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Hanukkah has begun and Christmas is just days away. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, look no further! This holiday season, make a donation to Helen Keller International in honor of someone special to help save the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Whatever amount you give – $1,000 to provide 1,000 children with life-saving vitamin A, $250 to restore the vision of five people through cataract surgery, or $25 to give one American child the glasses she needs – your gift will make a significant improvement in someone’s life. You can’t say the same for fruitcake!
Don’t just take my word for it: Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof included HKI in his annual gift guide noting: “HKI gets more bang for the buck than almost any group I can think of.”
Our success is due to the loyal commitment of friends and supporters like you. During this season of giving as we look forward to a new year, please consider making a difference with a donation to Helen Keller International.
On behalf of the HKI team working around the globe – and those whose lives are touched because of your generosity – we wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) as a Public Health Threat in Sierra Leone
Imagine waking up one day and your leg starts to swell. It is very painful and no matter what you do, your leg continues to fill with fluid. This is exactly what happened to Hannah Araba Taylor, who has spent her entire life in the Congo Town section of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
One morning twenty-five years ago, Hannah woke up shivering; her entire leg was swollen and very red. Although she didn’t know it yet, she had been infected by the parasite that causes Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) – known locally as “big fut” – a painful Neglected Tropical Disease resulting in disfigurement and swelling that is common among the poor. Although the disease is not life-threatening, it often leaves the infected person so disabled she is unable to work. In addition to the pain, the disfigurement can also create social stigma.
Sweetpotato pie. Sweetpotato casserole with marshmallows. Sweetpotato fries. It seems like this time of year, these starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetables are all the rage. But, did you know that sweetpotatoes are more than just a Thanksgiving staple? In parts of Africa, orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes help save sight and lives.
How One Community Prevents Malnutrition by Monitoring the Growth of its Children.
Post by Douglas Steinberg, HKI’s Deputy Regional Director for West Africa.
In a recent visit to HKI’s work in Tsogal, Niger, replies to my queries about the harvest were not encouraging at all.
“Most families here have only harvested enough to feed their families for two months,” replied one farmer in the community. This year is shaping up to be much less bountiful than last year – but still better than the disastrous harvest of 2009. This is a time when young children are at risk of malnutrition.
For those of you still scrambling for the perfect Halloween costume, I have a great last-minute suggestion: dress up as your favorite micronutrient! Just because your Halloween candy may not have nutritional value, doesn’t mean your costume can’t.
Below are some costume ideas from HKI staff that embody an essential vitamin or mineral:
An interview with HKI's Director of Childsight®
How many people can say that their job brings instant gratification through very simple solutions? Ask Nancy Prail (left in blue shirt), our Director of Childsight®, and she will tell you it happens to her all the time.
Helen Keller International’s ChildSight® program serves at-risk children living in urban and rural poverty by offering free vision screenings and eyeglasses. ChildSight® overcomes the two biggest barriers to childhood vision care: prohibitive cost and limited access. Since 1994, ChildSight® has screened over 1.4 million students in the U.S. and has provided free eyeglasses to over 186,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable children. The result is a significant increase in class participation, a reduction in disruptive behavior and a dramatic improvement in self-confidence. Click here to watch HKI’s video on the Childsight® program.
A week of awareness for vision and nutrition.
What do Sight and Food have to do with one another? Well, for one thing, both have official celebrations this week! Today, October 13th, is World Sight Day, and Sunday, October 16th is World Food Day.
Your ability to see is greatly affected by the nutrients you eat. In fact, Helen Keller International collaborated on the groundbreaking research in the 1970s that first identified that a lack of vitamin A can not only cause blindness, but can also compromise the immune system, which, in turn, increases the risk of death from diseases such as malaria, measles and diarrhea.
Thousands of children require treatment for severe malnutrition.
A post by Issakha Diop, who is responding to the crisis in the Horn of Africa on behalf of Helen Keller International.
I am currently stationed in northeastern Kenya (260 miles northeast of Nairobi and 46 miles west of Somalia) at Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world. It was designed to provide temporary shelter for the 90,000 people fleeing from Somalia’s civil war in early 1990. As the war, drought, and insecurity continued in Somalia, the three camps in Dadaab – Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley – became home for over 450,000 people.
Today, 1,000 to 1,500 new people arrive each day because of the current drought and food crisis in East Africa.
Little Abdulay Sahal Mohamed from Somalia arrived with his family five days ago. His entire family – his parents and six other siblings – walked for 21 days before reaching a reception point at the Kenya/Somalia border to be transported to Dadaab by UNHCR.
I participated in a panel yesterday hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that focused on the role of women in promoting transformative agricultural development and food security. As Secretary Clinton noted, if women farmers were given equal resources – land, seeds, water, credit and access to markets – they could grow enough to feed another 150 million people each year! With this compelling fact in hand, the discussion got off to a lively start, and ranged from talk about men and tractors to talk about vitamins and land rights.
A new year of "bringing education into focus™" begins.
This post was written by Nancy Prail, HKI ChildSight® Director.
What a summer our ChildSight® sites have had! New York, New Jersey and Connecticut survived an earthquake and then flooding from Hurricane Irene. Los Angeles braved Carmageddon, and New Mexico and Ohio endured record-breaking heat. But, we all came through these challenges ok, and as happens every year right after Labor Day, we said good-bye to summer and hello to a new school year!
As children flock to schools with brand new notebooks, pencils, and back-to-school outfits, there is an undeniable excitement in the air. However, for some, the hope of a fresh start turns into frustration and disappointment when they begin to struggle with school work simply because they cannot see the blackboard well enough to complete their lessons.