The Cost of Inaction

Today in Malawi, I held a 5-month-old baby in my arms who was no heavier than 7 pounds due to severe malnourishment and a health care system that has overlooked this tiny human.  Many thoughts ran through my mind.  How could this baby boy, (who also had a twin sister as tiny and malnourished as him) make it this long without the necessary nutrients? Why was this health issue not addressed earlier? And the answer is clear:  the nutrition is not available and the health care is not accessible.

In a country where many only eat once a day, the lack of nutrition is a foundation for many other struggles.  How can a child in school truly focus on academics when he is worried about when his next meal will be?  How can a weak mother walk five or more miles to seek healthcare?  How can a sick mother provide for her three children?  The cycle that begins with lack of nutrition is a vicious one.

Inaccessible healthcare is also a major issue.  In some villages, like Chadza, a village with more than 250 people, the nearest clinic is 27 kilometers (18 miles) away.  And these people, who do not have access to nutritious food, certainly lack the transportation to make a trip to the doctor an “easy” one.  This inaccessibility is a major factor in the alarming maternal death rate (1 in 36) here in Malawi.

Action MUST be taken, and that is exactly what 100X Development is doing!  While the statistics are alarming, I am very encouraged at the potential we have to help the country of Malawi succeed.  There are many basic interventions that will help this developing nation and I am CERTAIN that with the right ideas and the accurate resources, 100X can truly improve the lives of all Malawian people.  By providing the appropriate nutrients to small children and babies, and the suitable nutritional supplements to expecting mothers, we are in turn ensuring a healthier lifestyle for both mom and baby.

With the proper resources, we will make healthcare much easier to access for all Malawian people. When people’s stomachs are full and their body is healthy, a nation of any size can prosper.  Our team at 100X is very excited about the possibilities in Malawi and we ask you to join us in the charge to make Malawi a better, healthier and happier nation!

Katie Sanderson, Program Director for Nursing Education

Galina’s Story

“450,000 women have disappeared from my country [Moldova], and I or any other girl from Stella’s House could have been one of them.”  — Galina

As “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” comes to an end, we’d like to share a story of a life that was changed through the work of 100X and our partners–a story that we hope will remind you of the importance of this issue long after the month of January is over.

Galina is a real world example of what 100X is all about. Labeled an orphan with no hope of a future, Galina is now working to protect orphans and show them their true value. This is her story…

Hi, my name is Galina. My parents divorced when I was four years old and they split up the kids. I guess I wasn’t chosen by either parent. I was left with my grandmother. They never came to visit. They never called. They were just gone. I waited for a while but then I stopped waiting.

I never saw them again.

My grandmother was very ill and was not able to take care of me, so she put me in the orphanage. There, I was pretty much just a number. The teachers did not care about us, and everyone had to fight for their own life. Everything was old. The snow would leak inside the house. Even though we had electricity, we were afraid to use it because of the leaks. Our windows wouldn’t close properly, so we would put material over them to try to keep the cold air out. We had one fireplace for heat and we would make fires once or twice a week. We had no hot water or indoor bathrooms. We were forced to go outside and take a shower once a week.

There were twelve girls in my room, half of the beds on one side of the room and the other half on the other side. We didn’t have warm blankets, so we would sleep two girls in one bed to keep warm. We never had warm clothes or clothes to go to school in.

The worst part was we had to go to public school with the kids from the village who had families to take care of them. For us that was the hardest part. Everybody would make fun of us because they knew that nobody was there to stand up for us. Even the teachers thought of us that way. It didn’t matter how hard we put ourselves out there and studied, they didn’t give us good grades. For them, we were just orphans. They told us – “oh you will never be able to do anything because you are an orphan.” “You will end up washing doors for the rest of your life.” “There is no place for you in this world.” There was almost no point to live. It was hard not to lose hope.

The government cannot afford to run the orphanages in the summer, so they close them down and put the kids with extended family members. The kids that don’t have any family to take them are rented out to work for anyone who wants them. They are paid 80 cents a day. I started working during the summers when I was four years old. I had to weed gardens, feed chickens, and do any other jobs they would give me. No one ever came to check on us to make sure we were ok.

