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Thursday, April 30, 2015

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE - Helping survivors recover and rebuild their lives as soon as possible

Donations are urgently needed to help survivors of the killer earthquake in Nepal.

Efforts are underway to save lives in Nepal in the aftermath of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has devastated the nation. So far, the death toll has climbed to more than 5,000 people. Thousands more are injured, and nearly 450,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

The long-term implications of this tragic disaster are frightening in this impoverished nation.

We are asking for your help today so that we can begin helping families recover and rebuild their lives, even as disaster relief efforts continue.

A donation of $50, $75, $100 or even more if you are able, given the enormous need, will ensure that families devastated by the earthquake can begin rebuilding their lives as soon as possible. The Government of Canada, recognizing the enormous need, is matching all eligible donations dollar-for-dollar up until May 25, 2015 (Learn more about the Government of Canada's donation match.).

Please give what you can so we can help as many survivors as possible in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.


Donate by phone at (toll-free) 1-866-525-HOPE(4673).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Alem's Journey

Alem Alazar, a dear friend of HOPE and former Commissioner of Ethiopia's Water Resources Commission, shares his personal journey in this poem, "On The Move".

On The Move

Childhood Journey

My first journey that I recall,
Happened before I was aged four,
A joyful trip for mom and me,
Eager as I was my father to see,
Leaving his native village in the north,
We moved to his new home far in the south,
To live happily in one house,
A family united for ever at last,
Forgetting the hard days of the past,
A child’s wish came true,
A move that brought me a break thru,
Under God’s wing and in his guidance,
Healthy I grew in lasting sustenance.

Moving Thru Maturity
Learning to succeed aspiring for better,
Went to study more and moved on further,
Into the south country deep to its center,
Commenced a future of cherishing water,
Precious and essential for life so ever,
A divine gift requiring our care,
A scarce commodity in many dry regions,
Where drought and famine regularly happen,
Resulting disaster for millions that suffer,
Thousands perishing in saddening manner,
Desiring to assist in lessening the pains,
Determined and committed for community gains,
Acquired the skills and lead several teams,
Searched for water, got it near and clean for users,
Managed it well and taught about it to several others,
For three decades provided service,
Until hard times of no peace no justice,
When one must depart for personal safety,
And move on forward looking for security.

From Nairobi to Vancouver & Beyond
Stateless refuge unsure of the coming,
Transit by Kenya to a new beginning,
In western Canada beautiful Vancouver,
Happily resettled hopeful of the future,
My family intact all of us together,
But I still remain mindful of water,
A dear commodity to the poor near or far,
Everyone and everywhere mutually belonging,
Prepared and willing in generous giving,
What one knows and cares for the good of passing,
To fulfill my duty and purpose in life,
Even in hard situations continued to strive,
In dry or wet regions fittingly doing,
What is good and worthy so real in meaning,
A two-decade mission carried out from here,
Completing works in regions that are poor,
Closing the finals of the field work motions,
But remain active in community functions,
Benefiting my being in leisure-most actions,
Still will keep on rolling in the water-rich BC,
Respecting habitat in all its lands and seas,
Enjoying the beauty and cherishing the essence,
Of the province blessed in natural presence,
Glory and honor to the utmost enabler,
Who made it possible for me to reach so far.

Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 HOPE Film Premiere & Dinner in Vancouver is just one week away!

A new chapter will be written in the life of HOPE International Development Agency and the lives of impoverished families in Cambodia one week from today when friends of HOPE gather in Vancouver for our 40th Anniversary Celebration 2015 Film Premiere & Dinner at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

You’re invited to join us and enjoy a wonderful meal, the company of friends, live music, and an opportunity to transform lives in Cambodia through your giving.

This year’s film, shot on location in Cambodia, gives you an intimate glimpse into the lives of families living in rural Cambodia. You’ll also see the amazing work that's being done by Cambodia’s poorest families as they lift themselves out of poverty.

HOPE International Development Agency
2015 Film Premiere & Dinner

Friday Evening, April 17, 2015
5:30pm Reception & 6:45pm Dinner
Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building)
1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, British Columbia

For more information, and to reserve your tickets, please call us at 1-604-525-5481. Ask for Jet Takaoka (ext. 19) or John King (ext. 11).

