Category Archives: Caring For At-Risk Kids

Jericho Goes Back to School

Jericho family

Sponsorship Program Rescues Filipino Youngster from a Life of Begging on the Streets

NapacorIn the suburbs just south of Manila, Philippines, lies Napacor, a community of shanties with no electricity or running water. Ironically, Napacor is built around an electricity tower and is named for the power company that owns it.

ER partner IT Tender ( runs a “drop-in” community center adjacent to Napacor and serves the community’s approximately 70 families with the goal of empowering children to become educated and responsible leaders.

One of those children, Jericho, has been part of IT Tender’s weekly Night Life program since it was launched in 2013. Night Life allows children living in local squatter communities to visit the drop-in center, bathe and Jerichoenjoy a hot, healthy meal.

IT Tender staffers were aware that Jericho wasn’t attending school. They also knew he was begging on jeepneys, the ubiquitous buses of Manila’s public transportation system, and using a lovely singing voice to boost his cause. (This YouTube video, posted by a jeepney passenger, has garnered more than 200,000 views: IT Tender discourages children from begging, but couldn’t help being impressed by Jericho’s resourcefulness – he begged, he explained, so he could buy clothes that his family couldn’t otherwise afford.

IT Tender uses Night Life to refer children on to another one of its programs, Sponsor-A-Child Now (SACN). SACN helps children like Jericho return to school by covering the costs of uniforms, supplies, transportation and lunches, and providing extracurricular activities such as educational field trips and family retreats.

This year, thanks to a new sponsor, Jericho was able to enter the SACN program and enroll in grade 6. He graduated from elementary school in April, is no longer begging and dreams of becoming a doctor. As long as he remains committed to the program, his sponsorship is expected to continue through his high school years.

“I am grateful because I was chosen to be a sponsored child,” Jericho recently told IT Tender staff. “I hope I will learn so much from you and the program. May God bless you.”

Learn more about IT Tender at If you are interested in sponsoring a child to go to school, your support can be set up through Extreme Response by contacting IT Tender’s John Coffey at

Nepal Relief Update: Metal Sheets Help 49 Families

Gorkha Relief 2 July 23July 23, 2015 update:

ER Friends Karak and Premi Tamang sent this update for their most recent relief distribution to those struggling with the impact of the Nepal earthquakes.

Gorkha Relief July 23Relief to Gorkha 3 July 23On July 23 we went to Gorkha district Gaikhur village and distributed 49 bundle of  zink sheets for (42 families and 1 church ) earthquake victim families. We gave each family one bundle of zink sheets and the church seven bundles. Thank you for your support and partnership for this relief work!


July 13, 2015 update:

ER partners and friends continue to reach out to the people of Nepal who were left homeless and without resources following the two major earthquakes earlier this year. Karak and Premi Tamang sent a report and photos from their visits to the villages of Dhading and Nuwakot from their base in Pokhara.

On July 1 we went to Dhading and were able to help the village by providing 50 gas stoves and cylinder sets, 50 cookers, and two solar lights and chargers.



Despite daily hardship in Nepal, kids still find ways to play in the dirt.
Despite daily hardship in Nepal, kids still find ways to play in the dirt.

On July 3 we went to Nuwakot and distributed 77 bundles of metal sheets and held a feast for the victims.



Homeless families now have metal structures and tarps in which to sleep.
Homeless families now have metal structures and tarps in which to sleep.


June 18, 2015 update

We received this encouraging earthquake relief update from ER friend Paulus Panday. ER partners are continuing to meet needs in the villages severely impacted by the two major earthquakes.

Hello from Pokhara,

We had a great time in Fulkharka VDC in Dhading. We were able to touch lives and bring hope to people from three different villages: Dhadkharka, Paiyukharka and Majuwa (Wards #4, #3, #9).  We were able to build classrooms for a school, and homes for widows and elderly couples, with our Portable Shelter Homes.  We helped people build the shelters for living, for their livestock and for storing food. We also were able to bring solar lights for 300 families.





