Author Archives: Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt

About Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt has served as World Concern's communications officer since 2010. With a background in journalism, Cathy honed her writing skills as the editor of a monthly newspaper. She particularly enjoys interviewing inspiring people and conveying their life stories, some of which she shares on this blog.

Sweetening the deal: Cinnamon Roll Fridays help protect children

Fundraising isn’t as hard as it may sound. If you’re passionate about a cause, and have a little bit of creativity, people will get behind you. Here’s what Lorene told us about how she raised more than $700 to help protect children and women from trafficking and abuse.

I first heard about human trafficking several years ago, but took the “put my head in the sand” approach.  It was (and is) so horrific to me that this goes on in this day and age.

Lorene on her way to the race.

Lorene on the ferry on her way to the 5k.

Then, last year a friend gave me a novel to read called “Priceless” by Tom Davis.  I read it but still felt so helpless. The problem is so very overwhelming, and I wondered what I could do about it.  I received the “Free Them” 5k emails last year, but dragged my heels. I have done fundraisers for things like the Breast Cancer 3 Day and the MS Walk, but somehow raising support to stop human trafficking didn’t have a “feel good” element.  I’d have to explain what it is, and how could I do that when I’m burying my head in the sand?

When I got the email this year, I decided to take the step of faith. I would do the fundraising, answer any questions people have about it, and get ready to run a 5K (which I’ve never done before).

First I sent out an email to get support. Then I baked cinnamon rolls to take to work. I’ve done this for other fundraisers and called it “Cinnamon Roll Friday.”  I have Thursdays off to bake the rolls.  One batch makes 15 to 16 large rolls, and I ask for a suggested donation of $3 each. The response from work was overwhelming. Folks were very excited that I was doing a fundraiser for this cause. I held Cinnamon Roll Friday three times and raised almost $400!

cinnamon rolls

Lorene's sweet deal: $3 per cinnamon roll to help stop human trafficking.

I appreciate World Concern’s efforts to stop human trafficking. I signed up to be a part of Women of Purpose, having first heard about this group thru the “Free Them” run.

Anyway, there you have it.  You will see me next year!

Lorene

Lorene’s efforts paid off. Not only is she helping protect hundreds of vulnerable children, she won fifth prize in our fundraising competition for the 5k, earning herself a $50 gift card to FIVE Bistro & Restaurant.

What are you passionate about? Feeding the hungry? Providing jobs and income for the poor? Bringing better health to other countries? Get creative and fundraise for your cause!

Saving for the future

Joyce holding her pen.

Joyce has a goal of learning to read and write, inspired by her business success and thanks to a savings group she participates in.

Joyce Awa Mavolo told her story with a pen in her hand, symbolic of her hopes for the future.  The 30-year-old mother of six children owns a shop where she sells a variety of goods and handicrafts in Southern Sudan.  For many years Joyce struggled to provide for her young family and keep them fed and clothed.

Things started to improve when Joyce joined a World Concern-sponsored women’s savings group.  These groups of 15 to 25 women meet weekly, save $1 to $2 each week, then take turns loaning their collective savings out to individual members.  This form of finance has virtually no overhead cost, providing a cheap form of credit to its members.

Joyce’s group provides her a safe place to store her money and access to small amounts of cash that she can use to buy items for her business in bulk, reducing her costs.  It also saves her from having to make daily trips to suppliers, which for many women could take half the workday.

The opportunity has helped Joyce become more profitable in her business and be able to provide essential resources for her children. She can now make tuition payments for her oldest son who has recently started school.

“I like our group because the women respect each other. We help each other and we share activities and dream together,” said Joyce.

“I am still young, and all my life I had the desire to learn how to read and write.  I watched others attend school, but I was not allowed to attend school while growing up because I was the only daughter and my family needed my help at home and in the fields,” recalled Joyce. “When I was alone I would pretend that I could write. I would hold a blade of grass between my fingers, and act as though I was writing with a pen in my hand. Now, I will be the first to enroll for adult literacy classes with World Concern.’’

To learn more about how World Concern helps women in business, please visit www.worldconcern.or/ignite.

Angela

Taking hope farther: reaching rural communities affected by Haiti’s earthquake

The epicenter of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake struck near the most densely populated urban areas of Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital. Nevertheless, the effects of this disaster have rippled hundreds of miles out to rural areas such as Port-de-Paix, in the Northwest Department.

