World Orphan Day

World Orphan Day

Today is World Orphan Day. This is an international day dedicated to recognizing and rescuing the orphans around the world. According to UNICEF, at least 153 million children worldwide have lost one or both of their parents. Once left without parents or other relatives who are able to adequately care for them, these children become incredibly vulnerable to hunger, sickness abuse, and even death.

Andiseni, a boy who now lives at Mtendere Children’s Village, is just one of these 153 million children around the world who became an orphan early on in life. His mother died while giving birth to him and his father, who was too sick to take care of him, would often forget to feed him. When Andiseni was brought to Mtendere, he was so thin and sick that his new family in the Village was afraid he might not live. By the grace of God, Andiseni was able to recover and is now a healthy and thriving young boy who is attending the fourth grade.

Andiseni when he first arrived at Mtendere 2005Andiseni when he first came to Mtendere Village as an infant

 

DSC07321Andisen now, as a healthy, happy boy living at Mtendere Village

God is so in love with the orphans of the world. Every single one of them, like Andiseni, is handcrafted by him to love him and be loved by him in a unique and personal way. This is why God’s children, who love Jesus and follow Him, are commanded to care for orphans and make it a priority to rescue them in any way possible. James 1:27 tells us, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” God is looking for people who will see the orphaned children of the world the way He sees them and who will love them like He loves them. This touches His heart more than all the church services and religious gatherings in the world.

As the world begins to recognize orphans through days like World Orphan Day, the Church that Jesus created to fill the world with His light and love, is rising up even more to love and rescue these desperate and hurting children. We pray that God will fill your heart with His love for the orphans of the world and that He will guide you in how to join Him in rescuing and redeeming them and to bringing them to Himself. We know that, ultimately, God is the father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and will rescue and defend these precious children. We only want to join Him where He is and do the things that He is doing. God bless you as you love Him and follow Him into the lives of the orphans in your corner of the world.

Trick or treat for kids around the world

 

It is the element of surprise that makes Halloween such an enjoyable time for many children. Dressing up in fun costumes, screams and scares, running around the neighborhood on a school night and collecting candy is all about the Trick or Treating fun.

As the Halloween excitement builds all around, students of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance from Auburn University Montgomery (AUM), organized the third annual “trick or treat” drive in their neighborhoods–a tradition started by Roselyne Bosco, now a graduate of AUM.

But, unlike the children in search of sweets, these students asked for a more nontraditional treat. Dressed up in their orange and black school colors, 10 students and two profressors took on the task of going door to door to collect hygiene items and school supplies. As this was quite an unusual ask, with permission through the neighborhood association at Sturbridge Plantation, students of the NPLA sent out flyers to every home allowing them to prepare for a different type of trick or treating to benefit children in our own community and across the globe.

This year, thanks to the effort of these students and the generosity of the community, we will be able to provide hygiene items and school supplies to children at Mtendere at Mtendere Village (Malawi) and Adullam House (Wetumpka, Alabama). We are very grateful!

Christina Kadzamira, Program Assistant

 

An American Nursing Student in Malawi

Katie Sanderson, recently shared about her perspective on the recent Auburn University trip to Malawi, now, we’re excited to share a student’s thoughts! 

Clinical mornings in Malawi were made up of something different each day—we never knew what to expect when we tumbled out of our bus.  The one thing we could always count on was to be greeted with smiling faces, our Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) partner and friends, and things we have never seen or experienced before.

Over the span of four days in clinical, there were never less than a few hundred patients waiting when we arrived on site—all eagerly waiting to receive vaccinations, treatment for sickness, and family planning assistance.  During those four days going all around Lilongwe to different villages and communities, I was exposed to more than I have ever seen.

In our clinics, we offered vaccinations for healthy babies, a clinic for children under the age of five who were sick, and family planning for women.  My favorite station to be assigned to was the under five clinic.  Mothers would come and sit with their child in their lap, and my KCN partner and I would work as a team to evaluate our patient.  She would translate for me and we would work together to arrive at a diagnosis and plan of care.

