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.