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

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

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F214387015283092%2Fvideos%2F1046930442028741%2F&show_text=1&width=560

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.”

Exciting changes at NPCA – membership is now free!

The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the national organization for the Peace Corps Community – the hub of a network of individuals and affiliate groups (such as ours) working together to make the world a better place.

The NPCA is excited to announce a change to their membership policy, one that will make our community more robust, inclusive, and diverse, while reflecting the increasingly more mission-driven nature of the organization.

Going forward, membership in the NPCA will be complimentary for everyone in the Peace Corps community – serving Peace Corps Volunteers, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, current Peace Corps staff, former Peace Corps staff, host country nationals and anyone who shares Peace Corps ideals, so long as the NPCA has accurate service and contact information for you. As of January 1, 2016, the dues required for NPCA membership are eliminated.

This exciting change coincides with NPCA’s launch of the boldest and most visionary initiative in its 36-year history: the Peace Corps Community Fund. The Community Fund enables the NPCA to do important work that it has never before been able to do in all three of their fields of activity: increasing the Peace Corps community’s global development impact, supporting returned Volunteers, and advocating for Peace Corps.

The NPCA welcomes all to join the community as a Mission Partner by contributing to the Peace Corps Community Fund.  And if you have not been receiving their communications, make sure you register for your complimentary membership in the NPCA on their website: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/membership/

Questions? Visit the FAQ page on the new membership model at http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/community/npcas-new-membership-model-and-faqs/

Saratoga Peace Week – Art Exhibit: “Artists in Exile”

Kim Andersen, RPCV and owner of Mango Tree Imports in Saratoga, is participating in Saratoga Peace Week. Mango Tree Imports will be hosting an art exhibit on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm. The exhibit will feature artwork from teenage artists in Gaza, and guest speaker, Rachelle Friesen, will discuss her time in Palestine and her work as a peace coordinator for an international aid agency.
In addition to the flyers below, you can see more about the artists here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBv4NnmBLUc.

Happy Hour Update – Menu attached

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick update on our Happy Hour Event next Friday (May 2nd) at 6 PM. First, thanks to everyone who RSVP’; it is going to be a fun night. Umana has reserved us the ‘back room’ in the restaurant. It’s a nice open space and we can definitely mingle. We have let the local PCMI programs (School of Public Health and Rockefeller) know about our happy hour and hopefully we will have some future PCV-ers there too.

If you are not sure about whether you can attend, there is still time! As further enticement, Umana has sent us a menu of special small plates they will have for us to order (attached). All prices are inclusive of taxes (but not gratuity). You can also order larger plates off their menu. We decided people can order the wine on an individual basis (rather than trying to find wines that everyone will like) and they will have a bartender available to our group.

We don’t need to order anything in advance; however, Umana asked that I update on approximate numbers by mid-week so they can have ample food on hand. You can order and pay directly at the restaurant.

Hope you can make it. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

See you Friday,

Heather

Click here to view menu.

Survey request from PhD candidate Meghan Kallman – Brown University

Dear RPCVs of Northeastern New York,

My name is Meghan Kallman, and I am a PhD candidate in the department of sociology at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island.  I am writing a dissertation about the relationship between organizations and social change work. I am interested in civic participation, the third sector, and development; in other words, what happens when people try to make their worlds better, and what do formal organizations have to do with that process?

I have elected to write my dissertation on the Peace Corps because I am interested in the effects of volunteering on people’s lives: how are volunteers’ biographies, identities, and politics shaped by participation? How do individual volunteers carry their Peace Corps experience with them throughout their lives and careers? How does this sort of international service experience permanently affect people?

As a part of it, I have created a survey for RPCV’s asking about their experiences abroad. I would be extremely grateful if you would distribute it to your listserv, via Facebook or your social media outlets, and to any other RPCVs in your personal or professional networks. The link is here: https://brown.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0v3sObMYOUf8N0N

You should find the survey intuitive and enjoyable, and it should take about twenty minutes to complete.

This research has been approved by the Brown University Institutional Review (ethics) Board and is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. Please contact me should you have any questions or concerns. I very much appreciate your consideration.

Regards,

Meghan Kallman