Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Letter To The World



If you take a look at the world today, you certainly would not be alone in wanting to tear out your hair in despair. In North Africa and the Middle East, millions of refugees are fleeing their homes in fear of terrorist groups in their country, risking their lives in flimsy boats to take them across the Mediterranean in search of a better life. As a result, Europe is at breaking point trying to cope with the huge flow of people. But that’s not all. In Russia, Vladimir Putin seems intent on playing mind games with the rest of world, there is a drought crippling East Africa, and across the pond in the United States there is the very real possibility of Donald Trump becoming President. 

It seems like the world has never had so many problems in living memory. 

Ripples Foundation has seen first hand the impact that problems such as terrorism has had on communities. We deliver projects in Northern Nigeria in areas that are living in fear of attacks from Boko Haram. We work with doctors from theses areas who volunteer on our Medical MOT events and on our other projects in the area who have shared with us their experience of living in these environments. Dr Maryam Nasir shared her story with us back in December. Whilst Ripples Foundation is aware of these problems in Nigeria and beyond, many Americans and Europeans are not.

Whenever a terrorist attack in Europe happens, many people from countries in Africa question why such an outpouring of love and support is not shown for them when similar or worse attacks happen in Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Turkey and many more places. The answer is unfortunately that most of the time Europeans simply do not hear about them. An attack in Brussels prompts rolling news, headlines in all major newspapers and thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts showing solidarity with the country. An attack in Nigeria is unlikely to even make it into a UK newspaper. This creates a divide between those suffering many attacks in less developed countries and those living in Europe and America who receive global attention whenever a rare attack happens there.
This divide is exactly what terrorists want. They want the world to be against each other as it gives them the perfect opportunity to spread their poisonous warped ideology. We have far too many other important problems to solve without us killing each other in arguments about religion or governmental policies. Just imagine a world without war and think about what we could be doing instead. The billions of dollars that are invested into the military could be spent on finding a cure for cancer, developing solutions to world hunger, developing our towns and cities and so much more.

We must not forget about atrocities being committed in other parts of the world. America and Europe must stand together with Africa and Asia and support each other. The media must be prepared to report on and condemn all acts of terrorism, not just those committed on their own shores. We must stand together as the world, not just as our country or continent. That is the only way our message can be heard by those who wish to terrorise us.

We know that the best way to live is to treat others with respect, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or religion. If we let people intimidate us to change our behaviour, in a sense we are letting them win. The only way to defeat terror is to not bow down to the fear that it creates. One example that calls to mind is the day after the London bombings in 2005 where less than 24 hours after a bomb blast tore apart a busy bus, people were at the bus stop waiting for it again. In Britain it is called the blitz spirit, but all it really means is to stand strong and try not to let anything affect you.

So in today’s crazy world, we here at Ripples Foundation urge you to support each other, lead lives based on love not fear, and look for the little things in life that make you proud to be human. For instance after this week’s attacks in Belgium and after those in Paris last year, thousands of people lined the streets to donate blood to those injured. Millions of people across the world are working tirelessly to end world problems, such as solutions to hunger, illness and climate change. 

Hope is there if you choose to see it.

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, March 18, 2016

An Insight To Kibera


Kibera, October 2008
Photo by - Colin Crowley


Ripples is concerned about the welfare of women all over the world, not just in the countries where we currently work, but also in other countries where women are also at a disadvantage. Our duty is to empower the women; they are the mothers of the next generation and they are already raising and educating the children of Africa. One area that is notorious for being a hotspot for corruption is Kibera.


For those who do not know, Kibera is on the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Within Nairobi there are approximately 2.5 million people living in slums over 200 different settlements. They represent a staggering 60% of the Nairobi population but occupy just 6% of the land. Kibera is the biggest slum in Nairobi and indeed one of the biggest in Africa, and is home to about 250,000 people. The Kenyan Government owns all the land. 10% of people are shack owners and many of these people own many other shacks and let them out to tenants. The remaining 90% of residents are tenants with no rights.

An average-sized shack in this area is 12ft x 12ft built with mud walls, a corrugated tin roof with a dirt or concrete floor. The cost is about KES 700 per Month (£6). These shacks often house up to 8 or more with many sleeping on the floor. They offer little to no protection against the weather, and living in such close quarters with no sanitation makes Kibera the perfect place for infectious diseases to spread.  

Kibera, July 2005
Photo by - hris1johnson


Only about 20% of Kibera has electricity. The cost of providing street lighting and electricity connections for shacks would cost KES 900 per shack, which is clearly not affordable for residents. Due to the lack of sex education and many men still not using condoms, many girls become pregnant. At any one time about 50% of 16 to 25 yr old girls are pregnant. Most of these pregnancies are unwanted, resulting in many cases of abortion. This can be very dangerous, particularly in such a poor area as Kibera.



In Kibera there are no clinics or hospitals, young women in slums aged between 15-24 are contracting HIV at a rate 5x times that of their male counterparts and as a consequence, many women in the community are forced to care not only for their own children, but for the children of neighbours or relatives that have passed away from this disease. No woman should have to live in fear of pregnancy. No woman should have to live with HIV when there are ways that it can be prevented.



Ripples Foundation works with village communities in West Africa to ensure that they can have access to medical care even when there is no hospital or clinic available. Ripples Medical MOT programme allows us to bring the availability of essential medical resources to various villages in Africa. We currently work in 3 countries in West Africa: Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana. We dispense free medication and consultations to around 1200 - 2500 citizens in each village and go to great lengths to keep the local hospitals stocked so the villagers have access to basic healthcare. We offer HIV assessments through local hospital’s that aims to catch the disease before it becomes severe for the patient.

