Rice support is a critical feature of the GATE and GATEways programs. It not only ensures the girls will go to class with nourished minds and bodies, but relieves families of the pressures that often compel them to force their girls to drop out of school and join the work force. In 2015, 76 percent of GATE scholarship recipients successfully passed their examinations and advanced to the next grade level. Students enrolled in the GATE program are more likely to attend and stay in school, lowering their likelihood of turning to exploitative labor.
In the next phase of our partnership, BGR will provide Lotus Outreach with funding to offer 50 kilograms of rice each month during the next school year to the families of 70 girls who rank among the poorest of GATE scholarship recipients in Siem Reap, and an additional 5 families in Phnom Penh. Likewise, all of the 37 scholars enrolled in the GATEways program will receive a monthly provision of 15 kg of rice support to ensure they have enough to eat during their studies and will not be under constant pressure to drop out of college to find work. Annually renewable project.
Expanding the System of Rice Intensification
In Cambodia, around 80% of the population lives in rural areas and most depend on agricultural production, primarily rain-fed rice farming, for their livelihood. Most households hold less than one hectare of land. Women play a major role in rice production and in ensuring the well-being of the family, yet they are often excluded from decision-making at all levels and have less access to resources and services than men.
This project, with long-time BGR partner Rachana, is designed to spread the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and thereby empower women. SRI is an agro-ecological methodology for increasing the productivity of irrigated rice by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. The benefits of SRI have been demonstrated in over 50 countries (see map). They include:20%-100% or more increased yields, up to a 90% reduction in required seed, andup to 50% water savings. SRI principles and practices have been adapted for rainfed rice as well as for other crops (such as wheat and sugarcane), with yield increases and associated economic benefits.
The project collaborates with local authorities to ensure food security and increase the annual incomes of 1,065 farmers (female 783) through SRI, vegetables and cash crops, installing household level water harvesting techniques, and saving funds in groups. The project is also expected to increase resilience to climate change and reduce disaster risk. Annually renewable project.
A Food Program for Poor Children
The mission of CENCUDER (Centre for Community Development and Environmental Restoration) is “to enable rural youths and women to acquire survival skills in order to secure a better future for themselves through education and training in life and vocational skills.” Ebase village is amongst the most marginalized rural areas in the Kupe-Muanenguba Division in southwest Cameroon. About 97% of the population are peasant farmers who have trouble affording their basic needs. The majority of the peasant farmers survive through subsistence agriculture and hunting, meaning they remain underemployed for almost a third of the year, driving them further into poverty. Hunger and poverty have colonized most families.
The sign reads,"Thank you CENCUDER and Buddhist Global Relief for the meals you are providing us."
Ebase village operates a local community primary school as the only social facility. Families are unable to send their children to towns and cities because they cannot afford to pay house rents and buy school needs like uniforms and books. Only 58% of children will complete primary school.
The BGR-sponsored school feeding program aims to enhance the education and health of over 95 poor and needy village children, many of them girls and orphans, by distributing meals to them. It promotes literacy among school-age children suffering from chronic hunger and an insufficient diet. Introduced last year with support from BGR, the feeding program has helped solve many problems faced by the local community. Many more children now attend school and parents have seen improvements in their children’s academic and moral output.
The program is expected to further increase school attendance, enhance learning capacity of undernourished children, improve their health, and act as an incentive for more children to attend school. Funding will cover kitchen equipment, consultants, and food for the students, increasing primary school attendance and improving the children’s learning capacity and general health. Annually renewable project.
Improving Nutrition among Children in Korhogo District
| © Copyright HKI
This project with Helen Keller International (HKI), a long-time BGR partner, aims to improve nutrition for pregnant women, infants, and children in the Korhogo District of Cote d’Ivoire. The project will be funded in its entirety by BGR. Cote d’Ivoire ranks 172 out of 188 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index, making it among the poorest countries in the world. Estimated child mortality under five years is 195 per 1,000 live births and life expectancy is just 54 years. Malnutrition, including vitamin and micro-nutrient deficiencies, is a major contributing factor to the high rate of infant mortality. Chronic malnutrition affects about 33% of children under five years.
