2020 end of year report

ORFL Charity Donations 2020

 

ORFL focus in creating positive change is through supporting education, communities and empowering people out of poverty through job creation. Unfortunately, 2020 has forced schools to close and many to be pushed into poverty with record high unemployment. Many of the projects we usually support or planned to support had to go on hold since the charities had to focus on their covid-19 response and main operations. We supported 12 different organisations. A few charities we started to support in 2020 were Caritas, Homeboy Industries, Open School and Red Cross in Jiangmen. We sent a lot of the organisations donations so they could buy PPE to protect themselves against covid-19. Below is a breakdown of where our donations went.

Rabbis for Human Rights

Every year we donate to Rabbis for Human Rights to support their fight for equality and justice in Israel. We support their general activities and their Rabbinic program.

General activities

  1. Increase formal members and improve Rabbi infrastructure. Currently they have 85 Rabbis who have formally joined RHR and pay membership. This will increase RHR reach to the Rabbis communities. This is in fact how we heard about RHR.
  2. Created a petition to make sure the vaccine is available to Palestinians, as well as people in the Gaza strip and the west bank.
  3. RHR together with other human rights organisations fought for the food security of 11,000 poor Jewish and Arab families. They were able to get these families a stipend from the government to cover their basic food purchases.
  4. Public outreach and public education, they hosted seminars on human rights and human dignity. They also created a podcast with three episodes so far about Judaism, democracy and human rights.

We support 4 Rabbinical students who work in 4 different areas: the olive harvest in the West Bank that builds relations with Bedouins, pre-military education that teaches Israeli students about human rights and how they are being violated in Israel, Hadera Rights centre which helps poor Israelis gain access to the help they need and finally social justice. The activities will be explained below.

Olive Harvest in the West Bank

This year the field officer who runs the olive harvest in the West Bank is not a Rabbi it is a Palestinian Israeli. RHR hopes he will improve relations with the Palestinian and Bedouin farmers. The olive harvest this year had 500 volunteers, even more than last year. RHR felt they built partnerships with the Northern West Bank Villages.

Education

This year the pre-Military Academy Education was all conducted online over zoom. Nava and two other teachers teach these students about democracy and the importance of safeguarding human rights. They also teach them about the different communities living in Israel and about tolerance and acceptance of all different people. Tati who was the assistant for education for Nava left, they were able to find a replacement.
Hadera Centre

The lockdown meant the Hadera centre had to close. RHR immediately set up a hotline so the people they were serving could still receive their help. RHR also partnered with Zazim, a grassroots organisation. This allowed them to increase the reach of the hotline, cut down on costs and increase the capacity to answer calls. The partnership also meant more volunteers and access to a larger network of volunteers who had different backgrounds and language skills. Their hotline received 500 calls and they helped these people get the information they need to claim benefits and receive the welfare they are entitled to. It has also allowed RHR to gauge what problems the under served are facing.

Social Justice

Cobi started to help at an asylum seeker centre in Beer Sheva since the other NGO who helped at this centre fell apart. RHR are filling the gap that was created by the failed NGO. This centre is fully supported by volunteers.

During 2020 RHR did a good job in working with other charities to achieve their aims such as food security for vulnerable people. They also made a big effort to connect with their supporters over zoom. I think they have done well adapting to 2020.

India Association for the Blind

Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) is a school for blind students in India. They teach blind and visually impaired primary school and secondary school students. They also help these students with career choices and they have training programs for visually impaired adults as well. These are teaching them BPO skills, business process outsourcing which means they can work over the phone for retail and telecom companies. IAB also teaches skills for printing and book binding. They have a machine that creates brail books as they need to create a lot of the books for their students. They also have special computer training for the blind.

In 2020 due to covid-19 the IAB reached out to our colleague Arvin and asked for PPE support. We sent them infrared thermometers, sanitizer, hand wash, gloves, doctor googles, hand spray and 20,000 surgical masks to help stop their staff and students from catching covid-19.

Christ Faith Home for Children

Christ Faith Home for Children (CFHC) is a charity based in Chennai. Iyyappan encountered the charity and ORFL has been supporting CFHC for over 10 years. They support and empower parentless children, deserted women and people living below the poverty life. To help these individuals they run an orphanage, school and vocational training centre. We have supported them over the years and helped them improve their orphanage, built a vocational training centre, supported the program and much more.

2020 has been a particularly difficult year. Due to covid-19 their usual donors were not allowed to visit and they did not receive their April and May donations from outsiders. They could not pay their staff in April time due to this short fall. ORFL sent them a donation to support half of their expenses. This donation went towards supporting 129 of the children and women they serve as well as the 21 house carers they employ to look after the women and children. Our donations went towards helping them buy masks and extra soap and cleaning products for around the school, women’s home, boys’ home, girls’ home and new born nursery. They also asked if we would like to support families in lockdown with money to meet basic needs. Iyyappan turned this down.

In June they sent us this YouTube video showing us how CFHC has changed and how they were keeping the school covid-19 safe.

Haverford College

Microfinance and Impact Investing Initiative

This year, due to the pandemic all the classes were taught online, the microfinance class, the volunteer student impact investing class (who were alumni of the impact investing class) and the Haverford Microfinance consulting club. MI3 three summer internships were all moved to remote internships. One of the internships was at ROAR for Good, an impact investment we made in 2019.

MI3 had many speakers and events this year. One of the speakers was Jonny Price, the founder of crowdfunding equity platform Wefunder. He also founded Kiva Zip, a small business, peer-to-peer, zero-interest lending platform. He spoke to students about strategies to becoming more intentional with their own capital and investing in ways that aligned with their values. Another speaker was Topiltzin Gomez, the Chief of staff at Honeycomb Credit which is a debt crowdfunding platform. Honeycomb credit seeks to provide small businesses access to finance. It focuses on local communities and minority groups whose access to banks is limited. The Microfinance consulting club were so impressed they moved their US lending initiative from Kiva to Honeycomb and made a loan through Honeycomb.

Shannon runs an impact investing course as well, the presentations and investment usually happen in December but this has been pushed to April 2021.

Peace, Justice and Human Rights

Jill usually teaches an introduction to peace, justice and human rights, however this year Jill had cancer. She is now cancer free and while she was receiving treatment Professor Ramey taught her course. He also taught ‘Decolonial Theory: Indigeneity and Revolt; and Debt, Justice and Sovereignty’ as well as ‘Political Resurgency of Socialism; Theory and Practice in the Resurgent Left Today’. Jill has a second teacher to teach ‘Applied Ethics of Peace, Justice and Human Rights’. In 2020 they were able to hire a professor for this course. Jill received 500 applications and picked Sarah-Jane Koulen. She feels Sarah-Jane brings a lot to the course since her background is in international criminal law. Jill has worked with Sarah-Jane before in The Hague.

Centre for Peace and Global Citizenship

CPGC helped students secure 27 international internships however due to the pandemic these had to be moved to remote internships. Only 17 of them could be moved to remote internships. An example of this is with Casa Refugiados in Mexico City, where the intern would assist in developing an online toolkit to support a leadership role for refugees as intercultural promoters, including fighting xenophobia and discrimination and promoting human rights. CPGC was also able to arrange an additional 7 remote research internships with UNICEF.

During the pandemic CPGC created a toolkit of online modules to prepare students for their internships and ongoing learning. It has more than 20 learning modules across different fields, here is the link http://globalsolidaritylocalaction.sites.haverford.edu/ .

CPGC did a good job in coordinating the internships and creating the relationship with UNICEF. While their internships were moved to remote instead of travelling the world, the students will still get to interact with people around the globe. I think there still will be a cultural exchange and exchange of different views and experiences.

Evangel Children’s Home

Evangel Children’s Home (ECH) is a charity in Hong Kong that provides education as well as food, accommodation and counselling to youth. ECH has a school as well as dormitories for homeless children or children from poor families. When these children turn 18 they may join ECH’s ‘Second Chance in Life’, a transitional youth sponsorship program. ORFL supports 4 programmes listed below.

  1. Youth internship: allows an individual with weak communication and literacy to improve in these areas by attending a 6-month internship at an NGO. A supervisor at the NGO will assign work to the individual and assess them periodically. ECH staff will also work with the NGO supervisor to help the individual improve. This program allows the youth to learn skills for work so they are able to integrate into the work force afterwards. This program is offered to one youth.
  2. Saving plan award: this is to teach ECH youth how to save money. Staff will work with ECH youth individually and set a savings target each month, if the ECH youth is able to stick to this savings plan they will receive an award after the 12months. This award will also help them in putting a deposit down for a flat since they will also need to move away from ECH dormitories after this 12 month period. This program benefited 34 youth at ECH.
  3. Education subsidy: available to youth who are in full time work but want to engage in an educational program to increase their skill. This benefited 13 youths.
  4. Growth group: these are group therapy sessions. There are two group therapy programs. One to teach manners, it teaches how improve relationships and how to express yourself as well as how to respect others. The other is to teach personality, this is to understand yourself or your personality and how it may affect interpersonal relationships.

These were the programs we supported in 2020 and will continue to support in 2021. It was decided to discontinue sending funds to the day care program as it was felt the donation could support a larger number of people in a more impactful way.

