Operation Blessing International https://www.ob.org Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:39:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Making Delicious ‘Tejadas’ with Elva in Honduras https://www.ob.org/making-delicious-tejadas-elva-honduras/ https://www.ob.org/making-delicious-tejadas-elva-honduras/#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 20:20:33 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67241 For families in communities like Monte Verde, Honduras, breaking the cycle of poverty can feel impossible. But a small investment may be all it takes to transform a family’s business and life. Elva’s husband David worked as a driver, but his income wasn’t steady, and their family struggled to make ends meet. David and Elva...

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For families in communities like Monte Verde, Honduras, breaking the cycle of poverty can feel impossible. But a small investment may be all it takes to transform a family’s business and life.
Elva’s husband David worked as a driver, but his income wasn’t steady, and their family struggled to make ends meet. David and Elva decided to start a business making and selling plantain chips and fried chicken. They had to wake before dawn to make the plantain chips because they only had two small fryers, then they would seal them in packets and David would distribute them. Though they were willing to work hard, the business wasn’t living up to its potential and the family was only earning enough to provide two meals a day for their children. Hoping for a small hand up, Elva asked if Operation Blessing could help by supplying tables and chairs so that they could serve customers chips and chicken on the weekends in their small, makeshift kitchen. Instead, the OB Honduras staff decided to completely make-over “La Cocina de Elva,” or “Elva’s Kitchen.” Elva and David’s new restaurant now has plenty of space, better conditions, and a large industrial fryer for the plantain chips, as well as the tables and chairs that they requested! Elva is very grateful, and she and her husband are committed to making their business thrive thanks to the new tools for success supplied by Operation Blessing

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Investing in Haiti’s Children https://www.ob.org/investing-haitis-children/ https://www.ob.org/investing-haitis-children/#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:00:28 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67145 HAITI – Operation Blessing is investing in the children of Haiti, helping shape a brighter future. With OBI’s support, children are receiving an education and the opportunity to engage in activities that teach discipline, critical thinking, and other important life skills. The Tang Soo Do martial arts program is going strong, and this year the...

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A young girl practices martial arts because Operation Blessing is investing in Haiti's children.

HAITI – Operation Blessing is investing in the children of Haiti, helping shape a brighter future. With OBI’s support, children are receiving an education and the opportunity to engage in activities that teach discipline, critical thinking, and other important life skills. The Tang Soo Do martial arts program is going strong, and this year the chess club earned several trophies at the national competition!

Children in Haiti enjoy a nutritious meal.

Haitian children learn self-discipline through Operation Blessing's chess program.

Haitian student receives chess trophy because Operation Blessing is investing in Haiti's children.

Operation Blessing students in Haiti wave their national flags.

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August Happenings https://www.ob.org/august-happenings-2017/ https://www.ob.org/august-happenings-2017/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:00:50 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67115 Operation Blessing August Happenings August Happenings covers some of the latest projects from Operation Blessing International as featured in Blessings Magazine. CAMBODIA: A girl learns to sew at a workshop sponsored by Operation Blessing and partner, Apple of God’s Eyes. Here, girls who have been victims of trafficking or other abuse get the chance to...

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Operation Blessing August Happenings

August Happenings covers some of the latest projects from Operation Blessing International as featured in Blessings Magazine.

In August Happenings, a girl learns to sew at a workshop sponsored by Operation Blessing and partner, Apple of God’s Eyes.

CAMBODIA: A girl learns to sew at a workshop sponsored by Operation Blessing and partner, Apple of God’s Eyes. Here, girls who have been victims of trafficking or other abuse get the chance to start over.

Children in Rwanda play with toys at Gardens for Health International.

RWANDA: Mothers and children gather at an early childhood development program run by Operation Blessing partner Gardens for Health International. Here, the children get healthy meals and enjoy playing with toys!

Children learn the basics of dental hygiene with these giant teeth at an Operation Blessing health clinic in Honduras.

HONDURAS: Children learn the basics of dental hygiene at an Operation Blessing health clinic in Honduras.

Operation Blessing’s water programs manager, Ignacio Romero, distributes Kohler Clarity water filters to families in Terrazas del Vallecito, Peru.

PERU: Operation Blessing’s water programs manager, Ignacio Romero, distributes Kohler Clarity water filters to families in Terrazas del Vallecito, Peru.

A boy washes his hands in water flowing from Operation Blessing’s mobile water tank in Qaraqosh, Iraq.