The project will implement a program among young girls and women in Korhogo Health District over the next three years. Korhogo, located in the underserved Poro Region in northern Cote d’Ivoire, has 77 health clinics that serve a target population of around 760,000. HKI will use the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) framework to reach mothers at the right time with the right message. The ENA framework promotes optimal nutrition practices, including women’s nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, feeding the sick child, vitamin A, and the integrated control of anemia, vitamin A and iodine deficiency.
This project’s primary goal is to decrease the incidence of malnutrition in children during their first 1,000 days of life by training health workers in ENA in the Korhogo District. Trained health workers will in turn deliver messages and training to expectant mothers at all 77 health clinics in the health district. This will take place over the course of three years. By the end of this project, an estimated 77,000 children and their mothers will have been reached.
Feeding Children in Jacmel
Our partner, the Art Creation Foundation for Children, was started in 1999, with the mission “to build a passionate community of future leaders, visionaries and dynamic thinkers,” empowering young people through art and education. A hundred young people are currently enrolled in their programs. Our partnership will help ACFFC maintain its after-school and summer feeding program, which has been affected by the recent increased cost of staple foods in Haiti. Children in this program do not otherwise have access to regular meals. Most would eat less than three meals a week if not for the program.
Since ACFFC provides tuition for their education, the feeding program is tied closely to their education program, and in fact the latter might not exist without the feeding program. Children who are hungry do not perform as well as those who have access to food, for their concentration levels are lower. Without the feeding program some of the children would not even show up for school, but instead choose to find other ways to obtain food each day. The after-school feeding program provides many of the children with the only meal they may have access to, Monday through Friday, and provides breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and during the summer program. Annually renewable project.
Food Aid Program in Jacmel
The Joan Rose Foundation (JRF) is a U.S. registered non-profit based in Bloomfield Village, Michigan. Its mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable Haitian children and their families. In October 2010 they opened in Esperanza, Dominican Republic, serving Haitian refugees in the country. In September 2015, to escape the discrimination against Haitians by the Dominican society and government, they moved operations and 23 core families to the Bois Boeuf neighborhood of Jacmel, Haiti.
The Food Aid and Food Security program sponsored by BGR will be implemented by JRF in Bois Boeuf, Jacmel. The beneficiaries of the project are the 115 people that live in the community. The project duration is twelve months. The objectives of the program are: (1) to provide children with two nutritious meals every day, supplying about 80 percent of their daily recommended calorie intake; (2) to incorporate healthy eating habits and improve the educational level of families; (3) to lessen the financial burden on families while they settle in Jacmel; (4) to help the community increase self-sufficiency and food security by creating a community garden; and (5) to strengthen community participation and organization.
To fulfill these objectives, the project will provide two meals daily, from Monday to Saturday, for the children of the JRF community. JRF will also offer a training workshop to the parents about healthy eating patterns and well balanced diets and create a community garden.
System of Rice Intensification in the Artibonite Valley
This project, a partnership between BGR and Oxfam America, is the third year of a three-year program. It expands on two prior years of development work focused in the Artibonite Valley in Haiti. Farmers currently suffer from poor production, ineffective processing systems, and disorganized management in marketing. As a result, 80% of Haiti’s consumed rice is imported. The purpose of this project is to promote the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) among a new set of farmers in four additional crop blocks named Haut Zin, Potri, Castera, and Eroi.
The irrigation infrastructure serving these four crop blocks has fallen into disrepair, putting at risk the food security of the 1,500 farmers that work these blocks and their families. Support from BGR will help address this issue, and related needs, over the coming year.
