HHS has been working for a few years to help empower women and their families by using guinea pigs to help them work through their trauma and provide an eventual income. This program started in 2012. HHS started with 60 guinea pigs that were given to 30 women, (2) each, in May 2019. They continued to produce despite COVID-19 and we now have 120 women helped today by animal therapy. The last rotation of guinea pigs was this past August 3, 2020 after the confinement in DRC.
Studies have proven that animals help individuals battling mental health symptoms. One study examining the impact of a 15-minute session between a university student and therapy dog found that even in instances of just a few sessions, interactions with a therapy dog can cause statistically significant reductions in perceived stress and blood pressure in students (https://habri.org/research/mental-health/conditions/ )
Some of the benefits of animal therapy found from this study after six weeks reported by students were reduced anxiety and increase in confidence and problem-solving skills. (https://habri.org/research/mental-health/conditions/ ). A Reduction in severity of symptoms may also be linked to the centering ability of animals to act as a positive external focus of attention. (https://habri.org/research/mental-health/conditions/ )
These studies prove how animals can help people manage their mental health symptoms. We at HHS have seen this work first hand, with the use of one guinea pig helping a woman relieve the symptoms of depression. This allows her to re-engage in her daily life and care for her children. It has also been a source of a small income. Our staff in the Congo have seen dramatic improvements in the mental health of the women that receive a guinea pig.
This is a story of one of our beneficiaries which name is not disclosed due to her privacy. Let’s call her Mimi. Mimi had no income and received 2 guinea pigs last year. They produced and after 6 months she gave 2 guinea pigs each to 3 other women. She also sold 10 guinea pigs during the pandemic and generated $40 and was able to feed her children when she otherwise had no income to support herself. Mimi was able to buy a school uniform for her daughter to be able to return to school. She recently told one of our staff in Democratic Republic of Congo: “Without the guinea pigs, my mental health could not be stable and my daughter would not be able to return to school”.
HHS staff works hard every day to help create opportunities for more women with a story similar to Mimi’s to be able to make a better life for themselves and their children. We are in need of 1200 more guinea pigs to help more women live richer and fuller lives after surviving such horrific traumas. One healthy guinea pig is now just $4.00 (US dollars). If you would like to donate to help us reach our goal of $4,800 (US dollars). Please send check to P.O Box 23325 Lexington, KY 40523, donate online www.hhsurvivors.org or use our safe PayPal account at [email protected]
At Helping Hand for Survivors when we talk about Hygiene, we refer to behaviors that people can adapt to improve cleanliness which leads to good health, like hand washing frequently, bathing with soap and water and face washing. At HHS, in Democratic Republic of Congo we believe that practicing personal hygiene protocol can make a big difference in people’s health, but it is always difficult because of the lack of clean water and soap. As consequence, many people spread diseases when they don’t appropriately wash their hands, face, and or body. Therefore, a key to a good health is to follow and respect the advice of WASH program. Scholars have proven that a large percentage of water or foodborne diseases are spread by contamination. Again, this means if we wash our hands with soap and water, this can reduce many diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and others deadly waterborne disease and infections.
As many of you have heard, a few weeks ago, the city of Uvira was ravaged by a flood. According to the United Nations, this caused 80,000 people to become refugees in their own city and destroyed 15,000 homes. Helping Hand for Survivors stepped in to respond with its WASH program to clean or purify water for people to have access to clean water. Additionally, HHS – Congo staff discovered an additional 400 people in need in the more remote parts of Uvira. HHS staff provided 80 families with food and goods in these remote areas that other aid organizations were not able to reach at the time.