IRAQ: A boy washes his hands in water flowing from Operation Blessing’s mobile water tank in Qaraqosh, Iraq. ISIS destroyed this Christian city’s water supply, so Operation Blessing is providing temporary solutions as engineers rebuild.

In August Happenings, students from Operation Blessing’s chess program celebrate their victories at the national competition, holding two first place and two second place trophies!

HAITI: Students from Operation Blessing’s chess program celebrate their victories at the national competition—two first place and two second place trophies!

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Blessing the Nepali People https://www.ob.org/health-camp-blesses-nepal/ https://www.ob.org/health-camp-blesses-nepal/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:10:54 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67130 Health Camp Blesses Nepal In partnership with Revive Team Nepal, Operation Blessing International held a health camp for the Nepali people. A team of specialists, doctors, nurses and volunteers conducted free consultations and check-ups in areas like surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, dental care, and more. 603 patients attended the health camp, and ten of those were...

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Health Camp Blesses Nepal

In partnership with Revive Team Nepal, Operation Blessing International held a health camp for the Nepali people. A team of specialists, doctors, nurses and volunteers conducted free consultations and check-ups in areas like surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, dental care, and more. 603 patients attended the health camp, and ten of those were referred to receive surgery free of charge at the government-sponsored hospital. The camp offered free blood pressure screenings, blood sugar checks, BMI checks, and urine strip tests to create awareness about diabetes and hypertension, which are prevalent issues in the region. Thanks to Operation Blessing’s faithful supporters, many individuals in need received vital medical care.

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Breaking Through the Darkness https://www.ob.org/brothel-breaking-out-darkness/ https://www.ob.org/brothel-breaking-out-darkness/#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:00:56 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67098 INDIA – Naseen* left home with the promise of a better life, but found herself trapped in a brothel — a victim of modern-day slavery. She had given up school after the eighth grade when her parents could no longer afford her tuition. As a young teenager, she started working to help support her family....

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Naseen stands under a painted rainbow, no longer a prisoner of the darkness of the brothel.

INDIA – Naseen* left home with the promise of a better life, but found herself trapped in a brothel — a victim of modern-day slavery.

She had given up school after the eighth grade when her parents could no longer afford her tuition. As a young teenager, she started working to help support her family.

One day, Naseen was offered a dream opportunity — the chance to perform in a Bollywood movie. All she had to do was move to Mumbai, and she was guaranteed her spot. Naseen loved dancing and singing as a child, so she leapt at the offer, unaware she had fallen prey to a trafficker’s scheme.

Footage of the brothel owner who held Naseen and other young women captive.

When they made it to Mumbai, the trafficker sold Naseen to a brothel where she spent the next year. The brothel manager forced her to wear revealing clothes and service up to 20 men a day. Whenever she resisted she was severely punished, beaten and tortured by her captor.

Naseen’s life was a cavern of darkness until Operation Blessing’s partner, International Justice Mission, burst through. Working with local police, IJM successfully raided the brothel and liberated the young girls held captive there.

Though the rescue freed Naseen from her abuser, the scars from all she had endured refused to heal. She battled the feeling that she was somehow tainted and “dirty.” The guilt and shame overwhelmed her, but IJM, with support from Operation Blessing, continued pouring life and light into her until she finally believed in her self-worth again.

Naseen paints as part of her after-care once she is free from human trafficking.

Naseen attended trauma-focused counseling with IJM to help her grapple with her emotions, and as her confidence grew she branched out to take classes in tailoring and literacy. She started to see a future free of her past.

When Naseen was ready, her captor was brought to court and she testified against her. With the help of her testimony, the judge sentenced the brothel owner to prison.

The news was incredible for Naseen. “Now she will not be able to torture others the way she damaged me,” she said.

Naseen holds her trophy to signify her graduation from IJM’s aftercare program and the beginning of her new life.

The case closed, Naseen has moved on with her life. She moved home, reconnected with her family, and married a kind-hearted man in her hometown. The abuse and torture she endured no longer form her self-identity.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink https://www.ob.org/uros-water-everywhere-none-drink/ https://www.ob.org/uros-water-everywhere-none-drink/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 14:00:13 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67057 PERU – On a Peruvian plateau surrounded by the Andes Mountains, lies the world’s highest navigable lake. At 12,500 feet, the air is thin and the sun beats down with an intensity belied by the cool temperatures. Along the shores of Lake Titicaca, tortora, an inconspicuous reed, grows thickly. Tortora is the unlikely building material...

