Sea to Sea 2013 raised $917,118 to support the work of organizations committed to alleviating poverty. Twenty-five percent of those funds, or $219,280, were allocated to World Renew. We are pleased to offer this brief report on how World Renew’s portion of the funds are being used, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to the many Sea to Sea riders, volunteers, organizers, and donors who made this work possible!
Providing Holistic Community Development in West Africa
Of the Sea to Sea 2013 funds received by World Renew, 60 percent ($131,568) was allocated to community development programming in West Africa*, where poverty, drought, and political instability make life very difficult.
These ongoing crises require long-term solutions, so World Renew invests in holistic programming in West Africa covering a broad range of issues such as food security, access to clean water, health initiatives, income generation, literacy, community development, and church development. Sea to Sea funds are touching each of these critical development areas.
Ride for Refuge and Sea to Sea (an initiative of World Renew, Partners Worldwide, and the Reformed Church in America) invite you to participate in a one-day bicycle ride fundraiser! Click here for more information or to register a team!
Behind these broad initiatives lie dozens of programs that have profound ripple effects, directly impacting 3,292 people in Niger so far this year and indirectly benefiting many more. Often, making seemingly small changes can have a big effect on people’s overall health and well being. Those small changes can work together to create transformation for an entire community. One example is a unique soap-making enterprise that is improving health and providing income for West African villagers.
Over the past two years, World Renew and its partners have been helping West African communities learn about health and hygiene, including the importance of hand washing to overall health. But washing with soap is only practical if it’s readily available. The cost of soap was deterring people from washing their hands and cooking utensils, so community group members included in their annual plans a goal of learning how to make their own soap.
World Renew and one of its partners organized a training to teach women how to make large batches of soap.
Surrounding villages sent delegates to the training, charging them with learning the process and then returning to teach it to others in the village. The soap the group made was of higher quality than the soap available in the local markets, and the cost was lower. The benefits, both to people’s health and to the local economy, were immediate.
“We have noticed that we are healthier now,” said one woman who attended the training. “Our children have diarrhea less often than they used to before we started using our own soap. And we wash our pots and dishes with soap now, which we didn’t do before. People are starting to come to our village to buy our high-quality soap!”
A World Renew staff person explains: "We need to first listen to communities and capitalize on their own initiatives. Then we make it possible for people to gain useful skills in different areas. This holistic programming helps bring about lasting change.
Disaster Response Services Repairs Lives and Property
The Underfunded Disasters Fund, as the name suggests, exists to enable disaster response when other funding isn’t available. The fund was of critical importance after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast of the United States in August of 2011. World Renew DRS sprang into action, sending Rapid Response teams to help with the cleanup. Damages from the storm mounted up past $15 billion in the U.S., and the destruction reached from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Brooklyn, New York.
Hyde County, North Carolina, was especially hard hit. To meet the need, the Underfunded Disasters Fund supported DRS’s work there, which concluded in April 2014. Over the last year, Sea to Sea funding enabled 170 volunteers to give 23,800 hours of their time and talents to completely repair or rebuild 37 family homes.
World Renew DRS’s previous director, Bill Adams, visited Hyde County and told the story of a survivor named Joyce.
Joyce is a single woman who works as a bank teller and lives in an older, run-down mobile home. She is raising two of her grandkids on her own and helping out her daughter wherever she can. Her home was badly damaged by the storm surge that Irene whipped up.
Joyce is one of the most gracious, humble, and thankful people that I’ve ever met. Even when she and her grandkids were down to one room, Joyce recalled thinking that if that’s what God had for her, then she would be thankful. And she meant it! So you can imagine what a joy it was when our team showed up and basically did a floor to ceiling makeover. Her home is now solid and safe, with insulation, a beautiful oak laminate floor, and fresh paint inside and out. It looks great!
Thousands of people from Niger to North Carolina are benefiting from the Sea to Sea 2013 through World Renew DRS. Riders and supporters have provided a legacy of hope and help for those who live in poverty.