My life changed on December 25, 2003. On Christmas night, Philip Cameron and his family visited our orphanage, and they were the happiest people I had ever seen. We all asked each other, “do they know we’re orphans?” Philip and his family kept coming back, and they spent time telling us we were special and that God loved us. They spent time with us when no one else did. They gave us our first Christmas gifts, and celebrated our birthdays for the first time. They also created Stella’s House, a place for us to go when we had to leave the orphanage after we turned sixteen. More important than any of this, they gave us hope. Today, I’m a different person—God has healed me completely. Today, I’m able to help change the lives of others.

My story could have ended very differently. 450,000 women have disappeared from my country, and I or any other girl from Stella’s House could have been one of them. People around the world that cared enough to do something literally saved my life. God said in Matthew 25:40, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

At the age of 16, girls in Moldova “age out” of state run orphanages. They are given $30 and a bus ticket and sent back to their hometown. A lot of people who work in the orphanages sell information to human traffickers and tell them when an attractive girl is about to be released. On the day they leave, traffickers are there waiting for them. Most of the girls who are trafficked wind up as prostitutes, and often die from HIV/AIDS, drug overdoses, or they are murdered.

It is without question that many of the 450,000 women that Galina mentioned are victims of human trafficking. According to the U.S. State Department, “Moldova is a source and, to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking…Moldovan women are subjected to forced prostitution in Turkey, Russia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, the UAE, Kosovo, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Romania.”  With no where to go after they age out, orphaned children are highly vulnerable. Traffickers prey on this vulnerability, and children quickly disappear into this dark criminal enterprise where their value is measured solely on their contribution to the $32 billion market.

Will you give a gift today that will help us reach more girls like Galina?

*100X is a major supporter of Stella’s Voice, a nonprofit organization, and is working in partnership with them to protect orphans from human trafficking in Moldova.

Board of Directors

The 2012-2013 Board of Directors held its first meeting last week to set the agenda for the upcoming year.  The men and women serving on the Board have a rich history of experience that, combined with their passion to serve, will ensure that 100X continues to develop and support programs that combine innovation with effectiveness and efficiency.  We are thankful for their commitment, and are very excited to work together to create a better future for the children and families that we serve!

Take a moment to meet our Board.

Merry Christmas!


On behalf of all of us at 100X, thank you for all that you have done to help us reach HIS children this year.

Many blessings to you and your family during this precious season of our Savior’s birth!

HIS and yours, The 100X Team

Exposing Evil to Protect the Innocent

Human trafficking is an uncomfortable reality that many would prefer not to think about in America and other parts of the world.  I understand this discomfort, but I also believe that evil must be exposed.  It is for that reason, on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, I want to shine a spotlight on this terrible modern day exploitation of women and children.

Definition: Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery.  Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Fast Facts

  • An estimated 12.3 million men, women and children are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor around the world.
  • Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors.
  • Worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade.
  • Trafficking is estimated to be $32 billion industry—the second largest criminal enterprise (drugs is the first).

Trafficking is about supply and demand.  To meet the demand for young women who can be sold into slavery and prostitution, criminal networks (such as the mob) traffick young girls from poor Eastern European countries like Moldova, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine (“source” countries) to “destination” countries with higher demand.  With a promise of a better life and good jobs, girls are often deceived into crossing borders willingly.  When they arrive however, they are not brought to an office or a restaurant to work, but to a brothel.

We could talk at length about geopolitical, social, and economic factors, all of which are important, but anti-trafficking advocates have elevated a simple need in this fight—Awareness. As one advocate said recently, “Awareness is 80% of the solution.”  80% of the solution is exposing the evil that is happening right now and providing positive alternatives.

Every year 700-800 children are expelled from State-run orphanages in Moldova. Upon leaving, they are often only given a few dollars and a bus ticket to the town listed on their birth certificate.  They are alone, and have nowhere to go.  They are perfect victims for a trafficker to exploit for financial gain.