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Zaida, from the Floating Uros Islands in Peru, holds a glass of safe water thanks to Operation Blessing.

PERU – On a Peruvian plateau surrounded by the Andes Mountains, lies the world’s highest navigable lake. At 12,500 feet, the air is thin and the sun beats down with an intensity belied by the cool temperatures. Along the shores of Lake Titicaca, tortora, an inconspicuous reed, grows thickly.

An aerial view of the floating islands in Peru.

Tortora is the unlikely building material used by the Uros people to construct both the islands they live on and the homes they live in.

A community built on a floating island made of reeds in Peru.

Several thousand Uros live on dozens of islands scattered throughout the lake. The Uros fish Lake Titicaca for food and sell their handicrafts to tourists to make a living. Despite their simple lifestyle and constant struggle against poverty, education for their children is vitally important to these island people.

School children in brightly colored uniforms sit on the ground made of reeds.

In the community of Ccapi Uros, the local school serves as a center of island life. Its buildings are situated in the shallows, and stilts raise the classrooms above the thick mat of tortora reeds that makes up the “ground.” The floating mass of reeds feels something like walking on a mattress as it bounces and compresses underfoot.

The school building for the children of the Floating Uros Islands.

The teachers come all the way from Puno to serve the children of Ccapi Uros. Each morning, they all load up in a tiny boat, wrap themselves in blankets, and settle in for the two-hour journey across the lake. Upon their arrival, 95 students, including 5-year-old Zaida, line up in the reed-covered schoolyard, all wearing their brightly colored traditional school uniforms.

School children arrive for class by boat.

The children live on other small reed-islands clustered around the school. Every morning Zaida gets into a small boat, piloted by an older child, and makes her way to school. After assembling in the schoolyard, Zaida and her schoolmates file into their classrooms for the day’s lessons. While they’re in class, several mothers gather outside to make a lunch of fresh-caught fish and potatoes. The food is good, but, unfortunately, the drinking water is not.

Parents go out into the lake to fetch "cleaner" water for the school children, but it's still not safe water.

The school’s only source of water is the lake itself. In the shallows, the water is murky and full of sediment and other contaminants, including the waste from the school bathrooms. To find cleaner water, the men take a boat a quarter mile or so out into the lake to fill their buckets. Though it’s an improvement, the water still contains dangerous bacteria, and other harmful contaminants, that make it unsafe to drink, putting Zaida, her teachers, and her classmates at risk.

Zaida helps a younger child get safe water from their new Kohler Clarity filter.

With water in abundance, what the school children of Ccapi Uros needed was a way to make it safe to drink. Thankfully, a partnership between Operation Blessing and Kohler provided the perfect solution. The Kohler Clarity water filter can eliminate more than 99 percent of bacteria and protozoa in the water, making it ideal for treating the water from Lake Titicaca. Operation Blessing brought a Clarity filter for each classroom. Now everyone at the school, including Zaida, no longer has to worry about whether the very water they drink is making them sick! The Clarity filters will provide safe drinking water every day for the children of this impoverished island community.

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Giving Fresh Bread to the Poor of Jerusalem’s “Old City” https://www.ob.org/giving-fresh-bread-poor-jerusalems-old-city/ https://www.ob.org/giving-fresh-bread-poor-jerusalems-old-city/#respond Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:56:31 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67111 Many may think of Israel as a 1st world country. And while that may be true, there are many who still go hungry. In the Old City of Jerusalem, Operation Blessing is looking to help those in need. Utilizing a bakery run by two brothers in the Christian Quarter of the city, Operation Blessing is...

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Many may think of Israel as a 1st world country. And while that may be true, there are many who still go hungry. In the Old City of Jerusalem, Operation Blessing is looking to help those in need. Utilizing a bakery run by two brothers in the Christian Quarter of the city, Operation Blessing is making fresh “Jerusalem Bread” each day that is then delivered by cart to over 117 people in need each week.

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God Makes a Way https://www.ob.org/cleft-lip-god-makes-way/ https://www.ob.org/cleft-lip-god-makes-way/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:00:33 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67044 KENYA – Nkunkat’s parents already had four children by the time he was born, but no amount of parenting experience prepared them for his condition. Little Nkunkat was born with both a cleft lip and a cleft palate. In developed nations, finding corrective treatment is easy, but in Kimana, Kenya, such care simply does not...

