Past Grant Recipient Winners

2019 Grant Recipients

1. Development Expertise Centre (DEC), Uganda. $3100.

DEC‘s mission is to empower victims of sexual abuse and the sex trade with the skills that will go a long way in providing economic security for them. The overall goal of the project is to equip them with enough economic empowerment to support themselves and reduce their vulnerability.

The participants will be chosen by the District leaders, following the vulnerability mapping created by the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. The Buikwe District is greatly affected by the negative impact of sexual abuse and the sex trade, exacerbated by the many long distance truck drivers passing through. The project will work with 12 victims of sex abuse affected by child/ early/ forced marriages who will be equipped with tailoring skills so that they stop engaging in the petty sex trade. These will be young women ages 15-24.

They will be provided with nine sewing machines, twelve months of training plus on-going mentorship. Their first product will be reusable sanitary pads. They will visit schools where DEC is currently working to educate the parents and the girls about menstrual hygiene management and the advantages of reusable pads. This should generate a continuing flow of orders as they begin to explore creating other products, too.

The JHH grant will cover all of the expenses to give these young women a decent future.

2. International Transformation Foundation $5000


Venusti, a remarkable young man of 33 has created this project with two friends. He had a very difficult early life. His father was killed in the genocide when was 8 and his mother died (probably of PTSD) four years later. He and his 6 siblings took care of each other. A Catholic priest encouraged and supported him so he was able to complete High School with special emphasis in Civil Engineering. He could not afford to go to college and after various jobs, discovered the non-profit NGO world. His desire has been to improve the school system and to incorporate into it practical lessons and experience in the world of business.

His specific project is connecting small villages that have no source of clean water to the main water pipe, providing very low cost water to the students and the surrounding families. In this case, 580 students and 2500 others living in the community.

This is a (primary) school-based and students managed business selling clean tap water to community residents at an affordable price. It is both an educational and profitable business teaching students business and entrepreneurial skills, and generating much needed income for schools. The water kiosk at school project has a sustainable business model. Within two years, half the money paid for water will be used to repay the cost of the pipe connection and the water distribution kiosk. It will provide everybody in the community with clean, drinking, tap water.

The repaid loan will be used to create another water connection for a nearby village. Venuste is negotiating now to do this in Rwanda.

3. Guatemala -Rainwater Harvesting Tanks  $5000

Compartiendo Nuestras Benediciones  https://www.cnbong.org/  They fund many small projects in this region including educational scholarships for poor children, animal welfare projects, and environmental projects.

One of their current projects (K’aslem Ya’=Water of Life) seeks to address the problem of water scarcity in some neighborhoods in San Andres Itzapa. Water scarcity is such an extreme problem that during the dry season, families only have access to water in their homes for 1 hour once a month. This creates many problems for food preparation, hygiene, healthcare, and safety concerns for family members who have to travel long distances carrying heavy water jugs back and forth to their homes.

What is the project we are funding? The project we are funding through Jewish Helping Hands would pay for 3 rainwater harvesting systems to allow 3 families (approximately 30 people total) to collect and store 2,000 liters of water per week in large tanks that they can use during the dry season. As an environmental bonus, the families who are helping to construct the tanks will recycle more than 65,000 pounds of inorganic trash by utilizing eco-bricks in the construction materials (see photos below). As an additional bonus, they will also be planting 10 trees per family in an effort to increase the underground water supply.

4. Imagine Her Uganda $3200

The mission of the project is to leverage the power and potential of women for their personal, family and community’s growth and development.

Twenty women are being trained to open their own businesses. One step in their preparation is to design a product and make a prototype that would solve the problem of back, shoulder and heart problems caused in school children by their excessively heavy book bags. A panel of experts evaluates and judges the presentations. The best design is from Mary’s group. She has it on in the attached picture. The product with the greatest positive effect on society and the environment is from Group C.

Why? Because the book bag is made from recycled sacks and is waterproof.

Then the individual business ideas are presented by the women to the panel. Nathan has gone through this process before with 10 women, all of whom have opened profitable businesses, using the micro-loans  that Imagine Her has provided. Soon there will be 20 more. Nathan’s goal is to increase the number to 50 every 4 months.

Who are these women? They are urban refugees, young, marginalized and at-risk women and girls, 15 to 25. They were once shy and nearly lost. Now they are finding needs and generating profitable solutions. They are poised and able to think on their feet. They are eager to start their businesses. Their mentors are ready to stand beside them all along the way.

