Operation Day's Work
ODW is a student organization that encourages leadership, responsibility, and volunteerism in middle and high school age students. ODW encourages participants to view the world in a different way, and teaches them that they can make a difference in someone else’s life.
Every year, ODW students across the United States choose a project in a developing country that supports youth and their education. ODW students believe that an education paves the path to success. Once a project is chosen, the ODW students begin the education campaign. This first part involves students educating themselves about the country and its peoples, then educating their school and community. ODW strives to teach students and people everywhere, that youth in poorer countries are not as different from us as we might think. These students need an education to change their situation and the conditions in their country. Knowledge is power!
On a given day in the spring, the Thetford Academy students who choose to participate go out into the community to do odd jobs such as yard work, office work, or housework. Students can also work for local businesses, such as restaurants, farms, and shops. The money the students earn from the work day goes entirely to the project that ODW is sponsoring.
ODW teaches youth in the U.S. about the world and empowers them with the knowledge that they can change and improve the world a little bit at a time. Students learn to take responsibility for what is going on around them, and develop the resources and skills needed to make a positive change.
ODW Principle - Solidarity
Solidarity is the principle behind Operation Day's Work, distinguishing it from charity organizations. The difference is that charity is a one-way benefit. Solidarity is sharing; solidarity benefits both parties through mutual understanding and education. ODW exemplifies the old saying, "If you give a man a fish, he will be fed for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he will be fed for a lifetime." When students commit to solidarity they are not committing to charity, but to learning and helping fellow youth move toward self-sufficiency. ODW strives for global understanding and unity. We believe that when youth everywhere strive to understand and educate each other, the world will truly be a better place.
- This year, ODW is supporting the Livelihoods Project for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. This project is run by the American Foundation for Children with AIDS and helps improve the lives of children in Zimbabwe who have been affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. The program “will provide livestock and vocational training to 160 families who are either child-headed households or are cared for by an elderly or sick/dying guardian.” Many of these children’s parents have died from HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, leaving their children to support themselves and their families. The number of cases of HIV/AIDS has overwhelmed social services available to the populace, and combined with high levels of poverty, supporting these families is even harder. The families this project supports will receive goats and chickens, in addition to veterinary training and supplies, which will allow them to keep herds of animals and feed themselves and their family for generations to come.
Link to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS
Kigutu Community Health Center, Burundi, Africa
This project is in the village of Kigutu, Burundi, Africa where many people are constantly being affected by HIV/AIDS and other life threatening diseases. Due to the fact that Kigutu is located so close to Lake Tanganyika, the residents are much more susceptible to water and insect related illnesses, like typhoid fever, malaria, pulmonary tuberculosis, intestinal parasites, gastric ulcer, and cholera.
In 2006, Village Health Works (VHW) started a new project to help treat those people affected by HIV/AIDS and other diseases common to this area. The Kigutu Community Health Center will start by providing basic health care to the women and children first. Their main goals are to give AIDS treatment, tuberculosis prevention, provide bed nets to combat malaria, address and educate the people about malnutrition, and meet basic needs and payment requirements.
VHW will do all this by giving the village a small staff of health workers, and two medical nurses. There will be HIV/AIDS testing for children of HIV positive adults. They already have a good start with two buildings constructed, a newly refurbished dirt road leading to the site, and over 5,000 saplings planted as part of their agro-forestry and landscaping project.
- Selamta Children's Home, Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, there are more than 4.5 million orphans. Grief is just the start of their troubles for when AIDS, violence, or poverty takes a parent, it takes a childhood as well. These orphans are particularly vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, abuse, child labor and sexual exploitation.
The first goal of the Selamta Children's Home was to establish a home (orphanage) and provide health care and education for AIDS orphans. This was done successfully for about 50 children. Their next goal was to create small family homes for permanent in-country placement (foster care). Selamta Children's Home is not actually considered an orphanage, for they believe that no child should ever have to grow up in such a place. It is, instead, a transitional home where children are stabilized both emotionally and physically before being placed in a loving family. This allows more children to flow through the Children's Home, and then the cycle continues with more children in need. These orphans, who would otherwise be left in the street to lead a short and dreadful life, are able to grow up in a positive environment where they can prosper into dynamic and productive human beings.
With funding from ODW-USA, the Human Capital Foundation (HCF) bought a new building to house Selamta Children's Home in a location just outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the summer of 2007. Now they have their own soccer field and a much better home for the kids.
HSF also purchased and renovated six new foster homes. They trained six single moms to be foster parents, and placed 8 children in each of these homes. Healthcare, food, clothing, and an education are all provided for these children and their new mom. Aunties were trained to visit and support these new families. Now there is plenty of room for Selamta to take in more orphans in need of a home.