Not in Vancouver? Look for events in your province this April and May and plan to join us as we celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The community of Midh Ranjah works together to reduce suffering and vulnerability in the wake of flooding

In September 2014, the Chennab River in the Sargodha district of Punjab, Pakistan, wreaked havoc on hundreds of villages. The river overflowed its banks and flooded hundreds of acres of farmland.

Farmers watched in horror as the murky water flooded their crops and destroyed their main source of livelihood. The flood pushed the already poor families further into extreme poverty as they lost everything they had, including their homes.

Farming families were devastated. And in the midst of all this suffering, support from the government was insufficient to compensate the families for their losses.

Finding hope

Thanks to the generosity of Canadians, HOPE International Development Agency was able to partner with a community in Midh Ranjha and provide them with emergency help and supplies.

In response to the offer of help, the community formed a relief committee made up of community leaders, farmers, religious leaders, laborers, and government workers to determine the best way to distribute the emergency support and relief to community members, especially those most in need.

The committee identified the most vulnerable members of their community, such as women that are widows or have very small land holdings, and women with large families but only one income source. These families were truly the most vulnerable, uncertain as to where they would find their next meal in the wake of the flood. The community worked together to assemble and distribute ration packages of ghee, sugar, flour, rice, tea, onion, lentils, matches, salt, and chilies to these families.

The community had found a way to help the most vulnerable among them. And the recipients of this help were both overjoyed and amazed. None of them had ever been given this type of support.

The support provided not only met the immediate needs of the most vulnerable but also started the community on its journey of recovery. Equally importantly, especially for the women in the community, the support showed them that someone cared enough to give this support, and their own community cared enough to make sure the women received the help they so urgently needed.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Celebrating 40 years by telling the story that matters most.

Our story began 40 years ago when a few people here at home came together to find ways to help the world’s poorest families lift themselves out of poverty.

Our story, however, is not ours at all – it belongs to the poor.

The poorest of the poor author our story, and a new chapter is written every time a person or family becomes free from poverty.

Compassionate people here at home also author our story. It is their generosity that has enabled 20 million people to transform their lives over the past 40 years.

This year, as we celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed, we invite you to join us at one of our 2015 Film Premiere & Dinner events across Canada.

You will enjoy a wonderful meal, the company of friends, live music, silent and live auctions, and have an important opportunity to transform lives in Cambodia through your giving.

This year’s film, shot on location in Cambodia earlier in 2015, gives you an intimate glimpse into the lives of families living in rural Cambodia. You will also see the amazing work that is being done by these families to lift themselves out of poverty.

Look for events in your area this April and May and plan to join us as we celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sasikala overcomes her disability and poverty!

When Sasikala permanently injured her left arm and leg she knew life was going to get even harder.

Sasikala’s first concern wasn’t for herself. She was used to hardship. War had torn through her small Sri Lankan community years earlier and her family lost everything when they fled the violence.

Her biggest fear was that she wouldn’t be able to care for her family like she had before her injury. Three young daughters and an ailing husband were depending on her, but her disability was making it almost impossible to earn even a little bit of income.

Yet amidst all the suffering and worry, Sasikala and her family found hope!

Sasikala joined a self-help group in her community. The group helped her overcome her disability by providing training, a small low-interest loan to purchase a few goats, and a connection to her community that’s restored her self-esteem.

Today, Sasikala continues to raise goats. There’s ample income from the sale of milk and meat, and even more to come as she expands her herd.

There’s food on the table, and money to care for her chronically ill husband and put her children through school.

You can enable people in Sri Lanka, just like Sasikala, overcome disabilities and become self-reliant. And when you do, you’re also helping the entire family of a person with a disability.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Reducing Malnutrition in Honduras

Throughout Honduras, rural communities are deprived of food, water, and other basic needs. Families are vulnerable to malnutrition and a variety of illnesses.

In 2013, HOPE International Development Agency started working to improve the living conditions and health of people in Comayagua County, one of the most isolated and neglected communities in Honduras. A large majority of rural Hondurans lack the basic knowledge and know-how to protect and nourish their health.