Six years ago, 100X developed a partnership with Stella’s Voice, an organization in Moldova working to protect at-risk orphans. Stella’s works to educate orphans about the dangers of trafficking and provides them with a safe home where they receive loving care and an education.  To date, 100X has built three homes and we have the capacity to house approximately 60 children at a time.  But we need to do so much more….

We know that approximately 99% of trafficking victims are never rescued, so preventing children from becoming victims is the first step in ending this travesty.  To reach more children, we’re in the process of building another home in Moldova, one that will be focused on prevention as well as job training, education and providing a safe place for this vulnerable population.  Phillip Cameron, the founder of Stella’s Voice, has said that he never again wants to be limited by lack of space, and I am in firm agreement.  But we cannot do this alone!

Will you help us protect one more?

What you can do
Speak Up—post a message on Facebook or Twitter, send an email, talk to your co-workers and legislators.
Give—we want to reach as many young girls as possible, and we cannot do it alone.
Pray—pray for the girls, for those working to help them, and for exposure of those who are exploiting them.

12.3 million is a daunting number, but what if you could rescue one?  To quote Edmund Burke, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

–John Blanchard, Co-Founder and President of the Board of Directors

We asked, they answered. Q&A with child sponsors. Part II.

In our last blog, we introduced you to two veteran child sponsors who have walked alongside 100X for many years.  Here, we would like you to meet some of our newest sponsors, and see how they are already making a great impact!

Jamie and his family began sponsoring Kizito and William six months ago, after he and his son volunteered at Mtendere in July.

What inspired you to become a sponsor? Meeting and spending time with the children at Mtendere, and seeing how successful Mtendere has been in changing children’s lives.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? Saving a child that would otherwise be in jeopardy, educating a human being, and inspiring them to reach for greatness.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? Knowing that a child is being saved from an otherwise destitute existence with little hope.

How have you involved your family in this experience? My son and I travelled to Mtendere this summer to spend a week working at the orphanage; although she did not visit with us this summer, my wife is the one that insisted that we sponsor two children. Now, our other children want to visit and work at Mtendere.

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? If not for sponsors, these children don’t stand a chance; for $40 a month, you can educate, house and feed an orphan.

Teri began sponsoring Petro three months ago after traveling to Malawi with Karen (previous post) through Kusewera.

What inspired you to become a sponsor? Smiles. Each and every child in the village has a story that our hearts cannot comprehend…and each child’s smile resonates nothing but love and appreciation for the good they are now able to see, feel, and share. It is beautiful.

How do you see child sponsorship benefiting your sponsored child? The money will ensure Petro has school supplies, clothing, sufficient bedding, and toiletries. The love being given him through personal notes, concern for his well-being, and having another “safe” adult who he is able to trust is the best benefit of all and one that he will hopefully cherish as he grows.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? Being a sponsor means that I have the ability to directly and positively impact another human being without disrupting their culture and way of life. It is a simple way to say thank you for the genuine love felt in each little hand that held mine, the personal drawing one of the children took time to create, and the unbelievable beauty of their voices in song that will live with me forever .

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? $40 per month ~ I make coffee at home and bring my lunch to work. I smile when I write the check to 100X, because I have seen with my own two eyes what a difference they are making in the lives of these children.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? The worst day I had last month ended with an envelope from 100X, filled with school papers from Petro. It became my best day.

Will you join us? For more information, please visit our child sponsorship page, or email Dana at DBlanchard@100XDevelopment.com.

We asked, they answered. Q&A with child sponsors. Part I.

We asked, they answered. Here is your opportunity to hear from some of our veteran child sponsors. We could not do this work without them!

Julie and Darrel have been sponsors through 100X for eight years. Their sponsored child, Ronald, is “one of the family.”

What inspired you to become a sponsor? We wanted to do more with our money to help others.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? We have developed a strong bond with Ronald that makes him feel like one of our own.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? It’s like having another member of the family.

How have you involved your family in this experience? My children and Ronald regularly exchange notes and pictures.

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? The feeling you get when your sponsor child appreciates your involvement and communicates that to you. It feels good seeing them so appreciative.

