Friday, May 30, 2008
I apologize for being out of touch. I have been very busy being a new parent since my son's birth which took place on January 14th. Nonetheless, much has happened with Amman Imman over the past several months, and I'd like to share this inspiring news with you today.
The Tangarwashane borehole, serving the needs of thousands:
After almost a year of fully functional operation, our "Janet Cornelius" borehole in Tangarwashane is working and providing water to thousands of people and animals. By now, all the marshes and most of the deep wells have run dry. People are traveling great distances in search of water, and finding clean and abundant water at the Tangarwashane borehole. Management committee members are doing a fabulous job maintaining the borehole and making water available to all. This news demonstrates that our borehole is successfully serving the very basic needs of the people of the Azawak. We hope that this will serve as a beautiful inspiration for people to continue helping these populations.
Amman Imman is planning a follow up visit next month, where both the mechanical and managerial maintenance of the borehole will be evaluated. I will be happy to share the evaluation report with you once the trip has been made.
View 7.5 minute documentary footage on water scarcity in the Azawak:
Debbie Kahn and I recently edited over 15 hours of raw footage that our team took last year in the Azawak, and put together a 7.5 minute movie depicting the endless time and energy both children and adults put into finding water -- often mud -- to use for their survival and the survival of their animals. It also shows the direct impact that global climate change is having on these people's lives, as their rainy season is diminishing from year to year, hence significantly reducing their access to water. You can view these compelling images by clicking on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcMq7YuOOhc
Developing a strategic plan for Amman Imman:
My husband, Denis, and I recently visited the USA with our son, Fassely. This was a very important and rewarding trip for many reasons.
Firstly, over 20 Amman Imman volunteers living within the Washington DC area, as well as two very special guests that traveled down from the Northeast (Julie Snorek and Dennis Hamilton) came together to share stories on current program activities taking place nationally and internationally, as well as talk about the future of Amman Imman. Among the most important points that was discussed – given Amman Imman's success and growth in the United States -- was the need to develop a strategic plan in order to increase its organizational capacity.
Amman Imman is currently working with a specialist on organizational development to help refine our strategic planning. We are testing several different structural models, and are in the process of establishing committees to help run operations more smoothly in the US. In the interim, we have set up an executive committee in order to help guide major decisions and activities made by the organization inside the United States.
Women, Faith, and Development Alliance (WFDA) Breakthrough Summit:
As a woman leader working to help women and children, I was invited to participate in the WFDA breakthrough summit held in Washington DC on May 13th and 14th. The summit brought together key figures including Madeleine Albright, Kim Campbell, Ashley Judd, and other prominent individuals to bridge all the major disciplines working for and with women. Being an active member of this revolutionary summit – and as such, an agent of change -- was not only inspiring and rewarding, but it also helped me reflect on Amman Imman's role within this global growing movement to reduce poverty by empowering women.
Amman Imman's goal is to build permanent and sustainable sources of water for those that have none. While doing this, we have a key responsibility to empower women within both the organization and the communities where we work. Whereas Amman Imman has done this in the past, it has become clear to me that this goal must be as much of a priority as building boreholes.
While at the summit, I made a short presentation on Amman Imman. Many individuals and representatives of development and faith based organizations were deeply touched when they heard of the harsh conditions endured by the people of the Azawak, and came to me afterwards with the hope of learning more and eventually helping Amman Imman. I am currently following up with these women, in the hope of obtaining their assistance to build additional boreholes in the Azawak.
Heroes of Compassion:
Finally, I wanted to let you know that more and more schools and students are partnering with Amman Imman as "Heroes of Compassion" in order to raise enough money to build a "Well of Love". On May 17th in Maryland, over 200 people, including students and their parents, "Walked for Water" -- thereby simulating the long walk that the children of the Azawak endure during their daily search for water – and raised more than $12,500 for Amman Imman. Students that could not participate in the walk took part in an Amman-athon, where they did various activities such as hulla-hooping and jump roping, and contributed to the total amount of money raised. You can read more about our Heroes of Compassion at the following link:
Thank you for your continued support. Everyone within the Amman Imman team, the people of the Azawak, and I appreciate it so very much! I'll be in touch soon with an update from the Azawak.