Please remember people who have lost everything.  All they had was destroyed. Their needs seem like the ocean and our efforts feel like a drop, but we are committed to be faithful and helpful to those who are in desperate situations.

More solar lights are requested from neighboring villages. More shelters are requested from villagers and by schools and churches. Water filters are another need. School children don’t have much left – no school bags and other items. So we are helping these villages to recover to a normal life.

Thank you for standing with us.

Paulas Panday, Pokhara, Nepal

ER is sending funds to help our partners purchase emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, water filters and food. $75 provides these items for a family. If you can make any size donation, please designate your gift as “Nepal Relief” and visit:




June 5, 2015 update: ER Partners Karak and Premi Tamang of Pokhara Child Center in Nepal have assembled teams to visit remote villages to help earthquake victims. While they’ve made multiple trips to provide supplies and encouragement to more than 1,400 families, they have received requests for more help.

These photos help illustrate the difficulty of getting food to villagers and then having the villagers carry the provisions on their backs to get them home.



Here is a quick summary of what the team has accomplished:

We reached 150 families in Ward #4.  Each family received: rice 10kg, lintel 1 kg, salt 1 kg, oil 1 liter, spices 1 pack, soap 1, plus 35 blankets, 18 tarps, 20 mats, 72 piece of cloth, 12 set of tools and 2 set of solar light and battery charger.

In Wards #1, #2 and #3, we distributed we gave 30 kg rice, 1kg salt and one-half liter oil to 375 families.

In Ward #6, we delivered the same kind of relief to 137 families.

In Ward #5, we delivered the same kind of relief to 205 families.

In Wards #7, #8 and #9, we distributed the same kind of relief to 450 families.

We also distributed 102 piece of tin for seven very poor widows and orphaned children. Because monsoon season is coming very soon, they need shelter. And we distributed 164 kg rice seed to 82 families (2 kg per family) because they rice before the monsoons. Otherwise, next year famine will come and there will be a food problem.

Karak & Premi shared these current needs:

           1. More tin need to make shelters because monsoon is coming very soon.

           2. They need seed to plant, their seed was destroyed.

           3. They need tools to make shelters.

           4. They need fertilizer for corn and rice field.

           5. They need children’s school supplies – uniforms, bags, books, pens, and notebooks.

Thank you once again for your partnership.

Karak & Premi Tamang

ER is sending funds to help our partners purchase emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, water filters and food. $75 provides these items for a family. If you can make any size donation, please designate your gift as “Nepal Relief” and visit:


May 26, 2015 update: Yesterday we received more photos and a video from Paulas Pandy, an ER associate working in the Pokhara area of Nepal. The relief team has been successful in helping earthquake victims in remote villages install metal structures that offer more safety until they can rebuild their homes.









May 21, 2015 update: We received this update from Paulas Panday, a friend of ER who is working in the Pokhara area of Nepal. The relief team is now delivering metal structures so that people in remote villages can move from tents to more secure dwellings.

We have  two trips to scheduled for the villages. First, we are going to go to Lamjung in Rainastaar, Dhamilikuwa, to deliver portable shelter sets for 60 households. We will gather materials and teach local people how to install them so the 60 families can transition from tarps to a better shelters.

Next, we will go to Dhading, in Dhadkharka at Fulkharka VDC and where we will mobilize people to build shelters. We will camp there for 10 days and build as many shelters as we can using their own materials, and if necessary,  provide the tin roof.  We will work with children, women and elderly people to help them recover to normal life.  We will seek opportunities to help villagers feel brave, hopeful and passionate about building their own homes.

The pictures (below) are from our recent village work where we  gave 15 shelters to families and one shelter for display in the SAHODAR community hospital in Lamjung. After we built the shelter, people  started moving from their tarps to metal shelters to make them their homes until they are able to rebuild their real homes. Portable shelter technology is based on a zero waste concept, which means everything that is used to make the shelter will be fully reusable for building their house in the future.














