Posts Tagged:

Community Grant Fund

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    [post_date] => 2020-06-27 08:00:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-06-27 14:00:26
    [post_content] => This blog post is written by Claire Bennett, a Dragons Instructor who usually resides in Nepal, but who has spent the months of the pandemic hunkering down in Indonesia, after supporting the Bridge Year Program there earlier this year. Claire worked with Lutfi Handayani, Dragons Local Coordinator, to distribute a Community Relief Fund grant in Yogyakarta.

On our way into the public health office in Yogyakarta we had seen a pick-up truck, sirens blazing, full of people in hazmat suits. It was this trip that really opened my eyes to the scale of the pandemic here in Indonesia. Up until that point, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the country that I somewhat unexpectedly have called home for the last few months, seemed to be within reasonable limits. (Although my definition of “reasonable” has been warped by the comparison to other countries I hold dear which have fared much worse, like my native UK.)

Lutfi and I had applied to the Dragons Community Relief Fund for a small project here in Yogya. Part of the grant was to donate 25 sets of PPE to the local public health office. Procuring the suits had been no small feat; they are not available for general purchase, so we had needed to locate the correct material and then take it to a tailor to sew the suits to the required specification. I marveled that the government had resorted to appealing to the public to donate hand-sewn hazmat suits.

To enter the public health office it is mandatory to wash your hands and wear a facemask. We asked one of the administrators where the pick-up truck we had seen was headed. “To collect and bury the body of a seven-year-old girl who died this morning,” was the reply, and we wished we hadn’t asked. Still, she would not be counted among the case statistics as she was still on the waiting list to have the test that would have confirmed it. “Most of the people that die are in the ‘suspected’ category,” we were told. “But we still have to treat the bodies like they had the virus – that’s why we are running out of PPE.”

Our donation was to protect public health workers overwhelmed by the rising death tolls here. It felt like a good use of a very small amount of funds.

[caption id="attachment_157207" align="aligncenter" width="715"] Photo by Claire Bennett, Instructor.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_157205" align="aligncenter" width="715"] Photo by Claire Bennett, Instructor.[/caption]

The other thing we planned to do with the community grant was something we knew would provide immediate relief; giving small amounts of essential food and supplies to those hit hardest by the crisis.
Indonesia is in an unusual situation in that there has been no nationwide lockdown, and no shelter-in-place instructions have been given except for in areas of exceptionally high transmission such as the capital.
The government has declared that a lockdown would be too hard on the country’s daily wage earners, who make up a significant proportion of the population. Despite this, the economic impact of the crisis has hit Indonesia hard, as tourism ceased, restaurants reluctantly shut their doors due to declining demand, construction work has stopped, and markets have closed. A large number of families have lost their only source of income. In my work with Learning Service I have often spoken out against “handouts” as a form of charity, as it leads to dependency instead of systemic change. However in the face of an immediate need such as a natural disaster or, as we have found, economic fallout from a pandemic, there is a need for a stopgap, and when people are struggling to feed their families there isn’t time to make longer-term plans. We decided to focus on the two areas of town that host our Dragons students – Tamansiswa, where the semester program house is located, and Kotagede, the community that hosts the Princeton Bridge Year groups. In both communities, we worked with local leaders to identify families most in need, which ended up being 20 families around Tamansiswa and 19 in Kotagede. The community chief in Tamansiswa also requested us to install a small public hand-washing station to promote good hygiene practices for the duration of the pandemic. The food packages were comprised of bare essentials, to ensure that we were not giving anything that would be wasted. 5kg of rice (of course, we are in Indonesia), cooking oil, salt, sugar, tea, eggs, hand soap, and naturally the ubiquitous “Indomie” instant noodles. The packages were delivered to the community leaders who distributed them anonymously in order to avoid questions or jealousy. [caption id="attachment_157136" align="alignnone" width="2560"] Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Instructor.[/caption]
In lots of ways, the support that we offered with this community fund was minimal: a token of support and solidarity in troubled times. But I also like to think it had a modest impact.
For the relatively tiny amount of just US $525, we were able to make 25 hazmat suits for public health workers, support 39 struggling families with a couple of weeks’ groceries, and set up a public hand-washing station. Along with boxes of food and soap, the Dragons community also offered our community in Yogyakarta a sense of hope in these dark times. A huge thank you to all who have donated so far!    

