Visionaries - Changing the World One Story at a Time
Sixty years ago, while covering the Spanish Civil War, the English journalist, John Langdon-Davies saw many parentless children wandering the streets of Spain. Moved to action, he created the Foster Parents Plan to sponsor, financially and personally, orphans of war. The program developed into PLAN International, of which Childreach is it's US member. Childreach's community development program bridges cultures on a very personal scale. In the US, 78,000 people sponsor 100,000 children and the communities in which they live all over the world. And the impact on these 100,000 sponsored children is profound. In the villages where they live, the sponsors donations are now pooled in order to address the overarching needs of the entire community--suddenly these small monthly donations are being used to build schools, to bring potable water to a community, or to improve farming techniques to expand the annual harvest. Over the years, the sponsors and children correspond across vast cultural, economic and geographic distances and, in a very few special cases, sponsors and their children get to meet in person. The Visionaries accompanied Childreach director Sam Worthington and sponsor parents to Ecuador where they were welcomed warmly by their sponsored children. We filmed the deliveries of letters between 12-year-old Yasemin in Massachusetts, and Quiyan, a 9-year-old in Beijing, the first Chinese child sponsored since 1951. Shows 301 & 302.
Freedom from Hunger's goal is nothing less than the elimination of chronic hunger and malnutrition. Through five decades of service they have learned that the most effective way to win the war against these age old problems is to empower the poor and hungry to help themselves. They do this in two ways; by directly helping people in need and by creating programs designed for larger organizations to adopt their highly effective strategies. Ellen Vor der Bruegge, the Vice President of Programs, conceived of what has become the cornerstone of Freedom from Hunger's success: invest in the women. Encouraging the development of women-owned businesses has turned out to be a key to alleviating hunger in the rural Bolivian altiplano. With small loans, skills training, and group cooperation, Aymara Indian women are supporting their families and creating new opportunities for their children. Show 303.
More than three decades ago, an innovator named Joe Blatchford had an idea--to connect the multi-national corporations working in Latin America with the working poor who inhabit the countries in which they do business. With 'microloans' and business training, ACCION International helps low-income entrepreneurs sustain and grow their businesses to earn a better living. It works. ACCION boasts a 98% repayment rate. Under the guidance of multi-talented Michael Chu, ACCION's microenterprise development programs are revitalizing local economies throughout Latin America and the US. Based in Boston MA; shot in Nicaragua and Albuquerque NM. Show 304
Seeing a desperate need, literally in his own backyard, FatherRalph Beiting began by helping the people of Appalachia who lived in his parish with donated food, clothing and household goods. But he soon realized that lasting change would not come to the area with this short-term solution to the far-reaching need. He formed the Christian Appalachian Project in the 1960's with a vision to simply help the people of Appalachia help themselves. Today, through 75 programs--falling generally into the categories of crisis intervention, education and community development--CAP sows the seeds of permanent changes. CAP balances long-term programs like adult literacy and high school equivalency classes, teen and youth centers, and child development programs with ongoing short-term needs programs like emergency financial assistance, spouse abuse centers and food and gift baskets for the holidays. As needs emerge and evolve, Father Beiting and his cadre of staff and volunteers lend a hand. Show 305.
Coral reefs comprise some of the most spectacular collections of fish and plant life anywhere on earth. Today, tourists and those who make their living in and around reef areas have irreparably damaged many reefs by carelessness and deliberate disregard of their extreme fragility. But Stephen Colwell, founder of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is committed not only to widespread conservation efforts. but to education. His vision is to tap the resources of divers and snorkelers to help reverse the trend toward coral reef devastation worldwide. In Hawaii, we see the effects on the undersea world of population growth, coastal development and a high concentration of divers. The International Year of the Coral Reef, 1997, offers a unique opportunity to greatly expand educational efforts and to implement new initiatives. In the new nation of Palau, the Palau Conservation Society (PCS), a member of CORAL, has begun an extensive coral conservation program implemented by Noah Idechong. PCS is working to build grassroots awareness and establish standards to support their native reefs in the face of a growing tourist trade. In so doing, they enable tourists to become participants in reef protection. This episode connects the long-term interests of divers and other "viewers" of the reefs who may live thousands of miles away, with the challenges that groups like PCS face every day-from monitoring reef use to working with community leaders to reducing land-based sources of pollution and developing alternative income-generating projects that do not adversely affect the ecologically essential reefs. Show 306.
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