When it comes to helping people outside the United States, Former President Jimmy Carter says, “We don’t distinguish.”
In celebration of this week’s World Habitat Day, Carter said last Saturday, “We think the folks [we build housing for] in other countries are just as good and needy as the folks in America.”
The message that President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rossalyn Carter brought to Union Beach, NJ, a town that was hit by Hurricane Sandy almost one year ago, was one of hope, for the people there and the people all around the world.
The Carters have spent over 3 decades giving a hand up to families in need of affordable shelter through Habitat for Humanity, a Christian non-profit that builds housing for the people who need it most. And, by the looks of it, they are not stopping. Last week, on the Habitat for Humanity work site in Union Beach, NJ, the President and First Lady, in their work clothes, helped build house framing for over 2 hours. (They are for real, guys.) This was the tail end of the Carter work project this year that went around the United States and ended in New Jersey.
The local branch of Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA, has completed 40 homes since Super Storm Sandy hit in October of last year. Eighty percent of their service area was affected by the storm from the town of Aberdeen to the town of Ocean.
First Lady Rossalyn Carter stated, “This [worksite] was a special one for us. Super storm Sandy hit, and we’ve been worried about you all ever since.”
Mr. Lamberson is interviewed by the Press on the Carter’s worksite. That’s his home in the background being rebuilt after Super Storm Sandy damaged it almost one year ago.
The Carters have proved themselves tireless champions of human justice.
“We find that Habitat home owners were hopeless and have never known success. They’ve been promised outside help that never arrived, but Habitat is not that way. Local people decide what kind of houses to build, where and which families. Lots of the homeowners become transformed.” — President Carter.
The Former President also explained that the houses in Union Beach were being raised by 8 feet to withstand any future super storms. He said, “Places have to be prepared for the next natural disaster.”
The Habitat model is not a 100% hand out. Homeowners pay the full cost of the house, and they must put in at least 100 hours of work. However, in most cases, their mortgage is 0% interest.
And the organization requests their volunteers fundraise or pay to help, as well as, dedicate their woman and man hours.
Former First Lady Rossalyn Carter explained that education can be greatly effected when children do not have a home, and she referred to a family in Seattle, Washington, USA who were living in their automobile. After they moved into their Habitat home, their son became top of his class just months after moving into their Habitat home.
The Former First Lady described another mother who previously cringed to answer her door to her substandard housing because it was often the police saying that her sons were in trouble. Her sons were never home. After Habitat arrived and built them a new house, her sons returned home with their friends because they were proud of where they lived and were staying out of trouble.
These are the types of examples that keep the Carters going and using their celebrity to further the cause for adequate housing.
“Hurricane Sandy Survivor” — Kelly is a mom of twins whose home was flooded in Super Storm Sandy last year. Her family is still displaced and waiting for work on their home to be finished almost one year later (not a Habitat home). She came by with her kids to catch a glimpse of the Carters on Saturday.
“When we go to South Africa, South Korea, the Philippines, Europe, Hungary , and 3 times in Mexico, people are the same wherever we go.” — Former First Lady Rossalyn Carter
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Founder, Jennifer Burden in NJ, USA. Jennifer is no stranger to Habitat for Humanity. As a junior at Villanova University, she spent a week building an adobe-style house in New Mexico, USA for a low-income family through the organization.
Jennifer Burden of World Moms Blog with Jennifer Sneed of Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County, NJ at the Carter worksite in Union Beach, NJ on October 12, 2013.
Photo credits to the author.
March 5th 2013 was Census Day in New Zealand, and it was the first that our boys were really involved with. This was a re-scheduled Census due to the February 22nd (2011) earthquake in Christchurch, which had put the country into a state of emergency. (8th March 2011 had been the original scheduled date)
We hold a Census every five years and it is illegal to not fill in a form or to fill in forms with incorrect information. The data is used by central government, local government, iwi (Maori tribal groups), businesses and community groups for strategic planning and budget allocation. We have the option of filling them out on paper or on line and we can chose to have forms in either English or Maori.