The proposed activities to be served by the partnership are the following: (1) rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure serving the Haut Zin, Potri, Castera, and Eroi crop blocks; (2) support for the rehabilitation of agricultural roads within the crop blocks; (3) support for agricultural technicians to provide ongoing monitoring of and support to farmers implementing SRI within the four crop blocks; (4) support for the establishment of a regional coordination body to defend the interests of farmers in Haiti’s rice sector; and (5) ongoing monitoring and project support.
Year three of a three-year project.
Meals for Hungry Kids in Port-au-Prince
This project continues our long-time partnership with the U.S.-based What If? Foundation, which has been providing critical food support in Haiti for more than sixteen years. WIF works in Haiti through its partner on the ground, Na Rive. Due to an extreme drought in Haiti, the number of severely food insecure people has doubled over the last six months.
A grant from BGR will support the Lamanjay Food Program in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Based on current prices, this grant will provide more than 30,000 meals for hungry and malnourished children. For many children this continues to be their only solid meal of the day. It is particularly important now, during the drought crisis, that children receive these meals because it is very unlikely that they will receive food elsewhere.
A large, beautiful building, which will house the food program as well as a school, was just completed with funds from WIF. The kitchen will be moving to the new site in the next few weeks. Now that the construction of the school and kitchen/cafeteria is complete, Na Rive will soon be preparing and serving meals at the new building. Annually renewable project.
Education for Kids in Port-au-Prince
The children who live in the Ti Plas Kazo community in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti are extremely vulnerable to the pitfalls of the Haitian education system. Because their families are very poor, most are not able to afford tuition, and those who can afford it often have to choose inadequate schools. To help remedy this situation, the What If? Foundation recently funded the construction of a school–the Father Jeri Academic School–in the heart of Ti Plas Kazo. Construction was just completed in April.
The school will provide high quality education with a clear tuition and scholarship program that will educate hundreds of poor children each year and provide better opportunities for these children and their families in the future. Children will be selected for admission based on core criteria of need, character, and desire, as well as on their performance in previous educational programs, if applicable. Further, unlike many Haitian schools where the majority of students are male, at least 50% of the children at the Father Jeri School will be girls, reflecting a commitment to empowering girls to change the future.
The school will provide a kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum and will have up to 280 students. The school’s mission, developed by community members and leaders, is to build the next generation of Haitian community leaders. To achieve this, there will be a combination of high academic standards with teachings of respect, empathy, and civic duty. The students will be entrusted with maintaining the school and the surrounding yard. This approach will create an environment and space for transformation where the children in Ti Plaz Kazo can thrive and grow to become change agents in the community.
The funding from BGR will enable the WIF to provide the components necessary for a strong school infrastructure, ensuring that the educational standards are high and that the accompanying facilities provide the best environment for learning. The BGR grant will cover the salary for an educational human resource specialist who will recruit and hire well-trained teachers and administrative staff. It will fund appropriate, comfortable furniture (including desks, tables, chairs, book shelves and storage) for classrooms and cafeteria to make the environment conducive to learning. And it will finance the modification of the land that surrounds the school to fit the needs of an educational environment.
The Father Jeri Academic School is not just the culmination of the Ti Plas Kazo Community’s dream, but also a symbol of hope for the community, and a true catalyst for developing a new generation of Haitians. Year one of a three-year project.
This grant was made possible by a generous grant to BGR from the Chao Foundation, for which we are deeply grateful.
A Girls' Hostel and Women's Community Center in Nagpur
The Bodhicitta Foundation is a socially engaged charity established in 2001 by the Australian Buddhist nun, Ayya Yeshe, to help Dalits (scheduled classes) and slum dwellers in the state of Maharashtra. With funding from BGR, Bodhicitta has established a girls’ hostel for thirty girls aged 16–22, who are being trained as social and health workers or to qualify in a vocation. The hostel helps them escape poverty, trafficking, and the sex industry. The girls, chosen because of their dedication to their studies, come from the poorest regions in India: 10 from Bihar, 10 from rural Maharashtra, and 10 from urban Nagpur slums.
