Bringing Hope to People in Africa, Asia & Latin America

Jerry & Masi Kids

By Jerry Carnill                                                                                                                              Jerry Carnill, Extreme ResponsePresident & CEO                                                                                                                        Extreme Response International

I’d like to share a personal experience that shook me to my core, an event so powerful that I think about it Jerry in Malawioften. During my first visit to Malawi I met with potential Extreme Response partners. Malawi was in the midst of severe drought and famine, and people were suffering greatly. One day we were walking in an area that was experiencing intense hardship and I noticed a fragile-looking women struggling as she walked toward us.

Then she simply dropped. She fell straight to the ground and did not move. She died right before my eyes! She was malnourished – unable to find enough food to eat – and her body finally gave up. It was an experience that changed my life!

That day I realized that a lack of food, nutrition, and medical care was killing people who could be saved. I knew that ER needed to play a larger role in helping save people in Africa. I knew we had the desire, will and passion to do it. We just lacked the resources.

Malawi Malnourished boy

While we’ve been working in Africa for 13 years, this year we began strategically investing more resources – people, time, and funds – specifically to change the lives of women and children living at risk.

Beaufort West KidsHow are we doing this? We are taking the lessons we’ve learned from helping people struggling in extreme poverty in the Quito Dump and exporting that knowledge to South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi.

This summer we set up a temporary Africa Regional office and have begun sending staff to South Africa as they raise support. Our staff will lead volunteer “Extreme Teams” to run kids clubs, provide medical care, conduct training, and do construction and maintenance. We’re also excited to begin construction of an ER workspace in partnership with Living Hope near Cape Town.

ER also will bring on an African Regional Director to provide local leadership and build relationships with our partners throughout Africa. This role is vital to our future plans for Africa. For now, I am filling this role on an interim basis.

Our vision? Feed, nourish, train, rescue and encourage high-risk African people. Jerry and Red Hill Girl

But we cannot do it alone.

Would you considering joining us by making a donation? This year we want to increase our impact in Africa, while continuing to help in other countries.

Here are just a few ways we’ll create that impact:

…We’ll bring in work teams to teach, train, feed and encourage people.

Dawn with Masi Girl…We’ll provide coaching for local leaders who are battling poverty, hunger, disease and human trafficking.

…We’ll celebrate Christmas in children’s homes, squatter communities, and slums by bringing food, gifts, and the Christmas story.

There are two easy ways to contribute. You can send a donation to our international headquarters at P.O. Box 345 Snellville, GA 30078-0345 or our Canadian Office at P.O. Box 1013, Simcoe On N3Y 5B3. Or,  visit http://www.extremeresponse.org/take-action/make-a-donation.

On behalf of our staff, interns, partners and volunteers around the world, Carnills with Masi kidsthank you for helping “the least of these”. Please contact me to discuss any of our work or relationships. I would love to share the ways we are changing lives and how you can make a difference!

Serving Together,

Jerry

jcarnill@extremeresponse.org

P.S.  We’ve just posted a 90-second video that will help demonstrate our vision for helping people 2015.

Helping the Helpless: House of Hope Haiti

House Of Hope Haiti House Moms

Tim Fausch  By Tim Fausch                                                                                                                                        ER Communications

Learn what ER staff members encountered when they visited House of Hope, a children’s home located on Haiti’s north coast. ER’s Jenny Reitz Compère, who serves as House of Hope’s Director of Development, hosted the trip.

Upon clearing customs, four ER staff members step outside the Port-au-Prince airport and are greeted by heat, humidity and chaos. We quickly are encircled by local “tour guides” offering their services in both Creole and English.

House of Hope Haiti
Djordjy and Jenny travel rough roads to get to HOH.

Eventually, we spot Jenny Reitz Compère and her husband Djordjy. They whisk us off in a rented SUV that will become our all terrain transportation for the next week.

Jenny deftly maneuvers through streets packed with vendors, scooters, goats, mules and pedestrians. She honks, accelerates, and passes cars like a woman on a mission – because she is on a mission.

As we drive into rural Haiti, Jenny uses every gear to navigate hours of unmarked, motocross-style roads. Her energized driving mirrors what’s inside her – a deep passion for Haitian people, especially kids.

Jenny came to Haiti in 1992 as an intern from Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, SK, Canada. She returned to Canada to finish college, but the desire to help kids, combined with friends’ encouragement, led her back to Haiti in 1996. For the last 17 years, Haiti has been home. Jenny and Djordjy were married in 2012.

House of Hope HaitiWe arrive at House of Hope (HOH) in the northern city of LaPointe. Along the way we see poverty on a scale unknown in the U.S. Large numbers of Haitians live without electricity, running water, or even latrines. Just getting food and water consumes much of their day.

We pull into the HOH compound to a warm greeting. Jenny is home, and kids of all ages rush to see her and Djordjy. We meet Linda Felix, an HOH “graduate” and its Director since 1988.