Many earthquake victims have taken shelter with family members living in rural areas, where they can at least be assured of meals and a roof over their heads. This migration has made life harder for rural communities that were already struggling and far from prepared for a population increase. In these areas, even a change in rain patterns can have devastating effects on daily life. Children are the first to be affected during tight times. School fees and uniforms are considered luxuries that often must be sacrificed.

Angela

Angela's family has taken in extended family members who lost their home in the earthquake. They're receiving help to start a business and keep Angela in school.

We’re working with community volunteers to help kids like Angela stay in school. Her parents have taken in additional family members and are barely able to keep food on the table, let alone pay for school fees. Angela’s school fees are being covered, to ensure her parents can get back on their feet again. And these school fees, in turn, help the school get much needed upgrades.

We work with local committees to determine which families need help. The local benevolent committee identified Angela’s parents to receive a cash grant, enabling them to buy some goats and start a small business. This business will increase their cash flow, and allow them to repair their home and feed their family, while Angela gets an education.

The devastating effects of Haiti’s quake reach far beyond the city, but so does help for families like Angela’s.

Read more about our work in Haiti.

Chris Sheach is World Concern’s deputy director of disaster response.

Angela's house

Angela and her extended family live in this mud house in rural Haiti.

5k family

Standing together against child trafficking

Su Kim, fundraising winner

Su Kim (left) was the top fundraiser for World Concern's Free Them 5k, held on May 7 in Seattle.

The most exciting part of this past weekend’s long-awaited “Free Them” 5k to stop human trafficking was not the sunshine that peeked through the gray ceiling that has hung over Seattle for six months. It wasn’t even the exhilaration of crossing the finish line after five grueling, hilly kilometers of speed walking.

For me, it was the sense of unity, looking over the crowd and knowing that all 1,200 of us were there for a common purpose:  to do something to help right a wrong. In this world of copious evils – many of which are carried out against innocent children – there is hope in the power of unanimity. Corporately, we can do so much more to protect children than any of us can do alone.

I met race participant who said he’d heard a speaker at his church talk about human trafficking. “I’d never thought about modern day slavery. I didn’t know it existed,” he said. “But my heart was touched, and I wanted to do something. I thought if my 12-year-old daughter got mad and ran off, within 48 hours she could be trafficked into prostitution.”

There were so many others will similar stories. Every person there had their own reasons for taking part in the 5k. And together, we made a huge impact – raising awareness about this issue among our friends and in our families, churches and communities – and raising more than $100,000 to help protect children.

To everyone who participated, thanks for making this a huge success!

Read more about how you’re making a difference. You can also text “FREETHEM” to 20222 to donate $10.

Runners waving.

Participants encouraged each other along the Free Them 5k route.

5k family

The Free Them 5k was a fun event for the whole family.

5k finish

Runners line up at the start of the Free Them 5k.

5k runners

More than 1,200 runners took part in the Free Them 5k to stop human trafficking.

Join 1,000+ runners in the “Free Them” 5k

Carrie Yu and her children.

Seattle mom, Carrie Yu, is doing her part to help protect children from trafficking by running in the "Free Them" 5k.

As the mom of two toddlers, Seattle resident Carrie Yu is sickened by statistics and stories of children being trafficked into the sex trade in places like Cambodia and Thailand.  So when she heard about the “Free Them” 5k Run/Walk to stop human trafficking, she was excited to find a tangible way she could do something to help.

“As a parent, it’s heart-breaking to think about. I can’t imagine having to make the decision to sell a child into slavery in order to survive,” said Carrie. “I can’t go into the mission field, but I can run for this cause. I can raise money. This is something I can do right now where I am in my life.”

Carrie will join more than 1,000 other runners and walkers in the “Free Them” 5k tomorrow, Saturday, May 7, at World Concern’s headquarters in Seattle. In addition to raising funds for child trafficking prevention and rescue programs, the event raises awareness about this horrific crime. More than 1 million children are trafficked each day around the world – some into prostitution; others into forced labor. The average age is just 12 years old.

“Human trafficking is something we don’t talk about much here, but we need to speak up. This is not right,” said Carrie.

You can do something too. Come out and join us at the race tomorrow morning! Register online at www.worldconcern.org/5k or in person at the event, beginning at 8:30 a.m. World Concern’s headquarters is located on the CRISTA Ministries campus at 19303 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, Washington.

See you there!

Oury, Navin and Pandey in their school uniforms.

