Monday, November 17, 2008

Hands of Hope

This Holiday Season - Give a Gift that Transforms Lives

Hands of Hope, a charity of Women Helping Women A World Away, is announcing that their Holiday Gift Cards are available for purchase. These cards provide food, income and water for impoverished women and children in Zambia, Uganda, and Southern Sudan. They can be purchased on the Hands of Hope website for $15.00, $30.00 and $50.00. Purchasing these cards will provide goats, chickens or wells to help change lives. What could be a more meaningful gift for holiday giving for family, friends, and customer appreciation?

Hands of Hope helps mobilize communities to respond to the needs of women and children around the world. With an ever-expanding support base in the Chicago area, Hands of Hope works to raise community awareness regarding poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa and its relevance globally. We are confident in the integrity of the channels we have established so that contributions provide the highest possible impact for the most critical needs.

A teacher who received a Hands of Hope greeting card from one of his students, remarked:

"This was the most profound gift I have received from a student in all my 38 years of teaching."
Roger Prazaider, 5th Grade Teacher, Geneva, IL

This is a gift you can't afford NOT to give! A perfect gift for everyone in your life. Scroll down further to read about how Hands of Hope began and about their current projects.

How Hands of Hope Began:
A few women, A trip to Nigeria

Hands of Hope was started after a trip to Nigeria in 1999 disclosed startling conditions affecting women and the girl child due to the cultural practice of early childhood marriages (as early as age 11.) The pregnancies that follow come at time when a young girl is not adequately physically developed to permit the passage of a baby, which can lead to a prolonged and obstructed labor, death of the baby, death of the mother or a horrendous physical condition called vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). The immediate consequences of VVF are urinary incontinence, dermatitis, and some may suffer from paralysis of the lower half of the body. The social consequences of this condition are severe in a culture where a woman's value is based on her ability to bear children. Estimates are between 250,000-700,000 women are afflicted with this condition in Nigeria alone.

"To meet only one of these mothers is to be profoundly moved...Mourning the stillbirth of their baby, incontinent of urine, ashamed of their offensiveness, often spurned by their husbands, homeless, unemployable except in the fields, they endure, they exist, without hope..."

As a result of that trip and of others hearing about the plight of women and children in Nigeria a northwest suburban community of Chicago came together, bringing their skills and resources, to help address the critical needs of women and children a world away. Our initial efforts funded a hospital addition which is being used for the surgical repair of women with VVF in Jos, Nigeria. A grass roots effort of just a few has now grown to include over 250 volunteers, annual fundraising events, and cooperative relationships with other helping organizations. With an ever-expanding support base in the Chicago area and a clear vision focused on making a difference, Hands of Hope works to raise community awareness and provides resources to women and children that offer education, address health concerns and provide the tools and resources for women to be economically self sustaining. Our efforts bring hope and open doors of opportunity to women and children who want the same things we all universally value; health, safety, the ability to make a living and provide a viable future for their loved ones.

Today, Hands of Hope targets the enormous impact of poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic on women and children in Africa.

Chicken Cards

These lovely cards each represent a gift of twelve chicks. Help an impoverished family with a gift of chicks. $15.00 each

The inside of the card reads:

A gift of twelve chicks has been purchased and given to an impoverished family in Africa in your honor by:___________

As the flock multiplies, a struggling family will be given the hope to survive.

Your gift will help those in need for generations to come.

Goat Cards

These lovely cards each represent an actual goat being purchased for a needy family. Beyond providing much needed milk, a few goats can quickly become a herd, providing sustenance and additional income that can make the difference between whether a child goes to school or not. $30.00 each

The inside of the card reads:

A gift of a goat has been purchased and given to an impoverished family in Africa in your honor by: _____________

Offspring from your goat will be passed along to other needy families in villages where people are struggling to survive. This gift will bring hope and survival to many a continent away.

Well Cards

$50.00 each

The inside of the card reads:

A donation has been given towards funding a well in the Western Province of Zambia in your honor by: ______________

Statistics show that nearly half of all people in developing countries suffer from health related problems caused by unsafe water. In addition, African women and children spend several hours every day collecting water which is often miles away and may or may not be contaminated. This well will provide clean and safe drinking water and will go a long way to ease a heavy burden for hundreds of village people who struggle daily with basic physical needs.

Current Projects

Holistic Resources to Mongu in the Western Province of Zambia

Training, technical assistance and resource development in production and post harvest management for over 1000 rural farmers (approx. 6000 people)
Development of agricultural business services to create markets for farmer crops
Access to credit and financial services to minimize risk and maximize return for farmers

Education - Limulunga Community School

Funding a school building - 600 children receive an otherwise unattainable education in this poverty stricken rural community
Providing school uniforms, books, supplies and equipment
Funding a "children in crisis" project for critical needs of students
Providing desks for 600 children


Provide wells and irrigation systems for farm families

Completed and Ongoing Projects

Emergency Refuge Support - Southern Sudan

Agricultural tools and seeds for 350 families returning from war
Goat and Chicken Projects - Southern Sudan, Uganda, Zambia

Providing Goats and Chickens to an expanding network of over 2000 poor rural families
Microfinance Loans - Congo, Rwanda, Uganda

Provided women seed money to establish or expand viable businesses and provide sustainable income with affordable financing that changes the future of families and transforms poverty-stricken communities.
Education and Vocational Training Center for AIDS Orphans - Uganda

Working directly with First Lady Janet Museveni, we helped fund an educational complex that serves 400 children with secondary education and vocational training
School for the Blind Children - Zambia
Provided clothing, bedding, first aid kits, musical instruments and transportation for Sefula School for the Blind which cares for 200 children with urgent needs
Health Care
VVF Hostel and Vocational Training Center - Nigeria

50 bed hospital wing and rehab center serving over 2100 women suffering from horrendous gynecological problems as a result of early childhood pregnancies and subsequent pregnancies
Emergency Assistance - Southern Sudan

Mosquito nets and water containers for over 200 families returning home to rebuild their lives after 21 years of war.

Contact at Hands of Hope:
VickyWauterlek, Hands of Hope, 847-381-7367

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