"God first, Others second, Self third."
Thirders Foundation searches for opportunities to be involved in projects that have a profound and immediate impact on the lives of children and people less fortunate that ourselves. Over the years we have partnered with others to sponsor and support activities and services where we can be sure that the contributions of those who support Thirders can know that their entire contribution is having a real effect of someone's life. Summarized below are some of the projects we have supported or sponsored in the past. We sincerely hope that after reviewing the beneficial work done in these areas by Thirders that you will be moved to make a personal commitment to support our ongoing work with your prayers and your financial contributions.
One project that Thirders supported for the last several years was providing financing for medical scholarships at the Kijabe Medical Center in Kenya for the training of nurses and doctors. This work was conducted under the auspices of Dr. Tim Fader through Africa Inland Mission International, Inc. (AIM), an interdenominational foreign mission organization serving in 15 countries in Africa. This is just one example of the many possibilities that abound to be of meaningful service to people in need around the world.
There are lots of caring, dedicated medical professionals like Dr. Tim Fader in the third world and they do great things to help people, but they are not the answer to the medical care problem. The real solution lies in having well-trained people from the local population providing these services. That's why most of our donations have been used to help set up a scholarship fund. Here's part of a note sent by Tim when the fund was started:
"Thanks very much for your most recent contribution to the nursing scholarship fund. This is slowly taking shape. We had another meeting on it last week and I will begin to draw up the guidelines for selection/disbursement/payback, etc. It is a large step forward, thanks to Thirders."
The scholarship fund trains Africans in the medical skills they need to help their own people. It currently takes several thousand dollars to train each nurse or doctor, so thanks to your financial support there are many more medical professionals in Kenya. The doctors and nurses who are the recipients of these scholarships eventually repay the fund so that another student will be trained thanks to your generosity.
Although Thirders Foundation has directed its current support of service projects to other areas this recycling of scholarship funds means that over the years, many students will be trained with your contributions and as a result thousands of patients will benefit from your kindness. This valuable work still continues thanks to the ongoing support of Africa Inland Mission International, Inc. (AIM).
Unless you have been there yourself, it is quite difficult to imagine life in the third world. It's difficult to comprehend how people could be born, live, and die without ever being healthy a single day of their lives. It's pretty hard to believe one nurse could be the entire medical staff for a population of over 250,000 people. It's hard to imagine a person never, ever having the opportunity to see a physician. But all of these conditions are normal for millions of people in the third world.
Most of our donations have been used to support the work of Dr. Tim and Patti Fader at the Kijabe Medical Center in Kenya East Africa. The first project was providing aviation fuel for Tim's medical safaris into the Kenyan bush. A total of $4,000 was used to enable Tim to treat many people who otherwise might never see a physician. Here's Tim's description of medical safaris:
"In four days you fly over 750 miles in a 6-seat single engine Cessna. You go from modern Nairobi to visit people of 6 different tribes living in primitive, isolated, wind-blown villages with weird sounding names like Kalacha, Ngurinit, and Loglogo. You take off and land seven times and learn to appreciate the security of the air sickness bag within arm's reach. This is the Rendille Safari, one of several medical trips which AIM physicians in Kenya take nearly every month."
"The purpose of these trips is to support the Kenyan nurses who staff a network of over 40 Africa Inland Church dispensaries all over Kenya. The nurses are educated for 3 years here at Kijabe in order to prepare them to reach out and provide medical and spiritual care to the Kenyans who need it the most--the rural poor. In the usual setting the graduate nurse is unmarried, working with a tribe different from her own, living on an isolated mission station, and functioning as the only qualified health care practitioner for many miles. She is assisted by an area nurse supervisor, usually a missionary Registered Nurse, who travels over a wide area overseeing the work at several dispensaries. A doctor visits periodically to see difficult cases and do minor surgery, and to provide continuing educational and emotional support to these pioneer nurses."
"Take for example a visit to Loglogo. The dispensary there serves the people of the Rendille and Samburu tribes. They live in round huts made of sticks and mud, and survive with their camels in the semi-arid land by herding goats and cattle. They are educationally, materially, and spiritually impoverished by anyone's definition."