Caritas New Charity

ORFL just started supporting Caritas this year. Our Hong Kong office member Tony discovered this charity in his local area. Caritas is an international Catholic charity that helps the poor, their aim is to end poverty, promote justice and restore dignity.

He first proposed we support them with their covid-19 response. This was to provide children from poor families with a care package to protect them from covid-19 while going back to school. It contained masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wet wipes and sanitizing alcohol. These care packages were distributed to 500 children.

Later in the year we supported them with their computer training programme. This programme will last for three years and they expect to train three or more under privileged young people. This programme aims to teach them computer data restoration.

 

Bo Charity Foundation Food Angel

Food Angel is a charity that receives food from restaurants and supermarkets that is close to going out of date but isn’t going to be used. Food Angel chefs turn this food into healthy meals for poor and vulnerable people around Hong Kong. They receive over 2000kgs of food a day and create over 12,000 meals each week.

They serve these meals in their Food Angel centres and also distribute them directly to the elderly. However due to covid-19 they want to socially distance so started serving their meals in automated food dispenser vending machines. Each vending machine can store 180 meals. These meals have been chilled so have to be heated before eating and can be stored for up to three days. This allows users to eat the meals whenever they need to.

They have these vending machines in Sham Shui Po, Fanling, Tai Kok Tsui, Tin Shui Wai, and Kwuntong, serving close to 1,000 people daily. They are expanding to 2-3 new sites every month, and their target is to provide 50 food vending machines in 3 years.

In order to hold and transport the meals into the vending machines, food angel needs more cook-chill meal tray trolleys. We donated to them so they could buy 28 of these trolleys which hold 320 meal boxes each. We are happy to support food angel in saving food from being thrown away by restaurants and giving it to those in need.

Banyan Services Association

At the beginning of 2020 our Hong Kong office staff (lead by Unique) decided to support Banyan. Over the last 5 years ORFL has donated to Banyan Services Association (BSA). BSA serves the elderly living alone in Hong Kong. They want to help the elderly pass away with dignity and respect. Previously we have supported them with funds to provide free Chinese medicine to poor elderly people. In 2020 we send a donation towards the new home they are building to serve the 38 elderly. This would be a more modern residence that has all the furniture and equipment to meet the needs of the elderly. This would also allow the elderly to form a community together and receive any assistance from BSA.

Instituicao Evangelica De Novo Hamburgo

For many years we have been supporting the school Instituição Evangélica de Novo Hamburgo. They are a private school that educate children from kindergarten to high school. We have supported them for many years because they run projects to lift up their surrounding underprivileged community.

This year they had to close and go online due to the outbreak of covid-19. This meant students were not attending school and parents were less active with IENH. IENH received far less income from student enrolment fees and far less donations to support their community projects for the underprivileged.

One of the community projects that they run is called Project Arte em movimento. It supports girls who live in shelters by providing them with singing and music lessons. This aims to build their confidence and help them concentrate on something pro-active. At the end of each year in December they also have a group performance and show off what they have learnt in the year. We feel this builds self-worth and inspires confidence in achievement.

We sent funds to support the music teacher that conducts the classes. Previously we had provided Arte em Movimento with funds so they could purchase multiple musical instruments, this meant during the pandemic there were enough instruments for each girl who was studying music to take one home. IENH lent computers to each shelter to allow the girls to continue the classes online. During the pandemic local public schools were closed and not offering regular classes since the teachers did not have the capacity to put them online. The girls participating in Arte em Movimento were able to continue their music lessons, keep busy and prepare for their December recital.

We are happy we supported the music teacher so the lessons could continue and there is a constant in the girls lives during this difficult time. At the end of the year the girls together with their teachers did a performance, here is the link to the end of year recital.

Homeboy Industries

ORFL has been interested in supporting Homeboy Industries since they told us about their Job venture fund. Homeboys help previously incarcerated people integrate back into society. They serve 9000 ex-prisoners a year and they have been doing this work for 32 years. Over this time, they have built a re-entry program that trains up to 400 ex-prisoners a year. The re-entry program offers 9 services; tattoo removal, workforce development, solar panel training, educational services, mental health services, healing from domestic violence services, legal services, case management and substance abuse rehabilitation support. Once they finish the entry program the hope is they will have the skills to allow them to integrate and become a contributing member of society.

In 2019 they received a $5 million dollars pledge in seed funding from New World Foundation with the aim of creating quality jobs. Homeboy Industries was planning to announce the seed funding in April 2020 and aimed to raise another $10 million. They also received a $500,000 grant from the department of labour to help place ex-prisoners in mainstream jobs. Covid-19 disruptions meant they had to put a hold on all their plans and make changes to their current activities. Instead of launching their job venture fund which we wanted to support they launched a Homeboy Industry covid-19 emergency fund.

Usually they operate out of homeboy industries headquarters. Now their headquarters only has a skeleton crew who serve the most vulnerable such as those with drug addictions. They also serve those in need who have been recently released from jail and need clothing, hygiene kits and food. They have moved all their other services online. Staff interact virtually with over 250 homeboy program participants. Homeboy also continues to financially support these participants.

Homeboy Industries has suspended most of their businesses. In 2019 their businesses generated $7 million. The three they have not suspended are their catering service, bakery and café. They have had to change how they operate and it is all now take away or delivery. Their catering service and café which has a commercial kitchen has the capacity to create 3500-4000 meals. Homeboy government partners, LA city and California County, order 1500 meals, and homeboy industries is working to fill its capacity with its other government partners. Homegirl Café and Homeboy Catering also produces emergency meals to provide food to vulnerable people in the city and county.

This year ORFL supported Homeboy Industries with their core activities. In 2020 they also won a $2.5M humanitarian prize from the Hilton Foundation. They also raised $500,000 from their giving Tuesday fundraising event from 900 donors and another $250,000 from the Johnny Carson foundation.  We believe and see that they do good work and serve a vulnerable population and successfully integrate them back into society and keep them out of prison. We hope in future to support them with their job creation fund.

Open School

We decided to support Open School which is a school in Portland Oregon that catches students before they drop out of school. It provides students with an environment that supports them and equips them with what they need to graduate. It also gives them tools to be successful at life. Open School stands for: academics, equity and advocacy.

 

Every year Open School has a fundraiser in April. The fundraiser aims to raise $150,000USD to make up the difference between funds received from the School Districts and the actual costs incurred at Open School. The costs at Open School are higher than what is provided to them because they want to give the students they serve specialised education suited to their needs. What also makes Open School costly is the small class sizes they provide. Teacher to student ratio is high which increases and improves student engagement.

This year the fundraiser was more important than ever due to covid-19 and its effects. The School needed extra funds for emergencies and to adjust to the new normal. ORFL donated with the promise of matched funds from the local community. The following website: https://www.classy.org/campaign/change-the-game/c280753 shows Open School’s first ever virtual fundraiser “Change the Game”. It raised $198,000USD from 205 members from the Portland community and other states and countries.

During the lockdown Open School has been supporting their students with food, mental health support and technology resources. Open School also conducted their own distance learning based around their relationship with each student they serve.

At the end of 2020, we supported Open School in their capacity building. With this donation they aim to:

  • Have 12 students per classroom with 110 students in total (a lower number than currently) meaning a higher level of support for each student
  • Create programmatic adjustments to shift from college to life prep to go deeper in addressing childhood trauma
  • Develop Career and workforce programmes allowing students to self-actualize into productive career and community leaders.
  • Re-evaluate and renegotiate District partnerships so Open School has core control over enrolling best fit students.
  • Create strong leadership, build systems and structure for daily operations, creating more stability for students and staff.
  • Build a positive, unique school culture that will attract students and staff.

This donation will allow them to raise matching funds.

China donations to local community

To begin the year our team in China donated to Jiangmen Red Cross to help with the local pandemic relief effort. This was to help the local residence deal with the trouble’s covid-19 brought.

Our China team offer our workers an emergency fund and we had an application to help a staff member deal with outpatient costs, we also supported our other staff with hospital fees.

Other activities and donations our team were involved with were supporting the poorest of the poor in the local Jiangmen community. Our team supported 672 families in SiQian town, Lile Town, EnPing, Shuang Shui, BaiSha, Shuang Long, MuZhou, Liang Jia village, Kun Lun Village and Dong Ren Village. They provided these families with 10kg of rice, 5litres of oil and some money. After this, families that wanted to could learn about recycling and rubbish classification from our team. The Chinese government began a 2020 initiative to teach the general public about recycling and rubbish sorting, this is because in future they will impose rules and regulations to make sure citizens sort their rubbish properly.

Conclusion and looking forward to 2021

2020 has brought more inequality, decreased education to the under privileged and vulnerable who couldn’t learn remotely and decreased jobs. It has forced us to use technology and work from home. It has also meant companies realise they can function with less staff and therefore overall less jobs offered to lower paid manual workers. ORFL will continue to support education, put funds towards job creation and support programmes that bring about equality. 2021 will be a challenge as there is less government stimulus and more pressures on charities. In 2021 we will also look how to focus the charity and see if we can hire someone to help us with our charity strategy to donate more money.