May 18, 2015, update: We received this update from Surakshya Baral, who oversees communications for our partner KI Nepal: 

Earthquake Relief Supplied by KIN

Twenty days have passed since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal. Last week, the second earthquake measuring 7.3 magnitudes struck causing further damage and panic within an already devastated country. Now 5.5 Richter scale with its epicenter in Dhading shook the country at 7:27 a.m. Friday morning. In response to these earthquakes, our KI Nepal (KIN) team is distributing some relief materials in various districts. KIN has distributed relief materials which are non-food items at more affected areas i.e. Sindhupalchock, Gorkha, Nuwakot and Dolakha. We successfully distributed 8,000 tents and 4,000 blankets.















National Director Mr. Ramesh Sapkota took the leadership of the relief distribution program. Mr. Sapkota stressed the need to conduct psycho-social counseling to the people affected by quake, so we can see happiness on the faces of psychologically or physically affected people It is the ultimate goal of KIN. Furthermore, outreach of relief materials creates awareness which will be helpful for the reconstruction in the affected areas.

The program director of KI Nepal Ram Hari Adhikari, who was involved in the relief in Gorkha and Nuwakot directly, elaborates the reason of support:

‘’ The disaster has affected the women, adolescent girls and children in a high magnitude. At first, it is the responsibility of all organizations in Nepal to support the victims of the mega disaster. Moreover, as an organization working against girls trafficking and trying to protect them, we took it as our responsibility to provide relief as much as possible. Furthermore, the most affected districts by the earthquake are Gorkha, Sindhupalcho, Dolakha, Nuwakot and others and they are vulnerable for trafficking as well. So we have focused there.’’

KIN works in human trafficking sector but this devastating earthquake destroyed lives of people’s lives, home, family, and the source of living. These are people already living in great poverty. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help rebuild our country and assist quake-effected victims. So, KI Nepal is providing relief support in different districts which are mostly affected.

ER is sending funds to help our partners purchase emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, water filters and food. $75 provides these items for a family. If you can make any size donation, please designate your gift as “Nepal Relief” and visit:


May 14, 2015, update: The death toll from the second Nepal quake has risen to nearly 100 and is hampering relief efforts according to The Wall Street Journal. ER’s partner in Pokhara sent some additional photos of their visits to the villages of Deurali and Bhalje, below, showing both the devastation and their relief efforts.

The follow photos are from the village of Deurali:














Deurali Village Relief


















The following photos are from the village of Bhalje:
































May 13, 2015, update: The second earthquake to hit Nepal has caused the deaths of more than 80 people and 2,000+ injuries in Nepal and India according to BBC News. ER Partners have reported in safe from this 7.3-magnitude quake.


May 12, 2015, update: A second earthquake has struck in Nepal near Katmandu/Mount Everest. As of this morning, BBC is reporting 50+ deaths and 1,000+ injuries, impacting both Nepal and India.


May 11, 2015, update: With the death toll now topping 8,000, 17,000+ injuries and 300+ people still missing, ER partner Pokhara Child Care Center (PCCC) has mobilized crews to bring relief to some of the hardest hit and most decimated villages in Nepal. Following is their report from the village of Thanapani.

“Thank you for your co-operation with us. I am sending photos and relief update from our relief work at Nuwakot Thanapani. We found 200 families among all the rock and mud. The houses were was totally damaged. Not even not one one home was left inhabitable.  All the people are living in tents.

“On May 4, we went to this Thanapani village and distributed relief items for 105 families. We gave each family 10 kg of rice,  1 kg of lintel , 1 kg of salt, 1 liter of oil, 1 pack of spices, 1 unit of soap, 6 candles, 6 matches. We also provided 15 tents. Thank you once again for your partnership.”

The photos below show relief efforts. (Photos and update supplied by Karak Tamang of PCCC.)


