Abalimi is an urban agriculture and environmental action association operating in the socio-economically neglected townships of Khayelitsha, Nyanga and surrounding areas on the Cape Flats near Cape Town, South Africa. Abalimi means: “the Planters” in Xhosa, the predominant language in the communities that Abalimi works in. Abalimi supports local people and groups to initiate and maintain organic food growing and conservation projects as the basis for sustainable lifestyles, self-help job creation, poverty alleviation and environmental renewal.
The Synchronicity Foundation supported Abalimi for over ten years. It provided general funding as well as specific funding for the employment of “Animators.” Animators are trained seasonal fieldworkers and trainers who are employed on a contract basis from a growing pool of skilled organic gardeners. They oversee the training of larger groups, the management of nurseries and large gardens and are responsible for implementing new projects.
Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) is an international charity whose purpose is to transform children’s lives. ARK was founded by a group of senior figures in the alternative investment industry, pooling their skills and resources to improve the life chances of children. With a shared vision of collective philanthropy, ARK delivers high social returns on philanthropic investment.
ARK brings together passionate experts with the best talent from business. It has developed a strong results-driven model to identify, create and deliver innovative programs addressing critical issues in the areas of HIV/AIDS, family care/deinstitutionalization and education that are transformative, scalable and sustainable. ARK applies the same principles and disciplines to managing the charity as it would to running a business, focusing on the transformation of children’s lives through rigorous research, monitoring and evaluation. Synchronicity Foundation began supporting ARK in 2007, sponsoring the training of 20 health care workers in Mozambique so that they could help to save the lives of thousands of HIV+ mothers and children.
The African Elephant Conservation Trust aims to conserve Africa’s elephants within the context of human needs and pressures. Recognizing the crucial role of the long-term study of elephants in Africa to the overall conservation process, the Trust manages an endowment fund to support the Amboseli Elephant Research Project and similar projects.
The AECT was founded by Cynthia Moss, one of the most renowned conservationists in the world. Since the 1970s she and her research associates have identified and recorded more than 1,400 elephants. Without formal scientific training, but armed with a passion for learning, she has become the world-leading expert on African elephant family structure, life cycle, and behavior. Her research efforts contribute significantly to the conservation of the precious and dwindling African elephant population.
Synchronicity Foundation began supporting AECT in 2004. It provided support for their endowment fund so that they would have legacy funding when times were tough.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Carlos Peres has been studying wildlife community ecology in Amazonian forests, vertebrate responses to different forms of anthropogenic disturbance, and the biological criteria for designing large nature reserves. He co-directs four ecology and conservation research programs in neotropical forests, including the ecology of key timber and non-timber forest resources; patterns of vertebrate assemblage structure in Amazonian forests; the biological dynamics of hyper-disturbed and fragmented forest landscapes, and the biodiversity consequences of land-use change.
Synchronicity Foundation funded some of Carlos’s work in a large deforestation frontier of southern Amazonia, called Alta Floresta (a northern State of Mato Grosso). In partnership with Fundação Ecológica Cristalino this project tried to understand the ecological and socio-economic values of multiple land-uses. These findings were then used to design a land-use management and conservation planning system to help private landowners understand how to best set-aside their own primary forest reserves (and hence comply with Brazilian environmental legislation). The plan is to export lessons learnt to the rest of the Brazilian Amazon.
Road traffic injury is the leading cause of death and disability for children over age five in Africa, the continent with the world’s highest rates of road traffic injury. Amend develops, implements, evaluates, and brings to scale public health programs to prevent those injuries before they happen. Building on its successes in Ghana, Amend opened its second program-country office in Tanzania, where it is adapting and implementing its flagship ‘Be Seen, Be Safe’ campaign. This includes road safety lessons in primary schools, the distribution of printed road safety materials, working with the media to better report road safety issues, and social marketing of reflector-enhanced school bags. All of Amend’s program work is continually evaluated for efficacy and impact, using rigorous scientific analysis. Amend has refined ‘Be Seen, Be Safe’ into a data-backed model that can be scaled up throughout the developing world.
The Synchronicity Foundation supported Amend to expand the reach of their primary school road safety programs in Ghana and Tanzania. Some of this support was earmarked to recruit, train, and put into the field four additional teams of program associates. Each team of program associates can reach approximately 14,000 primary school children at high-risk of road traffic injury in just a few months.
Bees for Development assists beekeepers living in poor and remote areas of the world – lifting them out of poverty through beekeeping. It works with community groups and associations, raising the profile of apiculture in developing countries to ensure a sustainable future for bees, people and the environment. Bees for Development also publishes a journal that reaches 100 countries and provides up-to-date information and research, ideas, resources and alliances. They also offer expert consultancy and assist with skills training, project planning and research around the world. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding to Bees for Development Trust to help with production and global distribution of its journal.
