In the past I have worked with the organization buildOn, even rating it my top pick for the best charity to donate to. However, with the Divorce from my previous Husband (who is heavily involved with the organization) I found myself seeking a new organization to help out in any way I can. Enter Orphans to Ambassadors!
I came across Orphans to Ambassadors after re-connecting with my childhood neighbor (and one of my closest friends for nearly 40 years) Katherine Steen, who has been involved with the organization for several years. Katherine has trekked to various countries in Africa, and is planning a trek this year to India and Nepal. After speaking with her about the organization and the work they do I have gotten deeply involved through volunteering to wrap gifts at their annual gift wrapping station in Southcenter Mall, procuring funds through donations from my various connections, and purchasing flights to volunteer in India and Nepal this year.
What is the reason why so many people donate to charities?
It takes a substantial reason to make people of average means open up their hearts and their checkbooks. Many times these types of people are appalled at what they see on the news or read in the newspaper. They are moved to the point where they want to make a difference in the lives of those that are not as fortunate as they are. And while our Western economy is still lingering in a state of flux, there still several generous people out there that no longer wish to be a bystander, and are willing to contribute to those who are truly struggling in developing countries all over the world.
Why is Orphans to Ambassadors the best charity to donate to?
Since 2010, Orphans to Ambassadors has brought sustainable and renewable solutions to ten impoverished countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Central America. They are dedicated to providing marginalized children in impoverished nations the tools and opportunities to break through and flourish. The charity’s primary mission is to work in post-refugee affected nations and partner with local organizations to serve these forgotten, displaced and orphaned children.
Their volunteers work with selected institutions installing sustainable technology and teaching the population how to prosper through the use of multiple sustainable solutions. Teaching self-sufficiency is the crux of their mission, because they believe that sustainable technology will vastly improve the quality of life in developing countries without wasting money and resources.
Through the use of renewable energy, water reclamation and sustainable food sources, their program has improved the lifestyle of countless orphaned children in downtrodden areas. They have a firm belief that given the proper tools, training and encouragement, the people that they serve are more than capable of providing for themselves.
Orphans to Ambassadors is the best charity to donate to because their approach is simple and inexpensive. Their mission aims to:
- Encourage self-sufficiency
- Lessen the impact on the environment by utilizing green technologies
- Greatly reduce the costs of running an orphanage
Services They Provide
Protecting Orphaned Children
With an approximate 153 million orphans on this planet, it is safe to say that a fairly large population are growing up in developing nations. Many children have lost their parents to war, famine or illness at an early age. Unfortunately, many of those children are living in rundown facilities that have no electricity or running water. They go uneducated, and though they likely need mentoring and an education even more than those children who have parents, they are statistically less likely to be enrolled than non-orphans. Because they lack equal access to schools, these children’s future opportunities are severely limited, often leaving them much more vulnerable to abuse, child laborers and exploitation than their non-orphan counterparts. Orphans to Ambassadors is the best charity to donate to because they are actively helping these children thrive.
Avoiding Unsustainable Models
Unfortunately, the limited institutions that are caring for these orphans must depend on donations and aid organizations to stay open. If their revenue stream depletes, these deserving children have to absorb the loss. Because this model fosters vulnerability and dependency on the kindness of others, it is unsustainable in the long term. Money can only be spent on immediate priorities, such as food, and healthcare, schooling and other long term needs are often ignored. By providing sustainable sources of water, food and power, Orphans to Ambassadors is the best charity to donate to, because it ensures that its partner institutions can concentrate on getting these children the education and medications that they need.
Eliminating Environmental Degradation
Deforestation is a hot topic in Africa, where it occurs at nearly twice the rate than it does in other parts of the world, since it can lead to erosion of top soils used for farming, flooding and the extinction of native plant and animal life. Orphans to Ambassadors has tried to bring alternative methods of cooking to these devastated areas in an effort to steer Africans away from using only wood stoves.
Some of the resources employed by Orphans to Ambassadors making it the best charity to donate to:
Goat farms – Goat farms provide healthy and renewable sources of meat and milk.
Chicken coops – Chicken coops provide a sustainable source of both eggs and poultry.
