cart and then I’ll be a real business man. I’ll make enough money so my family will never be poor again!’

“As Daeng Tola shared his dream with me, I couldn’t help but think about our micro-credit program we had started in the slum area of Camba Berua and what a success that was, helping 8 women start their own small businesses.  ‘What if I told you that we have a micro-credit program available for entrepreneurs with great business ideas?’ Daeng Tola’s jaw almost dropped into his tea. I explained that if he put his ‘dream’ on paper in the form of a business plan, he could potentially qualify for one of our small business loans. We gave Daeng Tola a small business loan application and he almost ran home to talk to his wife about the new opportunity.

Daeng Tola's customers can either buy "sticks" of bakso for about $0.05 a stick or they can get a bowl of bakso soup with noodles and an egg for about $0.25.

Daeng Tola’s customers can either buy “sticks” of bakso for about $0.05 a stick or they can get a bowl of bakso soup with noodles and an egg for about $0.25.

“Six weeks later, Daeng Tola’s business plan was approved for our micro-credit program, allowing for him to get a motorcycle, a small bakso cart and all the necessary materials to start a bakso business for under $700 USD. Because of Daeng Tola’s example, two other young guys have started their own successful bakso businesses through the micro-credit program as well.

“For the past two months, Daeng Tola has been incredibly successful in his bakso business, earning enough money for him and his family to have a home in the city and to pay back his micro-loan every month. Now every week, I get to sit on Daeng Tola’s front porch, drinking tea that’s almost too sweet to drink and talking about things that really matter in life.”

Women for Change

// June 24th, 2013 // No Comments » // Kenya, Kenya-Ola Nagele, TCD, TCD Income, Uncategorized


Mama Asha Meeting with the “Women for Change”

Mama Asha Meeting with the “Women for Change”

Ola Negele, Kenya

GHNI Kenya shares the story of Mama Asha, a member of the Women for Change micro-entrepreneurship group in her village.  At one time she may have wondered how she would take care of her five children but not today!

“Three years has passed since GHNI come into this village to bring real transformation and restore hope and help to those who are hopeless and helpless. Transformational Community Development (TCD) is the key to transformation in the villages we are serving.

“For the ‘Women for Change’ group, micro-entrepreneurship has been the major tool of transformation.  Among a few women in the group, GHNI set up a chicken coop project which really generated big income for them. They hatched and grew 200 chicks, and all together they now lay 200 eggs per day. The women sell the eggs at 10 shillings per egg, generating a total income of 2,000 shillings per day ($25 or €20). When they save that money at the end of every day, they end up earning 60,000 shillings as profit at the end of the month. They share the profit among their 12 members, which enable each member to receive 5,000 shillings per month (about $60 or €45), doubling the average family’s income.

“Mama Asha is one of the beneficiaries of ‘Women for Change.’ With her other small business and a boost from the group she was able to take care of her five children who are school age. She is now happy to share the story of her success to many other poor and desperate women who need help just like her. She is so grateful to GHNI for that massive support.”