Bent On Learning is an NGO that teaches yoga to New York City public school children. It formed in 2001 when three New York City yoga teachers met by chance in their mutual and passionate pursuit of bringing yoga to urban youth. They began as a small, volunteer effort but have grown quickly. After the events of September 11th, New Visions for Public Schools tapped Bent On Learning to coordinate a yoga program to help children to heal and to manage post-traumatic stress. Bent On Learning also offers special classes for students with learning disabilities and for pregnant teens as well as classes for teachers to learn ways to incorporate yoga into their teaching. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding to Bent on Learning.
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) is a non-profit organization with the vision to establish the realization of Bornean orangutan conservation in its habitat with the community’s participation. Started in 1991, currently BOSF is the largest orangutan rescue and rehabilitation organization in the world, taking care of more than 850 orangutans (as of December 2011) with the support of 420 highly dedicated staff with a deep affection towards wild animals and their habitat, as well as experts in biodiversity, ecology, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, community empowerment, education, and orangutan health care. The Synchronicity Foundation gave core funding support to BOS and also helped them to secure land in Indonesia for the site.
The China Exploration and Research Society (CERS) aims to explore remote regions of China, conduct multi-disciplinary research, conserve nature and culture, and educate through dissemination of results in popular channels. It has numerous projects throughout China, and its work is highly regarded at the international level.
Wong How Man, President and Founder of CERS, initiated a cross border collaboration project between Mongolia and China to protect the rare and indigenous Asiatic Beavers. As well as helping to conserve this remarkable species, on the verge of extinction, this endeavor serves as a peaceful ambassador between two countries with a common border and a common interest in the future of conservation. The Synchronicity Foundation sponsored three years of research on this programme.
Enable Ethiopia works with communities in remote rural Ethiopia to help them improve their own lives. It works to ensure that communities are actively involved in the selection of projects and are responsible for the projects’ execution and sustainability. It provides funding for resources and technical assistance through local partners. It does not seek to provide ‘aid’, but aims to improve health, infrastructure and education so that communities can be empowered to support themselves and invest in their own futures. The Synchronicity Foundation helped to fund twelve community water projects in Debark, Ethiopia. Projects involved creating springs and wells and repairing existing infrastructure.
The EDGE of Existence program is a Zoological Society of London research and conservation initiative designed to highlight and conserve the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. These species have few close relatives and are extremely distinct in the way they look, live and behave. These unique species are also on the verge of extinction and if they disappear there will be nothing left of them on the planet. Alarmingly, two-thirds of the top 100 EDGE species are currently receiving little or no conservation attention. The EDGE of Existence program aims to address this issue by implementing conservation strategies for all of these species within the next five years.
In 2008, the Synchronicity Foundation secured funding for the first stage of a plan to save Sri Lanka’s threatened slender lorises, ranked 22nd in the Top 100 EDGE Mammals.
Synchronicity Earth continues to support EDGE of Existence.
The Fondation H. Looser is a charity that supports children and people with disabilities by working with highly qualified local organisations. They help organisations that can educate local people and supervise specific projects. They finance infrastructures and care centers for orphans and street children as well as help to develop or renovate school facilities in different countries in Asia and Africa. In Switzerland they worked on a project to integrate people with disabilities into the work arena, and also gave guidance and training opportunities to parents, teachers and local authorities in the field of sexual child abuse. The Synchronicity Foundation provided funding for the Child Support Network (CSN) through Fondation H. Looser. This is a centre for around 250 children based in Poipet, Cambodia who have been trafficked into Banghkok for street work and prostitution. The centre cares for these children until it can determine where they came from. It hopes to return all children to their families once it has identified a viable solution with each family so that these horrific experiences are not repeated.
The Ganaka International School for Inclusive Education is a school in Jos, Nigeria. It set out to become a model for all schools in Nigeria. It supports children with and without both physical and learning disabilities and gives vocational training to foster self-reliance and independence. Ganaka makes basic education available to children who would otherwise be excluded because of disability discrimination. The school is run by Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus, a non-profit collection of religious women that has been in existence for 75 years. They run many schools throughout Nigeria and teach at all levels from nursery to university level and they have nurses and doctors in the medical field. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding support for the Ganaka International School for Inclusive Education from 2005 to 2011.
Greatmore Studios was established in November 1998 in Woodstock, Cape Town, in response to a critical need for studio space and art-making facilities by a cross-section of the city’s artists. Fourteen studios are rented as private spaces where local artists work on a full-time basis. An additional three studios are reserved for visiting artists. Twelve residencies in the Visiting Artists’ Program (VAP) are available each year, with three artists setting up studio at Greatmore for up to three months.
All artists in residence at Greatmore are required to exhibit their work in an open studio, exhibition space or gallery during their stay. Resident artists are also required to participate in outreach programs. These activities range from slide shows and workshops to lectures and presentations at various local institutions and schools as well as in communities. The Synchronicity Foundation helped to fund renovation of the studios so that the space could be better utilized.