Yours in Peace,
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Native Kushite's profile says:
Hello, I am here to sell you great items at great prices. I put customer service at priority #1 because as long as the customer is happy everything else will fall into place. I usually ship same day, or the next morning, as long as you get your item as quickly as possible.Please check out and promote the items he has for sale, and support Amman Imman at the same time!
My user name is Native Kushite, Kush civilization centered in the region of Nubia, located in what is today northern Sudan.
I will be having a variety of items for sale. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
5% OF ALL PROFITS GO TO CHARITY! This is not on select items, this is on ALL items. I set aside profits from every product sold, and at the end of every week I donate.
The charity that it goes to will be Amman Imman
Amman Imman Brings Water to Those Who Have None… Amman Imman is dedicated to improving and saving lives among the poorest and most abandoned populations of the world by supplying permanent sources of water to the people living in the Azawak Valley, West Africa. http://www.waterishope.org
I support ethical trade and fair wages. Which means I purchase items (whether African imports or those made in America) which are made by FAIR work ethics. I do not purchase from wholesale suppliers who do not list where the products are made because chances are (when its outside of America) they are child labor, unfair wages, unfair practices, etc. I want to make sure honest people can make an honest living.
Click here to see all of Native Kushite's items for sale one Ebay.
Friday, May 16, 2008
DERWOOD, MD (May 17) —More than 170 students and parents from local Montessori schools will walk around the perimeter of Rock Creek Park’s Lake Frank, in hopes of raising money and awareness for a program which seeks to lessen the marathon journey—which can be a stifling 35 miles roundtrip—that children in the Azawak region of Niger must face each time they and their families need a cup of water to drink.
Sponsored by Honest Tea, My Organic Market and Signs By Tomorrow, the second annual “A Walk for Water” will be held on Saturday, May 17, starting at 10 a.m. Although the walk will be only a fraction of the distance that children in Niger’s desert must journey for water, to the students, who have been learning about the children of the Azawak in their classes, the event will symbolize their solidarity with the Nigerien children.
Each participant will raise funds to benefit Amman Imman, a program which digs borehole wells—reaching depths as far as 3,000 feet below the Earth’s surface—for the people living in the Azawak. Sponsored in part by money raised through the first annual Walk for Water one year ago, Amman Imman built its first well last summer. The well provides water for 25,000 people and their animals. This year’s walk—kicked off in the company of a native from the outskirts of the Azawak—will support Amman Imman’s second well.
“The focus of involving students in “A Walk for Water” is to bring them together in the spirit of collaboration to make a positive change in the world,” said Debra Kahn, associate director of the Oneness Family School, in Chevy Chase, Md. and organizer of the walk. “The Amman Imman project appeals to their natural desire to help humanity and to reach out to children who are just like them, yet have a lot less.”
Extreme poverty coupled with a warming climate has made life in the Azawak increasingly difficult. Currently, the majority of the 500,000 people living in the Azawak have no water for nine months out of the year due to a lengthening draught. During the three months that they do have water, it is brackish, brown and thick with mud, dirtied by the people and animals which bathe in the marshes. With no schools, health centers or roads nearby, the Azawak is largely abandoned by the outside world.
Ariane Kirtley, founder and director of Amman Imman, hopes that by building more wells, Amman Imman will act as an impetus to change all of this. “Until there is a permanent and sustainable flow of water in the region, no organization will come to the Azawak,” she said. “I hope that our work will serve as a catalyst for humanitarian organizations to bring much-needed developmental aid, such as food aid, health care, education and gender equity to the region.”