JHH will be providing this cohort with their $158 micro-loans which will be paid back within 6 months. Then the money will be used to support the next cohort.

5. Christophe’s Project Kigali

Christophe, former City Director for the Itafari Foundation, and his friends are personally helping to finance this project whose mission it is to give young people ages 15 to 25 a second chance for a decent future.

The District identifies those who have dropped out and are vulnerable on the streets. JHH will help to finance their training as tailors or seamstresses, providing “tool kits,” consisting of sewing machines and material supplies. Some of the 10 students have had horrific experiences in their young lives, all of them have lost one or both parents during the genocide. They are eager to enter a good field and to support themselves.

The training goes from January through June, followed by months of mentored work and skill improvement. Aline’s 4-year-old daughter Arianne models a newly made shirt in the current Rwandan uniform style.

Continuing Partnerships:

6. LOE Guatemala $2000

Jewish Helping Hands (JHH) has worked with Light of Esperanza (LOE) for many years in their efforts to improve the lives of women and children living in Honduras. Past efforts we have partnered on include pig, chicken, fish and corn cooperatives in the village of Vega Redonda,  which have been successful in providing numerous women and children with the means to start their own businesses. These businesses have generated income that has been used to improve the participants lives and the lives of their families. One individual to have benefited from such a program is Emerita, who used JHH funds to build a sustainable business raising and selling pigs. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Emerita is a great student and attends school in Dulce de Nombre, a town 30 minutes from Vega Redonda. In order to help Emerita with her studies moving forward, JHH is proud to provide her, and another student, Jacoba, with the $750 needed to cover the tuition for their 2nd year of high school. Both girls have reached out to JHH to let us know that they may not have been able to continue their studies if not for the gift and that they are extremely grateful. It is our expectation that these young women will continue their hard work and achieve amazing things for themselves and their community.

In addition to the school scholarships above, JHH is providing $1,500 to support a new “Food for the Children” project in the village of Los Naranjos. The idea of this project is to duplicate a similar initiative lead by LOE in the village of Delicias (up the hill from the Vega Redonda), where the proceeds from a pig project are used to buy food for the school children to eat breakfast and lunch throughout the year. This is a big demand, since the kids don’t usually have food to eat in the morning or afternoon. Given the success of this project in a Delicias, LOE is looking to expand their efforts and JHH is eager to help.

7. Philippines $1000

This is year 4 of 5 of sponsoring 5 students at Payatas Elementary School (through Philippines Humanitarian), which services the Payatas Community. Extreme poverty, crime, drugs, poor sanitation, and precarious employment are the primary community concerns. A distinguishing feature of the area is the Payatas Dumpsite, the largest open dumpsite in the Philippines. Most of the Payatas residents earn a living either as garbage scavengers, construction workers, or drivers. The students who go to Payatas Elementary School live in the area immediately surrounding the dumpsite and come from very poor families. While education is free in the Philippines, many students lack the money for school-related expenses. Jewish Helping Hands is awarding a grant of $5,000 to sponsor 5 children over the course of 5 years ($200 per child per year). The money these children receive will enable them to purchase uniforms, books, school supplies, and shoes.

Since we started sponsoring them, the students have been thriving in school.  We get copies of their report cards along with pictures and letters each year. One student, Orlean Casta, an 8th Grade student, wrote “Dear Jewish Helping Hands, I would like to thank you for your kindness and generosity you show us. I am very thankful to have you in my life. Because of your help, my family is not worried about my school needs. I promise I will study hard to aim my dreams. Thank you for your love and inspiration, always take care of yourself in everywhere you go. Love, Orlean.” Another student, Gehtel Grace Inda, wrote “Dear Jewish Helping Hands, Thank you for everything. You give us a hope and inspiration in life. I’m hoping your good health. Always take care. Gehtel Grace E. Inda”

8. Vietnam toilets/outhouses $1000

About 2.4 billion people — or roughly one-third of the world’s population — still lack access to proper toilets.  Jewish Helping Hands through it’s support of the Catalyst Foundation is working to combat this problem.   $1000 has been pledged by Jewish Helping Hands to build high-quality toilet/bathroom/outhouses in this rural Vietnam community.

An additional benefit will be a community driven, sustainable business enterprise program where community members  will be trained to start a plumbing business. This team would be able to install and maintain the toilets throughout the community, as well as provide a livelihood for their families. Jewish Helping  Hands looks forward to hearing and seeing the benefits of our project with Catalyst.

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2018 Grant Recipients

1. Philippines Humanitarian – $1000 a year (year 4) for 5 years to provide schooling for five children

Philippines Humanitarian (PH), an all-volunteer, certified non-profit organization, was brought together by the common desire of private citizens to provide educational scholarships and opportunities for disadvantaged children and their families in impoverished areas of the Philippines. One important component of the scholarship program with Philippines Humanitarian is that many of the scholars come back after graduating to volunteer the foundation. In fact, the current librarian/caretaker of the community library was once a scholar of the foundation.

The Jewish Helping Hands grant money will be used towards helping children in the Payatas Community. Extreme poverty, crime, drugs, poor sanitation, and precarious employment are the primary community concerns. A distinguishing feature of the area is the Payatas Dumpsite, the largest open dumpsite in the Philippines. Most of the Payatas residents earn a living either as garbage scavengers, construction workers, or drivers. In 2000, a massive trash-slide triggered by heavy rains buried thousands of homes and took many lives.

The students who go to Payatas Elementary School live in the area immediately surrounding the Payatas dumpsite and come from very poor families. While education is free in the Philippines, many students lack the money for school-related expenses. Jewish Helping Hands is awarding a grant of $5,000 to sponsor 5 children over the course of 5 years ($200 per child per year). The money these children receive will enable them to purchase uniforms, books, school supplies, and shoes.

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2. Bright Kids Uganda – $1,600 Rain Harvesting Tank and System in a Children’s Home in Uganda

Bright Kids Uganda (BKU) is a children’s home located near Entebbe, Uganda. The mission of Bright Kids Uganda is to rescue vulnerable and economically disadvantaged children from the dire circumstances in which they are currently living by providing them with an education, medical care, a loving home and other basic necessities. Bright Kids Uganda’s vision is to establish long-term community-based homes for orphaned, abandoned and neglected children and to provide them with loving support, education, job training and medical care.

At this time, BKU has only one small rain harvesting tank, leaving little to no water for other needs once the cooking and cleaning is done. The water bills for BKU are also quite high, putting a large strain on the budget. Furthermore, Uganda has been affected by a long drought, which has impacted the supply of water available. With the $1,600 grant from Jewish Helping Hands, BKU will be able to purchase and install a new rain harvesting tank and purification system along with pumps to bring fresh water into the dormitories for the children can have easy access.

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3. Northeast Earth Coalition – $5,000 Promoting local sustainability and food security

The Northeast Earth Coalition (NEEC) works at the community level to protect the environment and promote local sustainability and food security. The objective of the organization is to improve access of low-income communities to fresh healthy local produce by promoting community vegetable gardens.

The $5,000 grant from Jewish Helping Hands will be used to fund 2 important initiatives:

  1. The Urban Growers Program focuses on educating, coaching, and monitoring the work of volunteers working with community gardens to teach them how to grow their own local organic food in community vegetable gardens as a strategy to make fresh healthy organic produce accessible to low income families.
  2. The Environmental Initiatives Program seeks to educate communities about environmental issues, promote environmental protection, and develop and support community-level environmental education projects, and train local environmental leadership.

These initiatives are expected to support 110 low income families in Montclair, Passaic, Paterson, Bloomfield, West Orange, Totowa and Wayne by providing over 3,000 additional pounds of vegetables annually.

2017 Grant Recipients

1. Go Drill International – Liwale District in the Lindi Region in the southern part of Tanzania, $4000 Grant for one brand new fresh water drilled and operable well

Go Drill International serves the Liwale District in the Lindi Region in the southern part of Tanzania, focusing on the one large town of Liwale and the surrounding small villages. These extremely remote areas struggle severely with poverty. While the Tanzanian national average for poverty cites that 68% of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day, our partner, Go Drill, has determined that of the population they reach, almost 97% live in poverty. Before any other needs such as medicine, education, or hygiene can be met, Go Drill recognizes that clean, safe water is the most crucial element to survive and thrive in Southeast Tanzania.

The objective of the current project is to install a fresh water well within a village that currently does not have access to clean water. Go Drill will identify the site, drill, case, complete a borehole up to 100 meters deep, and install a concrete base with an India Mk II deepwell hand pump. Founder and on-the-ground director Scott Placke, hires and trains an all local workforce to install and operate the wells.

For more information about Go Drill International https://www.godrill.org

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2. Philippines Humanitarian – $1000 (year 3 of 5 year scholarships)

We continue to support five highly motivated young people so they can continue their education.
Here are some excerpts of letters they have sent to JHH:
  • I am grateful that you are always at my back and always ready in helping and supporting me. I promise that I will study hard and do my best toward my studies. You’re my inspiration. I want to become a good model to my three younger siblings. (Gehtel)
  • I am looking forward to participate to the upcoming event in our school – the “Math Olympics.” I am proud to say that because of your help. (Zhennid)
  • Thank you Jewish Helping Hands. I wish you will help more people in need. Thank you Jewish Helping Hands for this opportunity.  (Orlean)

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3. Blind Connect – Las Vegas, Nevada – $4794

Most of us take our vision for granted, not thinking about how heavily we rely on our eyesight in order to complete everyday tasks. For many with severe vision loss, however, performing basic tasks, such as cooking, cleaning and overall house management, can be a real challenge. Blindconnect helps some of the 58,000 people in Southern Nevada suffering from severe vision to combat these challenges, in hopes of allowing them to live more self-confident and self-sufficient lives.

Angela’s House provides a life-like mock home with a dining room, kitchen, washroom, bedroom, technology lab, and bathroom. Using this setting, Blindconnect staff and volunteers are able to train the visually impaired on a number of daily living skills, which are immediately transferable to any home setting. In addition, the sessions include training on communication techniques and Braille.

Currently, Blindconnect uses Angela’s House for nine skills training sessions per year. Each session includes six individuals who receive intensive instruction on a variety of tasks, over a three week period (90 hours). The Jewish Helping Hands Grant will allow Blindconnect to hold a 10th training session. This means that six additional individuals will be able to benefit from these amazing life skills training, inspiration and resources.

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4. Hands of Mothers (HoM) – Kigali, Rwanda $2700

The Hands of Mothers, Baho Chicken/Egg Cooperative, brings together women who are HIV+, often as a result of rape during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The women had been part of an agricultural cooperative until the government took the land for other purposes. With our support, their goal now is to purchase 250 high quality chickens that will be lovingly tended and roam freely.  Their eggs will be sold to high-end Kigali. The income will enable them to make enough profit to support their families. They hope to produce at last 200 eggs a day. The first hen was laying by the beginning of April – 19 by the end of May! The goals of independence and self-sufficiency seem quite within their reach.

The women say that they enjoy working with the chickens. When they bring out something for them to drink, the chickens all gather around. It reminds the women of how their mothers, after working in the fields, would gather around to drink water together. And then they smile!

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5. Gabriel Project – Mumbai, India $1000
Gabriel Project Mumbai assists children who by dint of their coming from impoverished families have malnutrition.
Gabriel Project provides hundreds of these children with a nutritious meal, education on nutrition and a health clinic. GPM sent a list of medical needs for their clinic which is the only clinic in this slum of 200,000 people. JHH is providing these life-giving supplies.

2016 Grant Recipients

1. Catalyst Foundation Community Education Center
Ninh Thuan, Vietnam $2500 Grant for Project Backpack

Chamalea Thị Phường_hope

This small, desperately poor village hamlet contains a tiny minority group: the Raglai. They are 100 families with 177 children who face debilitating discrimination. There is malnutrition and a low level of education. As a result, the children are at high risk of being trafficked.

Our grant will enable ten children to attend school. We will be providing them with school materials, a bike to get to and from school, food and routine check ups with a clinic/doctor.

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2. Mission for African Mothers, (MAM)
Kampala, Uganda $3990 for Single Expectant Mothers Economic Empowerment Project

Last year, we supported MAM’s efforts to help new mothers, ages fifteen to thirty, create a decent, sustainable future for themselves and their families. They live in the shanti towns in the Kawempe division on the outskirts of Kampala. One of our partners, Finance Trust, trained them in business management, entrepreneurship and loan management. The twenty women created a joint business of tailoring, making uniforms. The profits were then divided among them.

They also taught the skills they had learned making paper beads, necklaces and baskets to other girls and women. Now more than fifty are involved in the work.
More and more want to participate.