The boys were very excited, and immediately after dinner was cleared away, the one (how does that happen?) blue pen in the house was found. It was heartening to see the older boys both knew their full names, address, previous address, dates of birth etc and the three year-old was able to tell me his full name too. On asking him where he lived, he looked at me as if I had gone insane and said, Here. When I asked him where he used to live, he said matter of factly, “In our town house.” (I must work on that – the other two could easily rattle off their address and phone number at the same age.) (more…)
Recently, I wrote an article for Philstar.com, a local news website here in the Philippines, entitled, “We Are All Connected.” It was about the typhoon in the Philippines, dubbed internationally as “Bopha,” but known locally as “Pablo.” Allow me to share a few lines from that article here:
“Dear readers, the reality is this: We are all connected. Whether we like it or not. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we have the same beliefs or not. Whether we are Muslim, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Buddhists, atheists — we are all connected somehow. At least, that’s what I believe.
As Filipinos, we have witnessed our country and our countrymen rise from different calamities and disasters — both natural and man-made. We know that ‘the Filipino spirit is waterproof. We know that, after this typhoon, there may still be more to come (though let us pray that there aren’t any more) — yet we will still stand strong.”
Well, as of Sunday, December 9, the typhoon was still making its presence felt in our country, although as of Sunday afternoon, it had already been “downgraded” from a tropical depression to a low pressure area. Bopha was actually supposed to have left the Philippine area of responsibility by then, but it veered back in, the evening of December 8.
As I write this post, the latest news reports state (more…)
A week ago, Hurricane Sandy made landfall very close to our home in New Jersey.
We live in a waterfront neighborhood, where some people live bay-front and the rest of us live on lagoons. Even though a mandatory evacuation was issued, we wondered whether we really needed to evacuate, since we live on one of the furthest lagoons from the bay and because we knew how many feet above mean high tide we are. But, with young children, we chose not to take any chances and heeded the warning. We spent the hurricane at a cousin’s house, leaving our home on Sunday. The storm was at its worst on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon we were able to return home.
From my cousin’s home, we watched strong gusts of wind come and take down trees and saw some flooding but that was nothing compared to what we would see when we went home.
We were very lucky. We could see the water line in our yard. If the water had come up another 1.5 feet, we would have had flooding inside our house. We lost part of our dock, stairs and walkway, all of which were still under water when we first got home. We had some branches come down and a shutter fly off the house.
We have now spent a few days working in and out of the house and are just about back to normal. We lost electricity but it was restored four days later. Now we have a freezer and fridge to clean out. We saved what we could, but couldn’t save it all.
Last week, a few breastfeeding advocate friends of mine alerted me and other moms to the fact that September 24th through the 30th of this year is World Milksharing Week. According to the official website, World Milksharing Week is held annually during the last week of September with this goal in mind: “to celebrate milksharing and to promote human milk as the biologically normal nourishment for babies and children.” You can read more about how the idea for this came about here. The theme for this year’s Milksharing Week is “Sharing Milk, Nurturing Community.”
Even though I consider myself pro-breastfeeding (I don’t think I can qualify as a true-blue advocate yet) and even have quite a number of blog posts about it, milksharing is something that I never really gave a serious thought about before. That was, until I read about breast milk donations, especially during times of emergencies. (You can read a bit about them here and here.) I realized that breastfeeding truly does save lives and formula milk donations could prove hazardous to the health of children affected by disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes.
Think about it: When people are stuck in evacuation centers or refugee camps, there is usually a shortage of food supplies and clean water. Diarrhea outbreaks are very common and spread easily due to the lack of proper health care and sanitation systems. According to this article on Protecting babies in emergencies: the role of the public, “babies who are not breastfed are very likely to contract diarrhea-causing illnesses from unclean water and, with a weakened immune system and limited treatment, many will die.” (more…)
It’s that time of year again. New Year’s is the biggest holiday on the Japanese calendar, and as it approaches Japanese TV is full of “talent” (celebrities with no actual, recognizable talent) reflecting on the year that has passed.
And it’s been an awful one for everyone in eastern Honshu.
So I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the things I am thankful for thus far in 2011:
-I’m thankful we didn’t die in the earthquake on March 11. For two or three minutes there, I wasn’t so sure.
-I’m thankful my son was home with the flu that day. So many children ended up spending the night at school and daycare because their parents were unable to come home from work. Not to mention the parents who never came, or the children who never made it home from school. (more…)