In our day to day lives we do not always recognize the realities that many people face around the world. At TPP, we are honored to stand beside grantees who remind the world of the challenges and beauty that we are unable to perceive. We all have the ability to choose which lens we want to view the world, and TPP grantees choose to step into life with passion and ruthless ambition. We hope the stories below open your eyes and hearts to what the communities around the world have to offer us.
Tukole Art/Lights: Ssaava And Sophie – Waste Material Up-Cycling Management
Waste Material Up-Cycling Management takes place in Kampala, Uganda and addresses the issue of rehabilitating street children to be responsible citizens. We train street children’s art and craft skills to up-cycle waste materials into useful products. This work is very important to me because it helps me to fill my dream to be the life-changer of street children.
“The most important thing which I like people to know those street children are not waste children as some people take them.” I am inspired to do this work because as a street kid, I know the challenges they pass through. The seed grant from The Pollination Project is important to our work because it will help us to reduce the number of unemployed youths.
G N Raghu – Bag’N Stories
Bag’N stories aims to addresses two issues that are on the rise in India. These include rural unemployment and environmental issues, including the use of plastic. Through an economical activities, this project aims to impact the rural economy and empower women.
Additionally, the project will provide sustainable alternative options to the community, which is slowly decrease the use of disposable plastic. Apart from these, it also aims to bring back some traditional practices of rural India.
“We are trying to set up a stable home based activities for the rural women, thereby giving employment and also the freedom from financial dependency. The activities will include stitching, screen printing, and block printing. With this, we aim to provide a sustainable option and to convey the negative effects of plastic on the environment.”
Norristown Community Gardens
Ameika Malcolm has been working in the mental health advocacy field for the past nine years and is currently the Community Development and Integration Coordinator for HopeMarket, a subsidiary program of HopeWorx, Inc., a non-profit mental health advocacy organization for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She is also the Social Committee co-Chair for the Montgomery County Community Support Program. Shortly after becoming a United States citizen – Malcolm is a native Jamaican – she went on to accomplish her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Services Management. In addition to her professional work, Malcolm is a mom to two teenage children, and an avid gardener who lovingly donates her time, energy and amazing attitude to help lead and manage the Norristown Community Gardens. She is an upbeat, fun loving woman who lights up every room she walks in.
The Norristown Community Gardens project is intended to help with community development and food security in terms of providing locally grown fresh produce, which is not always accessible to low income areas such as Norristown. The garden generates interest from people who have never gardened before and the members support each other by organizing cooking demonstrations around the produce that is in season.
Millie’s Bookshelf – Refugee-Led Reading Program In Za’atari Refugee Camp
A growing problem in refugee communities is the presence of book deserts – environments where it is virtually impossible for families to access reading resources. The lack of humanitarian investment in educational infrastructure – less than 3.6% of global budgets – is compounding this problem. Early access to reading materials is critical in helping children develop pre-literacy skills that assist with language acquisition and socio-emotional development. Additionally, reading can provide psychological benefits for children who are coping with toxic stress due to the trauma of displacement. At Millie’s Bookshelf, we seek to mitigate book deserts that affect displaced children and provide a safe space for them to learn and play, promoting literacy and resilience.
To achieve this goal, we install micro libraries in community spaces and deliver refugee-led literacy programs for children aged 4 to 6 years old. By partnering with a local nonprofit to co-host our space, we are able to keep overhead costs low and ensure contextually-relevant programming that is responsive to local needs. In 2020, we are partnering with the Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS) to implement our programs in Za’atari Refugee Camp in Mafraq, Jordan, which serves Syrian refugees. JHAS operates the sole maternity clinic in Za’atari Camp – the Women and Girls Comprehensive Center – where we will install a child-friendly micro library space and run a literacy-focused reading program.
The generous support from The Pollination Project will fund the translation of our program materials from English into Arabic. From our reading curriculum to our literacy surveys and informed consent documents, the importance of this translation support cannot be overstated. We are overjoyed to pilot our programs in Jordan and are tremendously grateful for the support that The Pollination Project has given us to achieve our goals.
