Afghanistan: Afghan financier offers countrywomen a door into the business world February 13, 2010
KABUL - Storai Sadat is a financier whose clients are often found far from the commercial centers of this capital city. She loans money to female entrepreneurs, whose workplace may be a hillside backyard where pigeons are raised for pet markets or a living room where blue cloth is sewed into burqas.
West Bank and Gaza: Wheelchair basketball brings hope to the West Bank February 12, 2010
Carlee Hoffman is a University of Illinois grad student and Paralympian who wants to empower disabled athletes in the West Bank. The two-time gold medalist was disabled by an accident at age three. Carlee spent time in the West Bank last spring with the humanitarian NGO Mercy Corps to help kick start a Paralympic basketball training.
Haiti: Small fund-raisers for victims start to add up February 10, 2010
Devin Greene celebrated his seventh birthday on Saturday. His party raised $1,025 for Mercy Corps to support its charity work in Haiti. Asked how much he thought he might raise, Devin said, “About $200.” He said he had been inspired by his teacher, who told his first-grade class in Portland, Ore., that “there are a lot of bad things happening to other people.” For Dina Yazdani, a junior at Lincoln High School in Portland, it was an urgent sense that she and her classmates needed to do something to help after the earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12.
Haiti: Haiti relief’s secret weapon: Google Earth February 9, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Days after the Jan. 12 earthquake, a group of Haitians set up a small tent camp in an open field not far from the U.S. Embassy. In theory, this small community was well-situated to receive aid: It was in spitting distance of a helicopter landing zone. And right nearby was the World Food Program’s consolidated warehouse, where relief agencies store all their goods shipped from the Dominican Republic.
Haiti: Kraxberger students step up for Haiti February 9, 2010
Four eighth graders from Kraxberger Middle School learned a couple of valuable lessons last week: young people can make a difference and don’t set your sights too low. The girls were so affected by the images coming out of the recent earthquake in Haiti that they decided they needed to put together a fundraiser to help those stricken by the tragedy. “Our first goal was $800,” said Cassidy Olsen-Shults, but in the end they raised more than $2,000 for Mercy Corps, a relief agency based in Portland.
Haiti: Super Bowl XLIV champ Reggie Bush's 'Help Haiti' shoe February 8, 2010
New Orleans Saints' Reggie Bush customized an Adidas' adiZero Ace 2 running shoe for Haiti that shows off the colors of the Haitian flag with “Help Haiti” inscribed on the heel. The men's and women's shoe sells for $105 online through Thursday with 10% of the price of each pair sold going to Haitian relief effort Mercy Corps. Bush also designed a companion pair featuring the Saint's black and gold with the "Help Haiti" inscription.
Haiti: Mercy Corps works with community leaders to comfort Haitian children February 4, 2010
For nearly a month, search-and-rescue crews have combed the ruins of Haiti, pulling survivors from the rubble and clearing debris. This week, trainers affiliated with Portland-based Mercy Corps took on a new task: helping community leaders aid the country's youngest victims. The Comfort for Kids program is designed to teach adults how to help children overcome the emotional trauma caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 people.
Haiti: Local volunteer battles ‘emotional challenge’ after Haiti devastation February 4, 2010
Cassandra Nelson moved through devastated Port-au-Prince for nearly three weeks with a steely resolve to bring food, water and medical aid to people whose lives were shattered by the massive Jan. 12 earthquake. It wasn’t until she returned to her parents’ Progress-area home Monday that the emotional wave washed over her. The devastated city was the worst she had seen, and the 37-year-old Mercy Corps first responder has seen a lot of destruction in the past decade, including war-torn Afghanistan, bombed-damaged Iraq and tsunami-ravaged Sumatra.
DR Congo: American Lisa and Congolese Lisa February 3, 2010
My Thursday column is about the war in eastern Congo, looking at the work of Lisa Shannon and her Run for Congo Women. Readers sometimes ask why I often write about outsiders, like Lisa, rather than about the innumerable local people who are doing extraordinary work — often at greater risk. It’s certainly true that Congo, for example, has a vibrant and admirable civil society, full of Congolese women themselves organizing against rape and war.
Haiti: Mercy Corps veteran says of the many disasters she has seen, Haiti was the worst February 2, 2010
Get ready for the return, over the next days and weeks, of volunteers who dropped everything to help in the aftermath of last month's earthquake in Haiti. They will come back armed with snapshots and unforgettable images of death and destruction. But Cassandra Nelson, Portland-based Mercy Corps' director of multimedia projects, came back this week after 16 days on the devastated island with even more: a vision of improving conditions.