The 200+ children attending Had Draa Elementary school, in Essaouira Province, Morocco, are constantly exposed to many health risks due to the lack of functioning bathroom facilities. The 20-year old bathrooms also hamper health education as students cannot be expected to put into practice new and positive health behaviors when there is no running water or functioning latrine. As a result of such poor conditions many young boys do not use these bathrooms and instead defecate in the old building ruins nearby creating additional health risks. Girls on the other hand choose not to attend school due to the situation which affords them no privacy.
The Synchronicity Foundation helped to fund the construction of new bathrooms for children and teachers and for the director of hygiene at the local hospital to visit and instruct children on proper hand washing and basic hygiene.
Jessica and Adam met Winnie Kiiru, a native Kenyan woman, through the African Elephant Conservation Trust. The Synchronicity Foundation helped to fund her PhD research in biodiversity management and human-elephant conflict under the auspices of AECT in Amboseli National Park, Kenya and Cynthia Moss.
Human-elephant conflict is an important threat to elephant conservation in Africa and Asia. It is particularly a problem where an elephant’s range interferes with high potential agricultural areas. Using the Amboseli elephants and their surrounds as her study site, Winnie’s long-term objective is to contribute towards resolving the escalating human-elephant conflict in that ecosystem. The study aims to investigate the factors that determine human-elephant conflict in the Amboseli ecosystem and contribute towards the development of a local conflict management strategy, balancing conservation objectives and human development needs.
Ikamva Labantu (a Xhosa phrase meaning ‘The Future of Our Nation’) is an NGO umbrella organization for more than 1,000 community-based and community-owned programs in the townships of South Africa. The founder, Helen Lieberman, became involved in the townships surrounding Cape Town more than forty years ago, where she and community concerned activists initiated workable solutions to alleviate the enormous suffering they saw around them.
The Synchronicity Foundation supported two aspects of this network – Ithemba Labantwana (‘Hope for Our Children’) and the Ikamva School Readiness Program which has now been renamed the Development Through Play Programme. The first is a peer support organization of pre-school practitioners which was established over 20 years ago to provide nutritious meals and a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment for young children. Ikamva is responding to the fact that when township parents go off to work in the cities and suburbs, they often have to leave their young children in the care of older children, or in unreliable environments. The surrogate “Mamas,” in these daycare centers are skilled in childcare and teaching, and are always there for those bright faces, morning after morning, day after day.
Development Through Play, was a pilot program created to combat the failure rate of children in Grade 1. This program provides learning experiences to help children develop their potential fully and equip them with all the skills required before entry into formal education. In 2000 Ikamva teamed up with an ex-school inspector who developed an innovative play program that focuses on children’s gross motor and fine motor skills, and introduces pre-math and language skills to young children.
More recently, The Synchronicity Foundation supported a new project within Ikamva Labantu’s spectrum called the National Food Security Programme. Its vision is to initiate developmental programs with a purpose of instituting sustainable food production programs with a potential for commercialization. To that end they hope to mobilize knowledge, skills and resources from around South Africa and the world, so that the maximum outcome of the Food Security Programme is realized. Once food production far exceeds subsistence requirements, they will introduce relevant business skills and resources for the commercialization of the program.
Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network has been working for a better relationship between wildlife, especially marine mammals, and the human race since 1996. One of their first activities was to lead an action that resulted in Japan’s first release of dolphins and whales from fisherman’s nets. In 1986 the moratorium on hunting whales actually increased the value of dolphin meat. While much of the world opposes the hunting of these mammals, Japan has introduced yearly “quotas” and made the hunting of dolphins acceptable. While there is certain regulation with regard to population, and healthy stocks, the regulations are not always imposed, and the fishery agencies do not always abide by the rules. Thus, poaching is rampant, drive fishery occurs, and in many cases dolphins and porpoises endure unnecessary agony when being slaughtered. Further still, much of the meat is highly contaminated, and often sold as whale meat when it is actually dolphin meat or meat from another animal.
IKAN consider dolphins and whales as wild animals, with low breeding rates that should not be commercially used or hunted. They also believe that captive breeding can actually break apart pods and misguides the human observer about the true nature of the mammals. Theirs is an upward battle, fighting against bureaucracy and common perception, and negotiating rights in an arena that exists in the oceans, about mammals that we can only observe. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding support to IKAN for over 10 years from 2001 to 2012.
The ISIS Foundation aims to make a positive difference to the lives of children, largely through health and educational projects. They partner with local organisations in Nepal and Uganda and assist them to develop community projects. In Uganda, ISIS works extensively with The Kiwoko Hospital located 55 miles north of Kampala, in the middle of what was the infamous “Luwero Triangle”. By the end of the civil war in 1986, the area was devastated. Almost all local infrastructure had been destroyed and much of the population had fled. Few families survived without having members of the family killed. The area was the scene of substantial guerilla activity during the civil war and some hundreds of thousands of people are thought to have died over a five-year period. Around half a million people live in the Luwero district, mainly involved in agriculture (cassava, sweet potatoes, coffee, maize and so on). It is one of the poorest districts in Uganda. Recently, ISIS updated the Neo-natal ICU unit at The Kiwoko Hospital and with support from the Synchronicity Foundation it updated the maternity ward.