Three young friends are now safe from harm

Oury, Navin and Pandey in their school uniforms.

Oury, Navin and Pandey attend school regularly, instead of spending their days at the city dump.

When I opened the email and saw this photo, I could hardly believe my eyes. Were these the same boys that captured our hearts last July? The sight of them in their clean white school uniform shirts brought a lump to my throat.

They’re okay, I thought. No, look at them! They’re better than okay.

We first heard the story of these three inseparable 11-year-old friends last summer. Our child protection team in Asia had identified the boys, Oury, Navin and Pandey, as being at high risk for trafficking.

They spent their days, unsupervised, digging through garbage at the city dump, looking for recyclables to sell. The orange tint to Pandey’s hair – a sign of malnutrition – indicated he wasn’t getting enough to eat. He is the fifth of six children. His father is disabled and drinks every day.

The three boys in the dump.

When we first met these three boys, they were collecting garbage to sell.

Their broken families and hardships brought them together as friends. Their will to survive bonded them. They worked together as partners, they said, because they could collect more trash and finish sooner. They dreamed of using their “profits” to become engineers and building skyscrapers in Cambodia some day.

We worked with them, slowly encouraging them to attend our School on a Mat program, knowing they would resist giving up their income from the dump. At first, they continued to go to the dump in the mornings and attended school in the afternoons. They learned about the dangers of trafficking and how to avoid abuse and exploitation.

Now they’re safe and attending school regularly. And, they’re one step closer to their dream of becoming engineers.

Prevention works. You can get involved in preventing child trafficking by fundraising for the “Free Them” 5k or by supporting World Concern’s child protection programs.

Pandey in school.

Pandey is now attending school regularly.

Pandey at School on a Mat

Pandey, when he first started attending School on a Mat.

A letter and stamps from the women at Dawson State Jail.

Incarcerated women help stamp out parasites

Almost every day at World Concern, we see this principle: “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35) have an impact on the lives of our supporters.

A letter and stamps from the women at Dawson State Jail.

Women at Dawson State Jail send postage stamps in support of the 44-Cent Cure.

Recently we received an amazing letter from a woman named Jennifer in Dawson State Jail in Dallas, Texas. One day, she was exercising and listening to KLTY 94.9 FM and heard about the 44-Cent Cure.

“As a mom, my heart went out as a 13-year-old boy told about being so ill, his parents thought he would die,” she wrote. “I couldn’t believe my ears. Forty-four cents? For the cost of a stamp I could provide medicine to cure a child of parasites?”

Unable to send money for obvious reasons, Jennifer realized she could still help, by giving of what she had – postage stamps. She asked other women in her dorm if they’d like to participate and many were excited to be able to make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

“We’ve named our project ‘Stamp Out Parasites’ (Prison Project) – S.O.P.3 – three like the Trinity,” wrote Jennifer. “Already we have shared this idea with others both in the world and on other units. You will be able to expect other donations in the name of S.O.P.3

This letter reminded me of when Jesus praised a widow for her offering in Mark 12:44.

kenyan children

Poor children, like these in Kenya, are often infected with parasites that make them sick. A child can be cured for the cost of a postage stamp.

“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Jennifer has since moved on from this dorm, but the women there are continuing her legacy. They’re sending stamps and even volunteering their time to hand-write thank you notes to our donors.

Anyone can give, regardless of their situation. And when we do, we’re blessed in return.

Learn more about the 44-Cent Cure at www.worldconcern.org/curekids.

Grow your own sack garden

Sack gardenOur staff in Chad have been teaching people living in refugee camps there how to grow sack gardens. It’s a great way to improve a family’s diet by adding fresh vegetables with less water needed than a typical garden.

Since spring is a time many people are thinking about gardening, we thought we’d share these instructions for growing your own sack garden! If you do, please share it with us! We’ll be sure to share how things are growing in Chad too.

Our agronomists first learned about sack gardens from Manor House Agricultural Centre in Kenya, and we learned more about various container and urban gardening methods at ECHO Global Farm. These instructions have been pulled from Gardens From Health.

 

Materials needed:

  • A burlap or plastic sack (we use discarded food aid sacks, which make perfect sack gardens, especially for symbolic reasons)
  • Soil mixed with organic compost
  • Rocks for irrigation
  • A cylindrical bucket or tin, open on both ends (we use seed tins or vegetable oil tins, but a coffee can would work well too)

 

Instructions:

1.    Fill the bottom of the sack with soil mixed with organic compost. Fill the tin with rocks. This will serve as an irrigation channel.