"From 40-50 people seek medical help at the dispensary every day. The dispensary is run by Jemmie Kabiru, a graduate of Kijabe in 1984. Jemmie is a Kikuya who also speaks English, Swahili, Samburu, and Rendille. The plane blows in from Kalacha in the mid-afternoon. Stepping out of the cabin is like stepping into a furnace. The patients Jemmie has selected for me to see make their way to the dispensary when they hear the plane overhead. After a cold Coke (refrigerator run on kerosene), Jemmie and I spend the next few hours seeing patients and trading ideas on diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes at the end we make a home visit to see a patient too ill to make it to the dispensary. We then have dinner and spend part of the evening reviewing problems, progress, etc. I usually try to visit Pastor Samuel as well since his Church sponsors the dispensary."
"Meanwhile, the AIM-AIR pilot/mechanic plods through his list of what needs to be fixed on the mission station: vehicles, generators, appliances, and anything else with moving parts. Missionaries on station unload and stock their month's supply of fresh food, and read and answer some of the month's mail so that letters can go back out with the pilot. At 7:30 the next morning the pilot begins his systems review of the plane, loads it, and by 8:30 we take off towards Amaya for the next commando raid. Visits like this to seven dispensaries in 4 days is a challenge. But the effort we make from Kijabe is little compared with the sustained work under very difficult conditions by those who live in these remote stations."
Tim's medical safaris may not have ended all the suffering of those he treated, and they still need a more permanent health care system, but he did help a lot of people. Apart from the immediate medical effects of his visits to the African bush, Tim let hundreds of people know something very important: that there are people (like you) in this world who care enough to make these medical safaris possible.
When our DreamNet project provided organizational and office support to a new foundation which shipped medical equipment and supplies to Croatia, we learned of another very efficient way to help the people at the Kijabe Medical Center in Kenya -- used medical equipment and surplus medical supplies.
In one of Tim's letters he told us about a patient who died several days after being bitten by a cobra. One of the factors in this young man's death was the failure of the hospital's decrepit ventilator. We found out six months later that a perfectly functional ventilator was sitting idle in a Pittsburgh warehouse at the very moment Tim's patient died. It had been donated for shipment to the third world, but no one had the money or the knowledge necessary to send it where it could have saved a life.
We partnered with another non-profit group called CHOSEN in Erie that had already shipped over $20,000,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies to 60 countries in the third world. Tim asked us for an EKG machine and a about $45,000 worth of medical supplies for the Kijabe Medical Center. These items were shipped in the spring of 1995.
The EKG was donated by our DreamNet friend's foundation and the medical supplies cost us only 7 cents per dollar of original value. Altogether with shipping charges, the entire gift to Kijabe cost about $4,100. That's a real bargain and another example of how we try to make every dollar you have donated work as hard as possible to help people in real need.
There are plenty of wonderful people who really care about helping others. Many are already making substantial contributions to our world, but others are still in the process of defining their goals and planning their strategies for service. In December 1991, a small group of these people got together in Pittsburgh to share dreams and offer support to each other. Over the next few months this group evolved into DreamNet and was subsequently sponsored by Thirders Foundation.
It takes a lot more than good intentions to accomplish a dream of service. No matter how valuable your ideas are, you still have to compete for the funds you need, struggle to get your message to the right people, and overcome the hassles created by the government. DreamNet acted as a support group to help people obtain and organize the resources they needed to achieve their missions. Examples of our participants' dreams included:
We know from our own experience how difficult it can be to promote even the best of ideas. Our first efforts to attract people to the parent training classes were unsuccessful even though these classes had been well received for years and the institute's founder had often appeared on television and in the press. As we further developed our programs, we networked with additional professional to bring in more professionals to help participants with all aspects of legal, accounting, management, and promotional activities. Perhaps the most successful project was the shipment of donated medical equipment to Croatia mentioned above at a time when it was critically needed. Should you have the opportunity to offer support to someone else's dream we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity - you may find it to be perhaps the most rewarding experience you have ever had.
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