We are excited to announce more machines are arriving to purify water in South-Kivu because of the huge need especially as people try to fight this deadly virus! This will allow HHS to continue serving the families in need that were hit by the flood. Partnering with Waterstep has been a blessing and we thank all its leaders for their generosity. Without this, HHS WASH program will not be successful. We anticipate to place more hand washing stations in high traffic locations such as schools, hospitals, churches as well as in markets in South-Kivu, especially in remote areas. Then HHS staff will install and train in country healthcare workers in the proper use. Through this wonderful partnership, HHS aims to increase proper sanitation use through education and example, reduce the spread of waterborne disease as well as COVID-19 and provide increased access to life saving equipment to the residents of Uvira and surrounding areas.
If you are interested in learning more and following our staff on this great venture, please follow us on Facebook (Helping Hand for Survivors DRC) or visit our website at www.hhsurvivors.org.
Uvira, DRCongo needs your help. As people fight the COVID-19, the flood ravaged the city of Uvira affecting the community of Mulongwe and its surrounding. People lost their families, friends, homes, and belongings.
Everything was destroyed and they have no clean water or food. As we all know, water is life. Helping Hand for Survivors is stepping in to help with the bleach to disinfect water and help the community to wash their hands in order to fight viruses. You can help by providing the kits that will be used to wash hands, as shown in pictures below.
One kit costs $20 and HHS will provide the bleach. Please donate any amount you can. You can give online at www.hhsurvivors.org or send a check to Helping Hand for Survivors PO. Box 23325, Lexington KY 40523 and your contribution will go directly to those affected in Uvira, DRC. Thank you in advance, for your support.
HHS response to Uvira’s flood. This morning more than 80 families was served. Report will be coming soon. Thanks to HHS Bukavu and Uvira’s team. God bless you all.
Helping Hand for Survivors participated in the Global Medical Missions Conference organized by WaterStep
WaterStep was once again invited to participate in the Global Medical Missions Conference last week. Our session was focused on manufacturing disinfectant on site in disease outbreaks, hospitals and clinics. In the words of our guest speaker, Dr. Jean Claude Luhere, “I met with the Congo leaders of the Ebola Virus in Washington DC in October. They told me WaterStep’s assistance and equipment working alongside Helping Hands for Survivors, has been critical to gaining control of this deadly outbreak.”
Helping Hand for Survivors believes in good nutrition, which is the child’s foundation and development. Knowing that well-nourished children are better able to grow well, to learn, to participate in their communities, and to be resilient when it comes to disease or disaster, HHS works hard with parents to make sure that they follow advice and feed their children with available food in lieu of waiting for help that is not known to the community or when the help will be available to them. Helping Hand for Survivors has been using local maize, soy and sorghum flour as well as vegetables produced by local farmers. HHS reduced its beneficiaries with malnutrition to 200 children with acute malnutrition due to a high demand and focused on that above number. Only after eight months after following those few you can see the result. Mr. Espoir (Hope) pictured bellow is one of our examples of the impact that HHS is making among these children in Mumosho and Kalehe.
In Democratic Republic of Congo, malnutrition is linked to nearly half of all childhood deaths under 5 taking away their lives. For many children, chronic malnutrition will result in stunting, which is a permanent condition that certainly stunts a child’s mental and physical growth. HHS has been closely following these children and hope with your help there will be less mortality among children under the age of 5.
Helping Hand for Survivors (HHS) is grateful for the Glodi Foundation in Uvira for the services it has been providing to women in the region through our partnership. HHS is also helping Glodi to fight the Ebola virus using the bleach produced by the M-100 machine from WaterStep in Louisville, KY.
This equipment is being used to disinfect water and now the community around Glodi is enjoying clean and safe water. Below is the message of gratitude from the foundation.
The Glodi foundation for women in Uvira wants to thank Helping Hand for Survivors for donating the M-100, a water treatment device installed in our medical center Glodi. This equipment produces chlorine, bleach and caustic soda.
We have already covered 3 health areas 2 ports and 2 markets by installing the seals with chlorinated water at every entrance for washing hands, cleaning the premises of the medical centers, washing clothes and materials. This chlorine also helps us with hygiene measures in the response of Ebola and other waterborne diseases at these sites.
The need is enormous, but we are thankful to you. God bless Helping Hand for Survivors.
