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I contribute personally to these non-profit organizations I have listed below. Beginning September 1, 2014, I will give 5% of my sales from this store to these same organizations. This will not add to the cost of your orders.
Central Asia Institute / Pennies for Peace (ikat.org / penniesforpeace.org)
“While a penny is virtually worthless, in impoverished countries a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy.” (penniesforpeace.org) Many U.S. elementary schools have collected bunches of pennies for this purpose.
Since 1996 Greg Mortenson and his team of native speakers have been working with tribal and religious leaders in some of the poorest and most remote communities of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan to build schools that must be requested by communities who are willing to provide the land and labor. Some of these communities can be reached only on foot or by horseback; there are no roads.
Their first school was built in 1993-1996 in the community of Korphe in the foothills of the Pakistan Himalayas that had entry and exit only by a box hanging on a cable over a deep gorge; in 1994-1995 they built a foot bridge across the Braldu River that made access to their community and entry into the wider world possible.
Central Asia Institute quickly learned that these parents want an education for their children but, because of their extreme poverty, have no funds for it. Therefore, many of these children end up in Taliban schools that teach violence and terrorism. They know that if a girl can be educated to at least the fifth grade, that when she marries, she will want her children to be educated as well, which in turn gives less and less power to the Taliban schools.
In this area of the world where fathers traditionally do not want their girls to go to school because they must care for the family's crops and animals, CAI requires that each school's students be made up of 10% girls. Many fathers have readily recognized the need for education in their communities and others have required great persuasion.
This is some of the work CAI / Pennies for Peace have done: building almost 200 schools especially for girls with 68,000 students including 54,000 girls, providing teachers’ salaries, the needed furniture and supplies, clean drinking water projects, and women’s vocational centers where they can use their traditional crafts to earn some money for their children's education.
For a complete list and years of the schools, water projects, vocational centers, and others, see: (http://www.penniesforpeace.org/wp-includes/documents/masterprojectlist.pdf)
Greg Mortenson's first book Three Cups of Tea is required reading for senior U.S. military commanders, U.S. Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His second book, a continuation of his story, is Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books.
Heifer International: Ending Hunger and Poverty (heifer.org)
From their website:
“Our nearly 70 years of experience in more than 125 countries has shown that working directly with communities to identify their needs, assets and goals, and providing them with appropriate training, livestock and organizational capacity, yields long-lasting change at all levels.
Emphasizing community involvement distinguishes Heifer’s work from that of global relief organizations: local ownership of the decision-making process, commitment of local resources, participation of all people regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion, inclusion of traditional, indigenous knowledge, understanding that community development is a process.”
I like not only the idea of people working with animals, but even more so the idea that people have been trained to care for their animals responsibly and then to use their animals for improving their lives. I like best, however, that they must give their first born animal to the next trained family who is in need. This act alone can build community.
This work takes lots of people to do the training and lots of money to buy the animals, the feed, the supplies for building the shelter, and any tools for agriculture work.
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (michaeljfox.org)
Under their Donations button, they say, “Of every dollar, 89 cents goes to research…”
I bought and read his first book, Lucky Man: A Memoir, as well as his second book, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, the sales of which contributed to the non-profit. He says that he has learned to see challenges as opportunities, especially the challenge of his neurological disease Parkinson’s; he has developed a forward-looking attitude of discovery. This takes lots of self-reflection and lots and lots of hard work. He is a most lucky man indeed (I prefer to say blessed). My husband also has Parkinson's, a version that is not the classic.
Nature Conservancy (nature.org)
Since 1951, the world’s largest environmental organization has conserved lands and waters all over the world, including those in our 50 United States. They state under their Our Accountability button: “Building on nearly 6 decades of experience, we’ve protected more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 river miles, and we operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally.”
While they have and receive lots of money, their on-going projects require lots of money. They work with all levels of government, as well as with individuals. Their work includes preserving complete ecosystems of land, water and wildlife on private ranches that would otherwise be sold for housing development.
I discovered this non-profit in 2016 while watching the news: Matt Damon, the actor and co-founder of the work explained on water.org, had participated in a global environmental conference and was speaking about this work he has been doing for at least a decade. After looking at the website and discovering that 74% of their donations are used for programs, 16% for administration, and 10% for fundraising and an average of 99% of their small loans have been repaid between 2014 and 2015, I decided to become a donor.
In the video provided toward the bottom of the homepage, Matt Damon describes the work they do in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean: 2.4 billion people lack access to clean water and sanitation. Initially they provided one million people with these needs but then discovered that they can help many more people with small loans.
All of your questions about their work will be answered if you will take time to investigate the information found on this website.
I thank the people of these organizations for this most needed work.