As an American nursing student, having this much autonomy was exciting and terrifying, but it was very clear at the end of each day that we had made a difference in the lives of hundreds of God’s children in Malawi.  It was very humbling to be the Lord’s hands and feet in this situation—being able to give infants and expectant mothers important vaccines to protect against tetanus and other diseases.

Our trip did not only consist of outer clinical sites, however. We were blessed to be welcomed into the homes of Mtendere Village and get to know the children and the house moms.  Momma Ruth and Momma Naomi took me in as their own child and each night we all met together with the children in their houses to have devotionals and sing together.

Being able to travel across the world and find such strong faith in a country that seems to have close to nothing was something that changed my heart and encouraged my faith in a way that I will never forget. This trip was a huge life-changing opportunity that I feel so blessed to have been a part of.

Ruthie Schaefer is a nursing student at Auburn University.

The Definition of Nursing

What is nursing?  Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.

To be a nurse, or to study to become a nurse means that an individual must encompass a desire to help others in a holistic way.  Being a nurse means caring for someone physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and medicinally:  in other words, to care for the mind, body and soul.

In my most recent trip to Malawi, I was privileged to witness these definitions of nursing first hand.

Let me back up a little.  As most of you may know, after being an RN in the ICU for over three years,  I have recently transitioned into a full-time job at 100X Development where I will coordinate various nursing projects to help improve the healthcare system in Malawi.  One of the first ways that 100X moved forward in improving healthcare delivery was by developing a consortium of universities, both stateside and in Malawi.  Auburn University (my alma mater) and Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) in Malawi, two leaders in the development of improving the nursing standards both in the classroom and at the bedside, were among the first to join.

One of the most obvious ways to get this started was to send a group of US nursing students to Malawi to work alongside Malawian students–we knew this would stretch, mold and challenge students in a way that far outreaches ANY lesson that can be taught in a classroom.  By traveling to a developing nation where needs are overwhelming and resources are scarce, students would be pushed to the brink of communicating beyond just words, to think beyond the medicine and the machines, and treat over 100 people in a matter of a few hours.

Auburn University School of Nursing (AUSON), under the guidance of Dr. Constance Smith-Hendricks, was ready to meet this challenge head-on, and Kamuzu College of Nursing, under the leadership of Madam Address Malata, welcomed the idea of hosting a group of students that would also provide a new learning experience for her students.

So on September 7, Dr. Hendricks, Dana Blanchard, eight nursing students and I departed for what would be one of the greatest learning experiences any student could ever imagine.  Over the next 10 days, these students witnessed more need and poverty than one could think of.  They treated anywhere from 550 to 700 (hard to keep track of the exact number due to the large crowds) women, children and babies.  Their skills, knowledge and perseverance was challenged as the crowds lined up to wait for hours to see an American nurse, and yet they responded with professionalism and grace.

The AUSON students also experienced the challenges of being a college student in a developing nation by being partnered with a nursing student from KCN. The relationships formed between these student pairs was just another positive outcome in one of the most successful and educational trips that 100X has ever taken part in.  As the days of the trip continued to pass by, the students were able to experience clinical settings ranging from home-based care out in straw-roofed huts, to rural clinics in the middle of villages, a health care center, and even some time in a labor and delivery ward.

The eight student nurses who travelled to Malawi with me were truly impressive young ladies.  While their eyes were opened to an entire new setting of healthcare and a totally new definition of “need”, it was their souls that were touched by the people of Malawi.  They will without a doubt be some of the best-prepared nursing graduates, but even more so, they will be part of forever changing the health care system in a country that so desperately needs a positive change.

Nursing care comes in many forms.  Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel physically comfortable by various means.  Other times it is the ability to improve the body’s ability to achieve or maintain health.  But often it is an uncanny yet well honed knack to see beyond the obvious and address, in some way, the deeper needs of the human soul. 