Participating schools include: The Oneness-Family School, Chevy Chase, Md.; The Barrie School, Silver Spring, Md.; Henson Valley Montessori School, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Aidan Montessori, Washington, D.C.; Boyd School, from multiple locations in Virginia.
Program Amman Imman is a Washington, D.C.-based program, working in partnership with the American non-profit The Friendship Caravan. For more information on Amman Imman’s collaboration with local schools, visit: http://montessori-amman-imman-project.blogspot.com/
Thursday, May 15, 2008
But rather than just write about a human rights issue, I want to talk about taking action to improve a human situation before it reaches a level that the world calls a catastrophe. When do conditions warrant being labeled an issue of human rights? When the world names it a “crisis”? I want to tell you about a situation in which people are being denied a basic human right simply because very few people know about their problem.
In the Azawak of West Africa one out of every two children die before the age of five because they lack a simple glass of water to drink. The people who live in this large region are largely ignored by their government and mostly forgotten by the rest of the world.
If the world does not yet know that there is a crisis, does that make it any less critical?
In the Azawak, girls as young as 10 years old journey distances as much as 35 miles in a day to retrieve water for their family. Yet often, the deep well they arrive at after hours and hours of travel in 120 degrees heat will be dry. They may wait a day at a crowded well, and finally fill their jerry cans with water, but it won’t be very much, certainly not enough to meet the needs of their family waiting at home, and all their small animals.
Yet water flows in the Azawak, deep beneath the ground. Too deep to reach by digging by hand, but there nonetheless. Because there is no infrastructure to reach these living waters, 500, 000 people living in the Azawak have no access to it.
Water is essential to life, and yet the people of the Azawak live their lives without access to that most precious and essential resource.
When does the lack of access to an essential resource become a crisis? When the world turns its head toward it? People who live without ready ability to get water, whether or not the world knows it, suffer.
Children living in the Azawak cannot go to school. They have no choice but to spend their time finding water. They cannot bathe because even if they have a little water they can’t afford to waste it on a bath. They suffer from diseases related to having no water. These children are dying.
There is hope...
Development organization Amman Imman: Water is Life has taken on a huge mission: to bring water to the Azawak by constructing permanent water sources – boreholes – which will provide the infrastructure desperately needed by the people in order to have water. We can’t wait for the world to turn its attention there. The people of the Azawak deserve a future.
Monday, May 12, 2008
My Organic Market (MOM's) will be donating snacks. MOM's offers customers in the Washington D.C. area an alternative to the area's larger chain food grocers. Mom's purpose, "to restore the environment to the maximum extent we are able....we will work tirelessly towards ensuring a clean and restored environment for our children and future generations", resonates strongly with the core values of both Montessori education and the Amman Imman project. Both of these, like MOM's, take action for a sustainable future, whether empowering students or ensuring a future for the people of the Azawak.
Honest Tea will be donating beverages for the Walk. This company is another example of a business whose own progressive vision mirrors the grassroot efforts of Amman Imman. As stated in their mission statement, "A commitment to social responsibility is central to Honest Tea's identity and purpose." Just as Amman Imman seeks to work with companies in Niger that adhere to principles of excellence in construction, Honest Tea "strives for authenticity, integrity and purity, in our products and in the way we do business."
Signs by Tomorrow has graciously offered to donate this year's banner for A Walk For Water. The banner will provide a focal point for the purpose of our Walk: to bring attention to the water problems in the Azawak, to bring attention to Amman Imman's solution for this crisis, and to inspire hope in all children as they work together to build a sustainable future. Signs by Tomorrow in Bethesda, Maryland is a "green" business offering products made of biodegradable materials and encouraging everyday practices that save energy and the environment. Billed as "women owned and family run", Signs by Tomorrow has obvious parallels with the Amman Imman project, which promotes gender equity by requiring that a certain percentage of the Water Resource Management Committee be women, thereby supporting families in the Azawak.
