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So far Derek Reinhard has created 63 blog entries.

Deeper Missions Visits Gallaudet University

On February 17, 2014, Deeper Missions Executive Director, Derek Reinhard, and other volunteers met with representatives from Gallaudet_University-300x201Gallaudet University to discuss internship and volunteer opportunities for students. During the meeting, Derek presented a recap of our work and ongoing projects to Ms. Deborah Moore, Career Center Coordinator, and Karen Cook, Career Center Director of Gallaudet University.

Derek observed that Gallaudet was the first school dedicated to the advanced education of the deaf and hard of hearing in the world, “We really wanted to reach out to students here and let them know what opportunities are available to connect with deaf students half-way across the world, and to explore partnering options with the university. Together we could increase making a positive impact on the deaf community in Sierra Leone.”

During the meeting, Derek presented challenges faced by the deaf community in Sierra Leone and highlighted the limited resources available to assist deaf students in obtaining employment skills for independent living. The Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf is one of only three schools in the entire country that provides specialized education and vocational training for deaf students. In 2012, to increase support for the school, Deeper Missions founded its Hope for Kakua (H4K) program.

Coaching basic sign language

Workshop participant gets coaching on basic sign language

 

Senior Advisor to the Hope for Kakua program, Becky Rock, and Deeper Missions Board Member, Michelle DeFreese, also contributed to the meeting with Gallaudet staff. Becky Rock, a teacher at Frost Middle School in Fairfax, VA has worked with deaf communities in Sierra Leone for the past three years. “ASL is used from the start at the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf because the only learning resources they had when the school was founded were a few ASL study guides and books, enabling students from Gallaudet to communicate with staff and students at the school without a language barrier.”

Becky Rock’s experience in deaf education has been integral to the recent expansion of the H4K. As a result of the growing need for the program, Deeper Missions is currently recruiting a Hope for Kakua Program Manager who will oversee the development and coordination of activities focused on deaf education.

Deeper Missions organizes volunteer trips to Sierra Leone to work on projects ranging from deaf education, WASH, and sustainable development, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities for graduate students and other adults. Deeper Missions also encourages letters of interest from deaf and disabled students. For more information on volunteer opportunities and how to join our 2014/2015 trip, contact us at info (at ) deepermisisons.org.

By |February 24th, 2014|

Deeper Missions Joins the Global Water Partnership

Deeper Missions expanded its network of partners recently by joining the Global Water Partnership (GWP). The mission of the GWP is to support the sustainable development and management of water resources. The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) founded the GWP in 1996 to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information on sustainable water resources management. By joining GWP, Deeper Missions is now one of 2,800 institutional partners committed to the sustainable management of the world’s water resources.

GWP-Cover-150x150“Managing the world’s water resources is foundational to development. If you want to feed the world—and contribute to poverty reduction, human health, and economic prosperity—pay attention to water.” GWP

As part of their focus on capacity building and knowledge sharing, the GWP has launched a new online course on Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries. For more information on the GWP, check out their Annual Report here. Through our new partnership with GWP, Deeper Missions will be able to connect with thousands of organizations committed to working towards a water-secure world.

By |February 23rd, 2014|

National Battery Day

What would we do without batteries?  The ability to store power for later use has revolutionized how we live.  As many of you know, it’s been a rough winter in many parts of the U.S., with many of us relying on batteries when the power goes out.  And we rely on batteries to power a range of devices, from cell phones and computers to smoke detectors and automobiles – using a technology to supplement the electricity that we pretty much take for granted. 

The World Bank estimates that 1.2 million people, 550 million in Africa alone, don’t have access to electricity.  Often such communities rely on wood or kerosene to provide the light needed to go about daily activities between dusk and dawn or on a cloudy day.  These fuels can take a toll on individuals’ respiratory health and the cost of these fuels can be disproportionate to a family’s income.

Solar Batteries

Solar Batteries being installed at School for the Deaf

 

This past summer, a Deeper Missions travel team helped install a 1.2 kilowatt solar energy system for the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf in Bo, Sierra Leone.  The system now provides electricity when the sun shines and charges batteries to store harvested energy for evening study and community meetings.  Having this new electrical source allows students and faculty to enjoy safe and environmentally friendly light, as well as power for fans, the video player, and the computer.  Additionally, the surplus electricity from the system has enabled the school to start a cellphone charging service (more batteries!) for the local community, generating income which the school uses to buy spare solar parts and to pay the salary of one of its five teachers.