Dragons Fund is a program of the COMMON Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible as permitted by U.S. tax law.

 
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[post_title] => INDONESIA (YOGYAKARTA)—DRAGONS COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND IN ACTION [post_excerpt] => Lutfi and I had applied to the Dragons Community Relief Fund for a small project here in Yogya. Part of the grant was to donate 25 sets of PPE to the local public health office. Procuring the suits had been no small feat; they are not available for general purchase, so we had needed to locate the correct material and then take it to a tailor to sew the suits to the required specification. I marveled that the government had resorted to appealing to the public to donate hand-sewn hazmat suits. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => indonesia-yogyakarta-community-grant-update [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-27 09:07:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-27 15:07:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 45 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 45 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 52 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 52 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-06-12 10:18:08
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    [post_content] => 

Julianne Chandler, Dragons Latin America Program Director, shares how a community is undeterred in their endless commitment to each other...

It’s Friday morning and I’m up early, the crisp early winter cold biting through the mountain air.  Only in the Andes can you awake to frost on the grass and find yourself battling blistering rays of sunlight by 11 am, with temperatures jumping over 40 degrees F in a few hours.  I sneak out of my gate before the kids are awake, stuffing my hand-sewn mask into a pocket as I roll my rusted old cruiser onto the dirt road.  I’m still taken by the striking calm that fills the air in the absence of motor vehicles, and our little road is deserted save for a flock of sheep as I head towards the main avenue.  When I reach the corner I pause to take in the morning stillness, and my gaze stretches into a horizon that is crisper than ever before: Tiquipayaya lays spread out below, a patchwork of urban sprawl interspersed by large expanses of agricultural fields that predominate farther to the west.  To the southeast the city of Cochabamba takes shape, crowned by Cristo de la Concordia, allegedly the largest christ statue in the world.  In the far distance I can even make out the lomas of the Zona Sur, Cochabamba’s sprawling working class sector, where trouble is brewing.  Bumping down the Montecillo hillside I pass neighbors and families making their way home by foot, their weekly provisions in tow.  Technically only one adult member of each family is permitted to leave the house each week, for a 4-hour window designated according to your national ID number, but I see couples and mothers toting children on their backs, stopping to eat a salteña or sip a glass of mocochinchi on the side of the road.  
I am reassured by these simple acts of normalcy in the midst of pandemic, by small gestures of disobedience in our little Bolivian town.  
I find it uncomfortable to ride with my mask, but slip it over my face as the cobblestone gives way to potholes and clouds of dirt, the abandoned remnants of a paving project that was paused way back in September, just before national elections threw the country into its last crisis. In Bolivia, there are layers to our state of emergency, one overshadowing the next until you can't tell where one was left off and the other begins.  As I roll into downtown Tiquipaya I find the streets lively but also eerily quiet.  Lines snake their way out of shops with some semblance of social distancing, and a truckload of military men look serious but a bit aimless on the corner of Pablo Jaimes and Avenida Reducto.  I know that in some communities thought to be “undisciplined,” such as the Zona Sur, the security presence is not so passive.  They stare down the loan gringa as my bike squeaks past, but fortunately don’t ask to see my ID;  it’s not my designated day and I’m breaking quarantine regulations by being out of the house. In some pockets of the country protests are stirring as we head into month three of draconian quarantine measures, and images on the news show violent repression by members of the armed forces in K’ara K’ara, El Alto, Yapacaní.   In a country with the largest informal economy in the world, people are starting to go hungry and need to work to survive.   On Avenida Cochabamba I slip into the ATM amidst a line that stretches three city blocks all the way to the central plaza.  People are seated on lawn chairs and perched on the curb at a scattered distance from one another, peering out over masked faces as they wait to collect a measly government bonus of 500 Bs. (less than $75).  In El Alto there are reports of people spending all night in line to retrieve their bonus, wrapped in blankets to protect against the biting cold at 13,000 feet.  These are our elderly, our sick, our most vulnerable.  