The girls are now in their third year of training, after which they will return to their villages with the skills to empower other young girls. In this way, the thirty girls will become agents of change and establish institutions that will benefit hundreds of girls and women in the future. Such a project is especially important in India because investing in girls’ education can alleviate poverty and the ignorance that oppresses poor girls and women.
The other portion of the BGR grant to Bodhicitta supports a women’s job training and community center, where women receive education, loans, and business training to empower them to start their own businesses and gain income that will directly increase the well-being of their children, families, and communities, lifting them out of poverty. The community center creates space for awareness-raising, health workshops, counseling, career guidance, and quality education that is currently lacking in the difficult environment of a large industrial slum. Year three of a three-year project.
Helping Widows Rebuild Their Lives
Our new partner, Building Bridges India, is registered in India as a non-profit organization. Founded in 2006, the basic of mission of BBI is “to help widows and families in ten villages in Sangrur District, Punjab, to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of suicides of male family members.” They have expanded to other districts as well.
BGR will be partnering with Building Bridges on two projects. One will provide skills training in tailoring and running a business to 250 widows in Sangrur. Upon the suicide of their husbands these women have been left with many dependents, no skills, and heavy debts. Moderate to severe anemia and malnutrition are common among them. BGR funding will allow BBI to expand and upgrade the design of phulkari embroidery products to include mats, napkins, and other household items. It will improve women’s sewing skills and provide them with better sewing machines and appropriate sewing patterns. A design consultant will be hired to upgrade the design of products and workshops will be offered in five centers to train women in basic marketing, budgeting, and other entrepreneurial skills. BBI will also develop a marketing strategy for the program as a whole in order to scale up the project over time.
The second project will provide training in organic farming to 250 widows in Sangrur. BBI has already set up “kitchen gardens” in five centers to provide fresh, nutritious vegetables and small farm training to the women and their families, improving their nutrition and self-confidence. BGR’s grant will be used to set up five more gardens and provide training for the women. The program will unfold in three phases: Phase One will offer the women ten workshops for training in organic farming techniques; Phase Two will provide four workshops on health, nutrition, and sanitation; and Phase Three will provide additional training for selected participants, surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, and study of the program’s effectiveness in improving nutrition.
Prosperity through Resilient Livelihood
This agriculture project, with partner Oxfam India, aims at improving the livelihood of small and marginal farmers, especially women farmers, through enhanced resilience of agriculture in Uttar Pradesh. Over 70% population in the state depends on agriculture for their livelihood. However, frequent drought, flooding, and localized climatic variation have put the agricultural production system under tremendous stress. This has resulted in poor and unsustainable productivity leading to chronic poverty for farming families, especially those having small land holdings.
The project intends to build the capacity of farmers in sustainable and climate resilient cropping practices, set up a pilot to initiate a federation for self-sustainable agriculture, develop work in the project area, and link the community with government schemes for convergence of resources at the village level. The goal of the project is to contribute to increased resilience and improved income among smallholders, specifically women farmers. At least 1,500 women farmers will be taught integrated climate resilient agriculture practices. The farmers will be linked to government schemes, and household income of the 1,500 women farmers is expected to increase by 30%.
The project will be implemented in 20 villages of five gram-panchayat in Mitauli block of Lakhimpur Kheri, covering about 3,000 households. Assistance will be provided by partner organization Asian Institute of Management (AIM).
Jamaica & Haiti
Breakfasts for Hungry School Children
The Trees That Feed Foundation is a U.S.-registered non-profit based in Chicago. Its mission is to plant trees to feed people, create jobs, and benefit the environment, with a focus on planting trees in school gardens in low-income countries with food shortages. They presently have projects in Jamaica and Haiti and are branching out to include projects in Africa.
In Haiti and Jamaica, government support of childhood education is severely constrained by weak budgets. Teacher salaries are modest and school facilities are often in poor condition. School meal programs are limited, and for some schools non-existent. Hungry schoolchildren are unable to realize the benefits of education.
