©2014 Convoy of Hope, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization // All donations are tax deductible in full or in part. // Delivering HOPE since 1994.
Within the first few minutes of meeting 9-year-old, Kristen Rodgers, it’s clear she is wise beyond her years. She stands in a tent on a rainy day at one of our community events in Kansas City, Mo., passing out free books to children.
Kristen first came up with the idea when she volunteered at the event the year before. “I realized there were no books,” she says. And she is right. At an average community event, guests of honor can receive a multitude of goods and services which may include: free groceries, health and dental screenings, haircuts, family portraits, hot meals, job placement assistance and a kids carnival.
After the event in 2013, Kristen decided to take action. She started a book drive to collect books that could be given out at the event this year. Kristen worked with family members, friends, her school and other organizations in her community to raise more than 2,000 books to pass out at the community outreach.
Kristen saw the effect of her project immediately. One child was overheard telling her, “Thank you. I was getting really tired of re-reading the same book.”
We complimented Kristen on being so young and taking the initiative to help others. When asked what she would tell those who don’t think they can make a difference because they are just kids, she says, “It’s not impossible — you just have to try.”
A lot of things in life are good enough simply talked about, but not kindness. Kindness is about action, kindness is doing.
This is our first Kindness DIY (Do-It-Yourself) – a series dedicated to simple ways you can share a smile, make a day or even change a life.
Here is an example of a baggie of goods you can keep in your car to give out if you see someone in need.
– Food (we chose protein filled bars that have a long shelf life)
-Emergency blanket (for extra cold nights)
Though the supplies may only last a night or two for someone sleeping on the streets, the kindness in your interaction, in showing that you care, will make a lingering impact.
Remember, kindness changes everything.
On a sunny day in Tanzania, a sense of hope is evident as we meet with Pendo and Zainabu, two teenagers from our Empowered Girls program. They beam as they talk about their new self-confidence and their dreams and aspirations for the future.
Empowered Girls is a program in our Women’s Empowerment Initiative that brings educational programs to schools and communities in East Africa. Sessions include contextually appropriate topics such as self-esteem, gender-based violence, and harmful cultural beliefs and practices. Professionals from the community visit the schools to provide lessons in health, women’s rights, leadership and family planning.
Pendo, Zainabu and many of the other girls in the program are familiar with adversity, as they grew up in traditional Tanzanian settings where women are not always given the same opportunities as men.
Zainabu, 14, lost her father at the age of five and struggled for many years with grief. She said getting involved in the Empowered Girls program has made a great impact.
“I would hear other people talk about their families and it made me miss mine” says Zainabu as her eyes start to water. “I felt so sad, but when I come here, they encourage me.”
There is a strong emphasis on the future as well. Pendo, 16, hopes to encourage and empower other girls in their community.
“I am a girl,” says Pendo proudly. “And I have a place in society.”
Pendo loves to sing and is a self-proclaimed bookworm.
Zainabu also has big dreams. She plans on becoming a lawyer someday so she can help educate others on women’s rights. When asked about advice she would give other young women, her answer was simple.
“They can do anything,” Zainabu says. “They have to be proud to be girls.”
This year, we have watched more than 1,200 girls develop this sense of pride through the Empowered Girls program.
“They have a lot of potential,” says Daudi Msseemmaa, Africa field operations director. “And potential is a beautiful thing.”
UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2014. 11: 30 a.m. CST
As Typhoon Hagupit exits the Philippines, cleanup from the storm’s aftermath begins. The rains are still falling over many of the islands, with 10-15 inches of rain expected. Flooding is severe in many areas, including Lucena, where one of our Philippine Women’s Empowerment Initiatives is based.
“Our team is working to deliver relief supplies to the women in our program,” says Raul Manuel, Philippines national director. “Food and construction supplies are badly needed for distribution.”
Property damage from strong winds has rendered many homeless, especially in hard-hit areas of Delores, Leyte, Samar and Tacloban, where the typhoon first made landfall. Roads are still blocked with fallen debris to many areas still left to survey.
Several of the homes recently constructed by Convoy of Hope have suffered major damage.
As the typhoon approached our team was fast at work staging food and supplies.
“Residents will have a steady food supply,” says Chris Dudley, disaster services response director. “We are working to ensure that those who need food are fed.”
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. 1:30 p.m. CST
“Our Tacloban reconstructed homes were in the path of Typhoon Hagupit and we know several got destroyed again. Food and water is badly needed.”Raul Manuel, Philippines nation director for Convoy of Hope
A little more than a year ago our Disaster Response team deployed to the Philippines to bring emergency food, water and supplies to tens of thousands of families who were reeling from Super Typhoon Haiyan. In the following months, our team built and repaired homes for dozens of impoverished families who had lost everything during Haiyan.
Unfortunately, this past weekend, another typhoon [Hagupit] made landfall in areas where we did much recovery work this past year. Our in-country teams report that many of the homes we worked on and built took direct hits from this most recent typhoon.
“Our Tacloban reconstructed homes were in the path of the typhoon and we know several got destroyed,” says Raul Manuel, Philippines nation director for Convoy of Hope. “Food and water is badly needed.”
Manuel adds that Hagupit brought heavy rains and flooding to vulnerable areas inhabited by thousands of impoverished residents. Many families have sought safety in evacuation centers. In many areas, electricity and communications are down.
Please know that our teams in the States are deploying to the Philippines and our in-country teams have already begun distributing food.
“Our in-country team is working diligently to bring relief to families,” says Chris Dudley, disaster services response director. “As soon as flights and shipping lanes open we will have emergency supplies and food in the hands of desperate families.”
As more details become available, we ask that you join us in praying for the families impacted by Typhoon Hagupit and consider making a tax-deductible gift.