So, on National Battery Day, we acknowledge Alessandro Volta’s birthday, honor him for creating the modern battery, and celebrate the battery’s role in helping to bring light to communities in West Africa!

By |February 18th, 2014|

Breaking Ground on Another Sanitation Project!

Thanks to a generous grant from the New Creation Community Church in Dover, Pennsylvania, another community in West Africa is receiving  a pair of waterless, solar composting Enviro-loos!

Executive Director and Eloo contractor discuss locating the project

Derek and contractor, Peter, discuss locating the Eloos with church leaders.

 

Deeper Missions broke ground at the Bishop Bangura Memorial United Methodist Church in Motema, nr Koidu in the Kono District, Sierra Leone on January 21st and have made great progress. During our summer team trip, some team mates and I traveled to the church and met with Pastor Smith and other church leaders to confirm their requirements. The contractor was also able to explain how he would proceed.

Last week Mohamed Nabieu, the Deeper Missions in-country project coordinator, met again with church and community leaders to remind and explain the benefits of this sanitation technology, answer questions, and get feedback.

Here are some comments he captured during the meeting:

Church’s Evangelist: “It is a Bluff/bloff (so proud) to us in this community. This is my first time seeing this kind of toilet. When I explain to friends outside this church about the kind of toilet my church has, it baffles them. They say how can a toilet like that work to provide manure? Honestly, I’m overjoyed. I want to thank all the donors”

Placing the Eloos

Mr. Jaka checks Eloo placement with workmen while some from the community look on

Local Chief: “ I am so glad for this work. This church is the most blessed church in the Kono District.”

Church Member: “I am telling papa God Tenki for the donors….I am so glad with this development. We are willing to help the contractor in all ways to finish up with this structure because we need it so much.”

Pastor Smith: “Thank God for his presence at Motema. I appreciate all that is happening here at my church. This facility will no longer be embarrassed, especially for our visitors.”

I would like to echo the gratitude of the Motema community and the congregation of the Bishop Bangura UMC for the generosity of our donors, especially the New Creation Community Church! Thank you!

By |January 26th, 2014|

Ending on a High Note and What’s Ahead

Dear Deeper Missions Family and Friends,

As the calendar winds down it is traditional to look back and reflect on a year of accomplishments, as well as look forward hopefully at the road ahead. I’ve included a graphic that summarizes the exciting events of 2013 and provides a snapshot view of our busy 2014 plans. In order to help make these plans a reality, we hope you will consider including Deeper Missions in your end-of-year giving plans.

Derek with Fatorma - Deaf Student

Derek with Fatorma – Deaf Student

 

The year 2013 was a time of expanding partnerships for Deeper Missions as word got around of our work helping heal communities through sustainable infrastructure projects. A good example of that was when I was approached by a United Methodist Church community in Central Pennsylvania to request we help their sister church in northern Sierra Leone by installing environmentally sound sanitation; this Eloo project is now funded and will be completed in early 2014, benefiting the church and local community in a small rural community near Koidu.

Additionally in 2013, as we’ve shared much about the trip, a small but intrepid team traveled to the Ebert-Kakua School for the Deaf in the southern district of Bo, Sierra Leone. Our mission was two-fold: to help install a 1.2Kw solar electric system for the school and to provide deaf education enrichment workshops for the staff and community leaders. These high-impact projects brought light to an otherwise off-grid community, and an appreciation for the challenges and potential of the deaf community.

2014 is planned to be another breakout year for Deeper Missions as we deepen our presence and partnerships in Sierra Leone as well as explore expanding our work in Africa due to a series of “let’s get together” invitations.

First and most significant is our opening our first international office! Through some generous sponsorship, Deeper Missions has office space available and a volunteer project coordinator to staff it. We are in the home stretch for the funding to file the required forms and fees with the national government and we will be on our way to more closely manage and monitor our Sierra Leone projects.

2013-2014 Timeline

2013-2014 Timeline

 

Another exciting development is how the word of Deeper Missions work has traveled to other parts of the continent! We have met with and discussed a partnership with h2Empower to explore complementing their literacy work in Ethiopia by providing solar energy and safe sanitation projects for the libraries they serve; additionally, Deeper Missions has been asked to visit MANDO, which is a charity supporting the transition of the Maasai people from a herding culture to a sustainable, settlement community culture. There is great need to establish from the start the clean energy, safe water and sanitation projects for this historic effort.

All this work could not be possible without generous support from partners like you. In our home we celebrate Christmas at this time of year, in observation of God’s gift of light to the world in the form of His son, Jesus, whose work was to bring healing and reconciliation to the world. Deeper Missions hopes to reflect that healing similarly, through its work in communities most in need.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, we hope that you will include Deeper Missions in your plans for end-of-year gift giving or donating. Please click here to make a donation to help us continue our work.

We all send our warmest and best wishes for a healthier and more prosperous 2014, wherever this finds you!

Yours in Service,

Derek Reinhard
Executive Director

By |December 24th, 2013|

An Introduction

“My Name is Mohamed Nabieu”

Nabieu-243x300

Greetings! My name is Mohamed Nabieu. I was asked by Derek Reinhard, Deeper Missions’ Executive Director, to write a short introduction to post on the website blog, so here I go!

I am a recent Njala university graduate where I attained a first class degree in Environmental Sciences with Honors in Development Studies. Along with my studies, I have over four years of experience in volunteerism, leadership development, programme development and monitoring. I have a broad, growing knowledge in environmental sciences and development issues which all complemented my studies in Research and Development Methodologies, Reports Writing, project design, implementation, monitoring and Evaluation, with a focus on Environmental Sanitation (e.g. waste management, water analysis etc.), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and related issues.

In Sierra Leone, I started my volunteerism with Deeper Missions in 2010/2011; first as a helper/learner during the Enviro-loo toilet project at the Ebert Kakua Deaf School, in Bo, Sierra Leone. In 2012, my responsibilities grew as I became a volunteer project coordinator for the Mercy Hospital Enviro-Eloos toilet construction project; I was responsible for oversight of in-country operations, served as a key member of the Environmental Impact Assessment Team, assisted with the construction, project reporting and financial tracking. After completing my studies this past summer, I am supporting Deeper Missions by working to register and establish an operations office for Deeper Missions here in Sierra Leone.

This is an exciting time for me as well as for Deeper Missions as we establish our presence in Sierra Leone, enabling us to impact more communities with healthy sanitation and energy options. For volunteerism, I’m always with the belief that “An individual has not started living until they can rise above the confines of their individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”.

THANK YOU JESUS! WELCOME DEEPER MISSIONS!

Mohamed Nabieu, Volunteer
In-Country Project Coordinator
Deeper Missions

 

By |December 5th, 2013|

An Introduction

“My Name is Mohamed Nabieu”

Nabieu-243x300

Greetings! My name is Mohamed Nabieu. I was asked by Derek Reinhard, Deeper Missions’ Executive Director, to write a short introduction to post on the website blog, so here I go!

I am a recent Njala university graduate where I attained a first class degree in Environmental Sciences with Honors in Development Studies. Along with my studies, I have over four years of experience in volunteerism, leadership development, programme development and monitoring. I have a broad, growing knowledge in environmental sciences and development issues which all complemented my studies in Research and Development Methodologies, Reports Writing, project design, implementation, monitoring and Evaluation, with a focus on Environmental Sanitation (e.g. waste management, water analysis etc.), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and related issues.

In Sierra Leone, I started my volunteerism with Deeper Missions in 2010/2011; first as a helper/learner during the Enviro-loo toilet project at the Ebert Kakua Deaf School, in Bo, Sierra Leone. In 2012, my responsibilities grew as I became a volunteer project coordinator for the Mercy Hospital Enviro-Eloos toilet construction project; I was responsible for oversight of in-country operations, served as a key member of the Environmental Impact Assessment Team, assisted with the construction, project reporting and financial tracking. After completing my studies this past summer, I am supporting Deeper Missions by working to register and establish an operations office for Deeper Missions here in Sierra Leone.

This is an exciting time for me as well as for Deeper Missions as we establish our presence in Sierra Leone, enabling us to impact more communities with healthy sanitation and energy options. For volunteerism, I’m always with the belief that “An individual has not started living until they can rise above the confines of their individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”.

THANK YOU JESUS! WELCOME DEEPER MISSIONS!

Mohamed Nabieu, Volunteer
In-Country Project Coordinator
Deeper Missions

By |December 5th, 2013|

Guest Blog: I am Thankful for Water

A friend of Deeper Missions, Joy Jones, has a heart for the plight of those in Sierra Leone who suffered at the hands of the rebels during the civil war.  Joy came home to start a campaign to raise funds for a well at the amputee community near Bo, so that these survivors and their families can have ready access to water all year round.  She shared the following letter with us, which she’d recently sent out as an appeal to her circle. I thought it would make a great blog entry; it reflects Joy’s compassion and enthusiasm for making a difference. Deeper Missions is honored to team with Joy and her supporters to make this important project a reality.

Dear Family and Friends,JoyandJudith-300x218

As the holiday season approaches, please consider making a donation so that a community of amputees in West Africa can have a well in their village. They currently walk THREE MILES(that is like walking from North Point Shopping Center to the fountain at Reston Town Center and back again) for water. So far I have raised just shy of $9,000–almost half way to my goal!!! A huge “thank you” to those who have already donated!

Here is the Razoo link to donate.  Deeper Missions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so your contribution is tax deductible. A donation in honor of someone makes an excellent Christmas or Holiday gift! If you make a donation as a gift for someone, please shoot me an email with their name and address and I will send the recipient the paragraph below and a note indicating that a donation has been made in honor of them.

Imagine you live in West Africa, in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world. Your country has been devastated by a 10-year civil war. Now imagine being one of the victims of the brutal amputation tactics where rebels would maim civilians who resisted or to terrorize the population. The UN estimates 250,000 amputees survived Sierra Leone’s civil war. Today, the injured live in special support camps with basic facilities. In an economically challenged country, it is difficult for the able-bodied to find work, get an education, be trained. Now imagine being disabled by an amputation, making the most basic of chores an additional challenge, let alone finding work. What if you had no access to fresh water without having to walk a mile and a half to the closest well? Can you visualize a life where every sip of drinking water required a three mile walk, on one leg or carrying a bucket with only one hand? You’d be walking in the heat or humidity, rain or shine. Think how much of your life would be spent obtaining one of life’s most basic need and even the challenge of pulling up a bucket of water by a rope or at a pump with a handle needing to be grasped…. Now, how would it improve your life if folks came one day and built a well right in your village, a well with adaptations for amputees. A well that would empower the entire village. A small improvement can bring massive change to a community in desperate need. By donating you are making this dream a reality. We need to raise $20,000 to drill an all-seasons water well, with adaptive pumps so these villagers can simply draw their daily cooking and drinking water more easily.

Want to see some pictures of the villagers and read a short blog about them? Ted Warnock visited Mattru on the Rail when he was in Sierra Leone; click here to read it. Love, love his story.

If you prefer to mail a check the address is: Deeper Missions, 5765-F Burke Centre Parkway #209, Burke, VA 22015-2233. Please add “Amputee Well” to the memo line of your check. If you have questions, please let me know. If you can think of others who might be interested in helping, please pass this message on. Mostly, thank you for your support!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Joy

By |November 26th, 2013|

Guest Blog: I am Thankful for Water

A friend of Deeper Missions, Joy Jones, has a heart for the plight of those in Sierra Leone who suffered at the hands of the rebels during the civil war.  Joy came home to start a campaign to raise funds for a well at the amputee community near Bo, so that these survivors and their families can have ready access to water all year round.  She shared the following letter with us, which she’d recently sent out as an appeal to her circle. I thought it would make a great blog entry; it reflects Joy’s compassion and enthusiasm for making a difference. Deeper Missions is honored to team with Joy and her supporters to make this important project a reality.

Dear Family and Friends,JoyandJudith-300x218

As the holiday season approaches, please consider making a donation so that a community of amputees in West Africa can have a well in their village. They currently walk THREE MILES(that is like walking from North Point Shopping Center to the fountain at Reston Town Center and back again) for water. So far I have raised just shy of $9,000–almost half way to my goal!!! A huge “thank you” to those who have already donated!

Here is the Razoo link to donate.  Deeper Missions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so your contribution is tax deductible. A donation in honor of someone makes an excellent Christmas or Holiday gift! If you make a donation as a gift for someone, please shoot me an email with their name and address and I will send the recipient the paragraph below and a note indicating that a donation has been made in honor of them.

Imagine you live in West Africa, in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world. Your country has been devastated by a 10-year civil war. Now imagine being one of the victims of the brutal amputation tactics where rebels would maim civilians who resisted or to terrorize the population. The UN estimates 250,000 amputees survived Sierra Leone’s civil war. Today, the injured live in special support camps with basic facilities. In an economically challenged country, it is difficult for the able-bodied to find work, get an education, be trained. Now imagine being disabled by an amputation, making the most basic of chores an additional challenge, let alone finding work. What if you had no access to fresh water without having to walk a mile and a half to the closest well? Can you visualize a life where every sip of drinking water required a three mile walk, on one leg or carrying a bucket with only one hand? You’d be walking in the heat or humidity, rain or shine. Think how much of your life would be spent obtaining one of life’s most basic need and even the challenge of pulling up a bucket of water by a rope or at a pump with a handle needing to be grasped…. Now, how would it improve your life if folks came one day and built a well right in your village, a well with adaptations for amputees. A well that would empower the entire village. A small improvement can bring massive change to a community in desperate need. By donating you are making this dream a reality. We need to raise $20,000 to drill an all-seasons water well, with adaptive pumps so these villagers can simply draw their daily cooking and drinking water more easily.

Want to see some pictures of the villagers and read a short blog about them? Ted Warnock visited Mattru on the Rail when he was in Sierra Leone; click here to read it. Love, love his story.

If you prefer to mail a check the address is: Deeper Missions, 5765-F Burke Centre Parkway #209, Burke, VA 22015-2233. Please add “Amputee Well” to the memo line of your check. If you have questions, please let me know. If you can think of others who might be interested in helping, please pass this message on. Mostly, thank you for your support!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Joy

By |November 26th, 2013|

In case you missed it!

KanKouran Dancers

KanKouran Dancers

 

This month, we held our first annual West Africa Celebration on November 16, 2013 in the Fellowship Hall at Saint Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Burke, VA. Guests were treated to West African cuisine prepared by Jonnie Lawton of Movable Feast of Northern Virginia, a lively storytelling presentation by Kofi Denis and his drumming group, followed by a bring-the-house-down performance by the West African Drum and Dance Troupe, Kankouran. During the performance another guest, Ruby B. Johnson, Miss Sierra Leone USA 2013-2014, demonstrated her own dancing talent.

Miss Sierra Leone USA 2013-2014 dancing

Ruby B. Johnson, Miss Sierra Leone USA 2013-2014 joins in the dancing with KanKouran

 

Our keynote speaker, Ms. Ronke Luke, President of the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment, delighted guests with a recounting of her memories of pre-war Freetown, Sierra Leone. She also encouraged guests to recognize the challenge that energy poverty poses to communities in the country and encouraged Deeper Missions to continue working to help with this essential need. Ms. Luke highlighted the far-reaching impact that deforestation has had on the country and reminded guests of the potential that clean energy infrastructure has for contributing to environmentally sustainable practices and reduced energy poverty.

Although  not able to join us this year, family members of the Honorable Hannah Bundu Songowa, Member of the Sierra Leone Parliament, were able to attend. The Hon. Hannah is a champion for economic development in her country as well as recognizing the need for improved sanitation in rural communities.

Keynote speaker, Ms. Ronke Luke

Keynote speaker, Ms. Ronke Luke shares her encouraging message.

 

The evening closed with remarks by Derek Reinhard, Executive Director, about the exciting upcoming activities planned for 2014, including the upcoming opening of the first international office for Deeper Missions in Freetown . Also, visit Miss Ruby Johnson’s blog where she shares her memories of the event.

Another first was the pleasure in giving out the first Deeper Missions Volunteer of the Year Award. Miss Michelle DeFreese received the recognition she deserved for her untiring and creative work she accomplished in 2013. Her efforts have helped Deeper Missions achieve greater visibility in the local and international philanthropic communities, and established essential contacts to help mature and expand our operations. Well done, Michelle!

Awarding the Volunteer of the Year

Jerry Tussing presents the Deeper Missions 2013 Volunteer of the Year award to Michelle DeFreese

 

We’d like to thank all of our guests for taking part in the celebration and the supporters of the event for bringing a taste of Sierra Leone to Northern Virginia!  The celebration allowed all of us to remember our connection with the communities of Sierra Leone that we serve as well as celebrate the food, music, and culture of West Africa. For those of you who were unable to join us for the event, we hope that you’ll be able to take part in the festivities next year.

By |November 20th, 2013|