The grant from BGR will enable TTFF to provide over 30,000 meals, plus corollary benefits to the teachers and producers. This program will benefit approximately ten schools in Haiti and Jamaica (five in each country) with three breakfast meals per week, for three classrooms of 30 children each, for one full semester. These are locally produced, healthy and nutritious meals, not imported foods, and thus the project benefits local industry. The porridge mix includes equal parts of breadfruit flour and cornmeal flour, plus coconut and other seasonings. The porridge mix is packaged in one- or two-pound bags. The schoolteacher or staff person mixes one pound of flour with eight cups of boiling water to produce enough porridge to serve a classroom of 15 children. The project will commence in both countries with the fall semester, which begins in September.
Kenya & Malawi
Improving Food Security and Nutrition
Our partner, Ecology Action of the Midpeninsula, founded in 1971 and based in California, disseminates the GROW BIOINTENSIVE system of agriculture worldwide through publications, classes, workshops, internships, apprenticeships, and outreach programs. GROW BIOINTENSIVE improves agricultural productivity and soil building methods, using less land area and water in degraded areas. Using this methodology, Ecology Action has helped start sustainable agriculture projects in Mexico, Russia, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Africa, providing solutions to the challenges confronting small farmers.
With BGR support, a couple in Kenya, Samuel and Peris Nderitu, who have 13 years experience training farmers at the Grow Biointensive training center in Kenya, will train hundreds of farmers from African countries in the system. In Malawi, now in the grip of a severe drought, Ephraim and Charity Chirwa, trained at the Grow Biointensive center in Kenya, will work to train other farmers in the village of Mbowe. Many of the trainees are widows and their families include young children. The projects are expected to improve the health and life-expectancy of malnourished children, increase diversity and quantity of household food, and facilitate knowledge of health and care-giving – increasingly important as drought ravages crops in southern Africa. Annually renewable project.
Sponsoring the Education of Poor Girls
BGR’s partner in this project, the North Country Mission of Hope, is a spiritually-based humanitarian organization committed to fostering hope and empowering relationships with the people of Nicaragua. The organization began in 1998 as a direct ministerial response to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Mitch on the impoverished villages of Chiquilistagua and Monte Verde in Nicaragua. The first mission team immediately recognized that direct, long-term assistance was vital in order to improve the lives of the people. Working hand-in-hand with local community leaders, the Mission’s primary objective is to empower the people to help themselves.
In Nicaragua families with limited financial resources choose to send their sons to school rather than their daughters. This leaves another generation of young females uneducated and at increased risk of rape and childhood pregnancy. Mission of Hope aims to break the cycle of poverty by sponsoring the education of as many girls as financially possible. In partnership with Mission of Hope, BGR will sponsor the education of 94 girls ranging in age from prekindergarten to university level. The girls are currently on the waiting list.
With BGR sponsorship, each student will receive coverage of tuition and/or registration fees; the schoolbooks appropriate for their grade level; an insignia, which every student must have sewn on their school shirt; and the government-mandated school uniform, along with black shoes and white socks. Additionally, each student will receive bi-annual parasite medicine treatment and a free physical at the medical clinic located on the Mission of Hope compound in Chiquilistagua. Females on the waiting list will be sponsored on a first in – first out basis, with no preferential treatment to any particular person(s).
This partnership with North Country Mission of Hope is BGR’s first in Latin America.
Vocational Education Training for Poor Women
Founded in 1989, the Asociación Grupo de Trabajo Redes (AGTR) is devoted to providing vocational education to women and mothers employed in domestic work while teaching them about their human and labor rights. The Association runs an employment agency, La Casa de Panchita, to help women find jobs with adequate pay and respect for their skills.
