Our 2019 Year in Review
Over the first half of this year, we, along with so many others, have been dealing with the ramifications associated with the coronavirus on the world’s poor. Whereas in the past much of our funding went to skills-based programs for women and basic education for children, with schools closed along with the infrastructure that serves the world, millions have been left without any means to earn their daily wages and acquire food for themselves and their families. As a result, TFI has been busy just trying to keep those in extreme poverty alive, particularly children, and in 2020 created a new grant program for those living in the USA who have been hard-hit over the course of the year. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have been able to help many programs during this most difficult year. Nevertheless, listed here are those programs we helped in 2019.
Cambodian Community Dream Organization (CCDO)
The Cambodian Community Dream Organization (CCDO) was started in 2007 after building a few water wells in rural Siem Reap, but many realized that other basic needs were not being met in the villages. They now have schools and libraries, a solar-powered computer lab, and provide education and nutritious meals to over 1,000children each day as well as health and sanitation outreach programs in the surrounding communities. In 2019, we gave CCDO $6,000in order to pay for three after school feeding and educational programs at three new schools they are now working with in the poorest areas of Cambodia. The academic support that these high risk children receive will help them succeed in school long-term and maybe open doors to higher education and an opportunity to leave poverty.
Orthopedic Training Centre (Ghana)
In 2019, TFI donated $13,000 to the Orthopedic Training Center in Ghana to go towards the purchase of a medically-equipped van that will serve as a mobile clinic for the surrounding area. The mission of the OTC is to enable those with physical disabilities in Ghana, mainly children, to gain independent and productive lives. This year, The Forgotten International’s President, Tom Nazario, also visited the Orthopedic Training Clinic to learn more about their work and how TFI might be able to help in the future. In many parts of the world there exist no special services for those born with any kind of disability, and without an organization like OTC, these children would have no hope for a productive life. Before leaving OTC, Tom Nazario met a young boy named Zach who was born without the lower half of both of his legs. Zach is now being supported through our Eugene P. Mohan Medical Assistance Fund. (See below.)
Notre Dame Clinic (Ghana)
Source: Notre Dame Clinic
The Notre Dame Clinic in Ghana has a maternity ward that performs some 200 births each year. The truth is that throughout the world some 400,000 women die each year in child birth, most in Africa, and without organizations like the Notre Dame Clinic, that number would be much higher. In 2019, through TFI’s new Eugene P. Mohan Medical Assistance Fund, we were able to give the clinic $9,500 to fund new sterilization equipment for the clinic to ensure the safety of the women and children who seek help there. This donation from the Mohan Fund also provided funds for the building of a much needed security wall around the clinic’s perimeter. With our help, they can continue to save lives.
Volunteers for Amelioration of Rural Areas (VARAS) is an organization that seeks to bring sustainable projects for community improvement to rural areas in Ghana. They do this through programs that seek to raise funds to provide services to women and children which focus on health, education, and female empowerment. In 2019, we gave VARAS $2,500 to help them help others.
Delek Children's Foundation (India)
Source: Delek Children’s Foundation
This Foundation works to provide all children, regardless of their ethnicity or national boundaries, with the education they deserve. Working in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, they emphasize the importance of continuing the cycle of education through each generation, and preserving the cultures and practices of the Himalayan people. Monk Thupten Donyo has traveled the Himalayas for years looking for children who have been forgotten, but, when educated, can realize their dreams for a better future. In 2019, we gave the Delek Children’s Foundation $2,500 to continue his compassionate work.
Swati Kanak Durga Center (India)
When TFI first began supporting Swati years ago, they were primarily a day school for young children while also offering some computer and English language classes for older kids and young adults. In recent years, access to primary education in India has improved and the perceived value of education is increasing even in remote communities. As a result, more young children enrolled in government schools in 2015 than ever before, including a majority of girls. Swati has now changed their focus from traditional academics to an afterschool supplemental program. We have given then $2,500 to help them in this transition.
Source: Swati Kanak Durga Center
Sirjana Institute (India)
Source: Sirjana Institute
TFI is happy to support the grassroots work of the Sirjana Institute after learning, in 2010, about their important contributions to a long-impoverished community in western India. The girls and women here have few options in life other than to get married at a young age and begin having children. Through the vocational training made available to the young women and the academic scholarships offered to the children, Sirjana offers hope to this community. The graduates of the Institute are given assistance to find jobs in their learned trades of sewing, beauty salon services, and jewelry making. In 2019, TFI gave $1,000 to the Sirjana Institute to fund their sponsorship program that sends young students in the community to primary and secondary school, as well as to their tutorial class that provides additional educational support for children ages 12 to 18.
