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The Ebola Orphans of Congo

Posted by worldorphanrelief on February 11, 2019

In late July/August, Kate and I will be attempt our first mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo.  We have been friends to the people of the DRC since 2012 and have delivered approximately $30,000 of medical aid, but this will be the first manned expedition.

As opposed to our original plans to tour North and South Kivu – an area which remains rife with conflict and complex IDP concerns – we plan to limit our activities to Kikwit and the surrounding communities.  This area is typically overlooked by aid agencies – a deficiency we wish to address.

DRC Ebola 9 2018

However, there is another issue which needs addressing – children who have been orphaned by the recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus. According to the latest reports by UNICEF there are over 400 children who have been orphaned by Ebola, but few aid agencies have responded to the call for their care. Many of these children are stigmatized and subsequently abandoned. Since orphaned children are our primary focus we must attempt to assist however possible.
When we travel to Congo this summer we will try to visit orphanages caring for these children. Our goal is to provide aid and attention, as well as compile a special report on their mental/physical condition as well as quality of care. This report will be presented to the UN.

		
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Colombia Mission 1 a Go!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on February 10, 2019

I will be traveling to Colombia to help Venezuelan refugees at the end of February or beginning of March.  This will be a 1 week fact-finding excursion.  I will also help a family obtain refugee status to enter the United States.  This will be the beginning of many visits to Colombia to help the people of Venezuela.

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Ukraine Mission 9 a Success!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on February 10, 2019

Though we faced health complications and harsh weather, Kate and I completed all of our goals for UA Mission 9.  We met with Dasha in Kyiv and are continuing the planning of a benefit concert and art auction to help pay for her rehabilitation.  We also met with the mother of Nicola, who is currently recovering from surgery to correct her spina bifida and resultant hydrocephalus, and launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the family afford her rehabilitation regimen.  We also delivered $10,000 of medical equipment and surgical instruments to the Lysychansk Maternity Hospital, and visited the Lysychansk State Medical College to lecture to the students.  We were not able to visit Misha this visit as my sickness would have been dangerous to his health, but he and his family stays in our hearts and efforts.

Though it was a very short mission and there was much more which could have been accomplished, we are very happy with the results of our efforts.  We are already planning UA Mission 10, which is projected to launch in April.

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Honoring Sarah Blocher

Posted by worldorphanrelief on January 4, 2019

Sarah 3 7520

Sarah at our storage facility

It is important for us to take a moment to honor our co-founder, Sarah Blocher. She is the true reason we are here saving lives.

When Sarah and I met I had just returned from Kyrgyzstan where I provided aid and hope to orphaned children. But at this point my work was nothing more than just a man with a dream. I had no real interest in creating an organization or encouraging anyone to join the cause. With a few weeks of discussion we turned my effort into a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. She designed our letterhead, set up meetings, recruited volunteers, organized fundraising events, collected massive amounts of aid material, and initiated missions in Sierra Leone, Gilgit Baltistan, and Moldova. That is how we began.

It was Sarah’s drive to make the world a better place which turned my personal crusade to help the people into a charitable entity worthy of contributions and a great staff. Since then we have engaged in missions in 17 countries and delivered over $100,000 in aid material.

If you are looking for someone to thank for what we have done to make the world better, start with Sarah Blocher. Without her I would still be just a man with a dream.

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Congo Mission 1 Update

Posted by worldorphanrelief on January 3, 2019

After a long discussion this morning, Kate and I have begun planning our DR Congo mission. We will not, however, set our schedule until at least February.

Congo remains one of the most difficult countries in which to execute a mission. Customs and other complications make it almost impossible to ship goods to recipients, so we must escort our donations throughout the entire journey. Further, the POLMIL…and health…climate of the country makes scheduling a mission, especially to the east, very difficult unless within two weeks of departure.

This will be the 11th serious attempt by our charity to launch a DR Congo mission. Almost every time we have been waylaid by war and/or Ebola outbreaks. But we are tenacious and hope to finally have success this year! Updates to follow.

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Annoucement

Posted by worldorphanrelief on January 1, 2019

With the greatest apologies I must admit that I have not been diligent in maintaining this blog page. Most of our critical announcements are done through our Facebook page – The Fishermen International Aid and Relief Nonprofit – which was established by our co-founder, Sarah Blocher.