With help from HOH, Linda survived a bad case of childhood spinal TB, but not without severe damage that has left her unable to walk normally. She returns the love she received as a child by pouring herself into the kids.

Jenny’s role is more diverse. She, too, immerses the kids in hugs, structure and encouragement. But as HOH’s fundraiser, she has the added responsibility of communicating with supporters from around the world. In this role, Jenny tells whoever will listen about real needs like food, clothing, school uniforms, and medical care.House of Hope Haiti Kids

The needs are big. Really big. More than 80 kids currently live at HOH, including some with special needs. Many of the kids arrive from the mission hospital next door. They are young, often babies, whose parents are sick, dead, or unable to care for them. Some are abandoned.

Many of the children suffer from disease, malnutrition, or neglect. Treatment and care are challenging, but Jenny, Linda and a staff of house moms do their best to create a safe, healthy, and positive environment. Dozens of happy, smiling children are testimony to their faithfulness.

House of Hope Haiti Kids Enjoy Photos
HOH kids really enjoy spending time with visitors, including our team from ER.

One major challenge facing HOH is finding exit strategies for the kids as they enter adulthood. With extreme unemployment throughout the country, their options are limited. Some remain at HOH well into their twenties.

The future of HOH is tenuous. Having lost financial support during the recession, budget shortfalls occur frequently. HOH needs new supporters.

Today, Jenny Reitz Compère is living in Canada and focusing on Development for HOH. She’ll be returning to Haiti regularly, bringing teams and running programs for the HOH kids.

Want to help the helpless? Contact Jenny at jreitzcompere@extremeresponse.org or read her first-hand reports at: http://houseofhopehaiti.blogspot.com/.

ER Christmas Parties: It’s the Little Things That Matter

ER Christmas Parties bring joy and hope to children, such as these South African girls in the Red Hill informal settlement.
ER Christmas Parties bring joy and hope to children, such as these South African girls in the Red Hill informal settlement.

By Dawn Carnill
Director of Christmas Outreach

 

 

It’s almost that time of year again. The television commercials have already started and it’s time to break out the Christmas music (much to my family’s chagrin).

ER volunteers lead a Christmas Party in the South African informal settlement of Red Hill.
ER volunteers lead a Christmas Party in the South African informal settlement of Red Hill.

We at Extreme Response start planning for our Christmas parties in January, so we’re well on our way to another great year. We have almost 90 people signed up and ready to travel to Quito, Manila and Cape Town. We’re in the process of gathering thousands of small toys, hygiene items and school supplies. Emails are flying back and forth across the globe. There are parties to schedule, buses to rent, sleeping arrangements to make and food to order.

Yes, things get pretty crazy this time of year. My husband Jerry and I will be on the road for four weeks as we travel to the South Africa and Quito parties. It’s exhausting. It’s a bit overwhelming. Why do we keep doing this after 18 years? What difference can a little party with food, games, crafts and a “token” gift really make?

Last year was our fifth year leading the South Africa Christmas team. There we put on more than 15 parties in 10 days, sometimes as many as three per day. Our sixth party – and the second of that day – was in Red Hill, one of the communities that ER partner Living Hope works in.

Wood-and-aluminum shacks like these are typical of informal settlements like Red Hill.
Wood-and-aluminum shacks like these are typical of informal settlements like Red Hill.

The team was getting a bit tired. It had been “one of those days.” The gift bags didn’t make it with the rest of the supplies, the crafts were nowhere to be found, we had 200 hotdogs to cook over an open fire, the kids were wound up, and one of our team members had an accident and was taken to the hospital (he recovered!).

Needless to say, I felt a bit discouraged. But the party had gone well, all things considered. It was time to hand out the gift bags, so I grabbed my camera to get a few shots of the kids opening their gifts. It’s one of my favorite things to photograph. As I came around the corner, a girl, probably around 8 or 10 years old, ran up to me and opened her gift bag. She shouted, “Look! I got a Colgate! Of my very own.” She proudly showed me her full-sized tube of Colgate toothpaste and skipped on.

The young lady on the left was thrilled and appreciative to receive a tube of Colgate toothpaste as one of her Christmas gifts from ER.
The young lady on the left was thrilled and appreciative to receive a tube of Colgate toothpaste as one of her Christmas gifts from ER.

Wow. That much excitement – over a tube of toothpaste. No, she wasn’t being sarcastic. She was genuinely excited. She appreciated the gift. She appreciated the party. She appreciated our time and effort. She appreciated your generosity. She doesn’t take things like this for granted. Our being there and providing that party for her made a difference in her day (at the very least).

She had a reason to smile. A reason to skip. A reason to celebrate. She helped remind me that we do all this to bring a little hope, to build trust and to cultivate the relationships. That day, I realized that something as insignificant as a tube of toothpaste can make an impact.

Are we ready for another great year of parties? You bet we are!

If you’d like to help with this year’s Christmas Celebrations, you can donate HERE (Designation: Christmas Celebrations).

We also collect gift items all year round. If you’d like a list of our needs, please contact me at Christmas@extremeresponse.org.