Sunday, January 4, 2009

Birthing Kit Pictorial is ready to go! Christmas Stockings for parolees and their families!

Take a look at the copy of the pictorial instruction sheet that will be included in each of the birthing kits we are shipping to Afghanistan. This will enable women who, though trained as midwives, may or may not be literate. Untold hours have been spent to complete it. The translation you see here is in Farsi. The project has been done such that others who wish to use it in other areas of the world can receive it digitally and insert their own translation. Thanks to the obstetrician, photographer, graphic artist, translators, printer, and others who made this a reality!

Click on either page to see it close-up...

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Workdays this week in Redlands and Colton

Thursday, January 8, 11am - 8pm at the Stake Center

We’ll be making sensory blankets, assembling hygiene kits for local parolees and more. Priority hygiene items are disposable razors, pocket-size notebooks, and men’s deodorant. We also need press-on interfacing for the blankets.

Location: The LDS Stake Center at the corner of 5th & Wabash in Redlands (next to the temple).

Saturday, January 10, @ noon at the Bishop's Central Storehouse

Location: 791 North Pepper Avenue, Colton 92324.

We’ll be inserting the pictorial instruction sheets into our birthing kits and labeling, stacking, measuring, and weighing pallets to go to Afghanistan. We could use help from a few men on this day too!

"I am only one…but still I can do something; and…I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

Helen Keller

Here's the latest on...

Parolee Support Update

  • Christmas Stockings for families of parolees…

    On December 12, a group of women representing Step by Step met to assemble Christmas stockings with the generous donations made by several faith groups and organizations in Redlands, including Women of Faith. Then two days before Christmas, several of us accompanied parole officers as deliveries were made to 10 families of parolees who had been selected by their parole agents. It was a moving experience and confirmed to us that our efforts to support and encourage these individuals is important and valuable.

    Here are some shots of the assembly in progress at Redlands United Church of Christ:

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  • Current priority hygiene items are: men's deodorant, shaving cream, men's disposable razors, and pocket -size notepads. Hotel samples of anything are welcome and everything on the list is needed. (See side panel.)

  • If you are new to this site -

    please take time to read up in the side column about our efforts to work with the parolees in our community. (See "Our Support of Redlands' Community Parolees by Providing Hygiene Kits") This has been a very worthwhile and valuable effort. More information will follow in future blogs. If you have a special place in your heart for these individuals and would like to get involved in helping them move forward in their lives, we could use your help. There are a variety of opportunities which take varied time commitments - from just a little to a lot. Please contact if you would like more information.

  • Step by Step - a Re-entry Coalition meets for it's monthly board meeting on the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30pm at the Redlands United Church of Christ. It is located at 168 Bellevue Avenue in Redlands (corner of Olive and Bellevue). If you wish to find out more, please come.

"We are never really happy until we try to brighten the lives of others."

Helen Keller

Afghanistan II project news

An email from our friend in Kabul:

On January 1st, I received a cc of an email from Fauzia Assifi, an Afghan-American who is living in Kabul, Afghanistan. Fauzia participated in our very first meeting in October 2003 when our first project was born. She traveled to Afghanistan to help with the receipt and distribution of our goods in June 2005. Fauzia has chosen to remain in Afghanistan to help her war torn homeland. Her email on New Year's Day was a report of her most recent distribution of goods donated from Lutheran World Relief (LWR). I include here a paragraph from her report. It is difficult to even imagine the conditions these people are living under.

" I found ten families living in Afshar area south west of Kabul city in condemned structures without doors, windows, sanitation or electricity. One mother who had nine children 6 months to 14 years old was living in two rooms of the broken down structure which had 2 main standing walls and the other 2 walls were down. The frames and glass of 2 windows did not exist and one could only see 2 holes in the wall. The floor of the rooms had 3 inches of frozen water. She had 6 rows of broken bricks layered on the floor and had covered them with empty cement bags, old straw mats and some other old fabrics to protect her kids from freezing. Her windows were covered with some portion of old UNHCR’s tent fabric. Looking at this situation I was stunned and started crying with this miserable mother. When I gave her LWR’s quilts, blankets, soap, baby’s kits, sewing kit and school kits, she went crazy and started beating herself on her face and head and started crying very loudly, facing the sky and thanking God for the unbelievable gifts she had received. I calmed her down and told her that these beautiful gifts are from LWR and the good hearted American people. She sat down on the snow, thanked me and prayed for those who sent her and her kids these wonderful gifts. She said as I quote, “these are the gifts from God and I thank Him”.

Overcoming in Afghaghanistan - a special video...
I think you'll appreciate the following video. I found this while checking out the website for Smile Train, a charity organization that repairs cleft lips and palates for children in developing countries. Get to the 5 ½ minute video report on what this organization is doing in Afghanistan by pasting the following website into your browser: . Then click on the link in the lower right-hand corner of the home page. The report is both amazing and inspiring. These are the same people which we serve and the caliber of people we serve with.
Special Thanks to …
  • Afghans for Afghans, who sent us 640 more hats – making their donation total 1110!
  • Yucaipa's Seventh Day Adventist Church, who heard about our project somehow and called with medical equipment to donate.
  • Loma Linda University Medical Center and Redlands Community Hospital for giving us hundreds of clean, sturdy boxes to pack our goods in.
  • Linda Thomas, a graphic artist, who spent many weekends putting together our pictorial information sheet for the birthing kits.
  • Translators, including Sharin Sanders, who have translated our birthing kit instruction sheet and dozens of labels for our cartons into Farsi.
  • i-star Financial in Brea who donated twelve computers, flat screen monitors, keyboards, mice, head phones, licenses, and all that is needed to set them up in the vocational school in Jalalabad.

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“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Helen Keller

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