 ER is sending funds to help our partners purchase emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, water filters and food. $75 provides these items for a family. If you can make any size donation, please designate your gift as “Nepal Relief” and visit:


Unloading Emergency supplies



ER is sending funds to help our partners purchase emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, water filters and food. $75 provides these items for a family. If you can make any size donation, please designate your gift as “Nepal Relief” and visit:


May 3, 2015 update.  As of today, the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake has exceeded 7,000. You can find an update here. Following is an update we received on April 30, 2015, from our partner in Pokhara, Nepal.

“Today we loaded the truck and sent it to the remote village of Dhading with team members who are passionate to bring relief. They are striving to get to unreached villages. I met Caleb, who was in the village when the Earthquake happened. He helped villagers bury the dead and walked an entire day to get to a town. This is only the beginning. Please stay with us and help us finish well what we have started.”

Our partners sent these new photos showing how the Earthquake has decimated many remote areas of Nepal.

Nepal 10


Nepal 11 Nepal 12 Nepal 13 Nepal 14 Nepal 15 Nepal #5 Nepal 16









The good news is our partners are delivering supplies – food, water, tarps, ropes and blankets – to some of the most desperate survivors.








Despite massive relief efforts, Nepal remains in chaos following an earthquake registering 7.8 magnitude that hit the country last week. The death toll surpassed 7,000 and tens of thousands more are injured or displaced. Many people are homeless and exposed to the elements.  This drone video offers a bird’s eye view.


While much of the news reports center on the capital of Katmandu, the epicenter for the quake was near our partner in Pokhara. You can access a PDF of the map below here.

United Nations impact map show earthquake epicenter near Pokhara.
United Nations impact map show earthquake epicenter near Pokhara.

Extreme Response partners – Pokhara Child Care Center (Pokhara) and KI Nepal (Jawalakhel, Lalitpur) are safe. However, we did learn  that the earthquake caused wall to collapse on one of the KI Nepal safe homes, and the homes of four of their staff have been destroyed.

Our partners are surrounded by devastation. They are are reaching out to the people in their communities and nearby villages, thousands whom are living under plastic sheets.

April 28, 2015 Update: Our partner in Pokhara sent these photos:

nepal 2

nepal 3nepal 5









nepal 6

nepal 1





ER is sending funds to help our partners purchase emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, water filters and food. $75 provides these items for a family. If you can make any size donation, please designate your gift as “Nepal Relief” and visit: .

Extreme Response is closely monitoring the events in Nepal and will continue posting updates in the days ahead. Watch this blog and the ER Facebook page –

Robinson’s Journey: From Robbery to Successful Student

Robinson working

IMG_3110By Mark Ghesquiere, MD, CCFP,                                                                                                 Extreme Response Canada Board


Pacoche is a small village on the coast of Ecuador. You probably have never heard of it. Most Ecuadorians have not either. It’s the sort of town where the municipal water is turned on for one day every 15 days. Life is not easy in Pacoche.

But Pacoche is not forgotten.

Fabian and Graciella Buenaventura felt a calling to go to this small town to establish Casa de Dios and do the best they could to improve the future of this town. Their 11 years in Pacoche have not been easy, but they have seen many positive changes. Homes and cisterns have been built, children are being taught, and people are being loved and cared for.

But where I noticed the biggest change was in the youth. Let me tell you about just one of them. His name is Robinson. He is 16 years old and I share this story with his permission.

RobinsonRobinson has not had an easy life. According to Robinson, his father is abusive, drinks too much alcohol, and has had many relationship problems in his marriage. Not surprisingly, Robinson reacted to his difficult home situation by turning to his peers. This did not improve his situation. He, too, started to drink, got involved in robbery and was heading down a destructive path. His prospects were dim.

Thankfully, his grandmother attended Casa de Dios. From the time he was four years old, his grandmother would take him to Casa de Dios. Robinson enjoyed the social aspects of Casa de Dios, but that was it.

