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From Extreme Poverty to Entrepreneur of the Year

Shyam Pariyar lives with his family of five in the Lamjung district of Nepal. For years he struggled to provide for his family.

His family worked in seasonal agricultural jobs in their neighborhood and participated in sharecropping. Although they worked hard, they could barely afford enough food to survive. In addition, Shyam had a debt of US $400. Shyam found himself unable to provide good food and warm winter clothing for his family. As he struggled to provide for his family, sending his children to school became more difficult over time.

However, things changed for Shyam in 2014 when CHOICE Humanitarian launched the Nepal Self-developing District Program. During the program, CHOICE interviewed families throughout the district and discovered there were 2,556 families in Lamjung living in extreme poverty. One of those families was Shyam’s.

CHOICE’s staff provided families with business development training and mentorship. After the training, Shyam assessed his resources and strengths and began to planning for a business raising pigs. CHOICE found Shyam very keen on improving his situation. He and his wife participated in each business development training CHOICE provided as well as a savings program. CHOICE assessed Shyam’s business plan for his pig farm and decided to provide him a loan of US $500.

With the help of the loan, he was able to buy three pigs. He used the pigs for breeding and sold the piglets from one of the sows to pay off his debt. He then sold the piglets from the other sow for meat to have an income for his family. Because of his successful business, after the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015 and brought severe destruction throughout the Lamjung district, Shyam was able to build a nice home for his family.

CHOICE staff has continued to provide mentorship to Shyam and his wife. And their pig farm has continued to succeed, they now have 14 pigs. Shyam’s wife now manages the pigs and Shyam is able to take on additional jobs to continue to bring in more income for his family.

When asked how he felt about his success, Shyam says, "I never imagined that I could improve my situation. The neighbors would not trust me even to lend 10 cents. Now they are ready to lend me even hundreds of thousands [Rupees]. I feel I have a voice. My self-esteem is high."

He went on to tell the CHOICE staff, “It was your encouragement; teaching and mentorship that helped me improve my situation. When you constantly visited and inquired how we were running our businesses, I started thinking positively about us. It's our privilege, to have CHOICE come to us and help. You are investing a lot on me. Then I felt why shouldn't I try?"

As a result of Shyam’s hard work in building a business, CHOICE Humanitarian Nepal recognized Shyam as the “Best Entrepreneur of the Year 2019”, a well-earned title.

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CHOICE Brings International Team Together For United Nations Conference

For the first time in the United States, the United Nations Civil Society Conference will be held outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York. This August, this meeting of global changemakers will be taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference will be Utah’s largest international event since the 2002 Olympics, and CHOICE Humanitarian will be playing a dynamic role.

CHOICE staff sits on three committee that are helping to coordinate the conference. In addition, CHOICE will be presenting several workshops. The conference is focused on building inclusive and sustainable cities and communities. CHOICE headquarters staff, in-country staff, and co-founder will be sharing their expertise from 37 years of international development work building sustainable communities.

American Airlines has partnered with CHOICE for the United Nations Conference and will be connecting their diverse staff from eight different countries by providing international roundtrip flights for all seven of CHOICE’s In-Country Directors as well as several in-country staff members. It is a rare opportunity for CHOICE to have their international team together.

CHOICE plans to utilize the week leading up to the conference by holding an intensive training seminar for their team. The training will include interactive workshops that allow the teams to learn from each other in a collaborative setting, unifying their team and keeping CHOICE as a leading development organization in ending extreme poverty.

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The Duck that Saved a Life

The CHOICE Humanitarian In-Country teams are faced with new challenges daily in working to end poverty. Recently the CHOICE Guatemala team met a mother who had walked for hours on end (starting at 4AM) to bring her daughter to the Nueva Concepción Hospital at Sikaabe. The night before, her toddler daughter had suffered third degree burns so severe that her skin was misshapen on her face. The staff recognized that the burns required extensive medical attention and insisted the mother take her daughter to a large hospital in the nearest city. The mother, heartbroken, told the CHOICE staff that she could not afford to pay a doctor. She did not have any money to offer; all she had was a duck.
 