The Kids Cookery School was started in Fiona Hamilton-Fairley’s home in West Acton on the outskirts of London, UK. She has a child with special needs, and as a trained chef, found that cooking together was one of the best ways that she could communicate with him. The next thing she knew, a few years had gone by, and given the lack of funding for home economics in the UK schools, children were drawn to her home to learn about cooking and nutrition. She had 300 children cycling in and out of her home. Kids that would normally grab a Big Mac, and a candy bar, were aching to learn about vegetables. And then one day Fiona realized that she was onto something. So she registered herself as a charity, found terrific premises not far from home and created a teaching kitchen that can accommodate special needs kids, as well as school groups and adults, and carried on. It has been more than five years since she became a charity and with a combination of sponsorships for the appliances and food, and donations she has seen over 10,000 children in her kitchen. Their vision is to roll these schools out throughout the country – in time – and appeal to a problem in modern society that is seemingly okay with young children and teenagers eating poorly. The Synchronicity Foundation began supporting The Kids Cookery School in 2005 and supported them over three years.
The Link – SA Fund for Tertiary Education in South Africa provides scholarships for academically talented, but financially disadvantaged students to study practical disciplines. Its aim is to equip South Africans with skills that will create employment, raise living standards and uplift communities. To achieve this goal, the trust applies for donations to fund scholarships in selected disciplines, namely Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and other Life Science faculties, Engineering, Law and Commerce. Grants cover tuition costs, and where appropriate, a provision for textbooks and living expenses. In addition to financial support, the fund also provides candidates with a comprehensive mentoring and support program to ensure that candidates integrate successfully into university and to facilitate a smooth transition into the workplace. Selection for candidates is based strictly on academic ability – targeting South Africa’s brightest disadvantaged students. The Synchronicity Foundation began supporting this programme in 2000.
A few years ago the Synchronicity Foundation became interested in having a greater impact and discussed with Link-SA the possibility of sponsoring the training of one Doctor. Jessica and Adam liked the idea of having a concentrated impact on one student’s life and following their progress. They also liked the idea of having a relationship with this person through time. Link-SA had a deserving list of medical students from which to choose and while not an easy decision, they identified one student and supported her education costs for the whole of his medical studies through to qualification as a doctor. The Synchronicity Foundation went on to support another medical student in the same way.
MaAfrika Tikkun is an NGO doing impressive work in a number of areas around South Africa. The word Tikkun is a Kabalistic term which roughly means “repair of the world.”
The organization has been deeply involved with Orange Farm, a township 40km south of Johannesburg, South Africa since 2002. More than 350,000 families live there; it is a community plagued with poverty, high unemployment, violence and lack of infrastructure. Rape and abuse of young children is on the increase and death has become a norm in the area. The incident of HIV/AIDS is alarming, resulting in increasing numbers of orphans and child-headed families. In Orange Farm, MaAfrika Tikkun have become patrons to many projects including Home Base Care training for local people who in turn help counsel, monitor, take care of and teach the community about wellbeing, health and family skills. They identify the most at-risk homes and facilitate getting health care where needed.
The Synchronicity Foundation funded a crèche for children whose parents were suffering from AIDS related illnesses, or who were living in child-headed households and who were otherwise housebound, with nothing to do and nowhere to go. The crèche continues to provide a safe place for these children, where they are looked after by the Caregivers, fed, loved, and given a chance to be children. It also serves as a haven for the Home Base Caregiver’s own children, so that they can go out into the field and do their jobs, knowing that their children are safe. They also funded the Home Based Caregiver programme, which has 200 caregivers in its network who look after over 400 homes that they visit daily to care for bedridden HIV infected patients.
Each year tens of thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of animals suffer death and injury as a result of landmines. Landmines not only cripple and kill, but they generate fear, inhibit socio-economic growth and prevent the use of otherwise productive land. They also cause people to become internally displaced, lead to slow delivery of government and health services, force migration to crowded cities, cause overuse of accessible lands, render survivors with disabilities jobless and unable to provide for the family, and prevent access to drinking water, critical resources and infrastructure. These hidden killers stay active long after conflict is over.
Traditional de-mining techniques utilizing metal detectors and probes have only scratched the surface of the problem. The Marshall Legacy Institute has developed a K-9 mine detection program that trains dogs for mine clearing. The integration of dogs with machines and manual techniques accelerates the pace of mine clearance operations.
In 2005 The Synchronicity Foundation sponsored the acquisition, training and delivery of a certified mine detection dog to be utilized in a Sri Lanka. To date, Fernandez is enjoying a successful career sniffing out dangerous landmines and making the region safer for all. In 2006, the Synchronicity Foundation sponsored another dog, Ronny, who works in Azerbaijan. And in 2008 it sponsored a third dog, Raka, who also works in Afghanistan.