 

2.    Surround the tin with more soil, and slowly lift it up, so that the rocks remain.

 

3.    Fill the tin with more rocks, and surround it again with soil. Repeat this until the sack is filled with a tower of rocks surrounded by soil.

 

4.    Poke holes into the side of the sack an even distance apart.

 

5.    Transplant seedlings into the sides of the sack.

 

6.    You can try direct seeding beets, carrots or other vegetables or herbs in the top of the sack.

 

7.    Enjoy your harvest!

 

For more information on how World Concern is improving nutrition in impoverished countries, please visit www.worldconcern.org/poverty.

Facing the challenge of survival in Somalia

A nomadic family in Somalia.

A nomadic herder and his family move to find water in Somalia.

World Concern’s mission of reaching the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world means we work in some of the most challenging places on earth. A report I just received from our Somalia staff brought this reality to light afresh for me. It summarized the results of a survey of families in two areas where we’ve recently started working in Somaliland (northern Somalia). The figures indicate such dramatic need – it’s hard to fathom what these families face every day just to survive.

Here are a few of the most astonishing ones:

  • 92% of the families do not use latrines
  • 54% of people observed had noticeable eye infections
  • 59.6% have never attended any school
  • Only 13% have attended secondary school
  • 54.6% travel 1-2 hours a day to reach a water source with the largest percentage going three times a day
  • 83.3% are drinking water that is not safe for human consumption
  • A main source of income is livestock, yet only 10% of the animals in households are producing milk

It’s impossible to dig wells in some of these areas because the water, even below the surface, is salty. Rainwater and groundwater runoff collected in berkads (underground reservoirs) are the only source of clean water.  One of our projects is building more berkads in these areas.

Planting sack gardens in Somalia.

Teaching people to grow vegetables in sack gardens offers hope.

The soil is so dry and lifeless, nothing can grow here. People eat mostly bread, rice they buy from others. Even vegetable gardens wither. We’re teaching people to grow sack gardens, which hold moisture so things can grow.

Droughts are becoming more frequent and herds are shrinking. Their only hope for healthier herds may be to improve the land with rock lines that will direct rainwater into the soil. One goal is to improve livelihoods so families don’t have to be constantly moving in search of water.

In spite of the inhospitable environment, we know there are solutions: Collecting rainwater, growing food in sack gardens, sustaining herds.  Even in Somalia, we see hope.

Join us in bringing hope to this dry and weary land.

One mom’s crusade to kill worms

Chelsi and Brookelyn

Chelsi Wylie and her daughter Brookelyn support the 44-Cent Cure after their own experience with intestinal parasites.

Chelsi Wylie is passionate about supporting the 44-Cent Cure. She has seen first-hand the painful effects intestinal parasites can have on a child.

Her daughter Brookelyn developed a scaly spot on her scalp when she was 2 years old. Her pediatrician thought it might be psoriasis or ringworm, but when it spread to the size of a baseball and Brookelyn’s hair started to fall out, Chelsi knew something was wrong.

“She would cry and scream when I brushed her hair. It was so painful,” recalled Chelsi, who took Brookelyn to a dermatologist, but still had no answer. The pain went on for months, until finally Brookelyn was diagnosed with pinworms – a common form of intestinal parasites.

“I didn’t realize you could get worms here,” said Chelsi. “I thought that was a third world problem.”

After receiving treatment, Brookelyn was cured.

Recently, Chelsi heard about the 44-Cent Cure on KLTY 94.9 FM in Dallas and learned how World Concern is helping cure children in poor countries from parasites that deplete their bodies of nutrients and make them too sick and lethargic to attend school. The cure costs just 44 cents.

“I have to get involved in this,” Chelsi told her husband, who agreed. “After all Brookelyn suffered, we don’t want any other children to suffer like this.”

Chelsi asked her friends and family to support the 44-Cent Cure last Christmas and raised $650 – that’s enough to cure more than 1,400 children! Now, she’s planning fundraisers at her church and in her hometown.

Thankfully, Brookelyn is now a healthy 5-year-old. “We’re fortunate to live where we have access to healthcare, clean water, and a place to go to the bathroom,” said Chelsi. “But people are suffering all over the world.”

Join Chelsi in this cause! Every 44 cents you donate cures one child.