Via: Think Progress
The 100,000 Homes Campaign was founded with a deliberately lofty goal: get 100,000 homeless people off the streets within four years.
What’s more, the organization wasn’t focused on homeless people who were most likely to get themselves off the street. Rather, 100,000 Homes worked with communities to target the people in the most dire need of help: those who were chronically homeless or who had severe medical conditions.
On Wednesday, just under four years after 100,000 Homes launched, the group surpassed its goal, helping communities secure housing for 101,628 homeless people as of press time. This figure includes 31,171 homeless veterans.
The announcement came at a press conference featuring former Army Private First Class Alvin Hill. Despite serving his country in the military, Hill fell on tough times and has endured homelessness for the past 20 years. In April, Hill became the 100,000th homeless person housed as A-SPAN, a local organization in Arlington, Virginia, helped secure him a permanent apartment.
This isn’t simply a humanitarian achievement, but a financial one as well. Doing nothing about homelessness is extraordinarily expensive. As a result, 100,000 Homes estimates that the nationwide effort to house 100,000 homeless people will save taxpayers $1.3 billion annually.
100,000 Homes, a project of the Community Solutions non-profit organization, doesn’t house homeless people itself. Instead, its 13 staffers work with local community groups ranging from housing authorities to the Veterans Administration to improve the way they’re tackling homelessness. The campaign’s partners ranged from large metropolitan cities like New Orleans and Phoenix to smaller areas like Omaha and the state of West Virginia.
Via: Nicholas Kristof – New Youk Times
TAY THI NGUYEN is one of the mightiest people I’ve met, at 94 pounds. She has a towering presence, at a bit more than 5 feet tall. She is so strong that she probably could bench press 25 pounds.
Three times Tay Thi has fainted while here at college, training to become an English teacher, because she starved herself to afford tuition. But she had the strength to persist and soon will become the first person in her village to graduate from college, and she embodies such grit and selflessness that, to me, she’s the world’s college graduate of the year.
Tay Thi, 20, also underscores the principle — especially important in the aftermath of the kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls — that the best leverage we have to achieve social change is to educate girls.
The eighth of nine children to an impoverished farming family in the Mekong Delta, Tay Thi shone in school, but her mother demanded — unsuccessfully — that she drop out after primary school and earn money as a live-in housemaid in distant Ho Chi Minh City.
“She got very angry with me,” Tay Thi recalled. In eighth grade, her mom burned her school books to try to force her to drop out, but Tay Thi borrowed books and continued to excel.
Staying in school was possible because of the help she received from Room to Read, an aid group that sponsored Tay Thi and covered her school fees, uniform, books, bicycle to get to school and other expenses.
Tay Thi persevered, even when her parents again burned her books in 12th grade, and, as she graduated from high school, she prepared secretly for the college entrance examination. Her mother found out about this when Tay Thi left to take the exam and lashed out, saying “I hope you fail the exams.”
Other students arrived at the exam location escorted by cheering, doting parents; Tay Thi arrived alone, sobbing. Still, she aced the exam.
With no parental subsidy, college seemed unaffordable, but Tay Thi saved every penny she could. She had long worked every vacation — sometimes in a factory job by day and in a duck soup restaurant by night until 2 a.m. Even during Vietnamese New Year celebrations, she worked in the fields by herself to catch crabs for money — watching the fireworks in the distance.
At college, Tay Thi confined herself to a food budget of $3.50 — per week. Malnourished, she sometimes toppled over in the middle of class in a dead faint.
Professors and students discovered that she was starved and basically penniless — leaving Tay Thi feeling humiliated. “I was so upset about that,” she said, but, in retrospect, it was a turning point because her teachers and classmates responded with kindness, sympathy and help.
Tay Thi is trying to arrange to teach in her own remote village school, where she wants to advocate for education. “I would like to change people’s thinking,” she says. “It’s a way of helping children in my community,” she said.
So let’s celebrate the mightiest college graduate of this commencement season, a young woman of incomparable strength who now is thrilled at the prospect of returning to an impoverished farming village to teach children and change the world.
Around the world, 768 million people don’t have access to safe water,
EVERY DAY 1,400 children under the age of five die from water-based diseases.
Designer Arturo Vittori believes the solution to this catastrophe lies not in high technology, but in sculptures that look like giant-sized objects from the pages of a Pier 1 catalog.
His stunning water towers stand nearly 30 feet tall and can collect over 25 gallons of potable water per day by harvesting atmospheric water vapor. Called WarkaWater towers, each pillar is comprised of two sections: a semi-rigid exoskeleton built by tying stalks of juncus or bamboo together and an internal plastic mesh, reminiscent of the bags oranges come in. The nylon and polypropylene fibers act as a scaffold for condensation, and as the droplets of dew form, they follow the mesh into a basin at the base of the structure.
Read more, HERE:
On March 14, around 1,000 Hindu widows in a north Indian town came together to celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors, which marks the start of spring.
In a bold departure from Hindu tradition, which expects widows to renounce earthly pleasures and wear only white, the women indulged in festivities by throwing colored powder, water, and flower petals.
After their husbands’ deaths, these women were ostracized by their families who believed they brought bad luck.
Many such widows, who were treated as social outcasts, migrated to the holy town of Vrindavan which is said to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity, Lord Krishna.
Often widowed at a young age, these women have lived destitute and marginalized lives on the streets.
After a Supreme Court directive in 2012, Sulabh International is providing the widows in Vrindavan with healthcare and a monthly allowance of $32.
“I loved Holi as a kid. I played it after I got married at the age of 10. But color vanished from my life after my husband died. I was just 20. I could not wear colorful clothes, or apply lali (color) on my lips. I was shooed away from functions. Playing Holi was something I could not imagine.” – Lalita Adikari, 108 years old
Kamla, who migrated to Vrindavan as a widow many years ago, told the Times of India, “Where will we get another occasion like this? I wish this color never comes off.”
See 15 more amazing photos, HERE:
Via: les enfants d’un autre temps
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