Football is the national sport in Paraguay and is an important part of local and national culture. With minimal natural resources, Paraguayans rely heavily on agriculture for their livelihoods and, after a long day of work in the fields, get together for a game of football. Whoever owns a ball is the most popular player because no other equipment is needed. Most players are barefoot and there are no nets or cones to mark the goal.
The Mboiy Futbol Club, initially sponsored by The Synchronicity Foundation, is the dream of a few people who have a special connection with the youth of Mboiy. By having a professional size field to practice on, the players are now able to improve their skills and abilities as individuals and as a team. This field has allowed the Mboiy team to become more competitive as other teams will travel to Mboiy to play.
The Mboiy Futbol Club benefits the entire community. The goal is to have three fields, allowing for younger players, both boys and girls, to gain experience and training on a larger field. The Women’s Committee (another Synchronicity project) sells home-baked goods at the concession stands on game days and has a small store available to the public. The land surrounding the fields has been reforested to provide shade for spectators and a children’s park has been built to provide a safe place for children of all ages to play.
From 12th-18th April 2008, the Utah Share a Smile Foundation, in partnership with the Hassan II Foundation and the Handicap Association of Zagora, conducted a medical outreach caravan for the benefit of the of the underserved population of the province of Zagora, in the southern desert region of Morocco. Synchronicity Foundation’s donation provided the Association with the means to transport over 100 people with disabilities and chronic illnesses from the remote village of Tafetchna to the medical caravan’s point of contact in the city of Zagora (60 miles), giving them desperately needed access to specialized care.
The caravan itself focused on five major areas: eye care and surgery, dermatology, cardiology, dental care and specialized care for people with physical disabilities. The villagers of Tafetchna were able to see specialists in all five areas, many of them for the first time.
The Handicap Association of Zagora is the only organization of its kind in the province, doing on-the-ground organization to ensure delivery of specialized care for people with physical disabilities during each medical caravan that passes through the region (approx. 2 per year). The Association’s long-term goal is to develop a specialized centre in Zagora providing literacy support and professional training for its disabled population.
The New Israel Fund (NEF) works to strengthen Israel’s democracy and to promote freedom, justice and equality for all of Israel’s citizens. A philanthropic partnership of Israelis, North Americans and Europeans, NEF is dedicated to defining the cutting edge of social change with themes ranging from promoting democracy, human rights, tolerance and social justice, religious freedom and environmentalism. One arm purely gives out grants and another arm assists grassroots NGOs with training, workshops, written materials and knowledge. The Synchronicity Foundation divided its support between the foundation as a whole to do with as they see fit and to one of their partnerships The Green Environmental Fund (GEF) whose mission is to build the capacity of the environmental movement by providing financial assistance, technical assistance and professional guidance and oversight to grassroots and other organizations. The GEF is dedicated to enhancing quality of life in Israel by promoting a healthy and sustainable environment working in areas of pollution and its negative impact, air-quality, water resource initiatives, and the protection ecosystems and biodiversity.
One to One Children’s Fund is a charitable organization based in London, working to promote child welfare in areas of the world dominated by poverty, hardship, conflict and race-discrimination, or within cultures that have traditionally failed to acknowledge the rights and needs of young people. Its goal is to develop projects that will lead to lasting change.
The Synchronicity Foundation supported an Arab/Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, Israel for disadvantaged youths. The centre provides a safe place for young children to play together, have a good meal, receive counseling and study. The Synchronicity Foundation also supported the expansion of an after-school center for Israeli and Palestinian high-school children, giving them an opportunity to use an interactive website designed to help them deal with conflict-related trauma.
The Synchronicity Foundation also supported One to One’s work in Cape Town, South Africa. One to One established a link with the most prominent hospital in SA – Groote Schuur – and has been instrumental in providing Anti-Retroviral Treatment for children with AIDS through the programme Kidzpositive. When it began, this was a breakthrough project as the government had taken a back seat to supplying ARVs. But now, the government is changing its ways, and One to One is able to roll out projects further afield. With government support One to One has since expanded its work into the Eastern Cape; the government has committed to supplying ARVs for the children; and One to One supplies nutritional supplements, staff training and community support.
Partners in Compassion (PC) is a Cambodian NGO and is primarily responsible for running the Wat Opot Project, which was started in February of 2001 to assist families living with HIV/AIDS. The Project is located on a Buddhist Wat, 47 km South of Phnom Penh. It is unique in that it is a cooperative effort between Buddhists and Christians.
The main structure was completed in February of 2002 and serves as a hospital for HIV patients, as well as a clinic for HIV patients and their families. The site also houses the Child Haven Center, which provides shelter for children, as well as staff housing, offices for children’s programs and home care teams, a dining hall and a crematorium. The latter can also be used by the local community. The site is surrounded by Mango groves and farmland. Meditation gardens have also been created for patients and their carers. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding for the programme between 2000 and 2009.
