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HELP International

Updated on June 14, 2011

When they needed your help were you there?

Have you done any good in the world today?  Have you helped anyone in need? Have you cheered up the sad, and made someone feel glad? Has anyone’s burden been lighter today, because you were willing to share?  Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed your help were you there?

HELP International

Volunteers help teach English in Uganda.
Volunteers help teach English in Uganda.

HELP International can answer "yes" to all of the above questions.

I love this list of questions. It makes me want to evaluate myself and take stock of my life and the blessings and opportunities I have been given to help others. Even though the economy has dealt a hard blow to the United States in general, and is felt drastically throughout the world as well, overall I believe most are living way above the poverty level, and probably will never know the pain of starvation. For others however, this may be their reality.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a group of individuals who, in their blessed state, could actually answer these questions wholeheartedly. This group is called HELP International.

What is HELP International?

BYU Professor wanted to provide help and developed HELP International.

HELP International is a non-profit organization that provides a life changing experience for both the giver and the receiver. In my opinion, HELP International is the embodiment of the true definition of Christian service, which means providing service in which all parties are edified.

After the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which was a disaster that killed over 20,000 people and left 1 million more homeless in Central America, BYU Professor Warner Woodworth was moved to action. Woodworth, a professor in the business department, wondered, “What could his business students do to help.” That question prompted the development of what is today known as HELP International.

Humanitarian Aid in the best way.

Helping others to help themselves is the mission of HELP International.
Helping others to help themselves is the mission of HELP International.

HELP International teaches self-reliance.

HELP International trains college-age business students to design and implement sustainable development projects all over the world.  HELP International participants create projects that promote self-reliance in the areas they serve.  They work with grassroots projects in the specific area they are sent, to teach basic business skills and implement solutions to fight poverty on a local level.  In other words, they not only “give a man a fish, they teach him how to fish”, and give his children tools to become fishermen.   I don’t know about you, but I love this concept! The effects of this service rendered will be felt for years after the actual participants return home. 

In their first year, HELP International, then called H.E.L.P. Honduras, organized their 46 volunteers and raised over $115,000.  They spent four months in Honduras conducting humanitarian aid work and administering microcredit loans to those in need.  Over 4,000 people benefited from the efforts of those involved in HELP International.  Although HELP International has grown considerably since that time, they still focus on training their participants to become lifetime social entrepreneurs, dedicated to eliminating poverty worldwide.  That is a pretty worthwhile ambition, don’t you think?

Brigham Young University Students volunteer their summer months to HELP International.

Today HELP International has participated and sponsored projects in Belize, El Salvador, Fiji, India, Thailand, and Uganda.  It has been 12 years since HELP International was organized and over 1,200 BYU students, and others,  have spent their summer months volunteering their time to this great cause.   These volunteers work in schools, orphanages, help improve living conditions, build stoves, and work on sanitation projects.  The cost for a volunteer is $2,850 plus airfare. 

A typical day for a volunteer in HELP International.

Volunteers in HELP International live in the same building as their country directors, males and females in separate accommodations. Evening meals are provided by a local cook or through a restaurant in the area, while breakfast and lunch are eaten at the work site. Their days and evenings are mostly spent working on specific development projects, but there is also some free time reserved for fun events and activities that introduce the participant to the local traditions and customs. Those who wish to volunteer are required to pay all expenses themselves albeit they may utilize fund-raising programs to help them with their financial requirements. If you are interested in being a participant in the 2011 summer program applications are being accepted now.

HELP International

2008 Ugandan Volunteers building an adobe stove.
2008 Ugandan Volunteers building an adobe stove. | Source

Square Foot Gardening with HELP International.

Family gardens will increase needed nourishment.
Family gardens will increase needed nourishment.

HELP International Eye Sight Clinic

Orphanages are part of HELP International.

Working in orphanages is one of the many projects that HELP International does.
Working in orphanages is one of the many projects that HELP International does.

Business training is part of HELP International.

El Salvadoran microfinance loan officers with their business training diplomas.
El Salvadoran microfinance loan officers with their business training diplomas.

Current In-Country Projects.

  • Adobe Stoves- Indoor solid-burning fires that fill homes with smoke kill nearly one million children a year. It is the fourth greatest risk factor in the Third World. HELP International helps train communities to build adobe stores. These adobe stoves reduce adverse heath affects and decrease fuel consumption, and cook time, by one third when compared with the indoor fires.

  • Square Foot Gardening- In Latin America and Africa, livelihood is based on cash crops which often leaves families malnourished. Family gardens allow villagers to provide their family with organic vegetables and herbs without cutting into the profits of their cash crops. Square Foot Gardening is a method that uses 80% less water than traditional row gardening and is less labor intensive, allowing for greater crop variety.
  • Public Health- Health projects have always been a core program of HELP International. Some of the projects include education on hand washing, support for people with HIV/AIDS, Dengue prevention, hospital and clinic work, and the eyesight clinic.
  • Teaching English- Teaching English is one of the most requested projects. Knowledge of English is an invaluable tool in climbing out of poverty. The English lessons incorporate content-rich lessons for the area.
  • Orphanages- Helping abandoned, uneducated, malnourished, emotional deficient children is one of the biggest needs addressed by HELP International. This past summer alone over 4,000 hours were dedicated to working in various orphanages.
  • Construction – Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, HELP International has helped to build homes for impoverished families. They have also built chicken coupes and pig pens, which help provide a sustainable form of income for families. A local teaching workshop on construction helped train the locals the trade of a carpenter which is a valuable marketable skill.
  • Libraries- Providing books to children help to increase their literacy and to learn outside the classroom. In 2008, HELP International helped to build three libraries and donated over 2000 books.
  • Business/ Microfinance- One of the most sustainable tools in eliminating poverty is by providing skills and opportunities to start and sustain small businesses. HELP International helps individual businesses develop marketing strategies and improve accounting practices.

What can you do if you can’t be a participant?

HELP International is a non-profit organization run entirely on donations. You can be a part of HELP International by contributing to their cause. They even accept donations through PayPal.

Donate Now

You can make a difference with HELP International.

Children at the orphanage.
Children at the orphanage.

Help International Uganda 2010

Have I Done Any Good?

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.

Will L. Thompson, 1847-1909

HELP International

Help International India 2010

Comments

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    • profile image

      DIPESH BHOGAYATA 

      5 years ago

      I WANT TO JOIN YOU HOW I CAN

    • celeBritys4africA profile image

      celeBritys4africA 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I am trying to help the african kids with cancer...great hub.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      8 years ago from California

      @ RevLady- Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you totally that is it refreshing to see people helping people help themselves. I love the work that HELP International does.

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 

      8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      In a time when the negative overshadows the good, it is refreshing to read about people helping people, including themselves.

      Thank you for this presetation of human love.

      Forever His,

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      8 years ago from California

      @Hello, hello- I love to hear about good being done in the world. It is such a change from the common reports we hear. HELP International is helping young adults do good all over the world.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for such a wonderful and heartwarming hub. Especially noadays, when you read nothing but violance from young people.

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