Tabitha Enabling Academy (India)
Tabitha provides education and support to children with special needs in one of the most remote regions of India. They offer traditional classes along with occupational therapies and daily life skills, and for children who may be bed-ridden or otherwise cannot come to school, they offer home-based education. Besides giving children opportunities, Tabitha also brings disability awareness to the community so families with children with special needs seek assistance early in the child’s development. In 2019, this academy was able to continue their work of providing special education to these high-risk children with the $5,500 donated from TFI.
Source: Tabitha Enabling Academy
YouthNet was founded by a group of young professionals in 2006, including an attorney who was our first guide in India when TFI decided to support grassroots programs there. YouthNet provides young people with education and information, encouraging them to get involved socially and politically and take on leadership roles in their community so that one day they can help others. Located in one of India’s poorest areas in the Northeast, YouthNet also sponsors students in the rural schools where education is lacking. TFI supports their educational program by providing funding to two primary schools: Mount View and Agape. This year, we gave them $4,000 to help them in their work.
Zilla Parishad (India)
The Zilla Parishad School was brought to TFI’s attention by one of our Board Members who grew up in that village in southern India. Having received an education that allowed him to be a successful businessman, he wanted to make sure the children growing up in his village today have the same opportunities. The first project was installing a water filtration system to reduce water-borne diseases among the students. Next was providing the high school with a digital classroom so the students can remain competitive with the latest technologies. Future plans include building a digital classroom for the primary grades and eventually building a new school in partnership with the local government. We look forward to seeing the gradual improvements in the community, as we plan for a large grant to be made in 2020. This year, $750 was given for some children’s school fees.
Source: Zilla Parishad
Margaret Okari Children's Foundation (Kenya)
In 2015, TFI heard about the Margaret Okari School and orphanage, and we were compelled to support their good work. Their rudimentary school was built in 2009, but their work with children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic started much earlier in a grassroots way by a woman taking in children who had lost their parents. The children are provided all the basics, but beyond that they are given life and leadership skills to build their own future. The school has grown to be one of the top performing in the region despite lacking modern facilities. In 2019, TFI gave $10,000 to the Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation to pay for general support related to the educational and housing needs of the 203 students who live and learn there, more than half of which are girls.
The Nest (Kenya)
The Nest Baby Village and Children’s Home was started in 1997 by a woman seeking to help children who are left without care when their mothers are arrested, typically for petty crimes. When the women are released, they are reunited with their children and stay at their halfway house until they get back on their feet. The Baby Village also takes in abandoned children under 2 years of age and cares for them until extended family can be found or an adoption can be arranged through social workers. Often the babies move to the Children’s Home after age two and are provided academic education along with the children awaiting their mothers’ release. Often, too, children come to The Nest with trauma from abusive backgrounds, and they are provided counseling and support to be able to rebuild their lives. This year, TFI gave The Nest $1,000 to help fund a medical fund for the children that live there and are in need of care.
One Heart World-Wide (Nepal)
Source: One Heart World-Wide
TFI first learned about the remarkable work of One Heart World-Wide (OHW) in 2014. Unfortunately, the very next spring, one of the most destructive earthquakes in the world struck this region. OHW serves pregnant women in the most remote villages of Nepal, and their success rate on reducing infant and maternal mortality is over 90% whereas these rural areas previously reported deaths 10 to 20 times the global average. OHW has been working to rebuild its damaged birthing centers while continuing to provide birth attendant and midwife trainings. This year, we gave them $2,550 to continue their efforts.
Water in Nepal (Nepal)
Water In Nepal (WIN) is an organization started by Northern California high school student Zachary Wong. WIN works to provide access to safe, clean water at in schools, villages, and institutions in Nepal. They do so by completing various water filtration projects and helping to improve water infrastructure in local communities. TFI began funding WIN after learning of Zach’s dedication to this project, and honored him with the 2019 Compassion Education Award for his continued efforts to bring clean water to Nepalese people, along with a gift of $3,000 to help him continue his work abroad.
Source: Water in Nepal
Hogar de la Esperanza "Mama Victoria" (Peru)
Source: Hogar de la Esperanza “Mama Victoria”
Founded in 2007 by Nelly Villegas, a remarkable woman who lifted herself out of poverty, this organization houses and supports women escaping domestic violence. Nelly frequently draws on her own savings in order to fill emergency needs, such as hospital bills. Here women are housed while their children are provided with additional education, and income is brought into the program through production and sales of gourmet chocolates, tamales, and painted pottery. In 2019, TFI donated $6,000 to Mama Victoria to help support the establishment of a sewing unit to bring more needed funds to the organization each year.
