All We Want for Christmas…. Dear Friends and Family,
Dear Friends and Family,
We have been writing a blog about our experiences, and many of you have read it and asked how you can help. Being perpetual procrastinators, we haven’t replied to any of you. But as the Christmas giving season approaches, we thought we would offer some ideas for how you can help. And since we are a little bit competitive – mostly Bridget, really – we thought we would make a challenge out of it. Before we get to the challenge, however (settle down, Susie), a little on what TTL does, and how you can help.
In the Mokhotlong district of Lesotho where we are working, HIV and AIDS are ravaging the community. With HIV rates estimated at near 30%,
Touching Tiny Lives (TTL) is dedicated to helping children under five years of age affected by this epidemic. Managed and staffed by women and men from the community, the organization has served over four-hundred kids since beginning work in 2004, and currently provides life-saving support to over 130 children and pregnant mothers.
The motto here is….one child at a time. We are not trying to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but we are trying to make a difference in individual lives.
To do this, TTL employs a unique model consisting of three integrated programs. At the core of the Touching Tiny Lives model is an outreach program that supports children in their homes by providing nutritional, medical, and educational support. A complementary PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission) program works with pregnant mothers to prevent transmissions to newborns. Finally, TTL operates a safe-home – a type of temporary orphanage - in Mokhotlong where severely malnourished and sick children are rehabilitated. The safe-home is a final safety-net for the most vulnerable kids, and a temporary home to some of the cutest babies around.
In order to run these programs, TTL has a basic set of needs: food, medicine, clothes, staff, transportation, and a warm place for babies to sleep. That’s really it – there are no frills here at TTL. We just need to reach the kids in their remote villages, provide them with food and medicine, and, if they are really sick, bring them to the safe-home and give them around the clock care, a warm bed, and all the food they can eat (as our boss, Nthabeleng, says, “Food is the best medicine.”)
You saw it coming, of course, but the common denominator for all of this is money. While TTL receives some funding from foundations and international organizations, over 60% of TTL’s budget comes from individuals. So, this Christmas we are hoping that each of you will consider making a donation to TTL. Here are some ideas of what your donation can help TTL achieve:
$5 = 1 Bag of Powdered Milk
As most mothers surely know, but Bridget and I are just learning, babies drink a lot of milk! Especially in a country where a well-balanced diet is not an option, and where many mothers have passed away, milk is the critical food-stuff for young children. TTL gives out powdered milk to outreach clients and the kids in the safe-home each drink a few bottles of the stuff each day. A gift of $5 buys one bag of powdered milk for a kid who truly needs it.
$10 = One-Night at the Hospital
When clients require hospitalization, TTL arranges their transport and pays their hospital bill. Without these services, most clients would not be able to visit the hospital. Make a gift of $10, and we can make sure babies and pregnant mothers are able to spend a night in the hospital when they need urgent care.
When children lose their mothers at an early age, formula is the best option to make sure the kids don’t become malnourished. Formula is also a key tool in fighting the transmission of HIV from mother to child through breastfeeding. A tin of formula lasts about a month. Donate 1, 2, 5, or 10 tins of formula and help keep a kid fat and HIV free for that many months.
Unlike most of Africa,
$100 = 1 Month Salary for a Care-giver
Not only does one-month’s salary provide love and care for a TTL baby, it also provides a much needed job for a local woman (and though it seems so minimal, this is a good salary by Mokhotlong standards). These women are the heart and soul of TTL’s operations, and giving them a salary helps them care for TTL’s babies and their own babies at home.
$150 = 2 Tanks of Gas = 1 Week of Outreach
We know, no one really wants to donate gas. But a tank of gas at TTL goes a long way, and two tanks of gas usually last a whole week. During that time, one TTL outreach car will visit about 20 homes otherwise cut-off from help and deliver food, medicine, or a life-saving ride to the hospital.
$1,000 - $1,200 = One-Year Salary for a Caregiver or Outreach Worker
In a one-year period, about 25-30 kids will come through the safe-home, and over 250 kids will be served through outreach. A gift of $1,000 can pay the salary for one care-giver for a whole year. Or, if outreach is more your thing, the same amount can cover the salary of an outreach worker. So, these are some ideas of where your gift would go. Again, this is a no-frills sort of place - every dollar donated directly helps vulnerable babies.
So, these are some ideas of where your gift would go. Again, this is a no-frills sort of place - every dollar donated directly helps vulnerable babies.
Now, if you’re not competitive or you are already sold, you can stop reading here. For those competitive types (read: Fitzpatricks), here is the challenge. We are hoping that, as a group, we can together raise $10,000. If we hit this goal, Bridget and I will ululate and dance around in a traditional Basotho celebration, film it, and send the evidence to all of you.
But how can we reach this goal? We are sending this letter to 100 people: friends from high-school and college, family, family friends, etc. If everyone donated $100, we would reach the goal. But we understand from the very few news-clips that make it to
- Donate if you can, and however much you can. The list above provides some ideas about what your gift can do. Every gift counts, whether it is $5, $50, or $500.
- Become a bundler! Pass this along to friends, neighbors, and family who might be interested in helping out a good cause. Get your church or school involved - there are some great ideas on the TTL website for how to get others involved. Just like you sort-of-know Kevin Bacon, TTL stays afloat through 6-degrees of love. Pass this on, and share the love.
Thanks so much for all your support.
Thanks so much for all your support.
Reid and Bridget
PS: When you donate, mention “R&B’s Christmas Appeal” and we will let you know if we reach the goal!
TTL is a 501c3 non-profit.
Here’s how to make a tax-deductible donation:
Donate by Credit Card or Debit Card (to the TTL General Fund):
Donate by Cash or Check:
Touching Tiny Lives Foundation