Vegetable gardens – Vegetable gardens are sustainable and replenish-able food sources used to reduce the amount of incoming food, which drives down costs. They also add important nutrients to the diets of growing children.
Solar panels – Solar panels provide renewable energy by harnessing the power of the sun, which is much more affordable than grid power.
Solar thermal water heaters – Solar thermal water heaters harness the power of the sun to heat water for bathing and cooking.
Protecting the Environment
Planting trees – Planting trees improves the surrounding environment by preventing soil erosion, clearing smog-producing compounds from the air and capturing carbon dioxide and turning it into the oxygen. Air quality is typically poor in developing nations.
Rocket stoves – Rocket stoves dramatically reduce smoke and carbon soot. They also use a minimal amount of fuel while cooking.
Rainwater harvesting systems – Rainwater harvesting systems are designed to collect several thousands of liters of rain water to provide access to water when immediately needed.
Bio-sand water filters – Bio-sand water filters use sand to remove biological contaminants from water, preventing diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the foremost causes of death for children under the age of five years.
Orphans to Ambassadors Projects In The Last Few Years
In March, Orphans to Ambassadors installed four solar panels to provide electricity for the Save Poor Children in Asia Organization Orphanage in Phnom, Cambodia, and added six more in 2012 to support a computer literacy program.
In April, they built a chicken coop for the No More Tears Orphanage in Kamakwie, Sierra Leone, and installed a solar panel system for lighting.
In June, they improved the 63,000 liter rainwater harvesting system at Nazereti Center in Ngara, Tanzania, and installed two rocket stoves.
In December, they installed two bio-sand water filters at the Agape Children’s Home in Embu, Kenya and spent time teaching the orphans about composting and sack gardening.
In March, they installed a 350 watt solar panel system at the Savong Foundation in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to power lighting and a computer lab.
In May, they constructed a chicken coop at the Institute for Women’s Excellence in Rwamagana, Rwanda. They also installed two rocket stoves and built a 13,000 liter rain-water harvesting system. Simultaneously, they installed a 250 watt solar panel system for the Foyer Evangelique Orphanage in Mayer, Haiti to use for lighting purposes.
In October, they built a goat farm for 100 goats at the Charfasson Orphanage in Bhola, Bangladesh, and installed solar panels at the Asha Nepal Orphanage, the Shakti Kendra Rehab Center and the Sangharshashil Women’s Shelter in Kathmandu, Nepal. The latter three institutions benefit sex-trafficking victims.
In August, they installed a 500 watt solar panel system at New Hope Ministries in Busia, Uganda to power a new computer lab and light systems. They also installed an 8,000 liter rainwater harvesting system at the Fair Earth Children’s Home in Kasese, Uganda, and built a large brick chicken coop at the Lionhearted Learners Orphanage in Kampala, Uganda, stocked with two hundred baby chicks. They accomplished all these endeavors in one month, and that is why they are the best charity to donate to today.
In January, they installed a 250 watt solar panel system at the Harvest Children’s Home in Fundong, Cameroon to power the orphanage’s lights.
In August, they installed solar panels at the Gerladina Orphanage and Education Center in Bukoba, Tanzania, as well as a 22,000 liter rainwater harvesting system.
In September, they installed a rocket stove and two piggeries at the EGM Destiny Orphanage and School in Musisi, Uganda, as well as a solar-powered water filtration system for its new 10,000 liter rainwater harvesting system. They also installed a 20,000 liter rainwater harvesting system in the Green Valley Orphanage in Bwera, Uganda.
This year, the volunteers (and myself) at Orphans to Ambassadors are traveling to Nepal working with the organization Karma Flights to continue their work in the village of Arnakot by raising funds for solar panels and aid in the installation of them to the village for continued power. In addition, Orphans to Ambassadors is providing laptop computers and programs so that the children can expand their education.
In addition to the solar panels in Nepal, the volunteers (and myself) will be traveling to India to build a chicken coop for the orphanage located in the state of Odisha, India. The plans and building materials along with chickens, feed, and antibiotics (for the chickens) are provided by Orphans to Ambassadors to allow the orphanage to produce eggs and meat to sell and raise money for the orphans.