The knowledge obtained from tailoring as a business model will now be replicated in starting individual small businesses. Some of the mothers chose to invest their money into their own business plans; others chose to invest in their children’s education. In addition, our women are learning to save for the future.

Going forward, we are providing the supplies, materials and tools to enable the women to expand from tailoring into liquid soap making and cake baking. There will be continued micro-loans and insurance for the babies.

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3. Philippines Humanitarian
$1000 schooling of five children

Philippines Humanitarian (PH), an all-volunteer, certified non-profit organization, was brought together by the common desire of private citizens to provide educational scholarships and opportunities for disadvantaged children and their families in impoverished areas of the Philippines. One important component of the scholarship program with Philippines Humanitarian is that many of the scholars come back after graduating to volunteer the foundation. In fact, the current librarian/caretaker of the community library was once a scholar of the foundation.

2016Grant

Rhealyn Iya Mae de Leon (center, back row) is 11 years old and a 4th grade student. She wants to become an English teacher. She is shown here with her grandmother, her mother, and her two younger siblings.

The Jewish Helping Hands grant money will be used towards helping children in the Payatas Community. Extreme poverty, crime, drugs, poor sanitation, and precarious employment are the primary community concerns. A distinguishing feature of the area is the Payatas Dumpsite, the largest open dumpsite in the Philippines. Most of the Payatas residents earn a living either as garbage scavengers, construction workers, or drivers. In 2000, a massive trash-slide triggered by heavy rains buried thousands of homes and took many lives.

The students who go to Payatas Elementary School live in the area immediately surrounding the Payatas dumpsite and come from very poor families. While education is free in the Philippines, many students lack the money for school-related expenses. Jewish Helping Hands is awarding a grant of $5,000 to sponsor 5 children over the course of 5 years ($200 per child per year). The money these children receive will enable them to purchase uniforms, books, school supplies, and shoes.

2015 Grant Recipients

1. Mission for African Mothers, Uganda

Nathan is the 24-year-old volunteer, full-time Director of MAM (Mission for African Mothers – pronounced, of course, Mom. He heads a totally volunteer staff.

Nathan Advertising MAM

Nathan Advertising MAM

Our $5000 partnership with MAM is a two-pronged project called Single Expectant Mothers Economic Empowerment Program. One part focuses on the health and well-being of the future newborns by providing a year of free medical care. The other is a full-blown micro-finance training program, including vocational training in three areas (tailoring, hair-dressing and handicrafts) and culminating in $80, interest-free, loans to be repaid.

This will be its second year, after a successful one in which all were repaid, to be used for additional loans. The training has begun with the receipt of our grant and the possibility of additional funds from a Canadian partner.

Our MAM Mothers

Our MAM Mothers

There are 20 expectant mothers in our group, chosen from the five slum areas on which MAM focuses. What businesses would they like to create? Twenty hands are raised: a jewelry store, a stationery shop, a cosmetics/bookstore, a hardware store and a restaurant that would serve every kind of food from sushi (!) to spaghetti to hamburgers!

The Center will provide a homemade lunch as well as computer training. They have only two computers. We have three more for them but need to find someone coming to Uganda who can bring them in. Any ideas?

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2. Family Promise Carbon County, Philadelphia

Located in the nearby Pocono region of Pennsylvania, Family Promise of Carbon County aids homeless and low income families by providing shelter, meals and living essentials.  Since the organization began in 2011, 28 families have gone through the program, including 37 adults and 25 children.  Family Promise maintains a guest house that provides a home base for the current program guests during the days, and local partners such as churches and community centers provide overnight housing as well as dinners.

The goal of the organization is to return the participating families to a stable home environment, allowing guests to stay in the program for a maximum of 90 days.  As a part of the program, guests participate in life skills courses, learning skills in money management, legal aid, and home economics among others.  Through the efforts of the small but dedicated staff and board, families who go through the program are able to move on to a permanent housing situation in an average of 50 days!

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3. Light of Esperanza (Hope) – LOE – Honduras (Year 2)

We are continuing our very productive partnership with Shmuel and his extended family in Honduras.

Growing Corn

Growing Corn

After a most successful project teaching poorly educated teens how to create and run a corn cooperative, we are now enabling LOE to create a similar program in Jose del Basque for a group of women to establish a cooperative tilapia fish pond project ($1650).

Fish ponds were chosen because they had been most successful in the past. “It really does work and I think it is a great first initiative in any new village,” wrote Jason, a member of our Committee who visited there.