 



We need your support to keep making change happen for African villagers. We do not want to see more people living in conditions like you see in Kibera. With the help of your support and donations, we can continue to hold these Medical MOT’s on a regular basis, giving villagers a better chance of living a long and healthy life. This not only makes a healthier community but it unites communities, allowing families and local enterprises to grow, move forward and break the cycle of poverty.



Please help us make change happen. Donate today. Visit http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/medicalmot





Bibliography: www.kibera.org.uk/facts-info/

Saheed abdul Web Developer

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Friday, March 11, 2016

What Small Luxuries Are You Wasting Your Money On?


How much could you save by sacrificing a few small luxuries from your everyday life? The amounts below could shock you!

Daily Coffee




Almost everyone we know loves to start their day with a morning coffee to energise them for the day ahead. Many people will grab a cup from a high street coffee shop on their way to work. In the UK, the average cost of a cup of coffee is £2.20. If you buy a cup of coffee every weekday over a whole year, you are spending a staggering £572!

£572 could cover the cost of a Medical Pack for one of Ripples Medical MOTs in an African village that would be used to treat up to 1,000 people! Isn't that more important than your morning boost?


Smoking Habit



A packet of 10 cigarettes in the UK is around £5. The average UK smoker smokes around 10 cigarettes a day. If you calculate those numbers, the cost of this habit is £1,825 per year!

Compare this to African villagers who are having to survive on just $1.25 (around 80p) a day, and this seems even more shocking. Some villagers have an income of the equivalent of £292 a year, whilst the average UK smoker spends 5 times that amount just on a luxury item.

Netflix Membership




A standard Netflix subscription will cost you £7.49 per month. That's £89.88 a year. Thats enough money to kickstart a Women's Enterprise project in an African village. 
Surely that's enough reason to maybe share an account with a family member or friend and use that money for good?

Lottery Tickets




I think you can see where this is going now... A lottery ticket in the UK costs £2. Every year that's £104 being spent on a gamble that very rarely pays off.

Just think about the difference all that saved money could make to the lives of those living in poverty. Ripples is working to raise money that we can use to deliver more empowerment projects in the villages that we work in. That's more women who will be able to generate more income. That's more children who will be able to stay in school for longer. That's more young girls being given equal opportunities in all walks of life.

Change won't happen in the world if we aren't willing to put in the hard work and make those small sacrifices that will make a huge difference.

We need your donations to keep delivering our projects. In 2016, no-one should have to live in extreme poverty. Can you give up one of the luxuries listed above and use the saved money for good? If so, please donate by visiting http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/charity/ripples-foundation

Make change happen today.
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, March 4, 2016

A Platform For Good



Any fans of Leonardo DiCaprio must have been thrilled last Sunday night when after 20 years of waiting he finally won his long awaited Oscar. However even though his win was celebrated, a lot of attention has now gone to his acceptance speech where he made an emotional plea with the world to tackle the issue of climate change.

"Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world... who speak for all of humanity. I thank you all for this. Let us not take this planet for granted - I do not take tonight for granted.”


Many have condemned him for bringing this serious issue to a seemingly joyous event, but others have praised him for using his moment to bring a cause to the attention of the world.


Leonardo DiCaprio has a voice. People will listen to him because he has a global following and a huge platform to address millions of people. Whether you agree with his message or not, he is provoking discussion and bringing his cause to the masses. Whilst many have chastised him for being a hypocrite (DiCaprio often travels by private jet), he has been running a charity foundation since 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, that delivers projects to tackle climate change worldwide, so no-one can doubt his passion for the cause. Regardless of the topic, Leonardo has used his global platform for good. Unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity to make their words heard.


Let’s put things into perspective. Only half of the world’s population owns a mobile phone. A quarter of all humans live without electricity. 12% of the population survive on less than $1.90 per day. That’s 896 MILLION people. Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia kill 2 million children a year whose parents are too poor to afford treatment.




The women that Ripples Foundation supports in rural villages in Africa have no voice. Their opinions are not being heard by the world. These women live in rural locations, and almost always have no access to the Internet, no international business, no fame and no opportunity to reach out to people who may be able to help them.


YOU can be their voice.


If you are able to read this, you have access to the Internet, are educated to a high reading standard and likely use social media. Let’s follow the lead of Leonardo and make our voices heard. If enough people are shouting, someone will hear! We have the power to make our voices heard; through our social media presence, our ability to vote on political decisions, and through the expendable income we have. Please help us to spread our message across the world.


You can retweet and share our posts on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #MakeChangeHappen and let everyone know that you are supporting the efforts to empower women and give them a voice. Through the donations that you provide, Ripples will be able to provide village women with the tools they need to start their own sustainable business, train them and their children how to use basic technology and connect them to the rest of the world.


Ripples is appealing to everyone who wants to directly contribute towards making change happen in the world. Do you have the equipment we need on our projects? Can you volunteer your time to assist a project in Africa? Can you start a fundraising campaign to raise money for our projects? If we unite as people to make change happen in the world, it really is possible to make a difference to people’s lives.


Let’s give women everywhere the chance to be heard and make their mark on the world. Let’s make change happen.

We need your donations to continue our projects to empower African women. Please donate by visiting https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/donate/ripples-foundation


Alysha Bennett Web Developer

Morbi aliquam fringilla nisl. Pellentesque eleifend condimentum tellus, vel vulputate tortor malesuada sit amet. Aliquam vel vestibulum metus. Aenean ut mi aucto.