PeaceJam is an education-based peace initiative aimed at bettering the lives and outlooks for inner-city, urban youth. Students study concepts of racism, violence, and peace. They determine what values go into making a peacemaker in their schools, neighborhoods, and the world. And they design and implement community service projects based on their understandings. A major portion of the time is spent on literally studying the actions and lives of Nobel Laureates from around the world, so that the notion of peace takes on real meaning. And then, working closely with the Nobel Laureates in workshops, the students are able to meet these heroes face to face and hear their messages for themselves. The studies of PeaceJam are also supplemented by outings – where possible – so that the participants can get a better sense of their total-environments, beyond the often impoverished conditions of their home lives.
The Synchronicity Foundation provided support specifically for the Peace Jam group in Cape Town, South Africa. At the time of funding, Peace Jam South Africa was working with 36 peace clubs and youth organisations in the broader Cape Metropolitan area. They were also running a pilot project with 6 high schools, motivating young people to get tested for HIV/AIDS. This work involved making use of expressive arts– spoken word, drama and music.
In December 2005 One to One Children’s Fund arranged a successful forum on healthcare in Cape Town, South Africa that attracted 22 treatment teams from the medical field from eight countries in Africa. It was the first time a pan-national conference for front-line workers was held. Their aim was to look into developing and improving treatment models for the delivery of health care and ARV therapy in sub-Saharan Africa. It was a remarkable success, and has now been rolled out into its own organization called PATA – Pediatric Aids Treatment for Africa.
In 2007 the PATA forum was held in Swaziland, one of the countries worst affected by HIV/AIDS. The two key issues addressed were ‘TB/HIV in children’ and ‘The Adolescent with HIV’. In 2008, the forum was held in Kigali, Rwanda. One of the main topics discussed was ‘Care for the Very Young Infant’. To date, over a hundred clinics from over 20 countries have joined the PATA network. These PATA-affiliated clinics are treating 60,000 children who have HIV. This accounts for 30% of children in Africa who are receiving treatment for HIV. Synchronicity Foundation has provided core funding support to PATA from 2006 to 2009.
Refugees International generates lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for displaced people around the world, and works to end the conditions that create displacement. It takes a rights-based approach to advocacy on behalf of refugees and displaced persons. It sends constituents to affected areas to witness first-hand the problems and to meet and interview the local people and agencies to identify the best possible solutions. Refugees International then works quickly to provide immediate emergency assistance and works thoughtfully to advocate for policy change globally. The Synchronicity Foundation supported Refugees International from 2004 to 2011. Its support was used across the organisation’s work with and for refugees in Central Africa, Darfur and Iraq.
Zana Briski’s REVERENCE is a traveling exhibit of large-scale photographs, film and music housed in a movable 10,000 square ft. structure designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Inspired by dreams of a praying mantis, REVERENCE challenges us to rethink our relationship to the earth and her creatures by bringing us face to face with insects – not as scientific curiosities, but as individual sentient beings. Opening in New York City, REVERENCE will continue its journey to city parks around the world. The Synchronicity Foundation helped Zana with core funding to get work done for the big anticipated project in December 2012 in NYC.
Save the Rhino International works to conserve genetically viable populations of critically endangered rhinoceros species in the wild. It does this by fundraising for and making grants to rhino and community-based conservation projects in Africa and Asia. It also runs environmental education programs that teach children and adults about the importance of conserving natural resources, and addressing human-wildlife issues. It supports anti-poaching and monitoring patrols, as well as translocations of established populations ready be reintroduced into former habitats. Finally, it conducts research into the threats to rhino survival and alternatives to the use of the rhino horn. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding support to Save the Rhino.
The Shark Trust promotes the study, management and conservation of sharks, skates and rays. It collaborates with other groups concerned with sharks, skate and ray conservation issues, including other NGOs, commercial fisherman, recreational sea anglers, divers, yachtsmen and all those who want to ensure the future survival of these fascinating but vulnerable animals. The Synchronicity Foundation provided core funding support to The Shark Trust.
Sharks have become particularly vulnerable due to the increase in “finning” for culinary purposes in the Far-East (Fishermen catch sharks, cut off their fins and dump the shark back into the sea, leaving them to drown); there is an increased trade in shark meat in Australia; in addition, it is estimated that we kill about 100 million sharks per year as ‘bycatch’ or in targeted shark fisheries – a level of exploitation that is unsustainable. The decline in shark numbers has led to an increase in the ‘value’ of shark fins, increasing yet further the vulnerability of the species.
SMILE is a dynamic national community organization whose aim is to teach English as a second language to students from Grades 4-7 throughout South Africa. Its focus, at all levels, is on communication skills – on improving learners’ confidence and enabling people to communicate socially at the work place and in all aspects of their daily lives. SMILE’s programs are run in conjunction with teacher training and support, both in and out of the classroom, with the aim of empowering teachers, learners and the whole community.
