The Eric L. Brandenburg Children’s Fund

One of the seven different programs we administer at The Forgotten International
Some time ago we established this fund after discovering that some of the children we were encountering throughout our travels were living in such dire circumstances that absent our intervention, they would likely either live a life in extreme poverty or simply die. As to these children, this fund commits to an individualized plan of long-term support, and in doing so, pays for all their basic needs and education in order to ensure that they leave poverty and obtain a chance at a decent life. Currently, eight children have been served by this program and all are living in either India or Ghana. These are the children:
Karishma was the first child we decided to help through this program. When we found her she was four years old and living with her family in a hole in the ground covered with a tarp on the side of a road in Northern India. Her mother had migrated from Nepal but could find only limited work as a road construction worker making about eighteen cents an hour. Our foundation helped get this family of five a home and put this child in private school. In 2018, she graduated from college and is now a teacher at a primary school near where she grew up.
When we found Priyanka, she was five years old and attending a slum school in New Delhi, India. Nearly all of the children at her school had uniforms and shoes. She had neither. We bought her a uniform that day, and she was so happy and proud that she pushed all the boys in her class aside so that we could take her picture. It was because of her tenacity and strength that we decided to help her. Since then she has been attending a private school, for which we pay her tuition, and in the Fall of 2019 will be entering the 11th grade. Thanks to the fund, she is receiving an education far better than that she would have had in her slum community.
Upon the release of our book Living on a Dollar a Day we were asked to return to Ghana to help the kids we had photographed who were living on an e-waste dumpsite. One child we hoped to find was named Philimon, but he was nowhere to be found. Instead, we found a boy named Solomon, who worked every day at the dumpsite in order to earn the pennies he needed for his school fees. Inspired by his love for education, we took him out of this slum and sent him to boarding school where he could advance much further in his life. As expected, he is an honor student.
Her name is Fatima, and at eight years old we found her, with several other children, attempting to survive on the e-waste dumpsite in the city of Accra in Ghana, West Africa. We were there chronicling stories from around the world for our book Living on a Dollar a Day. The bucket which Fatima rests on her head was used to hold tiny bits of metals which she gathered off the ground to sell for pennies in order to simply get through another day. All the while, she was breathing in toxic smoke which would surely kill her if she was not removed from this environment. Thanks to this fund, Fatima is at a boarding school and doing quite well.

 

 

 

Asana, also living on this same dumpsite, was found living in squalor. Seen here to the left in the pink pants, she was wearing the only clothes she had and slept each night in a shack with a group of girls and young women so that together they might protect themselves from being attacked and possibly raped or killed. She was about a year older than Fatima and we could not leave her trapped in a life with no future. Asana is now also at a boarding school where she is looking forward to graduating from high school in a few years.
Ayisha is seen here lost in the garbage that at the time surrounded her life. She was the oldest of the girls we removed from this dumpsite in 2015. Twelve years old and quite depressed, she was struggling with the life the world had dealt her. In short, she had come to Accra from an impoverished village in Northern Ghana with hopes to better her life, but with no help from anyone, she was left with no options other than a life of necessity. Today, thanks to the fund, Ayisha is trained as a baker and will soon be able to support herself.
This is Elvis, whom we found at a boarding school where we had placed the previous three girls. School administrators excluded him from classes because his mother could no longer pay his tuition. He was living there at the whim of other students who would bring him food as he slept on the floor in the corner of a dormitory, often hiding from the administrators. We paid his tuition, found his mother, and have continued to support his education. Today this talented and bright young man is hoping to become a commercial artist.
Sangeeta was found in a beggar’s encampment in Northern India. At the age of two, she only weighed nine pounds. This was because her mother had decided to starve her for the purpose of using a starving child to gain more sympathy from passersby as she begged on the street, and then used whatever money she could acquire to feed her other children. After we found her, we saw to it that she received medical care and later placed her in a boarding school where she is now thriving. Sangeeta, along with Fatima above, was also featured in our film Living on a Dollar a Day.

 

 

With the renaming of the Children’s Fund in honor of Eric L. Brandenburg, the fund will in the future not only help children abroad, but also some at-risk children with urgent needs here in the Bay Area, since during Eric’s life it is where he did most of his giving. Moreover, please know that the children above are not the only children we promise to provide long-term support to through our foundation. We also do the same through our Dr. Eugene Mohan Medical Assistance Fund for those impoverished children who have urgent medical needs or are hoping to work in the medical field with the hope to serve the world’s poor. We will tell you more about that fund in a future newsletter. Finally, The Forgotten International does and will continue to provide general assistance to thousands of children each year who are living in orphanages, attending slum and rural schools, being served at medical centers, and being helped by NGOs we fund in eight different countries.
If you would like to help children like these, please contact us:
The Forgotten International
415-517-6942 • info@theforgottenintl.org
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