Each of these businesses set an example and model an important ethic for students:
that adherence to a strong vision and a purposeful mission can lead to success and value.We thank these businesses for lending their support, and being a model for students everywhere.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Last year some of the 6-9 students at the Oneness-Family School participated in "A Walk For Water" on a Saturday at Lake Frank to raise money for building a well for the people of the Azawak. It was a very gratifying experience for the children. As they walked around a beautiful huge lake of water that day, their thoughts were filled with hopes of helping to bring water to the children of the Azawak. When Monday came these students shared their experience with the rest of the class. The other children wanted very much to be able to participate in a project during the school day (as some of them are unable to participate during the weekends) in which the entire class could do something together to raise funds for the children of the Azawak.
So the class put their heads together and brainstormed about different projects they could do. The students talked about many ideas and came up with “Amman-athon Day” in which they would be engaged in jumping rope, dribbling balls, hopping on one foot, doing jumping jacks, hula hooping, shooting baskets and running laps to raise funds for the Azawak.
The children have solicited parents, friends and neighbors to pledge a certain amount of money for how many hoops, jumps, hops, runs, dribbles or baskets they can do in five minutes.
“Amman-athon Day” will take place on Wednesday, May 14 at Norwood Park in Bethesda, MD. The students have been practicing every week for the past month and look forward to doing as many repetitions as they can to raise funds for water for the children of the Azawak.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
On Wednesday, May 28th, the entire school will participate in an event that not only raises awareness and funds for children in West Africa’s Azawak region who have very little resources, but also raises their own awareness about resources in their local community.
The Elementary and Adolescent students will meet up in a local park and do a long distance walk on a bike trail that will be sponsored by friends and family to raise funds for Amman Imman’s project. Primary children continue their water awareness work and will collect coins in a giant water bottle in support of their walking the school perimeter. Young Child Community students (ages 12 – 30 months) will walk the eleven acres back to the school pond.
Everyone will meet up at the pond where all the students will celebrate the blessings of their own water resources by having a drink of fresh water when they get there!
Many thanks to head of school Paula Leigh-Doyle for keeping us informed!
“I love the fact that they whole-school is united while working toward a collective project that is for the benefit of others (specifically children)," says Paula.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Imagine spending all your time in seething hot temperatures searching for water to keep your children and animals alive...Please share this movie with others and let them know they can be part of the solution for people who have no water by joining with development organization Amman Imman: Water is Life.
Imagine your life at the mercy of the environment, held hostage by whether or not it rains...
Imagine your brothers and sisters dying because they don't have even a simple glass of water to drink....
Water is there in the Azawak, and Amman Imman is making it available.
Download it from the Amman Imman Gallery at http://gallery.mac.com/debrajoy#100318. Choose the small, medium or large version, and view it on your Mac or PC, using iTunes. Show the movie at your school and to your community.
Watch the movie right here on this blog. Send this link to your friends and family: http://montessori-amman-imman-project.blogspot.com/2008/04/amman-imman-water-is-life-movie.html
Background Information For the Movie:Development organization AMMAN IMMAN: WATER IS LIFE builds permanent sources of water in the Azawak of West Africa. The Azawak, home to half a million people, suffers from water scarcity. During the rainy season, which lasts only between one and three months, people drink from marshes. When these dry up, they have to travel long distances to find water.
People are dying, not just from drinking dirty water, but because they have no water to drink.
You can help the people of the Azawak.
This 8 minute film tells the story of the people of the Azawak, depicting their struggle to obtain water. The film shows how their lives are at the mercy of their environment; whether they live or die depends on the rain. With a shorter and shorter rainy season, finding water becomes more and more difficult. More and more people are dying.
This is a story that development organization Amman Imman: Water is Life intends to change by constructing water sources that meet the people's basic and most human needs. The first Amman Imman borehole was completed in 2007, providing the village of Tangarwashane clean and accessible water.
Find out more about Amman Imman's project in the Azawak at www.waterforniger.org.