The grant will also continue to cover school scholarships for two teens, Delmer and Melvin, to enable them to complete their last year of secondary school. ($1000)

Melvin Studying

Melvin Studying

Here is part of a letter that Delmer sent to us:

Thank you Jewish Helping Hands for your help in our studies. With my grades, I am doing very good in the five subjects and have received the following grades: Science (90%), Technical Drawing (94%), Social Studies (98%), Civics (95%), and the Special Project (93%). 

I want you to know that it is an honor to work (represent) your organization, to belong to a group that is fighting to help improve the life of so many people. Thank you.”

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4. Rez Refuge Ministries – Arizona – $2500 (Year 2)

The Ft. Defiance neighborhood continues to need the Youth Fellow program because it needs people who believe that good things can come from what they have there. When they find young people who have that hope and vision, they provide them with an incentive to step in and be leaders.

In a streamlined version of last summer’s project, 3 Youth Fellows will be paid summer interns who work closely with the programming team to plan and execute summer programming for children and teenagers. They will receive leadership development training, workshops on poverty, power, and community organizing, and build close relationships with the adult team and one another that will help build their confidence, academic achievement, and influence in the neighborhood.

The Rez teenagers need to be challenged. The Youth Fellow program provides jobs for them in a town with a 57 percent unemployment rate. The program also helps by creating more community ownership of Rez Refuge among young people.

Ultimately, the Youth Fellow program is about community involvement, youth representation on the team, and youth power to make change. It is a laboratory for social change. It creates a refuge for their ideas and helps them realize those dreams. In a town where most residents fear our neighborhood, Rez Refuge is demonstrating that beauty and growth can come from what looks to be dangerous and in decay. The Youth Fellows help to do just that.

2014 Grant Recipients

1.Hunger Relief International – HRI – Guatemala (Year 2)*

We were hoping to be part of finding a permanent solution to the rural La46 community’s continuing water shortage, but there were too many obstacles in the way.

Instead, we are continuing to supply water filters as well as weekly delivery of trucks filled with water ($75 per week) to be matched by the Mayor. This will meet the full water needs of 100’s of people

La46 Women with water jugs

La46 Women with water jugs

We will also pay for the fabrication of twelve additional, safe stoves ($250 each), including stove pipes to remove the smoke and fumes from the residents’ homes.

“HRI is very appreciative for the partnership with JHH and the opportunity to reach more children and families with life-saving projects that help communities on their journey towards a better future. The wonderful people of La 46 constantly express their gratitude and commitment towards these projects.”

We have just learned, May, 2015, that HRI

“has been working with the Mayor of Cuilapa, the Government of Guatemala, the Embassy of Spain and now the Catholic Church on a large water project that will provide consistent and regular water to La 46 and to neighboring Los Chilitos. It is still a challenge but we have made tremendous headway in the last year and hopefully we will see the project take off in the next 6-8 months.”

This is the perfect conclusion to our work there!

(* See the 2013 winners for a fuller description.)

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2. Rez Navaho Reservation Community Center – Arizona

The Rio Puerco Center at Fort Defiance in the reservation was restored and transformed into a real gathering place only within the last two years, as the role of the gangs diminished. The community is desperately poor with 34% living below the poverty level; 57% of those 16 and older unemployed; and

only 37% of those over age 25 having completed high school.

The challenge is very great and motivating the teens to come to the Center’s programs and just to look up and make eye contact is a daunting task.

The goals are to increase the teens’ pride in being Navaho and in their very rich culture, to encourage them to treat each other as equals and to expand their horizons beyond their current comfort level. They also hope to involve the parents in the process as a positive, support group for their children. This will not be easy to accomplish.

The teens see the Center as a home away from home, a safe, welcoming place for them. Without the Center’s programs, they have little to do beyond electronics, skate-boarding, and drug use.

The plan is to expand last summer’s program to draw in some 40 teens. The focus will be on community engagement and Navaho culture as well as encouraging the participants to take more control of their own lives and futures.

JHH will fund the special leadership training program for five teen Youth Fellows. Under the able direction of Daniel, the Youth Center Director, they will gain skills leading them to become more independent and to take on more responsibility for their own lives and for community activities. They will also serve as leaders for the regular summer programs. And they will receive stipends.

They will participate in critical consciousness-raising training as well as discussions about who has the power – economic and political – in their community and how they can have and exercise power of their own, e.g., through voting, beautification programs and petitions for change, etc.