Our transition president Jeanine Añez, who increasingly governs as if she has actually been elected for office, likes to group these people in with the “undisciplined” protesters, as if reprimanding children for staying up past their bedtime.  Lately language of “obedience” and “discipline” are pervasive in the news and incessant TV propaganda, revealing coming from a regime that has no legitimate claim to office.  Under Añez’s newest decree, you can be imprisoned for spreading “disinformation” - even in the form of art - as a threat against public health. If only the same enthusiasm were being directed to testing and medical supplies.  Coming out of the ATM I recognize the eyes of a friend on the corner donning a colorful mask, and we both light up in recognition.  Facing each other we pause and hesitate under the watchful stare of the police, and then both decide in the same moment to embrace each other because we haven’t been able to properly greet a friend in weeks.  Our kids are in the same class at Kusi, and we lament the fact that they haven’t been out of the house in more than 60 days. Caro gives me a squeeze on the shoulder as I jump back on the cruiser, and my heart shines a bit brighter as I head for the countryside.   I reach the shaded bench across from Hotel Regina 10 minutes early but see that Valentina and two of our homestay mamas are already there.  I embrace Doña Leti instantly because she’s like family, but Doña Pilar is nervous about being out of the house and we greet each other at a distance. 
Instantly we are laughing and exchanging community gossip, and we are all wrapped up in the absolute joy and simplicity of sitting on a bench with women friends. 
Doña Pilar tells us about the recent loss of her corn crop, her primary source of income this time of year, which collapsed after the abrupt end of the rainy season.  Soon Paola and her mother Doña Elsa join us as well, with stories about the grandchildren and farm animals and how they’re faring without the essential weekly income they bring in selling chicharrón in the cancha every weekend. Leti is the last to join us, who came from Villa Oruro by foot with the news that her uncle passed away the day before, leaving 9 young children orphaned on the altiplano outside of La Paz (his death was not COVID-related).  Her parents, Doña Carlota and Don Abdon, had rushed to La Paz in the cover of night, risking bribes or fines or worse at security checkpoints, to reach a mourning family in need that could not be accessed by Bolivia’s precarious medical system.   Bolivia Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund Before bidding farewell to our Collpapampa neighborhood families, Valentina and I hand over the modest donation from Dragons that had brought us together.  We explain that while we won’t be able to receive students for an indefinite future, Dragons has started a fund to support our key host communities during this time of uncertainty and economic scarcity.  They are deeply moved that Dragons has thought of them, and share with us what they’ll be able to do for their families with this support: a quintal de arroz (220 pounds of rice), much needed medication, stores of potatoes, flour, cooking oil, beans, and other staples to weather the certain precarity ahead.  Jumping back on our bikes, Valentina and I continue on to visit the homes of other families.  As we ride through open fields and down tree-lined lanes, I am again taken by the sweet liberty of this moment, another small act of rebellion in a time of masks and security checkpoints and social distancing enforced for some at gunpoint.  Nearly 10 years have gone by since Valentina and I walked these same roads together for the first time, stopping in at the homes of farmer families and single mamas and Aymara weavers to gauge their thoughts on receiving young Dragons students into their homes.  They were so shy and skeptical at first, with young children peeking out wide-eyed from pleated skirts at the idea of a gringita or gringito sharing their homes. “But here, in the campo, where we have dirt floors and chickens roam free?  Why would an American student want to live here?”  And why not here, Valentina exclaimed, with the authority of someone who raised her sons free on these same country roads. 
Here where we mark our days by the agricultural cycle, where the sweet cadence of Quechua hangs in the air, where the protective gaze of Mt. Tunari peers down at us from a height of 16,400 feet along the eastern flank of the longest mountain chain on earth.  
