RPCVs-NENY Give Back: Freedom From Fistula

FistulaClinicThe RPCV NENY-sponsored Freedom From Fistula event on April 12th was a rousing success. The program included a speaker, film, patient testimonial, plus light food, and silent auction. The evening’s activities were well received and many of those who attended expressed how much they learned from the program and enjoyed the company. Through ticket sales and donations $6,362 was raised to prevent and treat obstetric fistula! The funds have been donated to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation (FFFF) to support the Fistula Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi.

RPCV-NENY’s original goal for this fundraiser was to sell fifty tickets and raise $1300. We underestimated the incredible generosity and heart of the greater northeastern New York region, and our families and friends across the country. We sold over seventy tickets and more than quadrupled our fundraising target donation. In addition, small businesses in the region and many individuals were contributors to our silent auction, which helped raise significant funds.

We wish to extend a special thanks to the congregation of Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland for the use of their facilities and their support.

The FFFF will use the funds for surgeries to restore a woman to health, life, and a future. Each surgery costs $500. They will also be used to support the Patient Ambassador Program at the Malawi Fistula Centre. The Patient Ambassador Program trains former fistula patients to be outreach ambassadors in remote areas of Malawi. The ambassadors identify women suffering from fistula and bring them into the center for surgery. The ambassadors also help prevent fistula by encouraging pregnant women to get to medical facilities in time to deliver with medical assistance. A portion of the funds will enable the Center to purchase bikes for the ambassadors, to further their outreach.

This event would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the steering committee that carried out the myriad required tasks over the course of several months. Quite a community was built in a short amount of time. We were also fortunate to have been able to use the blueprint of the successful 2014

RPCV NENY-sponsored Ebola event and the group now has significant “event” experience.

We are planning to create a package that documents our process and products so that other groups that want to undertake an awareness and fund raising event can be provided the tools and procedures that worked so well for us…without having to reinvent the wheel. We will distribute this how-to package to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation, and will also provide it to the National Peace Corps Association for the benefit of other RPCV groups.

~Courtesy of Becky Raymond

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The group received a thank you message from Margaret Moyo, Director of the Malawi Fistula Centre:


Click the link above to view the video. Text can be found below:

“My name is Margaret Moyo, Director, Fistula Care Center, Malawi. As a center we repair more than 350 mothers every year. We don’t just concentrate on the physical repair. We rehabilitate, empower and reintegrate these women back into society.

Our patient ambassador program is a great success. On a monthly basis we admit more than 16 mothers brought in by the Patient Ambassadors. We are very grateful for the continuing support you are giving to us.

Thanks very much.”

2020 International Calendars- Sold Out!

We are sold out of calendars for this year, but we will have 2021 next year! Thank you for everyone’s support!

If you still want to buy a calendar directly from the NPCA, you can order them here: http://www.rpcvcalendar.org/calendar-2020/

They are $12 each and are a great fundraiser for our group, allowing us to continue to support our efforts to fulfill the 3rd goal. In addition to that, they’re really cool! Each day tells you what celebration is going on in which part of the world and also includes recipes to try, music to check out, and interesting international films and literature to try. See a preview of the calendar here.

Calendars will be on sale at our October, November and December meetings; however, if you’d like a calendar, but will be unable to attend the meeting, please send an email to rpcvneny@gmail.com.

Union College Event

On Tuesday, January 15, 2019 there was a Peace Corps event at Union College where students met with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to learn more about the Peace Corps. There was a panel of RPCVs answering questions and networking time for RPCVs and students. The students who attended received information on the Peace Corps, but also unique perspectives from each RPCV. Overall, it was a great event!

Peac Corps

African Project Network

A meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 for any individuals or organizations currently supporting projects in Africa. The purpose is to bring together such groups to share program information and explore possible areas of cooperation in the future. Each group is asked to have one representative make a very brief introduction stating the group’s name, purpose and geographic involvement as well as an issue or two of greatest concern. After introductions, we will examine possible areas of cooperation and next steps. The gathering, tentatively named African Project Network  is being organized by several groups already involved in Africa who wish to promote learning and sharing among like minded projects.

The meeting will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 85 Chestnut St, Albany from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Parking and building entry are both on Chestnut St.

For further info or to express interest if you are unable to attend contact John Kucij at Lkucij@gmail.com or Jim Murphy at tishmurphy@aol.com. Folks with no current involvement but interested in learning more are welcome.

Also, Westminster’s Fall African Family Dinner  will be held on November 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm. For more information, go to http://www.wpcalbany.org/


RPCVs of NENY Encourage Support for Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act

The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Northeastern New York want to express our support for the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. The full text of the proposed statute is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3030/text. It has passed the House and is on the Senate calendar, but the Senate has taken no other action. As former Peace Corps Volunteers we stand for peace, human rights and the prevention of atrocities and we take this opportunity to say so. We think an agency dedicated to preventing genocide, other atrocities and destruction of human rights is likely to help prevent these shameful and destructive activities.

Section 1- Names the statute in honor of Elie Wiesel.

Section 2- Affirms the critical importance of preventing atrocities and identifies how a dedicated agency can help do that.

Section 3- Makes prevention of genocide and other atrocities part of the U.S. national security interests.

Section 4- Adds “instruction on recognizing patterns of escalation and early warning signs of potential atrocities or violence” to the training of foreign service officers.

Section 5- Requires reports on progress.

The Act at several points stresses:
• the root causes of insecurity, violent conflict, mass slaughter of civilians, gender-based violence and the creation of hordes of refugees;
• diplomatic efforts, strategic planning, support for human rights defenders, financial transparency, and anti-corruption initiatives to address the root causes of insecurity;
• unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral means to prevent and respond to conflicts and atrocities;
• methods to deal with genocide and atrocities with peace-building, mediation, transitional justice measures to address atrocities, delegitimizing violence as a dispute resolution strategy, building capacity to manage disputes peacefully.

We encourage other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to contact their senators and representatives to express our support of the Act and our conviction, based on our experience abroad, that dedicated efforts in this direction would be helpful.

RPCVs Visit Liberia with Westminster Presbyterian Mission Trip

Fellow RPCVs and members of RPCVs of NENY, John and Lyn Kucij (Liberia 1971-1973) went to Liberia in May for the Westminster Presbyterian Mission Trip. They visited Hope Mission School where Westminster Presbyterian Church has funded the building of a new classroom. All the students and staff members received both school and hygiene supplies. In addition to these items, they were able to bring hundreds of pieces of good, used summer clothing for all ages. While the primary goal was to provide new clothes for the eleven orphans supported by Westminster Presbyterian, there was more than enough to be shared widely with staff, students, and community members. A grateful THANK YOU goes out to the City Mission of Schenectady for providing much of the clothing and other supplies!
John and Lyn used their one free day to visit some beehives and two schools that are managed by two of their former students from when they were PCVs. Also, six more of their former students made a surprise appearance!