This BGR partnership–along with the Nicaragua project our first in Latin America–will benefit women who have been employed in domestic work from childhood. The women find themselves struggling to provide proper nutrition, shelter, and other amenities to their families due to a paucity of employmentoptions.These women are trapped in poverty, and as a result their daughters too will be trapped, thus perpetuating the cycle.
|No more kids under 14 working
To break the poverty trap into which many girls are born, AGTR empowers women and mothers through vocational educational training. Through a grant from BGR, AGTR will provide training to 100 marginalized women who wish to undertake domestic work, while also giving access to employment through their employment agency. Utilizing an adequate salary, these women and their families will escape the misery of hunger, while their daughters escape the need to work and can remain in school. The women will be taught about their human and labor rights and will be given access to AGTR’s in-house employment agency, which upholds the standards of the organization.
The Vocational Educational Training (VET) workshops are divided into three 3- hour sessions. The women will learn about their labor rights as domestic workers, become better prepared to negotiate a just salary, and learn about the social benefits such as healthcare available to all individuals who are employed full time. After students complete the training, they are equipped to begin their search for just and decent employment.
South Darfur, Sudan
Help Farmers Affected by Conflict & Drought
This project with long-time BGR partner Oxfam America will be launched in the Belail locality of South Darfur, in Sudan. On account of conflict and drought, the population of this region has experienced continued displacement, food shortages, poor living conditions, shrinking household income, and lack of employment opportunities. The current food shortage associated with the drought (El Nino) is preventing the local population from producing sufficient household crops to meet consumption and income needs. As a result of depleted assets, households spend most of their income on basic needs and poor families are unable to cope with the stresses and shocks. Women and girls suffer most of all from the impact of conflict and food shortages.
The project aims to address the problem of food insecurity by increasing crop production through improved access to agricultural inputs and training. The objectives of the project are; (1) to increase production of food crops by 20% per household; and (2) to increase farmers’ knowledge of improved agricultural techniques.
Training on improved agricultural techniques will be conducted for 150 farmers. Each trained farmer will in turn train 3–4 additional farmers. The training will focus on improved agricultural techniques and practices as well as practical training in seed spacing, cultivation, mulching, intercropping, and weeding. It is expected that 510 households (3,000 individuals) will benefit from the project.
Education in Technology for Girls from Low Income Families
Founded in 1984 the vision of CENWOR—the Centre for Women’s Research—is gender equality and the empowerment of women in Sri Lanka. Its mission is to promote research, training, lobbying, advocacy and monitoring gender-related issues facing women and girls in Sri Lanka.
This project is intended to provide financial support to female students seeking to enroll or continue in middle level technical education courses to facilitate their access to higher technical education, upward career mobility, and sustainable employment. The project will provide financial support to: (1) twenty women in low-income families with the appropriate qualifications who are seeking entry to—or are enrolled in—the Diploma in Technical Education (level 5) and Advanced Diploma in Technical Education (level 6) programs of the state Colleges of Technology in each province; and (2) twenty women in low-income families enrolled in the second year of the Bachelor of Information Technology program conducted by the University School of Computing (UCSC) of the University of Colombo. The program will also conduct complementary gender sensitization sessions to motivate the women to challenge negative gendered norms that limit their opportunities for upward career mobility.
Meals for Hospital Patients
In Vietnam, the price of a hospital stay does not include food. Already challenged by the hospital expenses, most families have difficulty providing food to their hospitalized relatives. The Vietnam Red Cross Society, founded in 1946 and a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross since 1957, aims to improve the lives of those affected by poverty. The Tam Binh and Cam Duong Red Cross offer humanitarian assistance in remote villages in the Mekong Delta region.
In partnership with the Tam Binh chapter of the Vietnam Red Cross, BGR has been providing thousands of free meals to patients at the Tam Binh hospital since 2009. This year another grant from BGR will enable the organization, in collaboration with the local government, to feed poor patients in need. A team of volunteers manages a budget of $585 and serves 3500 vegetarian meals per week; the team switches each week. The BGR grant will fund approximately a third of the program for the year. Annually renewable project.
