How Elisabetta Colabianchi of Kurandza is Helping Girls in Mozambique Go to School

While the world often seems like a rather daunting place, there are some truly amazing, inspiring people out there doing tremendous good and making an enormous impact on such critical issues as fighting poverty, climate change, educational opportunity, and improving the lives of women and girls. Over the years of running my blog, I’ve met some of these changemakers and have been impressed to learn that many of them are women (like Elisabetta Colabianchi, Founder of Kurandza) helping other women and girls around the world.

To be a woman or girl in the some parts of the world is a lot more challenging than a man or a boy: Most girls give birth well before 18, are married young, are not able to attend school, live in poverty and have less financial opportunities than men. However, when you invest in a woman or girl, the opportunity to make a difference and impact change is immense and creates a ripple impact throughout the entire community. That is why investing in girls and women is not only the right thing to do but also very smart.

This new series, Inspiring Women, is all about the courageous women who are taking a leap of faith and making a huge impact in the world. These women are not getting enough attention in the mainstream press so my goal is to honor them and shed light on their inspiring work.

Photo of Elisabetta and Percina, our co-founders of Kurandza

Photo of Elisabetta and Percina, our co-founders. Best friends and a strong team. All photos in this post are credited to Elisabetta Colabianchi.

Global Issues Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls
Andrex Angola

Andrex® partners with UNICEF to help save lives in Angola

Clean water, basic hygiene and sanitation – collectively referred to as WASH – are essential for the survival and dignity of people around the world. Despite being a basic human right, clean water and adequate sanitation is tragically not available to millions around the world; especially the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

It is hard to imagine that today there are around 2.4 billion people who do not have access to improved sanitation, and 663 million who do not have access to improved water sources (1). Without these basic requirements, the lives of millions of children are at risk. Children under the age of five are especially at risk, as water- and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death. Every day, over 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water and a lack of sanitation and hygiene. (2)

Angola, a country of roughly 23 million people in Southern Africa, has tried to move forward after 27 years of brutal civil war yet remains a struggling country with high levels of poverty, maternal and children under age five mortality rates, and one of the worst sanitation problems in the world. The most recent National Census figures (2014) report that more than 10 million people lack access to improved sanitation, with the majority of the unserved living in rural areas, where only one in four has access to adequate basic sanitary services (3). Open defecation rates average 40 percent nationally, with 74 percent open defecation found in rural areas. Only 36 percent of the population report that they wash their hands after defecation. As a result, contamination remains widespread in Angola, with frequent cholera outbreaks and a high level of deaths in children under age five caused by caused by diarrhoeal diseases – the vast majority of these caused by poor sanitation and hygiene [4]. The good news is that this can be improved and lives can be saved.

Andrex®, the UK’s leading toilet tissue brand, is partnering with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, to help tackle the sanitation problem in Angola. The Andrex® and UNICEF partnership is funding a Community Led Total Sanitation programme in Angola that provides knowledge and resources for children and their families about the importance of sanitation and helps them build their own clean, safe toilets. With knowledge and resources, communities are empowered to develop their own clean and safe toilets stopping the spread of dangerous, often fatal disease and also providing people with dignity and respect

Andrex Angola

Edson Monteiro, Water and Sanitation Officer for UNICEF engages with the Waleca Village on issues of hygiene and sanitation during the Andrex® and UNICEF field trip, May 2016. Photo credit: Slingshot Media

 

Tom Berry, head of sustainability for EMEA at Kimberly-Clark commented:

“Every child deserves a safe and clean toilet. Lack of basic sanitation affects people’s dignity and escalates the spread of life-threatening diseases that can be fatal to children and their families. My recent trip to Angola highlighted how people are positively affected by partnerships like this. In the three-year partnership, Andrex® and UNICEF are aiming to raise £600,000 and impact over 180,000 lives in Angola.”

Andrex Angola

Victorina Tchinhngala, 13 years old from Waleca, an open defecation free village washes her hands outside their latrine during the Andrex® and UNICEF field trip, May 2016 demonstrating how Andrex® funding into safe sanitation is impacting the lives of children and families in Angola. Photo credit: Slingshot Media

SOCIAL GOOD

An Afternoon Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”. – Mother Teresa

I have always been committed to volunteering and giving back either locally or around the globe. Since having children my focus has been more on them and volunteering at their  elementary school. Yet as they get older, there is less volunteer work needed so I decided it was time to branch out and find more volunteer opportunities locally.