A World Bank study shows that 10% of newborn babies in Honduras are underweight due to malnutrition, 50% of children between 2 and 6 months of age suffer from anemia, and 29% of Honduran children 5 years and younger have a slow growth rate.

HOPE International Development Agency began to working with families in Comayagua County to help lower these percentages and increase the overall health of their communities.

At the beginning of 2013, the program’s area of operation had a malnutrition index of 10%, but by the end of the year the overall malnutrition index was reduced to just 7% in the 248 communities where the program has been implemented.

Nelson, a young child from one of the communities of Comayagua County, exemplifies how a small amount of support can build up and empower families with knowledge and capacity that enables them to live healthy lives.

Nelson’s mother shares their story...

“My fifth son Nelson was born weighing 6lbs, 12oz. He was a beautiful baby.

Twelve days after his birth, I took Nelson to his first weight monitoring appointment with the HOPE program in my community.

I learned that my son had lost 1lb, 4oz. in just a few days. I told the health volunteer that I was not producing enough milk. The health volunteer taught me how to make soy milk and to add ferrous sulfate. I gave this to my son for a couple of months and he began to improve little by little.

But then I stopped the treatment. I didn’t know it was so serious that he wasn’t gaining more weight. When Nelson was 4 months old, he became constantly sick with diarrhea. I was told that he was extremely dehydrated and he was given an electrolyte solution from the medical volunteer team that HOPE brought to my community. I started treating Nelson with this solution and he became much better in a week’s time.

Today, Nelson is 13 months old and is at an adequate weight for his age. I am so happy to see him healthy and gaining weight!”

The story of Nelson and his mother shows how the poorest of the poor have the ability to care for themselves if they have the knowledge and support needed.

HOPE International Development Agency’s mandate is to build up people like Nelson and his mother and help them learn how to lead healthy lives.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Alex tells her story of hope from Cambodia

Since 1975, HOPE International Development Agency has been helping the world’s poorest people change their lives for the better. The generosity of donors has enabled us to touch the lives of 20 million people worldwide over the past 40 years.

Throughout much the organization’s history, HOPE International Development Agency has also been providing opportunities for Canadians of all ages to experience life in the developing world by participating in our Understanding Needs in Other Nations (UNION) volunteer program.

Last summer, Alex Taneda, a student at Walnut Grove Secondary School, travelled to Cambodia with a UNION team to gain greater insights into how poverty affects people in the developing world and see first-hand how small contributions – both financial and physical – can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.

Alex documents her amazing experience in this short film that helps shine a light on the exciting work happening in Cambodia and the types of life-changing experiences that HOPE International Development Agency is helping create for Cambodians and Canadians alike.

HOPE International Development Agency has been working to improve the lives of people in rural Cambodia since 1979. As one of its flagship initiatives, it is only fitting that this year’s annual fundraising dinners, held across Canada, will showcase the organization’s history and work in Cambodia.

You can learn more about our work in Cambodia and help us celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed by joining us at one of our upcoming 2015 Film Premiere and Dinner events in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Our first event is on Friday, April 17, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

For more information on UNION opportunities, or to join the next UNION team travelling to Cambodia from July 6 to July 24, 2015, please contact Rainbow Choi, UNION Program Manager, at or toll-free at 1 (866) 525-4673, ext. 20.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

40 years of helping the world's poorest families

“What is past is prologue.”
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

As we reflect on the past 40 years and what has been accomplished through the commitment of so many supporters of HOPE International Development Agency, we also reflect on who we are as an organization.

An obvious focus of our organization revolves around the attribute of hope - it’s in our name, after all.

Dr. Gordon Livingston, a psychiatrist who has studied human happiness for more than 30 years, says there are three things that make people happy: meaningful work, meaningful relationships, and a sense of hope for the future.

While the first two points seem relatively straightforward, we reflect the third. How do we find hope for the future?

Dr. Livingston points out that we must reflect on the past objectively, and not romanticize it with too much nostalgia. Nostalgia is the enemy of hope, tricking us to believe that our best days are gone. If we have a realistic perspective of history, recognizing both the triumphs and challenges, we open up possibility for change. We look forward to our best days being ahead, not behind.

What a poignant reminder for us as supporters, volunteers, and staff of HOPE International Development Agency. We do not forget what is behind. We value the lessons we have learned over the past 40 years.

