Worldwide Projects: A Year in Review
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Worldwide Projects: A Year in Review

Worldwide Projects: A Year in Review

We want to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to all the travelers who contributed more than $728,000 this year so far—you've helped Grand Circle Foundation get closer to our goal of raising $800,000 to support our worldwide projects. Here's a look back at some highlights that your generosity has made possible in 2012.

The Americas:
In Ecuador, the Sinamune Disabled Children's Orchestra provides mentally and visually challenged students the opportunity to develop the motor skills needed to play a musical instrument. With the help of travelers like you, Grand Circle Foundation made a $4,000 donation toward the cost of musical instruments. This amount, in addition to the creation of a boutique to sell local crafts to help support the orchestra, is helping Maestro Edgar Palacios reach his vision of expanding the school's programming to offer evening and artistic classes. To date, $8,674 has been donated to support Sinamune.

The only way for students to reach La Concepcion School in Argentina is by boat. Thanks to the Foundation, every child on the boat now has a life jacket. The school also received much-needed updates to the plumbing, ceilings, and walls. To date, $5,769 has been donated to La Concepcion School.

A new walkway was built to provide shelter for the students at the Sonafluca School in Costa Rica, and funds were recently wired for the construction of a community center. To date, $26,660 has been donated to the Sonafluca School.

Providing lunch every day to the students at the General Manuel Benigno Primary School in Panama became a lot easier when two industrial stoves and a freezer were delivered. To date, $959 has been donated to this school.

In the Karatu area of Tanzania, traveler donations have funded the purchase of textbooks, school supplies, educational posters, desks, cooking pots, and more at five area schools. For example, the government requires students take an exam on a Saturday using a specific type of pen; however, the government does not supply the pen. All students taking the exam were provided with the pen, a pencil, a sharpener, and a healthy snack. Every student was able to attend the exam. The Maasai chief of the local bomas visited every school to stress the importance of attendance and helped deliver the goods, and each school was also supplied with tea and biscuits for the teachers as a "thank you" for their extra day of work. The total cost of this project averaged less than $1.50 per student, and $113,411 has been donated to the area schools in Karatu, Tanzania to date.

The Fontein Center in Swaziland provides support to orphans and vulnerable children impacted by AIDS. The roof has been repaired, an awning has been added, and seating has been provided. Travelers also provide fresh fruit and vegetables at each visit. To date, $2,836 has been donated to the Fontein Center.

When the roof was damaged at the Ziga Primary School in Zimbabwe, first-time OAT travelers Mike and Gretchen Zeller committed to fund the repairs. As someone who is generous about giving to others, Mike typically likes to donate to causes close to home. "I like to see the results," he explains, "because sometimes the money goes to administration and not to the cause." He knew, however, that 100% of donations to the Grand Circle Foundation go directly to the sponsored site.

Additionally, Happy Books, a local Zimbabwean company, produces a delightful range of Happy Reader educational books which are perfect for the child in Africa. Created specifically to help children overcome reading barriers arising from the lack of appropriate and affordable reading materials, Happy Readers use familiar African animals as characters, and their stories are set in recognizable rural and urban African locations. Due to a lack of suitable educational materials and reading books, literacy is poor. And although English is the official language in Zimbabwe, it is actually a second language for most of these children. These books will assist with the drive to improve the children's reading ability, and they introduce positive social role models and concepts of environmental awareness, wildlife conservation, and conservation farming techniques. Happy Reader books were delivered to Ngamo and Ziga Primary Schools. To date, $28,020 has been donated to the Ngamo and Ziga schools and scholarship programs.

Middle East:
The goal of the Lakia Women's Embroidery Association in Israel is to empower women by providing an opportunity to earn an income as well as providing classes and sessions on women's rights. An issue for many women is child care, and at Lakia, the women have similar problems. This year, a day-care center was created, providing the children with a safe place to play and read while their mothers attend classes and workshops. To date, $6,282 has been donated to support the women and children at Lakia.

The Di Ji Orphanage in Lhasa, Tibet is home to more than 100 children. A kitchen and dining hall was built—strong enough to withstand an earthquake—with an updated water and electric system. The Foundation also supplied tables and chairs, a water sanitizing system, and solar hot-water heaters. To date, $22,290 has been donated to the orphanage.

Sixty new sets of desks and chairs were provided, and 50 sets were repaired, at the Guang Ming Primary School in China. At the Shao Ping Primary School, a new projector and tape recorders were provided, and the door and railings were replaced. To date, $14,232 has been donated to the schools in China.

In Vietnam, at the Minh Tu Orphanage, the furniture was replaced with stainless steel beds, and storage wardrobes for clothing and possessions. Stainless steel tables, chairs, and swing sets were also funded. To date, $49,630 donated to this orphanage.

Water filters were purchased for the Don Chum School and Kia Luang School in Thailand. At the village of Kia Luang, new toilets were built to improve the sanitary conditions for the village. To date, $7,200 has been donated to these schools and villages.

Salantai Day care center in Lithuania services people with behavioral needs who need a safe place to go where they cannot hurt themselves or others. These adults can be difficult to restrain. A "safe house" was built where clients can go when they are acting aggressively. Here, the clients can safely vent their frustrations. Other clients of the center also love this place—it has become their outside gathering place. To date, $1,455 has been donated to this day care center.

Hacibektas Town in Turkey has five schools. Twenty-six villages surround the town, and 600 village children are transported here to attend class. In 2011, a regional kitchen large enough to produce 99,000 lunches during the education year was funded. More than 400 children are given free meals here each day. This year, we donated freezers, toasters, and cooking equipment to help with meal preparation. This project, including the construction and equipment, was funded by donations of $20,500.

Featured in our December 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.