Here are some of my favorite sites:
HEALCANADA is a grassroots organization dedicated to positively transforming communities in developing African countries and Canada through a holistic approach to Health, Education, community Action and Leadership development.
Based in West Vancouver, BC, a committed board with extensive knowledge and years of experience in humanitarian work leads HEALCANADA into its first year as a charitable organization.
Our organization focuses its work in the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa. This area continues to struggle in the face of conflict, HIV/AIDS, poverty and disease and yet the people are resilient and humble, brimming with gratitude and grace.
Since 1992, Central Africa has been torn apart by a war in which over four million people have lost their lives. In 2000, Madeleine Albright suggested this war was of such great magnitude and regional impact that “it could be described as Africa’s first world war”. The conflict has engaged seven African Nations since 1998. Law and order has broken down. The remaining militias continue to rape, loot, and destroying remote villages. In July 2003, the international community helped negotiate a peace settlement, which has begun to stabilize the region. People are tired of war and very optimistic about the future. And because of our medical specialists, HEAL Africa is called upon to deal with the physical, psychological and emotional consequences of this war.
The city of Goma lies on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering the country of Rwanda. During the genocide of 1994, the UNHCR estimates that nearly a million refugees sought shelter in the area. After the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in 2002, tens of thousands of families lost their homes.
Unlike the rural areas which are very fertile, Goma is built on volcanic lava without water supply or soil, making it very difficult for the population to support themselves. 70% of families in the area have an average monthly income of less less than $25.
Sexual Violence against Women
Women have born the brunt of the war. We are only now beginning to see the extent of the suffering of women whose villages have been destroyed, whose husbands have been killed, whose children have grown up without an education, and who have been raped, tortured and enslaved by militia. As of August 2006, over 4,200 violated women have been identified by the forty counselors working in Masisi Territory alone. Rape has been systematically used as a weapon of war. These women are left with huge physical and psychological needs which HEAL Africa is beginning to address.
This is one of the 200 wells drilled by the Glassco Foundation since 2001 in the Gwembe valley, south of Lusaka, Zambia. These wells cost approx. C$5,000 and supply water to at least 250 people. Water committees and specialised well minders ensure that the wells remain operational.
The Glassco Foundation received its charitable status in 1996. Our mandate is to seek out children’s issues in Canada and overseas, provide financial and organizational assistance as well as on site support.
As the administrative expenses of the Foundation are covered by a special donation 100% of all outside donations go directly to the children.
Colin’s Christmas letter to donors:
“We opened our school at the Chishawasha orphanage (in Lusaka); we opened our residence for the children at the Italian Orthopedic Hospital (in Lusaka) and agreed to fund 100 operations annually; we committed to look after the costs of some of the children’s cataract operations at the eye hospital and of course we agreed to continue with our Trachoma project in the Gwembe District. (As part of that program we will drill another 60 wells in 2007 bringing our total to 300 wells).
I know you are very aware of what a source of clean water means to the villagers however if I may I would like to reinforce this with a small story.
After driving about two hours from the main ‘trail’ we arrived at this wonderful very remote village. It was one of the best wells that I have visited over the years with lots of gardens, a very happy group of villagers and the area around the well in an impeccable state. It was great!
The highlight of the visit and what I wanted to tell you about occurred very proud and stately headman through the interpreter said with tears in his eyes ‘God bless you for providing us with this bore hole’ and then “I am so sorry that there is nothing we can give you to thank you for giving us this clean water’.
My very humble response was that his smile and the smiles of his beautiful villagers were all that we in Canada needed. Needless to say it was a very moving moment!
We are also hoping in 2007 to build a clinic in an area that is 40 kilometers from any medical help and also we will try and help two communities each build a permanent school.”