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Archive for March, 2013

Afghanistan Fundraising Goal $500 Closer!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 31, 2013

Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

As of the end of today we are $500.00 closer to our goal of raising the $800.00 needed for the remaining leg of my Afghan trip (from Abu Dhabi to Kabul and back).  As we approach the departure date of April 11th the more expensive the ticket will become, so we hope to have the airfare paid sooner rather than later.  We will keep you posted on our fundraising progress.


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Seeking Funds for April Afghan Mission

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 30, 2013

Alex Gowen by the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota

Alex Gowen by the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota

My mission to Afghanistan is still a “go” for April 11th.  As per the group’s requirements I have made arrangements for on-base accommodations in Kabul and have requested military escort while out on inspection.

At this point we are seeking funds to cover the final leg of the journey to AFG.  Tickets have been donated through Airlink by a participant company but will only get me as far as Abu Dhabi.  Total amount sought is currently 800, but as the 11th approaches the price will rise – time is of essence.

If you wish to assist us with this very important mission to save not only the lives of Afghan children, but children living in all current and former conflict zones, please donate.  This may be done either personally or via Paypal (go to and enter plus your donation amount).

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for any help you may provide.  Remember – the mission is not to get to AFG, it is to protect the people.

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First Fishermen Meeting of 2013 Concluded Successfully

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 30, 2013

Fishermen March 23 2013


On Saturday, March 23, members of The Fishermen gathered in Raleigh to discuss pressing issues.  Present were Richard Wilson, Dede Mabiki, Abby Kalainikas, Randy Bridges, Tom Anstey, Sarah Gowen, Alex Gowen and Natalie Reeves.  Not present but participating via email, phone, and Skype were Colette Colwell, Shawn Colwell, Shannon McGowan, Natalie Tita, Joanna LiVecchi, Karen Lumbu, Ravi Mehta, Tola Oni, Farhana Yasmin, and Janine Bryant.

Prominent matters presented to the group included:

1) Alex Gowen’s April 11th mission to Afghanistan
2) Potential April mission to the DR Congo
3) Fundraising
4) Abby Kalainikas’s SMTP Program for the Kyrgyz Republic
5) Website revision
6) Obtaining donated printing for our “Do Not Touch” MRE teaching aid for Afghanistan
7) Announcing the pending release of Joanna LiVecchi’s child abuse identification handbook
8) Initiating a Central American medical assistance program
9) Shipping arrangements for medical supplies to the Kisumu orphanage in Kenya
10) Shipping arrangements for hygiene and school supplies to the Kyrgyz Republic
11) Working with ISAF to assist children in Kandahar
12) Applying for a grant from the US Department of State

From the above topics the following was concluded:

  • It would be necessary for Alex Gowen to obtain on-base accommodation and military escort while off-base to ensure his security in Afghanistan.
  • The DR Congo mission plan was accepted and will proceed.
  • Abby Kalainikas has completed all paperwork necessary for the SMTP program and is currently collecting aid material for the children of the Kyrgyz Republic. Of particular need are school and hygiene supplies.
  • Consultants will be approached to assist us with our Central American medical program for orphanages.
  • We will work with ISAF if requested. A new member has been asked to join the group to better facilitate ISAF needs.
  • We will apply for a grant from the State Department for our MRE and IED/ERW-awareness program in April.

I – Alex Gowen – wish to thank all the staff members of The Fishermen for a very successful and productive meeting. 2012 and 2013 have been exceptionally fruitful years. With such dedicated, brilliant, and capable team members I am certain The Fishermen will continue to make a lingering difference in the lives of others.

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Afghanistan Inspection Tour Date Set

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 22, 2013

Mine Field in Badakhshan, Afghanistan


My tickets to Afghanistan have been approved and departure date set for April 11th.  Again, the primary purpose for my visit will be to meet with MACCA, Tabish, and ISAF, inspect schools and orphanages, and visit/photograph common landmine, ERW, and IED sites.   From the data collected I intend to produce the most effective teaching aid possible to protect the lives of Afghan children from explosive threats.  Every day 10 to 20 Afghan civilians are killed or maimed by landmines and other ERWs – to reduce that number by just one is worth the trip.  The same format can and will be used for all other current and former conflict regions world-wide.

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New DR Congo Plans Progressing

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 16, 2013

MONUSCO peacekeeper at the Kiwanja IDP Camp

We are in the process of making arrangements for our re-tasked mission to the DR Congo.  The purpose of this trip is to meet officials of aid agencies operating within North Kivu and to inspect clinics and IDP camps near the city of Goma.

Ravi, Karen, and I are talking with several UN departments and other NGOs within the North Kivu province and will have a solid itinerary shortly.  Once we are certain of our schedule we will finalize our plans and requests our tickets.  This should happen in the next 30 days (shortly after I return from Afghanistan).

The Enough Project has been a tremendous help in providing us with contacts and assisting us facilitate our work in the DR Congo.  Without the help of JD Steir, none of this would be possible. Thank you, JD!

Plans currently include meeting with officials of the UNHCR and MONUSCO, as well as HEAL, Synergie, World Relief, Children’s Voice, Let Africa Live, and several good friends of the Enough Project.  We also intend to make an excursion to the Kiwanja IDP camp to visit the World Relief clinic and the MONUSCO compound. If time permits, we may also visit the Kashalira and Bwalanda/Katwe IDP camps.

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Afghanistan Departure Date Set and Tickets Requested

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 16, 2013

Rual Schoiol in Afghanistan

I just posted my request for airfare to Kabul, Afghanistan.  The purpose of my trip, which is to occur in April, is to inspect schools and orphanages, review their MRE and ERW-awareness curriculum, distribute our “Do Not Touch” coloring book to those in need, and visit landmine, ERW, and IED sites.  The knowledge and images collected from this trip will be used by my team and the world’s top expert on landmines/ERWs to produce the most effective teaching aid possible to protect Afghan children from such dangers.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

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Afghanistan Field Excursion Being Planned

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 9, 2013


In order to gain a better understanding of the dangers faced by Afghan children regarding IEDs, ERWs, and landmines, I am planning a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in the next few months.  With the assistance of Dr. Wais Aria and MACCA, I will be visiting schools and orphanages to meet the children and will examine live ordinance in the field. The goal of this mission will be to produce a far more effective MRE/ERW awareness teaching aid to ensure the safety of Afghan children.  I will keep you posted on my travel plans as they progress.

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DR Congo Progress Report for March 2013

Posted by worldorphanrelief on March 9, 2013

MONUSCO troops in North Kivu.  Photo:  British embassy, Kinshasa

MONUSCO troops in North Kivu. Photo: British embassy, Kinshasa

Due to unrelenting complications in making arrangements for our medical mission to the DR Congo, we have decided to simplify our plans by dividing our trip into three separate segments:

1) We will deliver our medical supplies to a vetted clinic in Goma apart from our mission.
2) A small and experienced Fishermen team will coordinate with UNHCR and MONUSCO and will go in ahead of the medical mission to assess the situation within the IDP camps and gain first-hand knowledge of prominent security concerns.
3) After I am confident a medical mission can be carried out without danger to Fishermen staff we will execute our original plan of assisting a clinic within Goma, North Kivu.

We will not give up on helping the people of the DR Congo.  If it is determined that a manned medical mission cannot be conducted without a reasonable degree of security for my team we will focus on shipping medical supplies to a clinic which we have visited and vetted personally.  At this point I wish to thank the Enough Project, HEAL Africa, Sister Maureen, Catholic Charities of Bukavu, UNHCR, and MONUSCO for your continued support for our mission.

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