The mother was determined to sell the duck to pay for the cost of a doctor, but the CHOICE team knew that the duck was only worth a portion of what it would cost for medical expenses. The team told the mother they would like to buy the duck from her. They gladly paid three to four times the actual price and quickly took the mother and daughter to a larger hospital. A few months later the mother returned to Sikaabe to tell the CHOICE team that after a month and a half in the hospital, her daughter was doing well.
 
As the CHOICE team reflected on the experience, they recognized that if the woman had been in a different region, she would have likely never been able to find medical treatment for her daughter. The duck now roams throughout Sikaabe without fear of ever being the next day's meal. The CHOICE staff will not let any harm come to it as it now a famous, life-saving duck!
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With Increased Quality Comes Increased Income

Mr. Baltazar lives in the community of Ejido de Detiña in Acambay Mexico. Three years ago he started his sheep project.

At first, he was very disappointed because his animals were not growing and he was not earning a lot of money from them.

He became part of CHOICE’s entrepreneurs' group. He went to all the training meetings and put forth great time and effort to apply the knowledge he gained from them.

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Making a Bigger Impact in the World - Smiles for Life Foundation

Smiles for Life Foundation is an example of how individuals and foundations can partner with CHOICE Humanitarian to make a bigger impact in the world.

For people living in extreme poverty, access to dental care is non-existent, so children and adults are living in unnecessary pain that affects learning, working, and every aspect of life. We are pleased to highlight the work of Dr. Roy A. Hammond and the Smiles for Life Foundation for their commitment to worldwide dental health.  

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Our Flock Helps Us Live Better

Mrs. Irene and Mr. Gregorio are producers from Ejido de Detiña in Acambay, Mexico. They had a small, but not profitable, bovine production. At times they didn’t regain the investments made and had to sell animals in the face of an emergency.

Three years ago they requested a loan from CHOICE  Mexico to buy breeding sheep. They attended workshops for entrepreneurs in animal production and, with this and their efforts, they were able to improve their production.

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CHOICE Introduces New Teen Service Program

4 Life-Changing Reasons to Get Your Kids Excited About High School Volunteering/Community Service

High school volunteering and community service have become activities that students are either required to perform at school or church or are looking to participate in to have their college applications stand out among their peers.

Both parents and kids ask themselves a few simple questions when prioritizing a student’s activity: Why do community service? Will it be useful for the future? Is it fun? Volunteer service in recent years has become much more than selling baked treats at a fundraising table during school lunch.

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I will Finally Have Water in my House

In the Bolivian altiplano, at dusk, you can hear the sound of the wind, similar to the sound that emits the melancholic quena of the indigenous Aymara that inhabits these lands inherited from their predecessors that in their customs mixed their rituals with blood and the colonialist imposition. In Chacoma Alta, a community between mountains and high plateaus lives a hard-working, sacrificial woman who has lived all her life looking for places to supply water to her family, she tells us her life in this way.
My name is Emiliana Limachi Flores I live in the community of Chacoma Alta since I married Pablo Sirpa Atahuachi. I was born in the community of Jekeri on August 5, 1943. I have 7 children. 1 woman named Yola Sirpa and I also have 6 sons: Mateo, Gregorio, Samuel, Policarpio, Jose and Felix Sirpa.

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The More I See, the Less I Know

As an educated woman who has been involved in the social good movement for the last 25 years, I sometimes have the illusion that I know how things work in the world.

But it has become very clear to me that the more I see the less I know. I have traveled the world and have seen some incredible human achievements like aqueducts, the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, and the Roman Colosseum. I have also traveled to rural areas of developing countries and seen first hand what it’s like to live in extreme poverty.

 

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This Young Woman Wants an Education ....Period.

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We partner with Days for Girls International to empower young women to stay in school to better serve their future. Jemimah Ngowa is a standard eight pupil at Mwaruphesa Primary school in Kenya. She says, “thank you for the kit. They have helped me so much. Since I got the Days for Girls kits, I have not missed school because of (Aunt Flow) monthly periods and as a result, my performance has improved from below 250 out of 500 to 316 out of 500. Now I am able to concentrate because am equipped with the tools which will help me stay in school. It used to be a challenge to buy sanitary towels because of a lack of money.  Currently am about to sit for my final examination in grade eight and I am very confident that will perform well and join the best high school in the county.”

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