To get you up-to-date, in the time between our last post and the most recent Kate and I conducted a series of missions within Ukraine in January and February, followed by a mission to help handicapped children in Serbia (February) and visit orphaned children in La Romana, Dominican Republic (June). We took a break to strengthen our domestic operations for the remainder of the year. Now, as you have read, we are prepared to launch our most ambitious year to-date starting with UA Mission 9 (January) and Congo Mission 1 (March). A solo mission to Syria is planned for February but is not certain.

Alex Gowen,
Director, The Fishermen

Photos: Ukraine, Serbia, and Dominican Republic Missions earlier this year.

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Ukraine Mission 9 a Go!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on January 1, 2019

Kate DR 5

I am prepared to depart for Ukraine on January 14. This will be the first of several missions to UA for 2019. During this mission I will coordinate with Kate to plan missions to Syria, Congo, and one more destination to be determined. Together we will deliver badly-needed medical supplies to the Lysychansk Maternity Hospital, visit the Lysychansk State Medical College to drop off supplies and spend time with the students, and visit three children who we have agreed to assist with their surgical needs. We are still in need of funds to make this mission a success. If you wish to donate please contact us at the.fishermen.international@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo: Kate and I delivering school supplies to the orphanage in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Taken by Kate during our June mission to the DR.

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Kate’s Performance Review

Posted by worldorphanrelief on January 1, 2019

As you know, Kate was legally appointed VP and co-director (as well as official photographer) of The Fishermen in August, 2017, and as such is our first recipient of a performance review. This is a very important position and must be taken seriously. People’s lives rely on what we do and many children around the world have but one voice – ours.

I created an extensive and detailed review to determine whether or not she qualified to remain in office. After careful consideration, however, I felt it more appropriate to limit my assessment to four critical questions:

1) Are we better off as an organization with Kate as VP and co-director? Yes.
2) Have we accomplished more with Kate as VP and co-director? Yes.
3) Does Kate represent the organization effectively? Yes.
4) Would Kate maintain the traditions of The Fishermen and command the organization properly in my absence? Yes.

So, I have concluded that Kate Mitchenko is a welcome and formidable addition to our team and shall continue as VP and co-director of The Fishermen. Her access to UN facilities via our organization and ability to represent us at the General Assembly and on missions remain intact. As with us all there is room for improvement, but no one can do the job better than her. Thank you, Kate, for your dedication…hard work…and desire to help us make this world a better place! In you I continue my life-long tradition of surrou

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A Proposal from the Directors of The Fishermen

Posted by worldorphanrelief on September 14, 2018

As I watched Florence come and go it reminded me of our work. The storm will always pass…it never stays…and leaves behind whatever mess it created. The people continue to suffer long after the danger has vanished.

One of the greatest problems with NGOs is that we drop into an area to do whatever good possible…we hold our heads up high and say, “We saved a few lives,”…and then we go home. Just like the storms we always leave…we never stay…and the people continue to suffer.

Even worse is that we get people accustomed to treatments which cannot be sustained after our departure. Are we helping? Or are we building a physical and mental expectation for medicines and services which will not return…at least not on a regular basis? A fair comparison is the Thanksgiving dinner we provide to the homeless…one day of the year. The rest of the time they eat from garbage bins.

So how do we overcome this glaring deficiency in humanitarian actions? How can we prolong our presence without going bankrupt back home? Even the UN with its immense budget fails to linger long enough to see a mission through to the end. Kate has brought this subject up several times…and it is one which deserves attention from ALL aid organizations.

I propose a summit…to include all NGOs…so we may discuss cooperation and coordination. There are enough of us do-gooders out there to sustain an effort if we work together. Let us discuss this proposal…and make it happen. Help us get the word out…quickly. The world needs us, so let’s get this done.

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A Question of Adoption

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 15, 2017

Many of you have asked me about adopting a child from Ukraine. It is not my purview but I will make an exception for Nikita. He comes with difficulties but he is a wonderful…loving… little guy.

Nikita suffers from a growth hormone disorder as well as subsequent mental complications. Our immediate concern is to get him properly diagnosed, but adoption would be far better.

Again – out of my area but if you are interested I will help you with adoption inquiries. Nikita is from Gorsk, Lugansk region, Ukraine.

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