No period in our history is superior to another. Each period of time unfolds with its own merits, as we struggle to help the poor in different unique contexts. We wrestle with the world we live in. And at the same time, we grow in our understanding of what helping the poor means as we continue to strive forward, looking to the possibilities of change for so many disadvantaged communities around the world and to the changes we experience ourselves as history unfolds.

What is past is prologue. Our past forms who we are today as the next story of extending compassion to the neglected poor unfolds.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A little encouragement and help goes a long way!

Farming families in the Ubangi region of Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo have been through a lot lately.

A difficult growing season, and fear caused by Ebola as it spread across West Africa, made life very difficult this past year. Yet despite the difficulties, the families thrived - growing nearly five times more corn than usual because of the training, tools, seeds, and other support they’ve received.

A recent event, however, has shaken their confidence. A catastrophic barge accident, caused by a massive windstorm, sent one-third of their hard-earned corn harvest to the bottom of the Congo River. Had the corn reached its destination it would have earned the families four times more than if sold locally.

You can help these families recover from their loss, increase the amount of corn they plant and harvest, and significantly increase their income this year.

A portion of your gift helps provide low interest loans, immediately after harvest, to cover the cost of transporting some of the corn to the big markets where it fetches four times as much money as it does at local markets. The corn that isn’t transported to the big markets is sold in local markets or kept for personal consumption, ensuring that the community and families benefit locally as well.

Growing and selling more corn, at a fair but higher price, is crucial to the success of families in Ubangi as they work their way out of poverty.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Grannies and Gardens: Taking steps to improve resiliency for victims of HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Today, approximately 35 million people are currently living with HIV worldwide. Since the 1980s, the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa has been at the heart of global development efforts.

Although prevalence rates have remained relatively stable since the early 2000s, at nearly 18%, South Africa has one of the highest prevalence rates in the world. What’s more, in the province of KwaZulu Natal, where HOPE International Development Agency has worked since 1981, the prevalence rate is dramatically higher. The most recent available data has assessed KwaZulu Natal’s HIV prevalence rate at 39% – double the national average.

The crisis in KwaZulu Natal is exacerbated by the fact that roughly half of the province’s 10.2 million inhabitants live in poverty. Lack of access to proper nutrition and healthcare increase the likelihood that those who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS will fall victim to complications associated with the disease.

Sadly, many who die leave children behind. These children are usually cared for by relatives, often elderly, who are themselves deeply impoverished and struggle to meet the children’s nutritional needs.

Over the past four years, our work in the province has taken the form of providing direct food aid for 40 vulnerable families headed by elderly women (“grannies”) with no other means to support the 120 orphaned children they care for.

In 2014, we helped these 40 grannies establish gardens in two communities in the township of Pietermaritzburg to significantly increase the fresh and nutritious food available to them and the orphaned children under their care.

Fresh spinach is now readily available and cabbage is a staple
With the support of their communities, grannies like Ma Thembi have begun gardening activities that are not only improving general health and nutrition, they are also increasing individual self-sufficiency and reducing community reliance on direct food aid.

Ma Thembi showing the successful lettuce harvest
Even the children are excited to help Ma Thembi in the garden
Through sustainable gardening activities, entire communities are now working alongside the needy, helping to reduce existing stigmas associated with poverty and HIV/AIDS.

In Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, communities are coming together to address both the physical and social needs of those most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Over the long-term, these important activities will lay a foundation for the empowerment, education, and transformation of these communities by increasing their independence and enhancing their resiliency against future hardships.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

40 years is cause for celebration!

We’re celebrating 40 years and 20 million lives changed and you’re invited!

Join us at one of our spring 2015 HOPE International Development Agency 40th Year Celebration Film Premiere & Dinner events in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

You’ll enjoy a wonderful meal, the company of friends, live music, and an opportunity to transform lives in Cambodia through your giving.

This year’s film, shot on location in Cambodia, will give you an intimate glimpse into the lives of families living in rural Cambodia. You’ll also see the amazing work that's being done by Cambodia’s poorest families as they lift themselves out of poverty.

Look for events in your province this April and May and plan to join us as we celebrate 40 years and 20 million lives changed.