If there is one outstanding charity that I would love to spread the word about it would be KOFAVIV at madre.org
People always ask why is everyone so obsessed with doing charity overseas when there are people right here in our own backyards that need help? are we so naive we don't just praise the lord that people are helping one another whether near or far? I have heard so many horror stories about the aftermath in Haiti.
I was sponsoring a young boy there and I still don't know if he is ok, the letters and drawings have stopped coming.
I read an article and I cannot help but get the shivers everytime I think about it. (my daughter is two and this makes me want to fly over to haiti and take all those women and children and sneak them home in my suitcase!!) I am going to simply re-type it... here we go..
"A New Tragedy Facing Haiti's Women and Girls"
"The massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 and lasted 35 seconds. But women and girls there are still feeling devastating aftershocks in the form of rampant sexual violence. The sprawling tent cities housing thousands of displaced Haitians have, experts say, become epicenters of sexual assault, where victims as young as two are reportedly being raped every day. Although reliable data is difficult to come by, the Haitian antiviolence group KOFAVIV tracked 230 rapes in just 15 camps in port-au-prince in one nine-week period. (and consider that there are more than 500 camps in the capital.)
Even before the quake, rape in Haiti was staggeringly common. But now the tent cities lack security, privacy and lighting, and "rape is rising because women have nowhere to go to be safe, and hardly anywhere to turn for help," Says Beverly Bell, founder of Other Worlds, a social justice advocacy group. In one horrific case, an 18 year old was gang raped so violently that she could not walk the next day it took eight days for her to get treatment. In Port-au-Prince, a women said something Bell can't forget: "The way you saw the Earth shake, that's how our bodies are shaking now." Perpetrators often attack at night, preying on women while they use dark latrines or sleep next to their children. One mother told Bell that she sleeps with a machete under her mattress. Other women try never to sleep at all.
Startlingly, some have this could have been prevented. Experts have long known that violence against women often increases after a disaster. That was seen in Indonesia after the 2004 Tsunami, and even here in the United States after Hurricane Katrina. "When police stations and courts are destroyed, women become more vulnerable than ever," says TAINA BIEN-AIME, Executive director of the international group Equality Now. Add men's post-disaster anger and desperation to the mix and women's bodies become targets. What do Haiti's women need right now? Advocates say that no real safety will come without better housing. But more security patrols, lighting and separate bathrooms within the camps would be a start, and you can help.
a $50 donation to KOFAVIV at madre.org helps provide women with a security kit that includes a flashlight, whistle and a cell phone. "Until the rights of women and girls are protected," says Bien-Aime, "This country can never recover."
This got me scouring the web, looking for more information and ways that I can contribute. There is nothing that breaks my heart more than violence against women in ANY shape or form. Even if all you can do is bring awareness, pray for the women and children all over the world, no matter their condition... from the lonely housewife who seems to have everything to the woman living under a tarp in the worst living conditions imaginable, we all need to stick together. Love your sisters, tell a stranger that she is gorgeous. My mother in law is a true inspiration, she is just as loving, warm, and kind of a person whether it be a complete stranger in need, her own mother in law who recently moved in three doors down because she is suffering from alzheimer's, any one of her 11 grandbabies... or a dying woman in a remote part of Kenya which she frequents often. She has told me stories of being in Africa and feeling so useless, not being a doctor and just seeing so much tragedy and pain, her friend there Sister Frieda said something so profound that it made me cry when I heard the story.. something along the lines of ...it means enough just to sit with someone in pain, desperation, any condition that is not favorable... you can hold their hand, pray for them, just be there with them... It's so true. Our time is our most valuable gift.