Newton is a 45 year old farmer living in a small house with his wife, 4 children and 5 grandchildren, who was specifically targeted for the Food Security Program in northern Malawi because he has a physical disability in his left leg due to polio. In a country where there is little or no support for people with disabilities, Newton and his family were struggling to survive.
He received fertiliser, maize, cassava, soya and banana seeds for planting as well as mosquito nets for his family to protect them from the bites of deadly Malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but, most of all, he received regular monthly training to cultivate his crops in such a way that he would be able to provide for his family for the rest of their lives. By selling surplus crops, Newton has been able to purchase seed and fertiliser for the following year, and, through the training he received, he was able to diversify his crops, limit the impact of drought, protect the environment and most importantly, care for his family.
Newton and his family are beneficiaries of Every Home Global Concern, a B1G1 worthy cause sharing a passionate belief that in many cases, the poorest of the poor can help themselves if only they have opportunity to develop.
It began in 1984 when Eric Leach, the Founder and current Executive Director, was in Bangladesh. He saw boys and girls from the slums playing in the streets with nothing to do and no hope for the future, destined to perpetuate the life of their parents, with no education and no skills for employment.
"Surely, we can do something." was Eric’s response and – some 30 years later – Global Concern has changed the lives of thousands of the grassroots poor through community development programs and disaster relief.
The program was first developed in Bangladesh and India, and eventually expanded to Africa. In 2005, in the midst of a terrible drought and famine in Malawi, the organization received a heart-wrenching letter from their representative there, telling them that they had just eaten their last meal and were preparing to slowly starve to death.
Immediately Global Concern sent his letter to donors, and so much money was received that they were able to provide food to prevent starvation, and then put into place a Food Security program that trains poor farming communities how to develop sustainable crops and put aside seed and crops for the future, focusing on long-term survival.
In the last 12 months, agricultural training has been provided to 2,645 men and women in northern Malawi and eastern Zambia with additional chicken and goat breeding to increase income. Newton, the Malawi farmer mentioned earlier, was one of those who benefitted from the program. To help combat disease, Global Concern installed 65 toilets and set up 103 water wells. Over 2,500 people were educated in health & hygiene practices.
EDUCATION FOR 2000 CHILDREN FROM BANGLADESH
This is where Global Concern began, and there’s lots going on in Bangladesh as well as Africa and India. The core activity in the Global Concern community development program continues to give Bangladeshi men, women and children who live in poverty hope for a brighter future.
Micro-enterprise programs such as the Rickshaw/Van program have provided men with the opportunity to own their own rickshaw or van instead of being forced to pay exorbitant rental fees. This has enabled many to improve their financial status, pay off their debts and better provide for their families. Sewing classes have trained unskilled women so they can work in one of the many garment factories in Bangladesh or sew at home to earn an income. Four Global Concern schools – where a large percentage of the village children being educated are girls – provide Primary School education, a hot meal each day, clean water and sanitation facilities, school books, school uniforms and new clothes at Christmas, helping to give these children a sense of worth and importance, which is essential to their development. A physical education program has recently been introduced as well.
Executive Director Eric Leach told us,
It is not so easy to get land in the city of Dhaka where we have three of the schools, as the slums in that area are highly congested.
It may be possible to get land in Amgram where the fourth school is to build a high school one day. This is a country area south of Dhaka – where there are many poor, subsistence communities. We would love to help them in this way, because with a new high school, our primary school children will be able to continue their education close to home and family.
All of Global Concern’s overseas projects are their own, and are monitored closely by the Australian office in Sydney. Global Concern is transparent, lean and efficient and their workers are motivated by genuine love and concern for those less privileged.
Click here to see B1G1 Every Home Global Concern's projects.