The limestone mountains surrounding the area are so magnificently uplifting. We can only hope that they will raise the vision and the hopes of these teens who struggle to create a meaningful life here.

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3. Light of Esperanza (Hope) – LOE – Honduras

Our scholarships for secondary education for Delmer and Melvin continued without a formal grant.

The Corn Cooperative was in full operation without additional subsidy funding from JHH.

The Corn Cooperative Boys

The Corn Cooperative Boys

(A second year proposal was accepted in 2015. See above.)

2013 Grant Recipients

Guatemala and Honduras

Cookies, Water, Stoves and Corn

“There is not even water to drink!” (Numbers 20:5)

In January, Rabbi Soffin went with Suzanne and Sean, young members of our Grant-making Committee, to visit the 2013 grant recipients in Guatemala and Honduras.

In Guatemala City, we met with Chuck of Plenty International who showed us how they were providing nutritious, high-protein cookies and soy drinks. We watched hundreds children and the elderly, who live above the old dump, come happily to the Center to receive them. Everyone was treated with loving care as members of the family.

We were told that we were the first group to go to Guatemala ourselves to see the situation there.

Open Fire Cooking

Indoor Open-Fire Cooking

Later, Efrain of Hunger Relief International (HRI) drove us to the village of LA46, an extremely poor area, inhabited by some 160 families, 600 people. There we met with several of the women. We had already decided to fund 20 fuel- efficient stoves and stove pipes. So we asked the women: “How can we help you?” To our surprise, they said: “Water. We have no water.”

The rainy season there is short, and this year there was no rain at all. There is a polluted stream miles away. Sometimes, the Mayor sends a tank full of water to them. Two tanks a week is enough, but he had sent only one two weeks before and then none last week. So, indeed, they had no water and like the Israelites in the Wilderness, they said: there is not even water to drink!

So we made an arrangement with the Mayor: if he would send one tank each week, JHH would pay for the second one. And, we would pay for 10 stoves, each one to be shared by two or three families. Now there would be much less wood needed (which they have to buy) and many fewer children and women suffering and dying from respiratory problems and burns, caused by the smoke of the indoor open fires. The Mayor quickly agreed, and now there is water in LA46.

After Suzanne’s return visit in July, HRI is proposing for 2014 a long-term solution to the water problem with our help and that of the Mayor. The Grant-making committee will make the final decision.

New Stove

New Efficient Stoves

From Guatemala, we flew to Honduras and met Angela, who, with her husband Shmuel, founded Light of Esperanza (Hope). She brought us to the village of Vega Redonda, where she was born and where her family still lives. We met the young boys, ages 13 to 17, who would join together to create a Corn Cooperative, under the direction of adults from the village. After a three year training, they would be helped to create their own corn business.

Corn Cooperative - Vega Redonda

First Corn Crop

As Shmuel later wrote to us, “the youth of the Cooperative are the pride of Vega Redonda! Everyone is talking about how incredible it is that they have this thriving business! Despite their young age, they have easily absorbed all of the agricultural and entrepreneurial advice provide by our organization, and have demonstrated that they are more than capable to manage a successful business enterprise.“

None of these young men had more than a sixth grade education, having to stop their studies to work on the coffee farms and to do other meager income-generating activities. It would be possible for some of them to continue their studies on the weekends in a special enrichment program. We are subsidizing the annual per student school costs of $500 for each of two students, Delmar and Melvin. (Interviews with Melvin and the four others on the cooperative are at  http://lightofesperanza.com/Cooperative_Project.php middle of the Light of Esperanza website.)

kid

Delmar

Delmer commented that he knows that he will have a bright future upon completion of his studies, and is focused on a professional career in business administration. He is very excited to study computers – as he has never before had the chance to use one, and has only seen one from a distance. Delmer also remarked that ever since Jewish Helping Hands came to visit Vega Redonda in January of 2013, he has been very excited to learn English so that the next time that we visit he will be able to communicate with us.

How To Help This Program:

Guatemala: Enable more safe stoves to be built ($250 each) or clean water to be available to poor women and their families. ($2500/year)

Honduras: Provide an annual scholarship for Delmar or Melvin ($500 each) or contribute to the cost of the Corn Cooperative ($1500/year).

Show these youth that we are eager to help them create a better future for themselves, their families and their community.