MURALES RACCS Foundation – Popular Plastic Arts School In Bluefields
MURALES RACCS is a foundation that highlights the shortage of spaces and opportunities in our society for creative stimulation and cognitive development for our coastal youth that are socially disadvantaged and who aspire to manage artistic skills.
Our project – Popular Plastic Arts School in Bluefields – promotes spaces where youth who want to develop their artistic talent can have their creativity stimulated while becoming more conscious of their reality. Additionally, they are able to seek the cognitive tools that help them to face their daily challenges as they project themselves in any artistic field of their choosing. Our goal is to create awareness about how fundamental art is for the individual’s creative stimulation at the first stage of their life. For example – children play, dance, sing, draw, and paint as these are necessary for the development of their sensorial, motor skills, cognitive, emotional and brain system that permit children to learn how to learn.
For this reason, our foundation works with boys, girls, and youth that are socially disadvantaged by using art as the principal tool in establishing processes of teaching to promote a peace culture. It is in this sense that our greatest inspiration to formulate and execute the project, Bluefields Popular Plastic Arts School, came from the necessity of the Nicaraguan coastal children and youth and their demand to have access to a pertinent artistic education of quality. The initial subvention from the TPP is very important for our work because it will contribute to strengthen the art school as a creative space in the city of Bluefields that will initially benefit a group of fifteen youth in social disadvantage here on the south Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.
“This work is very important for us because we know our people’s reality and we also understand the needs and challenges that exist in a country where art is perceived as a luxury and not as a necessity. It is almost impossible for poor people to have access to qualified artistic education which will satisfy the need in the heart of all artist as a human being.”
Kotor Kitties – Kotor Kitties Bi-Lingual Website
Kotor Kitties works to help tens of thousands of stray animals in Montenegro through a program of spaying and neutering. The simple surgery means healthier lives for the individual animals, and a reduced population of unwanted animals by a humane means. As the first and only on-going sterilization program in the country, Kotor Kitties began spaying and neutering while simultaneously doing the groundwork for the program: public education, outreach, finding or creating resources and materials, translation. Even the equipment to trap cats for a basic Trap-Neuter-Release program was a challenge to import.
Most important, though, is connecting with the people who care for the animals there, developing personal relationships, trust, and a shared vision of what is possible. Basic community organizing and leadership development are underway, so that local leaders become the face and voice for the community cat movement in Montenegro.
We have been fortunate that many animal caregivers in Montenegro are connected through Facebook. It has been a valuable tool in our first year — a quick way to share information. But most of the posts are published by our English speakers, and many rely on the on-line translators to read it in Serbian. It is not a satisfactory way to work. There are also drawbacks to using Facebook in place of a website: many people are NOT connected to Facebook for personal or political reasons; it is difficult to organize information by subject, and not always intuitive where you will find information on a page.
The grant from The Pollination Project will help create a bi-lingual website in Serbian and English. This will help share our work and message with more people in the Serbian-language-based world (Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Serbia) as well as interested tourists and donors worldwide. It is important to us that the Serbian “side” of our website be an equal voice for the project, not a poorly translated afterthought, which the Facebook page tends to be.
Many of our group first came to Montenegro as tourists in Kotor. We were haunted by the suffering of the cats we saw on the streets, and the struggles of the people trying to care for them with so few resources themselves. Knowing the wonderful effect that a strong sterilization program can have in a community, we wanted to donate to one. When we discovered there was none in the entire country, we realized we had received a life-changing “souvenir” from the trip: the determination to help the people of Montenegro create a program of prevention of the suffering and horror, through high volume spaying and neutering.
Limbi Blessing Tata – Irvingia
In Mungo, Cameroon, Limbi Blessing Tata is working to combat deforestation, which is leading to environmental degradation. Limbi is doing this through two approaches, by developing and sustaining a grassroots women run commodity value chain around non-timber forest products and working with youth to instill skills for entrepreneurship, self-employment, and job creation.
Through these approaches, beneficiaries will increase profit margins up to 400%, hence motivating individuals to protect the forests.