Robinson endured a particularly difficult time recently. His parents were separated and he was faced with having to drop out of San Lorenzo High School because his father would not pay for his schooling. One day Robinson was flipping through radio channels when he came upon a radio broadcast. Something happened inside him. He knew he needed to find the truth. He turned to Fabian and Graciella for answers.

Since that time Robinson has been spending a lot of time helping out at Casa de Dios, but more importantly, he is growing and learning.

He recently worked alongside an Extreme Response team from Canada. The team members were so impressed with him that they decided they would personally invest in this young mans life. I can tell you that he is in 2013-11-29 at 12-06-09school and doing well. He is still a hardworking young man and he is applying himself to his studies. Robinson’s life has changed. And there isn’t one participant in this story who can take all or even most of the credit. Robinson’s life has been changed because many people did what they felt called to do.

The future of Pacoche — and Robinson — is looking bright.

I’m honored to have met you Robinson, best wishes, and remember that many people are cheering you on.

Mark Ghesquiere, MD, CCFP, is a physician in Ontario, Canada, chairman of the board for Extreme Response Canada, and a frequent traveler to high-poverty areas in order to provide support. Learn more about ER Canada and about Casa de Dios.

Lighthouse Shines Joy into the Lives of South Africa Families

Ron Townsend & GLL kids


970299_614864335190262_1175523254_nBy Amy Townsend, ER Staff,                                                                                                                      Cape Town, South Africa

GLL kidFor a glimpse at the impact of God’s Little Lighthouse (GLL), just consider Gabriel and her four siblings. This daycare and school for young children in Fish Hoek, South Africa, has cared for each of these underprivileged youngsters since they were pre-school age. The oldest now attends university and two more are thriving at local schools in grades 6 and 11. Gabriel, the youngest, is similarly enjoying educational opportunities she wouldn’t have otherwise.

Thanks to the love and commitment of “Aunty Pam” and her late husband, Rob, GLL has engendered countless stories of youngsters rescued from poverty – native South Africans as well Zimbabwean, Congolese and Malawian immigrants.

The organization is one of more than a dozen overseen by ER partner ATAIM. It was launched some 26 years ago, when Rob and Aunty Pam took notice of the poverty and despair local children were suffering.

The couple desired to bring hope to these children. But never did they imagine the stories that would be told in their community about GLL – stories of hope where there was hopelessness, friendship where there was loneliness, and happiness where there was despair. Each story told not just of children who were blessed to have a spot in the preschool program, but of their families and communities as well.

Auntie PamWhen there is not enough food to feed the children at home or a family struggle to pay tuition, Aunty Pam finds a way to provide. When difficult circumstances abound in a child’s home life, she and her staff provide hugs. It is not unusual to be playing outside with the children and see a young gentleman or lady come looking for Aunty Pam. Many times they just want to spend some time in the place that provided food, safety and love during their early years. They never walk through the gate without a huge smile on their face, and they never leave without a hug.

One pair of local parents dropped their first child off at GLL 15 years ago. During the course of those years and a litany of life changes, GLL and Aunty Pam were the constant in their lives. When the couple became foster parents, they naturally turned to GLL for help.


Today the mother says, “Besides my two biological sons and my nephew, Aunty Pam and her wonderful staff have helped us raise four other children. Now I have enrolled three more foster children in GLL. I look forward to another five years of happiness and support that we get from everyone at the school.”

It is no wonder GLL has a waiting list for the next school year. Love and compassion, the kind provided by Aunty Pam and her staff, are in high demand

Click here to learn more about GLL and ATAIM. 

970299_614864335190262_1175523254_nAmy and Ron Townsend work at God’s Little Lighthouse on loan from Extreme Response. The Townsends and their three daughters, Emily, Hannah and Sarah, recently moved to South Africa to help Extreme Response establish a regional presence. Click here to learn more about Extreme Response’s vision helping people in Africa.  Click here to learn more about our partners in South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi.