Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 612: The Song Stylings of Miss Ruth & The Moms

Ruth sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

Ruth and Mom sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."

More Favorite Charities

Melissa forgot to tell me that she'd promised I'd update this with some of my own favorite charities.

First, a classic: Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). I don't know what I can add to what most people already know about MSF - if I was smarter and gutsier, I'd be doing something worthwhile with my life like working for them. They go into dangerous places and give people medical care. That's pretty bad-ass.

I've also given money to Apopo, the mine-clearing-rats place that Melissa mentioned in her last post.

One that bears special mention, I think, is Catholic Relief Services. I don't agree with everything they stand for, but they do a lot of very good work and they're my go-to charity when I'm thinking about my Catholic family. We're not going to agree on abortion any time soon, but CRS instantiates what I think is the noblest part of the Catholic doctrine: concern for the poor and marginalized.

I also feel like I should mention one that works directly with people here in my own community, which has problems of its own. Project Plase helps homeless people in Baltimore transition from the streets.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Favorite Charities

A terrific blogger, Alias Mother, is doing a blog-link-y thing where she's writing about her favorite charities and encouraging readers to do the same.

So, in the spirit of holiday giving I'm writing up two of my favorites. I suspect Daniel will do the same when he returns from Kigali, Rwanda next week.

Apopo was founded in the 1990s and it works with rats. Special rats. Rats that detect land mines. Following the long civil war, many areas of Mozambique were virtually uninhabitable due to heavy mining -- children cannot play in open areas for fear they will lose a limb or worse.

The rats find the landmines (they find scent from the TNT) but aren't heavy enough to set off the mine. The mine then can be removed or detonated. And, just in case you think this sounds...odd...keep in mind that the rats passed official licensing tests according to IMAS standards under supervision of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).

You can watch a great video about the rats from PBS/Frontline here (sorry, can't embed).


PATH, a non-profit with offices in Seattle and DC/MD, is devoted to improving the lives of women worldwide. To that end, they created Uniject.

Uniject can be used my minimally-trained people to deliver vaccines (Hep B, mostly) and drugs to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. It is single use, so helps lessen the worry about proper sterilization and transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Again, a great video is here.

We're tremendously lucky that Ruth will never have to run a gauntlet of land mines to attend school. And while childbirth carries risk, the likelihood that I or any woman in the first world would die from postpartum hemorrhage is infinitesimal compared to women in the developing world. And we won't lose Ruth to neonatal tetanus, a major killer in areas without access to vaccines.