D-3 Foundation believes that empowering children through education leads to poverty reduction and a better chance of future success. It is crucial that we work with quality educators to help them hone their skills and improve the lives of those less fortunate. In 2008, in partnership with Imvelo Safari Lodges, we began our education initiative in Zimbabwe. This includes building new classroom blocks, repairing damaged ones, and providing students and administrators with steel chairs and desks. Additionally, new housing blocks were built for teachers’ quarters to encourage educators to feel safe and secure living in the bush.
In 2010, we developed a school feeding program to encourage families to send their children to school. Each day, over 200 students are provided with a free meal. The food program helps enormously with attendance rates, as well as school performance and grades because this is often the only meal a child will receive that day.
In Africa, clean drinking water has an immeasurable effect on health and quality of life. In 2010, D3 partnered with Global Water Partners to help build and repair water wells in rural villages of Zimbabwe. Through this program, no village has ever paid for a water well installation or repair. The program has successfully completed 76 new water wells and 108 water well repairs. It is estimated these wells service 100,000 Zimbabweans on a daily basis.
Nyamukani, founded in 2006, is an embroidery club aimed at alleviating rural poverty by empowering local women to help themselves and their families. Embroidered cloth and T-shirts form the keystone of their industry and members (currently 80 women) are paid according to each piece they produce. As Nyamukani continues to grow, resources have become stretched. We currently have a need for raw materials, sewing machines and a funded building.
As part of our ongoing women’s initiative in collaboration with our friends at the Miekles Foundation, a Harare based non-profit, a new sewing program will begin in July 2014 near Harare. We are currently in the process of employing a village of women to begin new projects, funded by both D3 and Miekles. One hundred percent of proceeds from sales will be donated to the women. The women can then vote on where they see the money is most suitable for improvement in the community. Examples include clean drinking water, school tuition, school uniforms, livestock purchase and basic sundries.
An incredible group of 14 Spanish dentists, calling themselves Sonrisas Para Zimbabwe, first visited Zimbabwe in 2011 where they treated over 1,100 local residents of villages along the outskirts of Hwange National Park over a five-day period. Their long days were spent in the field performing over 500 procedures a day. At night, they were hosted by Imvelo Safari Lodges at Bomani Tented Lodge and Gorges Lodge.
Over the past five years since our first tour in 2011, we have seen 8,378 patients and performed over 18,000 dental procedures free of charge. In 2011, the first year of operation, 1,172 patients were seen from 120 villages—a number which has increased each year. The second year, 2012, realized a 30% increase with 1,516 patients receiving treatment, while 2013 and 2014 tallied a combined number of 3,190 patients, exceeding all of our expectations. The team returned to Zimbabwe this November to mark their fifth Mobile Dental Safari. We are delighted to report that 2,500 patients were seen, breaking all of our previous records. Further, a new optometry component was added this year and our optometrist treated 225 patients, providing them with glasses and medication.
Having just completed our fifth tour, and well over 18,000 free dental procedures later, the dental care provided to these communities has evolved to a program that now includes:
- Regular annual dental care for an entire community that spans 250 km.
- Dental checkups for all the children in a number of community schools.
- A free toothbrush and toothpaste for every patient treated.
- Extensive oral and root canal surgery.
- Hygiene lectures to thousands of adults and children.
Most exciting of all, the Sonrisas team is already making plans for their November 2016 tour to ensure the continuation of this wonderful initiative.
Boreholes serve as essential life sustaining watering holes for wildlife who call Hwange National Park home during the dry season. The past couple of years have proved to be deadly due to extreme drought conditions. Our goal, in collaboration with Imvelo Safari Lodges, is to sustain the population of wildlife though the construction of boreholes. The program has successfully completed 76 new boreholes and 108 borehole repairs.
In 2013, with the help of our generous donors, a new borehole was built in honor of our friend, Chris “Stoffie” Nel. Chris was a member of the Imvelo Safari team and was well known for his conservation efforts and kind heart. In memory of this young man, his parents built a watering pan in his honor. The pan serves many conservation purposes, but most importantly, it is a reminder of Stoffie’s charismatic spirit.
Thanks to the vision and leadership of Dr. George Ferry, this is the 15th year that the Palmer Bolivia Mission will send a work team to Montero, Bolivia. The program has seen over 150 volunteers since its inception. The mission consists of three components: a medical team, a construction team, and a team that works with a local orphanage.
The medical team works in a clinic for the under-served, the Consejo Salud de Andino Rural. Donations provide medical and surgical services for indigent children. This includes examinations, evaluations, minor surgeries and various procedures. Additional funds are spent each year to provide various medical services in the community, including home visits and immunizations.
The construction team helps to repair older homes, as well as build new homes for the Guarani indigenous communities. Their skills are required for a number of construction projects at the clinics, hospital and orphanage as well.
Hogar Sagrado Corazón, the local orphanage, is home to 112 girls ranging in age from toddler to high school. The goal is to continue to support the orphanage with repairs, furnishings, tutoring programs, and college scholarships for those girls that excel in their studies. In addition, a home has been built for the older girls in advanced studies. These costs include food, utilities, books and tuition.
Over the last 15 years, this great team has established a wonderful presence in the community. For more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact us.
In 1987, Commissioner El Franco Lee created the ever popular Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics Program (Street Olympics). Since its inception, it has grown from a summer only recreational program to include four major components that address the social service, health care, educational and vocational needs of Harris County youth.
Working in concert with the Street Olympics Summer Games, the Northeast Adolescent Program seeks to address health issues for area youth through education and intervention. The Harris County Aquatics Program provides recreational and valuable specialized training for future swimmers.
The Discovery Camp Nature Program is the fourth component of Street Olympics and provides children with hands-on-education and orientation to natural and environmental experiences.
Together, these four programs represent a comprehensive community-based venture that is funded through the joint efforts of private and public community agencies. Street Olympics operates under the direction of its Board of Directors, which oversees the financial and operational functions of the organization.
El Franco Lee Scholarship Program
The mission of the El Franco Lee Scholarship is to provide qualified applicants with financial awards to assist in their goal of obtaining a college degree. The applicant pool consists of graduating high school students who are current participants in a Street Olympics Program.
The Harris County Street Olympics will distribute awards of $1,000 to each selected participant. The number of individuals each year will be determined by the Harris County Street Olympics Board of Directors.
In 1989, Palmer Memorial Church developed a program to assist the less fortunate in the community with the opening of the Way Station. The Way Station is a community funded program that serves over 400 men, women and children on a daily basis. Services include a daily hot meal, career counseling and medical and mental health services. Additional services include access to a mailing address, telephone, restrooms, identification cards, donated toiletries, bus service, and referrals to agencies that provide items such as clothes and other services.