Scholarships for Poor Children
Since 2009, BGR has been sponsoring scholarships to students in elementary and middle schools in both the Cam Duong and the Tam Binh areas of Vietnam. The scholarships are given through the Red Cross of Vietnam to children from the poorest families who achieve good grades and display good conduct. Without this aid, these students would not have the means to continue studies at the primary and middle school levels. BGR’s support of this project since 2009 has enabled thousands of children to attend school.
Funds from BGR provide enrollment fees, uniforms, books, and school supplies. The BGR grant will cover 50 primary school students, 120 middle school students, and 135 high school students for the 2016-2017 school year. Annually renewable project.
System of Rice Intensification
This annually renewable project is conducted in partnership with the International Cooperation Center of Thai Nguyen University. The project aims to expand the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) on a large scale among village farmers in Phu Binh in Thai Nguyen province. The project supports farmers in applying SRI on large-scale fields to help them increase rice productivity and create products with the same quality, which increases the value of the products, thereby increasing the income of rice growers. The project activities also help people strengthen the connection in production and promote natural resources management to minimize the harmful effects on the environment.
Workshops will be organized to demonstrate SRI and allow farmers to practice techniques in the field; farmer groups will be trained in marketing thau dau sticky rice, a local delicacy. ICC will continue to organize the Thau Dau Rice Festival in Xuan Phuong to increase awareness and sales of the sticky rice. About 230 people are the beneficiaries of the project–farmers from nine villages of 3 communes in Phu Binh district and 3 local agriculture extension staff. Annually renewable project.
New York, NY
Reaching More Youth Starved for Meaning
For the past 10 years, the Reciprocity Foundation has worked tirelessly to support homeless and foster-care youth aged 13–26 in their transformation from impoverished persons living in a shelter to educated, employed youngsters playing a leadership role in society. Having worked with nearly 2,000 homeless youth since its inception, Reciprocity Foundation has won numerous awards for its groundbreaking use of contemplative approaches to addressing youth poverty. This year Reciprocity will be putting a renewed focus on upstate retreats and a smaller cohort of homeless youth in New York who will receive more individualized attention, meals, and nutrition education.
In 2016–17 Reciprocity will start a home cooking program, helping youth to learn how to shop, stock their kitchen cupboards, and prepare simple, fresh vegetarian meals in their shelter or residence where they usually have limited cooking facilities. This will require more time spent per youth but is expected to create more sustainable results for each dollar of funding. They plan to offer this program to 20-25 youth in New York City.
With BGR support, Reciprocity will expand its Urban Food Project, taking youth upstate to spend time working on small organic farms where they will learn the basics of planting, harvesting, and cooking fresh organic meals. They anticipate bringing 30-40 New York City-based youth upstate for training and to offer them placements in culinary jobs. Once they establish new headquarters, they also plan to to offer their Healthy Meals program to homeless youth on a weekly basis. Annually renewable project.
Community and Home Gardens in an Urban Desert
Keep Growing Detroit (registered 2014) operates in one of the most neglected cities in the U.S., where 20% of the residents are food insecure and the city’s jobless rate is 13%. Residents have limited access to grocery stores due to an unreliable mass transit system; many buy their food at gas stations or convenience stores with bulletproof windows in monitored transactions.
The mission of Keep Growing Detroit is to promote food sovereign so that the majority of fruits and vegetables Detroiters consume are grown by residents within city limits. The long-term strategy is to foster healthy relationships with food by increasing knowledge of food and farming, nurturing leadership skills, cultivating community connections and capacity, changing the value of food, and developing food assets.
|Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi visiting the KGD urban farm in Detroit.
The goal of this year’s project is to enable urban farmers to increase access to healthy fruits and vegetables and to facilitate educational and community events that promote healthy relationships of people to good nutritious food.
The first objective is to support more than 1500 family, community, school and market gardens that will produce 180 tons of produce for predominately low-income families. The second objective is to facilitate 20 educational workshops and community events that will engage approximately 400 residents. Annually renewable project.