Karen fell in love with the children at Mtendere Village after a trip to Malawi in 2008.  She has sponsored Stanley since 2009.

What inspired you to become a sponsor? I wanted to contribute financially to a child that I connected with at Mtendere. A year after I met Stanley, he became available for sponsorship and I grabbed the opportunity, since I knew I was meant to be his sponsor.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? Child Sponsorship means that I have made a choice to have a child at Mtendere who depends on me, who knows I care, and knows that I love them. For me, it’s an extension of what God has done for me…to be able to give back, and share that with a child who needs it. I’m particularly close with Stanley, the child I sponsor, and have been blessed to visit him often, be in touch often and also encourage him in school, life, etc. It’s been more than I could have imagined and I love that my “son” is growing every day into a man that God wants him to be.

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? The financial commitment is so little compared to the huge difference that you will make in the child’s life. Knowing that you are helping with their daily needs is important, but having the connection to a real child, who really needs your assistance and really appreciates you is rewarding. I love knowing exactly who and where my monthly donation goes.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? I’ve probably said it several times over by now and there are too many favorites to pick just one…. I love connecting with a specific child, knowing their needs are being met…and I love getting to know them and them getting to know me.

Want to join the club? Visit our child sponsorship page, or email Dana at DBlanchard@100XDevelopment.com.

 

100X Charity Golf Classic

You Don’t Want to Miss This!

The 100X Charity Golf Classic is a day long event at the Wynlakes Golf & Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama, that will combine a round of golf with the opportunity to change the course of a child’s future.  100% of the funds raised will be allocated for 100X’s orphan care and education programs—specifically a school bus for orphans and vulnerable children at Mtendere Village in Malawi and a home in Moldova that will provide shelter and education for young girls at-risk for human trafficking.

Schedule of Events

Monday, November 21, 2011

7:00 am Range Opens for Sponsor’s Tournament

8:00 am Sponsor’s Tournament Shotgun Start

11:00 am Range Opens for Player’s Tournament

1:00 pm Player’s Tournament Shotgun Start

Closest to the Pin #4.  Long Drive #16.  Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  Sponsor’s prizes will be awarded at lunch; player’s will be awarded following the afternoon round.  Breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided.

Course Info

Golf at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club offers an experience that is exciting and challenging. The 200 acre championship course winds through rolling hills, 14 shimmering lakes and large oaks with dangling moss. Beautifully manicured fairways and greens, colorful landscaping, and strategically placed fountains and bridges make each hole a splendid visual experience.

The golf course, designed by world renowned architect Joe Lee, opened in 1986 and was renovated by Billy Fuller and re-opened in 2006. Diverse course design features such as sculptured fairways, plentiful bunkers, and plateau greens enhance the challenge. Multiple sets of tees offer players of all abilities an enjoyable round.

Join Us!

$10,000 Sponsor’s Tournament (4 man team)

$2,000 Players Tournament (4 man team)

If you would like to sponsor a hole or play in the tournament, please email Dana Blanchard at DBlanchard@100XDevelopment.com or call (334) 387-1178.

If you’re not able to join us, but would still like to give towards this cause, please visit our giving site!

Approved Plan for the new Stella’s House

 

What does food mean to you?

Food.  noun, often attributive \ˈfüd\

1 (a): material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)

1 (b):  inorganic substances absorbed by plants in gaseous form or in water solution

2:  nutriment in solid form.

3:  something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies….

We first met Andiseni (pictured with Ben Blanchard) in 2005.  He was brought to Mtendere Village severely malnourished and close to death.  Like many children in Malawi, he was a victim of the severe drought that destroyed vital crops throughout the country.

To Andiseni, food represented survival.

There has been a lot of discussion about food shortages and famine in recent months—images of children in the Horn of Africa, where more than 30,000 of them have died in last three months, have flooded the airwaves.  When I see them, I think of Andiseni.

This is Andiseni today.  He is a healthy, active six year old boy who loves to sing and play with galimotos (toy cars made out of wire).  He also has a great imagination, and can often be found building and “driving” cars made out of straw and whatever other materials he can find around Mtendere Village.  We were able to reach Andiseni in time, but we know there were many more children that we were not able to help.