~Donna Wilk Cardillo, A Daybook for Beginning Nurses

Katie Sanderson, Program Director for Nursing Education


Blanchards Meet with President Joyce Banda of Malawi

With the critical needs of vulnerable children and families, the ongoing impacts of poverty and disease alongside the ever present challenges of human conflicts, the development sector needs to expand leveraged approaches.  Such approaches must maximize the value for money and multiply resources through collaboration, innovation and effective execution.  

– Lindy Blanchard

In February 2005, at the opening of Mtendere Village, 100X Development’s orphan care program in Malawi, John and Lindy Blanchard met then Minister for Gender and Community Services, Joyce Banda, for the first time. The past seven years have shown that the vision President Banda shared on that day – for the well-being and empowerment of women and children – was more than simple words. She has proven that she is dedicated to them, and is willing to leverage every resource available to her to help improve their circumstances. We are kindred spirits on this.

We were honored that President Banda extended an invitation for John and Lindy to meet with her last week while in New York for the UN General Assembly. During the meeting, they were able to share about the programs that 100X has established in Malawi and about our vision to expand programming to empower women and children for a more hopeful future. We look forward to the opportunity to work with President Banda to help the women and children of Malawi, and are excited to move forward and expand our outreach in the Warm Heart of Africa!

For additional press on this meeting, please visit the following websites: Nyasa Times, Malawi Democrat and MW Nation.

Media Contact: Kimberly Casey, Media@100XDevelopment.com or (202) 509-6005

LEVERAGE: Lindy’s Birthday Wish

Dear friends,

In 2004, John and I started on a journey. At that time, I can honestly tell you that I did not have any idea that it would lead us to where we are today. God has been faithful and our vision continues to expand! 100X Development is based on the principle of Mark 4:8, “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” A hundredfold. We’re all about leverage—maximizing our gifts and resources to benefit the children and families that we serve.

As I prepare to celebrate my birthday on July 4, these children and families are ever present in my mind. I am reminded of the many children that do not live to see their 5th birthday, and the heartbreak and challenges of families that endure the loss of a child or a mother. I am reminded that there are so many more that we must help.

In the spirit of our founding principle, I want to “leverage” my birthday. Instead of gifts, I am asking my friends, family and supporters of 100X to donate during the month of July towards the 100X project of their choice. Will you join me? Whether you are able to give $10, $100 or $1,000, your gift will change lives. Together, we can make sure that others are able to celebrate many more healthy and happy birthdays!

Many blessings,

Lindy

P.S. If you’re interested in giving up your birthday, you can use our Razoo page to get started. If you have questions, just email Leverage@100XDevelopment.com.

Give a gift

What is your fight?

I was in my junior year of undergrad when I first watched the movie Hotel Rwanda—a movie that detailed the story of Paul Rusesabagina and his experience during the Rwandan genocide.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend a visit to your rental company of choice.

No matter how many times I view the movie, one scene stands out above all others.  The scene begins with Rusesabagina thanking Jack Daglish, a cameraman, for shooting footage of the massacre.

Rusesabagina: I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.  

Daglish: Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

Rusesabagina: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

Daglish: I think if people see this footage they’ll say, “oh my God that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.

I do not know if this conversation portrays an actual conversation between Rusesabagina and Nick Hughes (the man who shot the footage accredited to the fictional Daglish), or if it was scripted for cinematic purposes, but what I do know is that what was predicted came to pass.

In less than 100 days, while families in the US and other developed countries sat down for dinner, 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered.

The Rwandan Genocide is just one example.  Every day, we see evidence of suffering—whether it is walking by a homeless man on the street, viewing a 30 second clip on the evening news, or reading a blog like this one.  The enormity of it all is overwhelming.

