Monday, January 18, 2016

Assisting HIV Orphans and Children with Cerebal Palsy in Soweto Township, South Africa


 Soweto, one of the townships where South Africa's black residents were forced to live during the apartheid era, was at the epicenter of the liberation struggle for equality in the 1970s and 1980s. Though it's well known for being the birthplace of two Nobel Peace Prize Winners (Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu), it is still home to crippling poverty, economic marginalization and a very high HIV rate.
Many terminally ill patients come to the
Hospice Wits - Soweto in order to receive medical care or if there is no hope for recovery, at least death with dignity. The hospice has a full team of doctors, nurses and social workers, as well as in-patient care for 26 adults and 10 children at a time.

They offer palliative care, nursing services and spiritual care. They are an integral part of the community, not just because of the end-of-life care they offer but also because of their team of social workers who make house visits to many of the families whose relatives have passed through the hospice. While meeting with these social workers, Cause and Affect learned that many of the families receiving assistance face other dire needs - not covered by the hospice's mission. We set out to assist five of these families.                                                                                                                                             #1: After being affected by HIV through a blood transfusion in Mozambique, Thebisile became very ill and nearly died while in the hospice less than two years ago. She's made a marvelous comeback but couldn't attend school without a school uniform and school supplies. For $85 we purchased shoes, uniform, backpack and full set of school supplies for this sweet 10th grader. She is so appreciative of the help (as are her parents). When we asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she didn't hesitate. "I want to be a social worker." Seems she understands the important role social workers have played in her life!

 #2: These three HIV orphans are living with their over-burdened grandmother in very tough conditions. 15 year-old Siphumelelo, his brother Siyabonga (11) and his sister Lufono (not pictured here) lost their mother to AIDS, but are anxious to continue their education. Siphumelelo wants to be an engineer and young Lufono wants to be a teacher. We purchased all of them full school uniforms so they are ready for the school year. Beautiful smiles dreaming of a better future.
#3:Karabelo was born with cerebral  palsy. She is now 16  years-old and living in a tiny ramshackle shack with her parents, brother and sister. There is one bed for the 5 of them. Since she cannot swallow her food, her mother feeds her through a feeding tube in her stomach. When we saw her mashing up the food by hand, we asked if she had a blender to do this work. The mother calmly replied that though a blender would save her a lot of effort, they didn't have money to buy one. We rushed to the mall, bought a $40 blender and a few hundred diapers to make this family's life a bit easier. Be sure to watch the video to see Karabelo's magic smile. She steals the show. 
                                                                                                                                                                #4: Goitsemang is another 16 year-old with cerebal palsy. Despite his condition, he also has a wonderful sense of humor. When asked what the family needed most, they told us that diapers are very expensive so we went  out and purchased enough to keep the family supplied for a few months. 

#5: Life is not fair. Lehlolonolo, this wonderful 7 year-old and his sister Reabetsue (12 years old) were born with HIV. Soon thereafter, their parents died of AIDS. They are living with their grandmother in very bad conditions here in Soweto. The hospice makes sure they get their meds to control their condition, but they were in dire need of school uniforms so they could attend school this year. 

Fulfilling the wish lists of these 5 families cost less than $500. There are so many families in need, but Cause and Affect is overjoyed to have been able to help these five.

Special thanks to the wonderful staff at the Soweto Hospice for their devotion to assisting these families on a daily basis. It is local heroes like them that keep us inspired to do whatever we can!

To support projects like this please make a tax-deductible contribution to Cause and Affect here, using credit card or Paypal.

As always thank you for your donations. As you can see, every dollar is making a difference!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cause & Affect: Sending Impoverished Egyptian Students to School

Family with 3 kids who are in school thanks to this project.
Adam Carter, proud teacher, with his
middle school students in Ras es Soda, Egypt

One reason Cause & Affect founder Adam Carter chose to pursue teaching in international schools was to be able to establish meaningful relationships within a school community, which would allow him to mobilize his students to help improve their community. Now in his second year teaching at Schutz American School in Alexandria, Egypt he has partnered with local non-profits and mobilized his students to engage in a variety of service learning projects aimed at bettering the community of Alexandria and other parts of Egypt.

After designing the CONNECT course, based on instilling global citizenship through service learning, he has helped students carry out a range of activities in the past year and a half. To begin this school year, Cause & Affect partnered with the middle school students to carry out this wonderful project that sent 230 under-privileged children - living in Alexandria's most impoverished neighborhood - to school this year. The students raised over $3,000 to finance the back-to-school kits and school uniforms needed and Cause & Affect chipped in the remaining $450. Here is a description of the project from the CONNECT class blog.

Following up our wonderful Blanket
Distribution Project and Clothing Drive last year, we have deepened our relationship with the impoverished community of Ras el Soda, located in our hometown on Alexandria, Egypt. During last year's collaboration, we learned that many kids in this neighborhood are not able to attend school because their parents cannot afford to purchase them the school supplies or school uniforms they need. 

Not a pretty place, but home to thousands of people
 in need of aid and education

After compiling all of the supplies,
our students filled the backpacks 
Before we could do that though, we needed to jump to acton to raise the funds needed to purchase the supplies. In order to make this a true learning experience, students first studied the issue, learning why education is such important opportunity to improve a family's socio-economic condition. 

When our students heard this, they decided they wanted to help. We decided to make and distribute "back-to-school kits," complete with backpack, notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.We then purchased the supplies wholesale (getting the best value for our money) and then brought everything to Schutz. Our students then ran an assembly line, filling over 200 of these kits with all the necessary supplies. 
Carrying back-to-school kits through the neighborhood to
our happy recipients

Students then made public awareness posters to help spread the word about what they were trying to accomplish. As they raised money, we used fundraising charts to show their progress and get them excited to fulfill their commitment. 

Happy boy who learned he gets to go to school this year

The final step was to hand-deliver the back-to-school kits to the families in need. We took the 6 students with the best posters to the community and were able to visit about ten families to deliver the backpacks. 

Our students, who come from privileged backgrounds, were
appalled to see people living in homes like this, but they are
inspired to make a difference
The final step was to hand-deliver the back-to-school kits to the families in need. We took the 6 students with the best posters to the community and were able to visit about ten families to deliver the backpacks. 

The rest of the backpacks have been delivered with the help of our local partner, the wonderful non-profit we worked with last year. 

Parents were informed that by accepting this kit, they were committing to send their kids to school. Our students were able to explain what we were doing to the Ras es 
As the video report shows, our students were able to put their compassion into action and make a profound difference in the lives of 230 of these kids, who would not be in school if our students had not raised the funds and taken the time to make this project a reality. In addition, they learned just how much they have to be thankful for and were rewarded with the satisfaction of improving the lives of those in need. The experience was tied to classroom activities and we also allowed the students to provide their feedback in school as we celebrated their success. This is what service learning should aim to achieve!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

One Birthday = A Lasting Impact!

In an effort to show his middle-school students the positive change they can create by "donating" their birthday to charity, Cause & Affect founder Adam Carter is asking friends and donors to make tax-deductible birthday contributions to C&A on behalf of his birthday. Simply click here to make a donation with credit card or Paypal to support our current projects, such as our latest projects helping impoverished elderly sisters in Ethiopia, Syrian refugees in Turkey and Parkinson's patients in Ethiopia.

As part of the Connect class he has helped design and teach, Adam and his students engage in a variety of service learning projects to assist their local community of Alexandria, Egypt - and beyond! Last year they did a "Week Without Walls" service learning trip to Aswan in southern Egypt and also distributed blankets and spare clothes (see video here) to an impoverished neighborhood in Alexandria.

Adam's students are currently raising funds to send 230 local impoverished students to school, as their families would not be able to afford the $15 needed to purchase the necessary school supplies and school uniforms. Hard to believe, but it's true. Your donation will help show how much good these students - and hopefully others - can accomplish by sacrificing some birthday presents, instead asking for donations to charity on their behalf.

Please make your birthday donation here and spread the word. If you would like to donate YOUR birthday, please contact us so we can help. Thanks for your help.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Providing Treatment for Parkinson's Patients in Ethiopia


Ethiopia, a country is East Africa, suffers from crippling poverty and one of the lowest-ranked health systems in the world (#180 out of 190). Until recently, the life expectancy was so low that many doctors are still unable to diagnose many common diseases that elderly people suffer from.

One of the most glaring examples is Parkinson's Disease, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which is caused by a slow deterioration of the nerve cells in the brain.

No one knows how many patients suffer from Parkinson's in Ethiopia and without proper diagnosis, many patients never know the cause of their suffering. Sadly, discrimination towards these patients is common, as many still think they are being cursed by God.

Ever since she contracted Parkinson's over 16 years ago, Kiba Kedebe, a most dynamic and inspiring woman, has been advocating on behalf of Parkinson's patients in Ethiopia. In 2011, she founded the Parkinson's Patients Support Organization for Ethiopia. They hold workshops to teach caregivers how to assist patients, they inform doctors of symptoms and treatments and they provide the prescription drugs some of the poorer patients cannot afford.

Life for Parkinson's patients without treatment is terrible. Their movement deteriorates rapidly and they suffer from tremors, rigidity and difficulty walking and balancing. There has been a very high rate of depression in patients as a result. Though there is no known cure, the Credonil that patients take really alleviate the symptoms, making the patients lives a lot less difficult.


Once we discovered there was a shortfall of funds for several of these poor patients, Cause andAffect donated $860 to purchase the drugs they need. As you can see from the video, we went to purchase the medication and distributed it to some of those patients in need.

We all deserve the right to age without dignity and being forced to suffer because you cannot afford $10 of medication is hardly fair. We are very pleased to have been able to help and urge you to contribute to this program so we can continue to support these wonderful people.

Ethiopia is undoubtedly a country beset by poverty and development challenges, but the warm hearts of the people make it a truly incredible country!

Many thanks to our donors that make all of this possible. Please join us by giving on our website here with credit card or Paypal. We are a 501-c-3 organization offering tax-deductible contributions.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cause & Affect in Ethiopia: $20/month Can Save Lives


Abel is a 17 year-old Ethiopian boy whose parents and older sister are all dead. His Aunt Sisko has little to give him, but she allows Abel - and a few other young students in need - to sleep in her small restaurant at night and eat a basic meal or two so they can at least go to school and hope for a better future. When I met Abel and his aunt and told them about Cause and Affect, they did NOT ask for help. Though they definitely need assistance, instead they told me about some others facing more serious predicaments. Faced with such selflessness, Cause and Affect felt obliged to help.

Abel first introduced me to Marisu and Mami, elderly sisters who barely scrape out a living. As the video shows, they live in a ramshackle house in sub-human conditions. Since one sister's son died, these women - 78 and 80 years old- were left to raise the granddaughter. One of them earns $7 a month from her son's military pension. In addition to this, they also go to the weekly market to sell incense, where together, they earn about a dollar. With a weekly income of $4.50 each, these kind women do not have enough money to afford basic food supplies. When I met them, they were eating week-old bread and were forced to cook with farm refuse, as they couldn't even afford normal wheat. They two women and the 9 year old granddaughter sleep on the same bed on a mattress that was in deplorable condition. Their shack is dark, though they do have a single bare light bulb for power. They have no running water and cook over scraps of firewood outside of their house. They are forced to beg for food from neighbors, but since most people in this run-down neighborhood are similarly poor, there is very little to go around.

Though Abel has very little to give, he has been helping these sisters any way he can. They lit up when they saw him arrive and were even more happy when we went out and bought them a real mattress with sheets! We are providing the sisters with $20 each per month to cover basic food and medical needs. Though this is a very small amount of money for most of us, it is a huge boost for Marisu and Mami. They now have money to cook for themselves and get the medicine they need.

Samson and Muluya are two students in Abel's high school, each facing very tough challenges. Samson is an orphan who lived in a tiny village in the mountains. Since there is no future for him there, Aunt Sisko asked a local family in Lalibela if they could allow Samson to sleep somewhere in their house, so he could at least attend school in town. He currently stays in a storage room next to the family's house, sleeping on a bed made of rocks and a layer of goatskin leather. He does not even own a change of clothes. All he wants is to succeed in school so he can improve his lot in life.

Our other student in need is Muluya; his mother has passed away and his father has AIDS. Though his father is too weak to work full-time, he tries his best as a day worker, earning $1.25 a day. As he told me, "All I want is a better future for my son." Cause and Affect purchased mattresses for each of the boys, bought them a set of supplemental textbooks to help them in their studies and gave them some money to purchase some basic clothes. In addition, we are providing them with $12 per month each, to take care of some basic food needs. The boys are very excited to receive the assistance and are actively studying. They are aware that getting an education is their only hope for a better future.

For less than $600, Cause and Affect is providing 6 months of support for these two elderly sisters, these two students and some assistance to Aunt Sisko and Abel as well. It is amazing how far your contributions are able to go in Ethiopia. Cause and Affect will be returning there from June 5th - 9th to search for more recipients, so please donate to the cause.

Thank you for your continued support. Please give to projects like this on our website using credit card or paypal. To see our recent projects, please visit our blog.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Assisting Syrian Refugees

In 2006, while traveling through Syria, I was blown away by the hospitality of the Syrian people. Ever since the civil war started there in 2010, I have wanted to find a way to help Syrian refugees forced to flee from their country. While in Istanbul, Cause & Affect sought a hands-on way to help.

                                        SEE OUR VIDEO REPORT HERE

Nearly half of the estimated 4 Syrian million refugees are currently living in Turkey. While hundreds of  thousands live in refugee camps, around 300,000 of them are living in Istanbul.

While they are granted rights to education and medical treatment in Turkey, many of these families are living in poverty and have not been able to assimilate into the local culture. One of the major impediments to their assimilation is the language barrier, as the vast majority of them speak Arabic, not Turkish.

Luckily some local civil society organizations have sprung up to assist these refugees. The Refugee Support Center is a Turkish non-profit organization based in the capital of Ankara. provides a variety of free services such as: nutritional assistance to mothers, day care for working parents, a health training program for women, legal assistance and language classes in Turkish and English.

They are also the only organization in Istanbul with a kid-friendly space where refugee children come for art classes, language classes and day care. 100 kids per week come to Upon arrival, we learned that The Refugee Support Center needs additional space to accommodate for the increasing numbers of Syrian refugees.

Based on their needs, Cause & Affect sprang to action, providing $1,000 worth of supplies to make the new space into a kid-friendly and educational environment. We purchased: tables, chairs, toys, easels, art supplies, floor mats and a slew of paper and art supplies. This photo is the finishes space, which is already providing a healthy space for Syrian refugee children to learn, play and dream of a better future.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Connecting with Egyptian Students to Help the Poor of Egypt

As part of our new initiative to inspire a new generation of micro-philanthropists, Cause & Affect partnered with students from Schutz American School in Alexandria, Egypt -- where C&A Founder Adam Carter is currently teaching middle school social studies -- to launch their latest project to provide blankets to the urban poor of Alexandria.

To carry out this "Blanket Distribution Project," students:
1) Researched poverty in Egypt;
2) Created their own posters to raise awareness;
3) Raised funds to provide blankets to impoverished residents;
4) Traveled to the Ras es-Soda community to distribute the blankets and smiles

Working with a wonderful local company called Transformational Textiles that produces blankets from fabric scraps, students raised enough money to purchase 350 blankets ($7 each). Cause & Affect Foundation chipped in $350 to reach our $2,800 goal because a Canadian donor agreed to match our funds. So in total, this initiative provided 800 blankets to help our recipients - many of which live in homes without roofs - get through a cold winter. 

Students then went to Ras es-Soda to deliver the blankets to the people in need. As you can see from the video, we also provided the $55 an elderly man in the community needed to purchase medicine to treat his Hepatitis C. The students had an amazing experience seeing how they were able to make such a profound difference in peoples' lives. This successful project is a model for how service learning can lead to positive change and global citizenship at the same time.

Please help us continue wonderful projects like this by making a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation with PayPal or credit card here