The Synchronicity Foundation funded Classroom Reinforcement and Teacher Training Programs in the farming region of KwaZulu Natal. They began supporting SMILE in 2000. Since this time it supported over 3000 children and 75 teachers and facilitators across numerous schools.
Yoga for the Special Child is a comprehensive program of yoga techniques developed by Sonia Sumar designed to enhance the natural development of children with special needs. Jo Manuel trained extensively with Sonia and is the founder of the Special Yoga Centre in London. The Centre is the UK base for ‘Yoga for the Special Child’ and offers sessions for individual children, as well as specialized training for yoga teachers in this area. It works with infants and children with a variety of conditions including Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, ADD, ADHD, spina bifida, dyspraxia, and other physical and developmental difficulties. It believes that every child is special, and no label can define or limit their potential for positive change. The Synchronicity Foundation supported building rental costs for the Special Yoga Centre from 2005 to 2010.
Siyakhula pre-school was started in 1997 in the informal settlement of Qolweni in Plettenburg Bay in the Western Cape of South Africa. The school is directed by Nokwesi Mdatyulwa. who is assisted by 4 full-time, professionally trained teachers and a helper who cooks and cares for the children. Siyakhula is funded privately through support form individuals, corporations and philanthropic foundations.
The Synchronicity Foundation sponsored the building of a classroom for art and other creative studies including painting, dance and music appreciation. It enabled Ryan Arenson, a professional artist to coordinate and teach learners about color, line, shape, form and texture. Developing the children’s sense of identity, self-expression and culture Squid Night Club art classes aim to encourage children to make creative choices in their lives. Besides general enjoyment, learners also show signs of improved motor coordination skill, concentration, enthusiasm and more creative problem-solving skills in their art and other curriculum studies.
Squid Creative Studios (SCS) is a non-profit organization in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. It is an initiative of community members and artists who have established a cultural centre to enrich and serve the community of Plettenberg Bay, particularly the informal settlements of Qolweni and Bossiesgif. All activities undertaken at the studio have a creative emphasis. Currently the centre hosts a group of approximately 20 people with special needs who occupy the space in the morning. They engage in bead-making, painting, card making, knitting, carpentry, gardening and sports. The studio also provides a safe venue for children to engage in creative after-school activities. Teachers and volunteers are available daily to supervise and facilitate play and homework. In the evenings, the studio is available for various groups to practice music, traditional dancing, gumboot dancing, singing, play rehearsals as well as to learn judo and tai chi.
Through combining fine art, history of art, craft making and higher education along side play, sport and other cultural activities, the community has access to a space whereby cultural exchange and personal expression are possible. It is the hope of all those involved with SCS, that the facility provided by the Synchronicity Foundation continues to empower and inspire all those who participate in its activities.
While volunteering on medical missions to Guatemala, Nancy Hughes of Eugene, Oregon encountered an alarming number of women and children with upper respiratory illnesses and serious burns. She discovered that these injuries were often caused by open campfires inside homes. In addition, the families were deforesting nearby forests for firewood. Nancy tried to address this. She began taking teams of volunteers to install stoves in Guatemala and has since expanded the project to El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico through Rotary Clubs
Synchronicity Foundation Supported Stove Team International between 2007 and 2010. In addition to helping with funding for stove production, Synchronicity Foundation funds also allowed StoveTeam International to take advantage of other opportunities for community assistance. For example, it launched a small project in a Maya village with the collaboration of volunteer dentists from the US and El Salvador.
Tolga Bat Rescue & Research is a community group that values education, community partnerships and volunteering while working specifically for bats (mainly flying foxes) and their habitat in Australia. It rescues, rehabilitates and releases 200-400 bats a year, and provides sanctuary for those unable to be returned to the wild. It raises public awareness of issues affecting bats, advocates for their conservation and is actively involved with research and education communities. Flying foxes are keystone species for the health of our forests, through their role as pollinators and seed dispersers. Besides birds, they are one of the few species that can disperse seeds across a fragmented landscape. Insectivorous bats play a very important role by keeping insect numbers in check- both for human comfort and farming.
The project gets its name from the Tolga Scrub, a fragment of critically endangered Mabi rainforest that is home to thousands of fruit bats, and in conjunction shares some responsibility for the repair and protection of this Scrub. The Synchronicity Foundation supported the organisation in several areas: micro-chipping bats for monitoring once released, improving release cages and fencing for bats, updating the communal space and facilities for volunteers, and developing a Visitor Center.
The Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF) alleviates poverty by tackling its causes at grassroots level. Initially TCF focused its efforts in India, but recently expanded to include Nigeria. Their fundamental philosophy is of “Caring Capitalism” because they believe passionately that the human face of capitalism is a potent force of good. Linking entrepreneurs and professionals with the impoverished, TCF focuses its efforts on Rural Primary Health Care, Rural Water Resource Management, and Eye Care. The Synchronicity Foundation supported TCF to set up clinics in Nigeria
Tawatchai Changul received a B.Ed degree in Thailand, a Dip TEFL from Sydney University and a M.Ed from Srinakarintarawirote University in Bangkok, and is currently a secondary school director in the Uthaithani province, a rural area on the central Thai plain, north of Bangkok and stretching west to the mountainous Myanmar border region. With Synchronicity Foundation’s support, he set up a scholarship fund for poor and promising secondary school (8th Grade) students in the province who would be unable to continue their education without financial help. Many excellent students have to drop out of secondary school, or forego tertiary education, because their parents are too poor to pay school fees and need their children to work to supplement the meager family income. Once a year, awards are given to “outstanding” 8th Grade students from poor families who demonstrate high academic achievement and positive leadership skills.
Ten lots of scholarships were awarded, benefitting around 550 students. Synchronicity Foundation also awarded smaller amounts to about 150 elementary students in 30 schools in the Thapthan District. In addition, the Synchronicity Foundation supported Tawatchai’s school by building a 4-bed medical clinic for students and teachers, a canteen, a paved road and a musical classroom, as well as subsidizing sports activities.
Village Focus International (VFI) is a development NGO that works with poor and marginalized people, including women, ethnic minorities, and people living in remote areas in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). VFI has one primary program (Village Life and Leadership) and four projects: Health, Education, Leadership, and Land and Livelihoods. Through their programme, they focus on forest use and management, livelihood development, upland food security (including all aspects of agriculture development, including farmer field schools, small-scale irrigation, livestock raising and marketing issues). In addition, their programme raises awareness about the trafficking of women and children providing youth development opportunities, education and training, ultimately promoting alternative livelihoods.
The Synchronicity Foundation provided funding for VFI’s Land and Livelihoods program, with specific support to food security issues. Since 2006, the Synchronicity Foundation provided support to teach farmers best practices in sustainable agriculture at the village level. From 2008, its support focused on VFI’s new Green Earth Farm and Research Centre (Green Earth), which is a training facility located in the midst of hundreds of villages in southern Laos and dedicated to appropriate technology, piloting of innovative ideas, introducing new and tested strategies to address food insecurity, and linking farmers to markets, to one another, to other organizations and to new ideas and opportunities.
The expanse of Southern Morocco between the High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara is an arid and largely rural area. Access to reliable, potable sources of water is an issue confronting a large portion of the isolated rural villages in this area. Amellagou is one such village, with a majority of the population using private wells and irrigation canals as their potable water source. The entire community faces health risks due to water born and diarrheal diseases and inadequate sanitation practices; however a major focal point is the local middle school, student boarding house, and health clinic. These three municipal buildings have latrine facilities, cafeteria areas, showers and sinks that all remain closed off and unused due to the lack of running, treated water. As a result, the middle school children use anywhere outside as lavatory facilities and the nursing staff are unable to wash hands in between patients.
The village has a water reservoir that supplies piped potable water to the surrounding area (approximately 75 families) for an hour a day. The middle school staff, clinic medical staff, and local government officials have all come together to find a sustainable solution for the sanitation problem by installing a private pipeline from the community reservoir to additional smaller reservoirs located on top of the school and medical facilities; thus allowing access to running treated water 24 hours a day. The Synchronicity Foundation funded the building of a pipeline for this project.
The women’s committee of Mboiy is a group of women who were brought together by the common desire to improve the wellbeing of their families and community. The group works to raise funds for ill community members, church sponsored events and community projects. They have participated in a variety of training and activities, from macramé and improved gardening techniques, to soy cooking classes and basic accounting. They have also organized community wide rabies vaccinations for dogs.
The Synchronicity Foundation supported the group to start a small-scale income-generating project that benefits the women’s group, their families and the local farmers who sell their products to the committee at a fair price. The initial funds were used to open a bank account, to purchase four grain silos, one mill and a packaging machine. The remaining funds are used as the group’s capital, to be withdrawn and used according to the harvest cycle, to buy corn, beans and yucca from local farmers. After purchasing the grains at a fair price from the farmer, they will be stored in a silo until they are sold in quantity to a cooperative or converted into flour, packaged and sold locally. The profit from the grain and flour sales will be reinvested into the project’s capital to then be used to purchase increasing amounts of grain from the local farmers.
Since inception of this project, their operation has grown and their sales have doubled. The word spread throughout the community that the women’s group sells seeds and flour cheaper than any stores in the area. More recently, the women began to make a profit. This positive experience has lead to a growing demand for diversified products and they are now expanding into the production of corn-based feed for farm animals. With Synchronicity Foundation support, the Women’s Committee was also able to purchase 2.5 acres of land, storage facilities, industrial grinders and mixers, a packing machine, a granulated silo, a commercial refrigerator and various other pertinent materials needed for maintenance and production. They built a store where they now grind corn into corn flour and sell it back to the community.