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Baby Nkunkat in Kenya sits with his mother after successful cleft lip surgery

KENYA – Nkunkat’s parents already had four children by the time he was born, but no amount of parenting experience prepared them for his condition. Little Nkunkat was born with both a cleft lip and a cleft palate.

In developed nations, finding corrective treatment is easy, but in Kimana, Kenya, such care simply does not exist. The closest hospital was just too far for the family to reach on their own.

His father works hard to provide for the family, but they did not have enough to cover the surgery Nkunkat needed. Without it, the baby boy faced eating issues, difficulty swallowing, malnutrition, and other long-term problems.

Baby Nkunkat in Kenya faced a lifetime of issues due to his cleft lip and palate.

A missionary doctor who works with Operation Blessing’s community health workers in Kimana learned about baby Nkunkat and his family. Soon, OB Kenya reached out to the family offering help — free of charge!

At 4 months old, Nkunkat underwent the first of two corrective surgeries. The surgeons repaired his cleft lip, and he is scheduled to return in a year for the procedure to fix his cleft palate. After the surgery, his parents were elated.

Baby Nkunkat after successful cleft lip surgery provided by Operation Blessing.

“I am the happiest mother in the world, now,” Nkunkat’s mother, Jennifer, said.

“It’s amazing how God makes a way where there seems to be none,” Nkunkat’s father, Kipalero, added. “I cannot believe it happened with such ease! May God bless Operation Blessing so much.”

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Staying Healthy in Padre Cocha https://www.ob.org/staying-healthy-padre-coacha/ https://www.ob.org/staying-healthy-padre-coacha/#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 19:08:35 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=67038 For the children of Padre Cocha, Peru it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need to grow up big and strong. So Operation Blessing is implementing a nutrition program to ensure that all the kids get the proper amount of nutrients to stay healthy and happy.

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For the children of Padre Cocha, Peru it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need to grow up big and strong. So Operation Blessing is implementing a nutrition program to ensure that all the kids get the proper amount of nutrients to stay healthy and happy.

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An Education Close to Home https://www.ob.org/education-close-home/ https://www.ob.org/education-close-home/#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 15:00:30 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=66992 HONDURAS – Every morning Stephany had to get up early and endure a long, and at times dangerous, journey — just to get to school. Her father would walk with her when he could, but often she had to make the trip alone. The passage was especially hard during the rainy season when the river...

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Stephany from Honduras endured dangerous conditions to receive an education until Operation Blessing International built her community a new school.

HONDURAS – Every morning Stephany had to get up early and endure a long, and at times dangerous, journey — just to get to school. Her father would walk with her when he could, but often she had to make the trip alone. The passage was especially hard during the rainy season when the river that crossed Stephany’s path would rise. After several hours she would arrive muddy and wet, only to retrace her steps after class.

Stephany is from the small farming community of Brisas de Occidente in Honduras. Here, growing corn and beans is the primary source of income. Stephany’s father works as a day laborer on the farms. Opportunities are few and far between in Brisas de Occidente, and most residents don’t have more than a sixth grade education. Without a school nearby, they have been forced to choose between an arduous, time-consuming march to a faraway school and simply dropping out.

Children in this makeshift Honduran classroom endured intense heat, insects, and rain leaks.

Worried for their children’s safety and education, the community decided to build their own makeshift classroom using resources they had on hand — sheets of wood and old roofing. They then requested that the education authorities send a teacher to work in the school. But, though their intentions were good, the ramshackle structure was just too hot for Stephany and the other students to be able to concentrate on learning. To make matters worse, the classroom could not keep out mosquitos and other insects, and when it rained, water would soak the students and their schoolbooks.

Operation Blessing staff arrived in Brisas de Occidente to distribute shoes to the children there, but it didn’t take them long to realize that the kids were missing more than just footwear. Soon, construction of a brand-new school was underway, and in a little over two months it was finished.

The bright and airy new classroom OBI built for a community in Honduras.

Thanks to Operation Blessing partners, Brisas de Occidente now boasts a first-class school facility complete with a brand new classroom; bathrooms for boys, girls, and teachers; a kitchen; and a playground. Stephany and her classmates also received new desks, notebooks, backpacks, and school uniforms!

Today the people of this impoverished farming community finally have a school they can be proud of, and Stephany will no longer have to endure a treacherous journey just for the chance to receive an education. With gratitude in her voice, she exclaimed, “Thank you so much for giving us a beautiful school!”