One place I’d been longing to volunteer at is a fabulous non-profit faith-based organization called Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). Founded in 1987 in Minnesota by a Christian businessman, FMSC has produced nearly 900 million meals and shipped them to over 70 countries around the world. Last year alone, FMSC donated 191.6 million meals!

I had the pleasure of accompanying a good friend to FMSC November Gala and made a promise that I’d set aside some time to volunteer at one of their three packing plants here in town. I was inspired by their mission and their business model of volunteerism. Not one person is ever paid to pack a meal and no machines are used. Every single meal that goes out is hand-packed by volunteers around the United States (they have packing sites in Illinois and Arizona and mobile packing sites anywhere in the US). Furthermore, all meals are funded by donations.

Just to get an idea of the vastness of hunger, it is important to step back and look at the numbers. 1 in 8 people in the world go hungry every single day. That means almost 1 billion people do not eat each day. To me, it is utterly unimaginable.

IMG_0373

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New Beginnings and a Shot at Life

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

-Dr. Seus

For some reason these inspirational words form one of my favorite childhood books continues to inspires me.  Especially on day’s like today as I get ready to launch off and head out to our nation’s capital to start a new beginning as an advocate for the UN Foundation’s program called at “Shot@Life”.

I will be one of 40 or so attendees of the training program that starts tomorrow and I can hardly wait.

Photo above credit to Wiki Commons.  Children in Kindergarten in Afghanistan.  

Here is a brief overview of Shot@Life’s program and why it is so important to spread awareness and help out .  (Note: All this content is taken directly from their website at: http://shotatlife.org/learn/

The Problem:

This year, 1.7 million children will die from diseases that have all but disappeared in the U.S.  Why? Because one in five children around the world do not have access to the life-saving immunizations needed to survive.

A child dies every 20 seconds

Millions of children are disabled or killed every decade by preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest killers of children under five, and account for more than one-third of childhood deaths worldwide.

Global health disparities:

Seventy-five percent of unvaccinated children live in just 10 countries. For children in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Uganda, Chad and Kenya, access to vaccines mean the difference between life and death, a healthy life or a lifetime of struggle.

Immunity at risk:

Germs don’t need a passport. With so many children around the world unvaccinated, diseases that have been eliminated in developed countries — such as measles — can return.  Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keep our families healthy here at home.

The Solution:

It’s simple; vaccines save lives. Millions of children could be spared from measles, pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and other preventable diseases if we could simply get them the vaccines they need.

The good news is access to vaccines has grown significantly in the last decade. Currently, vaccines are able to save the lives of 2.5 million children from preventable diseases every year. With your help, we can reach even more. With your support, global vaccination programs can save the life of a child every 20 seconds, and stop the nearly 2 million unnecessary deaths that happen every year.

Progress:

Vaccines have won several battles against preventable diseases in the last few decades. Thanks to a coordinated global vaccination effort, the number of new cases of polio – a disease that once paralyzed more than 1,000 children a day – has dropped 99 percent in the last 20 years. The world is now nearly polio-free.

The Measles Initiative is on the path to similar success. The vaccination of one billion children in 60 developing countries since 2001 has decreased measles deaths by 78 percent, changing measles from a disease that used to be the leading killer of children to one that we are close to eliminating altogether. Groundbreaking new vaccines that prevent pneumonia and diarrhea, if distributed widely, also have the potential to save the lives of millions more children.

Why Vaccines?:

Immunizations give children around the world a shot at more “firsts.” Keeping kids healthy is the best way to ensure they reach the milestones Americans routinely celebrate. When a child begins life with the protection of vaccines, the door is opened to more developmental firsts—first steps, first words, a first day of school. Immunized children are more likely to celebrate their fifth birthday, do well in school and go on to be productive, healthy adults.

A healthier world truly benefits us all. Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keep our families healthy here at home, while improving economic stability around the world.

Above content from www.shotatlife.org.

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How can you help?  I will show you the way as soon as I get back from my training!  Stay tuned…..

Child Labor, Marriage, Education and Survival Global Health Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD