The Church recently looked back on 30 years of worldwide humanitarian relief, providing multiple new resources for Church members to learn more and share the Church’s desire to serve with the world. We didn’t know these amazing facts about the Church’s initiatives across the globe. Did you?
It’s Not a Hand Out, It’s a Hand Up
One thing that stands out in all of the Church’s new resources is the principle of self-reliance. One of the goals of the Church’s humanitarian relief programs is to eventually allow those they help to stand on their own two feet. Often times, this is done by giving training and encouraging those who are helped to volunteer and pay it forward. In fact, over 7 million hours are given by volunteers, many of whom have been the recipient of help, to continue the Church’s efforts.
326 Million Trillion Gallons
There are 326 million trillion gallons of water on the Earth, yet only 2% of that is freshwater. An even smaller percentage has access to clean water. The Church has partnered with multiple organizations to provide clean water, including education on system maintenance, hygiene, and water conservation, to over one million people.
All they ask for in return? A long term commitment from the communities they help to keep the water clean and flowing.
A Better Shot at Health
Measles is still one of the leading causes of death in many countries, even though immunization vaccines are only $1 each. Many countries even have access to the vaccinations, but many aren’t aware of the resources available to them. In the Philippines, deadly outbreaks were still common. The Church partnered with volunteers to use radio, TV, and sheer man-power to pass out flyers and information about the measles from the biggest cities to remote villages. Today, the measles death rate has decreased 74% since 2000.
A Universal Joy
Another major program of the Church’s humanitarian efforts is to improve maternal and newborn care. In countries worldwide, the Church provides training on neonatal resuscitation and maternal care. For example, in Indonesia 3 volunteers trained 20 local physicians. Those physicians then went out and trained 600 more medical personnel and midwives. That number continues to grow as those who have been trained pass their knowledge along.
A New Outlook on Life
The Church has helped open eye clinics in 50 countries, helping 500,000 people have renewed hope as they receive help for curable and preventable vision impairments. In Chile, the training programs initiated at the University of Chile by LDS volunteers is now part of the standard curriculum for all vision and occupational therapy students in Chilean universities.
Step Back into Society
Around the world, 70 million people need a wheelchair to get to school and work. However, 45 million people don’t have access to one. The Church partners with local organizations to provide wheelchairs and provide education on how to use, care for, maintain and repair the equipment. Since 2001, The Church has provided over 550,000 wheelchairs in 128 countries.