  • 26,500 children die every day of preventable causes related to poverty (equivalent to 100 jetliners crashing)
  • 500,000 women die in childbirth every year – deaths that are largely preventable
  • 12.3 million people are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor
  • 163 million children are orphans

This constant bombardment is numbing and often causes us to say, “oh my, that is horrible,” and then go on living our lives.  We erroneously believe that because we cannot solve the entire problem, there is nothing for us to do.

I firmly believe that there are some battlefields that I am not called to fight on.  For example, if the issue involves environment or animal rights issues, please call someone else.  I don’t have the capacity.  That said, I also believe that everyone should pick a fight.  It will be different for everyone, but we all have something that should take us away from our dinners.

I recently met a man who spent several years of his young life as a house slave.  When he was 12 years old, someone intervened.  He was able to attend school for the first time.  Throughout his life, people continued to come alongside and support him.  He finished university, married and developed a successful career.  Today, this man and his wife have established an orphanage to care for similarly vulnerable children.  He has picked his fight.

At 100X we’ve seen similar stories with children like Andiseni and Galina, and our house mom Naomi. The people who intervened didn’t eliminate human trafficking or world hunger, but they did dramatically change one life.  That is what it takes.  If each of us will navigate our way through the deluge of statistics, pick our fight, and find the one life that we can influence, we will be able to press back against the darkness.

What is your fight?  If it is orphan care, education, human trafficking prevention, or health, we’d love for you to join us!

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager

Partnering to Save Lives

Last week I had the opportunity to lead a team of medical professionals to Malawi to plan for future medical trips—trips that will include nursing students from partnering universities or surgical teams from US hospitals.  I was joined by Dr. Constance Hendricks, a nursing professor at Auburn University School of Nursing (AUSON), Dr. Judi Jehle, a specialist in women’s health, and Ms. Mary Singletary, an RN and President of the National Council of Women of the United States.

While in country, our team was able to build relationships with some men and women who, just like the 100X Team, have high hopes for the future of healthcare in Malawi.  We were able to discuss some of the many challenges facing this developing nation.  Two of the challenges that were mentioned consistently were the shortage of trained nurses and midwives and the need for safer and more accessible healthcare facilities.

It was with great excitement that the 100X team was able to offer some options and opportunities to assist with these needs.  With the recent partnership between 100X Development, Auburn University and the Kamuzu College of Nursing, we were able to lay plans for a trip of AUSON professors and students to travel to Malawi in October 2012.  This trip will allow for hands-on experience, professional seminars, and simulation labs that will guarantee both the Auburn and Kamuzu students a better learning experience and in turn allow for a more rounded nursing graduate.  Students will train in the local hospitals, clinics, schools, and participate in health screenings in the local villages.

It is our hope that this collaboration will encourage nursing students and professors alike to step across cultural boundaries and realize that at the heart of nursing lies the commonality of caring for the patient in the most efficient and holistic way.

Our team was also excited about the possibility of Blessings Hospital serving as a future clinical site.  One of the evaluators for Blessings said, “This hospital is so spacious and has the potential to serve many women and children in the country.  We are excited about the future of this hospital.”

Blessings is currently running an outpatient clinic, a free “Under 5” clinic, a weekly pediatric physical therapy session, and is preparing to launch a free ART (a clinic specific for HIV patients) clinic.  With a maternal death rate of 1 in 36, and the 10th highest infant mortality rate in the world, it is essential that the hospitals and clinics in Malawi be staffed with fully trained medical personnel and midwives.  Blessings is equipped, staffed, and ready to take on the challenge of delivering better healthcare to all people in Malawi and 100X is behind them in this effort!

We believe that these opportunities will provide medical care to an overwhelming amount of Malawian people no matter what age or need.  Together, 100X, AUSON, and KCN are excited about the future of healthcare for the Malawian nation!  It is our goal to fully educate, motivate and facilitate the healthcare needs of Malawi.  Please join us in this effort to save lives!

Katie Sanderson, Program Director for Nursing Education