The development sector often operates under a strategy of reaction instead of preemption, which inevitably means that lives will be shattered before an appropriate intervention is in place.  At 100X, we want to intervene before a crisis peaks.

In Malawi, fish is a vital protein resource; however, the current per capita fish supply is far below WHO recommendations.  Translation?  There are not enough fish for everyone—a deficit that greatly contributes to protein deficiency and malnutrition.  Which, according to the World Food Program, leads to reduced physical and mental development during childhood, greater risk during pregnancy, difficulty resisting disease, and diminished capacity to learn and do physical work.

Since food is so important, and fish is one of two primary sources of protein in Malawi, we have teamed up with fish experts.  Yes, there really are fish experts—not just people who fish well.  Our team is made up of the who’s who of aquaculture.

Auburn University’s Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures:  The international experts in building fish farms—an entire department of incredibly smart people, who know what it takes to get the fishing industry in Malawi up and running.

Chief Napoleon Dzombe: Chief Napoleon is a fish farming entrepreneur (and a highly respected chief in Malawi) who will be helping us connect new fishing techniques with the hundreds of farmers that he knows.

Maldeco:  This nonprofit corporation has been a major player in seeking to save the native fish, the Chambo, and they manufacture fish food.  We will be working with them to improve and expand the fish food they make to help farmers grow more fish.

Our role?  We are going to build state of the art fish ponds that are connected to farms.  The fish will live in water that will also be used for irrigation—that means that the stuff we normally filter out of the fish tank (enough said) will enrich the water used to water crops.

Sound Interesting?  Have you ever caught a fish with teeth?  Or scuba dived in a lake with 400 species of tropical fish?  You might need to take a trip to Malawi to visit the 100X work there, or perhaps you would like to just meet with our fish team to see what you can do.  Visit our website to see how you can help us help children like Andiseni!

Lindy Blanchard, Co-Founder and President

A child’s first…

I am thankful to report that this past April – June, we were blessed to receive 17 more children at Mtendere Village.  Our staff got to experience many of the children’s “firsts”: first time to ever sleep on a mattress, first time to wear a pair of shoes, first time to see a camera, and, first time ever to meet an American.

It was our 2 year olds’ first time in life to be held. Andrew’s father disappeared before he was born and his mother died after giving birth. He was raised by his grandfather which meant staying home alone for days at a time with no food while his grandfather occupied the local beer halls. There was no stimulation or human interaction. When he was brought to us, he was not only malnourished but emotionally vacant. The love of the other children overwhelmed him. After 30 days of constant love and attention, we watched as for the first time ever, Andrew reached for a hug and for the first time since we received him, he smiled.

Jaziel is our 4 year old who lost both his mom and dad. His grandmother could not feed or clothe him. Much like all our children, Jaziel came to Mtendere with only the clothes on his back. It was his first full day and the sound of the lunch bell rang. Jaziel asked, “What does that mean?” and Michael (our 5 year old) told him, “that is the sound of lunch, lets go get our food!” Jaziel said, “You mean we get to eat again?”…. Not only was this the first time for Jaziel to wear new clothes, but it was his first time in life, to be fed twice in one day.

Fatsani (our 6 year old) after losing both his mother and father, lived with his grandmother. When his health began to suffer because she was not able to care for him, the Chief of his village brought the urgent matter to us. After a month of living at Mtendere, he looked and behaved like a new child. At this same time, his aunt came to my house and said she had just received the news that her only sisters son was taken to a place that she was told “sells children to America.”  She was in tears and demanded to see her nephew. She asked if she was too late. She wanted to know if we had sold her only connection to her late sister. As I began to explain to her that we do not “sell children to anyone” and talked with her more about our programs, she suddenly saw Fatsani running to her in the distance. She covered her eyes, rested her head on my shoulder and cried out, “Praise God for you all at this place! I’ve never known people like you who would take in orphans and treat them like kings.” For the first time in his life, Fatsani was according to her being treated like a king! Praises to the King of Kings for blessings like this!

Dana Blanchard, Director of Operations for Malawi