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Poverty Alleviation Projects

September 30, 2011

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your September report for The $10 Club.

Madiana is a village of approximately 5,000 people in the small country of The Gambia, located on the northwest coast of Africa. Madiana is about 10 miles from the nearest clinic in a neighboring village, and 50 miles from a larger hospital in the capital Banjul. Donkey carts, bicycles, and for-hire bush taxis provide the only transportation. The dirt roads are nearly impassable during the rainy season, April to November, increasing the remoteness and access to health care.  

The village is comprised mostly of subsistence farmers. Women and girls do manual labor, including growing fruits and vegetables for market. Young girls carry the water for irrigating the gardens from a community well, a distance of half a mile. Women and children also harvest mangoes, oranges, and cashews in their seasons, which they take by donkey cart to the market three or more hours away. The men of the village earn limited currency selling charcoal - a labor intensive product that they accomplish by cutting wood with homemade axes. They also sell firewood and some are employed as brick makers. Younger boys pick oranges.

Approximately 40% of total out-patient clinic visits in The Gambia are due to malaria. Infant mortality in the region is 84 per 1,000 births, with malaria being the leading cause of death. According to Babba Jammeh, a nurse working with the Village Development Committee in Madiana, approximately 30 deaths per year in the village are attributed to the disease, with pregnant women and children at highest risk.  Since malaria mainly occurs during the rainy season, accessing emergency treatment for someone suffering from malaria is a slow process.   

The Madiana Village Development Committee is comprised of one trained nurse, three auxiliary nurses, one staff person, and lay volunteers. Four years ago villagers worked together to build the medical clinic. The project only got so far before there was just no money to continue. An 18’ X 24’ cinderblock building has been allocated to house the clinic and is in great need of renovation.  While the clinic would give care to all villagers, its primary focus will be to provide care for pregnant mothers and children and provide discreet education and treatment for HIV/AIDS.

This month, 250 of us donated $2,500 to Karen Jackson, a registered nurse, who is heading to Madiana to help finish building the clinic and stocking it with supplies. Our grant will be used to purchase corrugated iron sheets, nails, cement, sand, lumber, paint, water pipes, a toilet, beds, chairs, tables, solar panels, batteries and converters. Remaining funds will be used for antibiotics, antifungal creams, vitamins, and antiparasitics. Transportation of materials will be donated and labor will be undertaken by volunteers. Thank you.  

The Gambia is a country that many people will not have heard of, but today you made sure a rural clinic there will be fully operational, serving a population in great need, which would otherwise likely have been ignored.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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