Thank you again, Coordinator of the Glodi Foundation in Kalundu, Uvira.
Dr Jean Claude of Helping Hand for Survivors’(HHS) traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo on April 30th, 2019
Here you can see how Dr. Jean Claude is training local healthcare professionals using the newly installed M-100 Chlorine Generator in DRC. This system will provide access to safe water and prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. Using treated water from these M-100 Chlorine Generators will prevent many people from getting contaminated by water related disease such as cholera, diarrhea, etc.
Dr Jean Claude of Helping Hand for Survivors’(HHS) traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo on April 30th, 2019. Once in Bukavu, which is where HHS is headquartered, he spent a week awaiting the equipment to arrive in the neighboring town of Goma. During that time, he jumped into working on the mission, which was to support other organizations in place to fight the Ebola virus and to provide clean water to the population of South Kivu. Immediately, he began by contacting local medical professionals and leaders to set up meetings to educate them on how the equipment works.
During second week, Dr. Jean Claude delivered the equipment and trained medical professionals in the cities of Goma and Bukavu including doctors and nurses.
Jean Claude traveled to the DRC to train doctors and other medical professionals on the WaterStep equipment. While there, he was able to distribute BleachMakers and M-100 Chlorine Generators to several medical clinics throughout the DRC. Disinfection and using safe water during medical procedures are key in stopping the spread of the Ebola virus. We hope that the community will take advantage of this equipment to access a better life because water is life and there is no life without water.
Helping Hand for Survivors is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Waterstep to stop the spread of Ebola in North and South-Kivu of DRC and to provide access to safe water and disinfectant to the Survivors in these regions. HHS Health Project Manager Dr. Jean Claude has trained our staff and partners in Goma as well as in Bukavu on how to respond in case of an Ebola outbreak. Dr. Jean Claude distributed materials and conducted a training session on the Bleach Maker for medical professionals. Now that the first Ebola case was confirmed in Goma, we ask the population to follow the advice provided by our staff and healthcare workers.
These Bleach Makers were designed by the WaterStep manufacturing team in direct response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. The bleach produced by these machines exceeds the World Health Organization standards, which is at 5 PPM to be used in a medical clinic and is strong enough to kill the highly contagious Ebola virus. It was our goal of Helping Hand for Survivors to step in to help with the Ebola outbreak before it breaks out in big cities and to ensure the making the bleach makers are available when needed.
Jean Claude also visited several people within his organization, Helping Hands for Survivors. The mission of Helping Hands for Survivors is to aid, advance and support the healing and recovery of women and children surviving and living in post-conflict communities in the DRC. The organization provides shelter and support to rape victims and their children as they heal and get back on their feet. Our hope is that healing process will be made just a little easier with access to safe water and disinfectant; education, health care and basic needs allowing every woman to care for her family.
During Dr. Jean Claude’s trip, he also visited an orphanage, where he was able to give out Waterballs. Pictured here is the blue WaterBall that Helping Hands for Survivors supported some of our orphans in the town of Kalehe to help them transport water in lieu of caring gallons of water to their heads or back, which can cause damage to their body and affect their growth in the future. Nun pictured with Orphans, Bacira.
The WaterBall is a water transport tool that rolls easily over almost any surface. The average container a woman or child carries on their head to transport water holds 5 gallons and weighs 40 pounds. The five gallons will supply water to one person in the family for one day. Depending on the size of the family, the women and children may have to make multiple trips a day to get water. The WaterBall holds 12.5 gallons of water which is 2.5 times the amount they can carry on their heads. Another WaterBall was given to an elderly woman, one of our Community Leaders, to help her transport water to her house since she is unable to carry a gallon of water on her head or back.
Want to donate a WaterBall to help more orphans and families like Bacira’s in this family? You can contribute on line here or by sending your donation to Helping Hand for Survivors or send a check to PO.Box 23325 Lexington, KY 40523.