Those children who peered up at me all those years ago are grown up now.  They’re studying medicine at the public university or working at factories or helping in the fields.  These women have been there through my pregnancies, they grew the flowers at my wedding, their younger kids climb trees and play hide and seek with my own daughter on the program house farm.  By now they have received countless Dragons hijitas y hijitos into their homes, encouraging their Spanish, nursing their illnesses, laughing across seemingly impossible distances - cultural, economic, spiritual - that fall away in an adobe kitchen over a warm meal.    Riding past the Program House farm, we make our way to the farming communities of Apote and Totorkawa.  Doña Marta lets out her deep and infectious laugh when we appear at her store front, beaming as she tells us about her granddaughter who is still managing to bring income in for the family at a meat factory as the public health crisis unfolds. She complains that her braids are untidy when I ask for a photo, and gives me a firm hug when we head on our way.  Doña Marta has seen plenty of other crises unfold, she has survived dictatorships and the loss of children, and she’s unphased by COVID-19.  We’ll get through this, she says, que mas podemos hacer pues? Bolivia Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund Heading further down the road we stop at the homes of Sandra, Doña Eugenia, Susana, Doña Mari and her sister María.  They invite us in, offer tea and mandarinas and fresh pacay from the tree.  They share stories of past students and inquire about our kids and send their surprised and dignified thanks for the support more with their eyes and gestures than with their words.   Bolivia Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund All of these families depend on informal labor to make a living, much like most Bolivians. They sell produce and hot meals at the weekly farmer’s market, they are gardeners and carpenters and gifted weavers.  They run dental offices out of their homes, and serve as local leaders in neighborhood associations. They look out for each other, just as they worry when students aren’t home as night falls on Tiquipaya. Last fall they saw their sources of income run dry after the political crisis took hold, when a predominately middle and upper class popular uprising paralyzed the country for 21 days.  Bolivia was still contending with the effects of political turmoil when the public health emergency descended, snaking its way into corrupt political systems and the embers of recent massacres and the halls of deficient medical centers.  Now our homestay mamas face the loss of Dragons income as well, which has provided a steady supplement to their income these past years.    I ride up the hillside back to Montecillo just before curfew kicks in at noon, and am filled to the brim with the presence of these strong women, laughter in their eyes as they face increasingly tenuous circumstances.
Without their generosity, their kindness, their patience, the work we do of connecting young people to a landscape and slice of life different from the one they’ve always known would not be possible. 
A donation from the Dragons fund will provide a small boost to their livelihoods in the coming weeks, but we will never be able to repay them properly for what they’ve offered us all these years.  How can you even start to place value on the memories, the stories, the intimate folds of their lives that they’ve shared with our students? I’ve been in this work for a long time and honor the effort that Where There Be Dragons has made to extend support to our host communities in a time of global crisis. In my years as an international educator, I have never come across another organization that seeks opportunities for extended homestays in communities like Tiquipaya or El Alto, locations that would not be on the radar for your average traveler.  International travel programming is rife with inequities, both in terms of access to a carefully crafted intercultural experience, but also with regard to recipient communities and the many layers of power and privilege that subtly or overtly shape the exchange.  As the travel industry faces an unprecedented global crisis, I am grateful that Dragons has paused to acknowledge the disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities and populations around the world.  As far as I know, no other student travel organizations are directing fundraising efforts directly to communities in need.   Bolivia Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund When I slip back into my gate, my girls are frantic to see me and I realize it’s the longest time we’ve been apart in two months.  Inara is eager to hear all about Tía Vale and the mamas I’ve visited, and I wrap my arms around my daughters who have not left our land since March.  As I get back to work that afternoon, there’s an update from Ana on the community grant we’ve sent to her in El Alto.  “Lxs chicxs are mobilizing” she says, talking to me from the front lines of Jeanine Añez’s assault on Bolivia’s indigenous and poor.  “The situation is serious.”  They are militarizing El Alto and residents have to get more creative about transporting emergency provisions to the families that have been hardest hit on the barren fringes of the city. 
'They have created human chains to transport goods by foot to more remote areas,' she explains. 
“Lxs chicxs” -  referring to the youth activists and artists that make up Teatro Trono, one of our strongest partner organizations -  take turns moving goods on their designated days as the security presence closes in.  “We have three brigades getting supplies to the wounded in Senkata, to distrito 11, to families in more remote neighborhoods.”  My heart chills at the mention of Senkata,  the site of a government-orchestrated massacre that left 9 people dead and dozens wounded in November of last year.   “We’re calling it the Cadena de Abrazos que Alimentan.”  The chain of hugs that feeds…    

Dragons Fund is a program of the COMMON Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible as permitted by U.S. tax law.

 
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[post_title] => A Chain of Hugs That Feeds—Dragons Community Relief Fund in Action [post_excerpt] => Residents have to get more creative about transporting emergency provisions to the families that have been hardest hit on the barren fringes of the city. They have created human chains to transport goods by foot to more remote areas. “Lxs chicxs” - referring to the youth activists and artists that make up Teatro Trono, one of our strongest partner organizations - take turns moving goods on their designated days. We’re calling it the Cadena de Abrazos que Alimentan.” The chain of hugs that feeds… [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-chain-of-hugs-that-feeds-dragons-community-relief-fund-in-action [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-27 09:00:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-27 15:00:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 45 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 45 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 52 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 52 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 12 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-05-28 12:03:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-28 18:03:20
    [post_content] => As the world battles the spread of COVID-19, many people, communities, and nonprofits are facing immense hardship. In response, the Dragons Fund, our nonprofit partner organization, created the Community Relief Fund to support communities that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 during this unprecedented pause of travel and tourism.
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Hover over the interactive map to view grant locations.
 
In just two months the Community Relief Fund has raised $15,000+ which has been distributed through small grants mostly aimed at providing food and essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to vulnerable households. Some examples of how these funds have been mobilized:
 
  • Indonesia: A $525 grant in Yogyakarta provided essential meal kits to 39 families, provided 25 hazmat suits to public health workers, and built a public handwashing station
  • India: A $1000 grant to Aajeevika Bureau, an Indian nonprofit working on the front lines of the migrant crisis
  • Senegal: A $700 grant provided food supplies to vulnerable households in seven communities (Dene, Ndioukhane, Yoff, Mouit, Temanto Samba, Dindefelo, and Niodior) and a $500 grant to purchase personal protective equipment for medical workers
  • Bolivia: Two grants totaling $1,300 to provide critical food supplies to households in El Alto, Tiquipaya, and Cochabamba
  • Cambodia: A $500 grant to Women's Resource Center, a local organization providing emergency food, hygiene products, and medicine to those in need of support
  • Nepal: A $500 grant provided essential food packages to 26 families in Panauti (rice, lentils, oil, sugar, tea, soap, beaten rice, fried lentils, soy nuggets, salt)
  • Peru: A $500 grant to Sacred Valley Health, a local organization that supports and trains community health workers
Additional project proposals are underway.
Learn more about the Community Grant Fund!
 
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_156662" align="aligncenter" width="522"]Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund Photo from Aajeevika Bureau[/caption]

In March 2020, the Dragons Fund, a non-profit ( in partnership with The Common Foundation), launched a Community Relief Fund to support vulnerable people and communities heavily impacted by decreased travel in the time of COVID-19.

As the world battles the spread of COVID-19, people around the world are facing immense hardship. Many Dragons partner communities rely on economic support from travel and tourism to survive, and with travel at a standstill, the impact on livelihoods will be severe.

[caption id="attachment_156663" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund Photo from Aajeevika Bureau[/caption]

Thus far, the initiative has been able to raise almost $10,000 and accomplish the following:

  • India: A $1,000 grant to Aajeevika Bureau, an Indian nonprofit working on the front lines of the migrant crisis
  • Indonesia: A $500 grant in Yogyakarta to provide essential food items to families that have lost income, as well as medical safety equipment for people removing dead bodies from homes
  • Senegal: A $700 grant to provide basic food supplies to vulnerable households in seven communities (Dene, Ndioukhane, Yoff, Mouit, Temanto Samba, Dindefelo, and Niodior)
  • Additional project proposals underway in Bolivia and Nepal.
  Dragons Fund Community Relief FundDragons Fund Community Relief FundDragons Fund Community Relief FundDragons Fund Community Relief Fund                
As global travelers, the Dragons community is acutely aware that the vulnerable always suffer first and most. We feel a responsibility to take action. This fund will provide financial support to partners and communities who have made Where There Be Dragons programs so incredible over the years.

— The Dragons Fund

 

Learn more about the Community Relief Fund.

   
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[post_title] => DRAGONS FUND RESPONDS TO COVID-19 CRISIS WITH THE COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND [post_excerpt] => In March 2020, the Dragons Fund, a non-profit ( in partnership with The Common Foundation), launched a Community Relief Fund to support vulnerable people and communities heavily impacted by decreased travel in the time of COVID-19 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-fund-responds-to-covid-19-crisis-with-the-community-relief-fund [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-30 16:04:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-30 22:04:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 45 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 45 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 669 [name] => Engage [slug] => engage [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 669 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [parent] => 0 [count] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 669 [category_count] => 23 [category_description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [cat_name] => Engage [category_nicename] => engage [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 12 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-02-06 13:50:56
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    [post_content] => 

In effort to give back to our incredible community partners, Dragons manages a Community Grant Fund.

This fund awards grants to community organizations based on a comprehensive application process. Ultimately, the goal of the fund is to provide community organizations with financial support for local projects and to provide a mechanism for Dragons administration, instructors, and students to give back to the places that so generously welcome Dragons participants. The Dragons Community Grant Fund is supported by under-budget funds from student programming. All applications are reviewed by a committee and awarded on an annual basis. And the Dragons Community Grant Fund is now accepting applications for 2020-21 projects and proposals! You can view the eligibility criteria and apply online through the same page. Applications will close on June 1, 2020. Good luck! Sincerely, Dragons HQ
PS. WANT DRAGONS BLOG UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX? ONE EMAIL A WEEK. NOTHING MARKETY. UNSUBSCRIBE ANY TIME. SUBSCRIBE TO DRAGONS BLOG AND STAY CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY. ❤️
[post_title] => The Dragons Community Grant Fund Application Period is Now Open! [post_excerpt] => Spread the word: The Dragons Community Grant Fund is now accepting applications for 2020-21 projects & proposals! Read on for details... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-dragons-community-grant-fund-application-period-is-now-open [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-02-10 11:21:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-02-10 18:21:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 669 [name] => Engage [slug] => engage [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 669 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [parent] => 0 [count] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 669 [category_count] => 23 [category_description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [cat_name] => Engage [category_nicename] => engage [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/engage/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 60 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 60 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/announcements/ ) ) [category_links] => Engage, Announcements )
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    [post_content] => In an effort to give back to our wonderful network of international partners, Dragons has a Community Grant Fund that awards grants to local organizations based on a comprehensive application process.  Some of this year's grant funds were distributed to support a menstrual health project in Chaukati, Nepal. Thank you to Michael D. Smith MSW/MPH (Nepal Himalaya Studies Instructor) for sharing more about this project via the following report! 

Introduction

For over ten years, Where There Be Dragons has had the pleasure of bringing numerous Gap Semester, Summer, and College Study Abroad student groups for rural homestay visits to Chaukati village in Sindhupalchowk District, northeast of Kathmandu. Travel to Chaukati from Kathmandu takes about four hours by bus on the Araniko Highway to the nearest town of Bahrabise, located just above where the Bhote Khosi (Tibetan River) meets the Sun Khosi (Gold River). Then one must hike three hours up a hill through forests and fields from the highway to the villages above. Chaukati was one of hundreds of communities whose village was completely destroyed in the devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015. Of hundreds of houses, not a single one remained standing. Many families lost most of their possessions, as well as livestock such as chickens, goats, cows and buffalo (the lifeblood of rural Nepal).  Chaukati is a village of mixed ethnicities and castes, including many members of the Thangmi (Thami) community, a small ethnic group known for traditions that reflect a close relationship with the natural world. The Thangmi continue to gather food and medicines from the forest and maintain unique shamanic cultural practices. Most Thangmi elders never received any formal education, and many only speak Thangmi language, of which an estimated 20,000 native speakers remain.

Project Origin

Dragons student groups and alumni instructors, together with local government and some development NGOs, have joined a number of projects in Chaukati, before and after the earthquakes, including construction of a new health center and elementary school, dozens of new homes for marginalized local families, and other assistance such as agricultural development and new stoves. Other organizations, such as Its Her Turn Nepal (Hamro Palo Nepal), have assisted the community with non-tangible social development, such as conducting leadership trainings and empowerment workshops for girls.  In the Fall of 2017, as Dragons instructors interviewed host families about learning service opportunities in the village, the idea of reusable sanitary pads came up in conversation. Some local girls were aware of the benefits of reusable sanitary pads from the previous Its Her Turn project, but there was nowhere to obtain the cotton pads in the area. When one instructor asked the girls if they would be interested to receive a distribution of the pads, they refused, instead suggesting that it would be best for them to organize a training in Chaukati to teach local women to make their own cotton pads, so that they would not be reliant on others to bring them to them. The instructors approached a Nepal-based social enterprise, Dharti Mata ("Mother Earth" in Sanskrit), which runs a small factory that employs village women to sew a variety of sanitary pads from organic cotton. These attractive reusable pads, called "Love Lady Pads," are designed to reduce social stigma in rural areas around menstruation, to support safe and healthy sanitary practices, and to reduce the problem of solid waste from single-use disposable sanitary pads. Dharti Mata was co founded by Claire Lin, an eco-social entrepreneur from Taiwan, and Mithu Dhital, of the Hasera Permaculture Farm in Patlekhet in Nepal (where many Dragons students have studied). The women of Dharti Mata were enthusiastic to partner in the project, so the instructors applied for a $2000 of funding from Dragons Community Grant Fund to support Reusable Eco-Sanitary Pad DIY training workshops in Chaukati.

Project Description

Due to the limited availability of trainers and the onset of monsoon, which is very heavy in Chaukati (as anyone who has been there during that time can attest!), the group of seven trainers from Dharti Mata were not able to conduct the workshops until late October of 2018. A four-hour workshop was held each day for three days. The workshops included sessions on female reproductive health, developing positive attitudes about women's bodies and the menstrual cycles, massage and yoga techniques for maintaining a healthy uterus, discussions of the health and environmental benefits of reusable sanitary cloth pads, and a training session on how to stitch one's own pads that included distribution of cloth, needles, and thread. Each woman was given five pads in total: A pre-made simple pad and two pad components that were stitched during the training (a long pad and a night pad). More about the Love Lady Pads line can be found on their website at www.dhartimata.com In total, 150 local women of a variety of ages, castes, and ethnicities representing all six wards of the Chaukati area attended the workshops. The workshops were supported by the local government and were officially opened by the municipal Chairperson, Man Bahadur Thami. In the Spring of 2019, one instructor returned with the Dragons Nepal College Study Abroad course and visited Chaukati. They interviewed the local Women's Craft Development Committee about asked about their impressions of the workshops. The women reported they were pleased that the workshop had taken place, as it created a safe forum for women to openly discuss issues they were facing. They requested more trainings and workshops in the future, and offered to serve as the local organizing partner. The conversations surrounding women's health in Chaukati inspired one of the Spring 2019 Nepal College Study Abroad students to return to Chaukati for two weeks to study local midwifery practices. While she was there, she participated in the birth of baby, and was able to learn a great deal about taboos and progress in the areas of female reproductive health.

Importance of Menstrual Health Projects in Nepal

In the contemporary Nepali context, programs such as this DIY Reusable Eco-Sanitary Pad training take on a larger significance than merely environmental or economic benefits. In many sectors of Nepali society, especially in rural areas, menstruation and female reproductive health issues have been considered taboo subjects. Myths and stigma surrounding ritual pollution from the touch of a menstruating woman prevails. In some areas, chapaudi, a practice where women move to a shed behind the house during menstruation, is still practiced. Though this tradition has been banned in Nepal, recent incidents of young women or teenage girls dying in their 'menstruation sheds' due to snakebite or other hazards have highlighted the persistence of these practices. Even in communities like Chaukati where Chhaupadi is not practiced, taboos surrounding menstruation still affect Nepali women and girls. Many households in Kathmandu still prohibit menstruating women from entering kitchens, temples, eating with the family, and sleeping on their beds. These practices can condition women to view their bodies as unclean and  devalue themselves because they take  blame for any misfortune their families experience. Chhaupadi’s legacy contributes to a wider disregard of women and girls that places them in danger. Nepali news outlets have been raising  awareness of this issue, and there are some indications that the media is in general, reporting more stories of female reproductive and gender related issues. Recent incidents of women dying in menstruation sheds have even been covered in international media such as the New York Times. Encouraging projects that support local women to advance the conversation about female reproductive health, helps de-stigmatize harmful attitudes and given women the space to voice experiences previously neglected in formal and public spheres.  Michael D Smith Dharti Mata and the organizers of the Chaukati Reusable Eco-Sanitary Pad DIY training workshops are grateful for the support of the Dragons Community Grant Funds for this project. It would not have been possible without the creation of the Fund or the instructors who carefully managed program budgets in order to contribute money to the fund. Thank you!      
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