Honduran children stand with their new uniforms and backpacks in front of their new school.

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Time of Celebration Dampened by Diagnosis https://www.ob.org/diagnosis-dampens-time-celebration/ https://www.ob.org/diagnosis-dampens-time-celebration/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:00:56 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=66931 VIETNAM – At up to seven days of festivities, Tet—or the Lunar New Year—is the longest celebration in Vietnam. But it became a time of heartbreak for new mother Le Thi. On the fourth day of the festival, Le Thi gave birth to her baby boy, Luong, but immediately noticed something was wrong. His left...

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Luong during his treatments. He was born during the Tet celebration.

VIETNAM – At up to seven days of festivities, Tet—or the Lunar New Year—is the longest celebration in Vietnam. But it became a time of heartbreak for new mother Le Thi.

On the fourth day of the festival, Le Thi gave birth to her baby boy, Luong, but immediately noticed something was wrong. His left foot was turned up and in. Le Thi sought every health worker in the hospital asking for help, but they were short-staffed for the holiday and none could identify what was wrong with her baby.

Luong's clubfoot that nobody at the hospital could diagnose.

Finally, a midwife recommended Luong visit Tu Du Obstetric Hospital for a diagnosis. There, she met Operation Blessing’s partner, MiracleFeet, and found out her baby boy had clubfoot.

As she walked into the waiting room, she saw other parents holding babies with the same condition. She began connecting with those who were going through the same process and found a sense of community through the journey.

It brought her comfort, and she was even happier when she learned baby Luong’s condition was correctable and it would be free to her family. Treatment began immediately, and though Le Thi was nervous, she clung to the belief that her baby boy would get better.

Luong after several rounds of casting.

After five rounds of casting, little Luong moved into bracing and his parents were thrilled at the difference in his foot.

“My husband and I are very happy,” she said. “At present, he is wearing his first pair of shoes!”

Now, instead of worrying about her son’s future, Le Thi looks forward to watching him take his first steps.

“Thank you to the doctors who treated my son and helped my family,” she said.

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Picking Up the Pieces After Ebola https://www.ob.org/business-opportunity-ebola-survivors/ https://www.ob.org/business-opportunity-ebola-survivors/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:00:07 +0000 https://www.ob.org/?p=66887 LIBERIA – Like many people in Liberia, Ma Kemah and her family are still overcoming the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Nearly everyone in the country has a story to tell, and Ma Kemah, who lives in a community just outside the city of Monrovia, is no exception. She lost two sons and...

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Ma Kemah stands in front of her store, thankful for the business opportunity.

LIBERIA – Like many people in Liberia, Ma Kemah and her family are still overcoming the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Nearly everyone in the country has a story to tell, and Ma Kemah, who lives in a community just outside the city of Monrovia, is no exception. She lost two sons and a daughter to the deadly and fast-moving disease. Four of her surviving grandchildren, known as “Ebola orphans,” now live with her.

Raising four children ranging in age from nine to fourteen has presented challenges for Ma Kemah, but Operation Blessing International has been there to lend a helping hand. OBI met Ma Kemah because two of her grandchildren, Kemah and Abass, are part of OB Liberia’s orphans program. Through this program, they, along with approximately 170 other Ebola orphans, are provided with food, clothing, and school tuition. They also receive regular home visits to check on their welfare.

Ma Kemah and some of the children inside the store.

But OB Liberia wanted to do more for Ma Kemah and her family, so they gave her a sturdy new business booth, in bright green no less, filled with supplies. From the booth, Ma Kemah and her grandchildren now run what westerners might think of as a small convenience store. They sell groceries and household supplies such as rice, oil, milk, coffee, toiletries, diapers, paper, batteries, and more.

Ma Kemah literally rejoiced when she saw the new booth. It’s situated right outside her home along the street, and she and her grandchildren can comfortably fit inside to sell their wares. Now Ma Kemah has the opportunity to earn more income while safely watching over her family. With the expected increase in income, she eventually hopes to make improvements to her hut-like home as well.

One of the grandchildren helps a customer.

Operation Blessing knows that by providing a business opportunity to a family in need, they give them the ability to earn their own living for many years to come, fostering a sense of independence and dignity. Ma Kemah is very thankful, saying, “I am very happy for Operation Blessing. Let God bless Operation Blessing.” And OBI is thankful to all of our generous supporters for making this possible!

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