La Comunidad de Niños Sagrada Familia (Peru)
Started over 30 years ago by Miguel Rodriguez, Sagrada Familia has blossomed from a safe house for street children to sleep, into a large school, orphanage and medical clinic. Miguel developed this organization out of a family tragedy and now puts all his energy into providing love and care to all of the over 1000 children who are either living or coming into this community each day. Alumni of Sagrada Familia are now successful teachers, lawyers, and other professionals. We are always impressed by the results that Sagrada Familia is able to achieve as well as the personal attention given to all the children. In 2019, TFI donated $57,500 to cover the cost of providing some capital improvements as well as more hot, nutritious, daily meals for the children at this orphanage and school.
Project PEARLS (The Philippines)
Source: Project PEARLS
After a field visit to Project PEARLS in Manila in early 2019 TFI donated $9,000 to Project PEARLS, a portion of which was used in the organization’s discretion for their education center. Remaining funds were used to do something special for the children over the holiday season. In addition to educational support, Project PEARLS serves a nutritious, hot meal every day to hundreds of children at their different locations, one of which is in Tondo, Manila’s biggest slum and dumpsite where nearly 40,000 residents have been living in terrible conditions while the government has done nothing.
Angels Care School (Uganda)
The Angels Care School first came to our attention in 2012 when a former TFI volunteer, working at the time in rural Uganda for the Peace Corps, reached out to us to ask if we could help this community by building a much-needed water tank at their school. This school is inside a refugee settlement that cares for children escaping conflict in the surrounding countries of Brundi, Rwanda, the Congo, and Southern Sudan. The results of having a clean reliable water source improved the overall health and school attendance of the children, such that they became the highest performing school in their region! In 2019, TFI donated $20,500 to Angels Care to pay for new school books for the children, as well as some initial costs towards the building of a new pharmacy and medical clinic for the children who reside there. Funds for the new clinic have come from our Eugene P. Mohan Medical Assistance Fund. (See below.)
Friends of Orphans (Uganda)
Source: Friends of Orphans
Friends of Orphans offers rehabilitative services to former child soldiers who were abducted from their families, helping to integrate them back into their communities and recover from the traumas they experienced. The organization also puts a special emphasis on helping girls who have endured physical and psychological abuse, providing, for example, guidance, medical care, and programs to those girls who are now HIV positive and/or have given birth to children. This year, TFI gave them $2,500 in order to help them pay for school fees for some 200 young children that live in the community where families have no money to pay for their education. Many of these children are the children of orphans who are served by Friends of Orphans.
In 2019, TFI gave $5,700 to MedLend towards their bi-annual event to raise funds and awareness for their Medical Missions to impoverished communities around the world that benefit from teams of American doctors training local medical staff and bringing with them specialty equipment that cannot otherwise be obtained. This gift was made with the assistance of Jerry Mohan, who this year joined MedLend’s medical team and traveled to a training hospital in Mbarara, Uganda. There he learned more about the work of MedLend and the needs of the poor in that area of the world.
The Tibet Fund (USA)
Source: The Tibet Fund
This organization offers funding for services related to health care, education, rehabilitation, religious and cultural preservation, elder care, and community and economic development for more than 140,000 Tibetan refugees and was organized at a time when the international community had largely forgotten about the people of Tibet, as they remained under Chinese occupation. Over the past 30 years, the program has taken a central role in assisting refugees living in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and has also helped support of orphanages and others who are marginalized in Tibet. In 2019 TFI donated $5,000 to the Tibet Fund to help them in their continued efforts to provide Tibetan refugees with education and needed medical care.
Dr. Eugene P. Mohan Medical Assistance Fund (USA)
Spearheaded by our new Board member Jerry Mohan, the Eugene P. Mohan Medical Assistance Fund was launched this year in honor of Jerry’s brother, a dedicated surgeon, Dr. Eugene P. Mohan. As part of our grantmaking program, the fund this year contributed to several of the grants mentioned above and, in addition, paid to help in the education of three medical students abroad. In total, in 2019 this fund has provided $42,800 toward the work we do around the world and helped us to not only lift the poor out of poverty but, we are sure, save some people in the process. We are grateful to Jerry and his wife, Beth, for making these opportunities possible through TFI.
Eric L. Brandenburg Children's Fund (USA)
The Children’s Fund is administered out of our offices in San Francisco, California and was created to intervene and save critically at-risk children that we have encountered over the course of our travels around the world. The fund works to save these specific children from, at best, a life of poverty, or at worst, an early death. Nine such children are in this program and for them, we have promised them an education, a safe and healthy place to live through and including their college years. In 2019 TFI donated $39,625 toward the education, supervision, housing, and food for nine extremely poor children we support in India and Ghana.