Most of us have heard of the international NGOs Doctors Without Borders and Engineers Without Borders, and you might know about Reporters Without Borders. But what about Monks Without Borders? Or Clowns? Here’s a list of borderless organizations you really should hear about.
Bikes Without Borders is a Canadian non-profit group that travels the world distributing bicycles to developing communities. They operate under the assumption that something really small – two wheels, two pedals and a set of gears – can help people do some really big things, like access health care, go to school and start businesses.
The California-based group Astronomers Without Borders is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a group of idealistic star-gazers who travel around bringing knowledge about the night sky to people all over the world, “regardless of earthly differences in culture, nationality or religion.” If we’re busy looking up, pointing and gasping appreciatively, we can’t start wars, right?
Burners Without Borders is a small but eccentric troop of do-gooders—all of whom have attended Burning Man, an annual carnival in the Nevada desert—who travel the world, from Peru to Botswana, promoting “radical self-expression” and “self-reliance” in developing communities.
You wouldn’t think chemists need much more than a windowless lab and an endless supply of beakers to get their work done, but think again: Chemists Without Borders brings scientists to developing communities, where they provide mentoring and information to help people access safe water, create sustainable energy supplies and deal safely with hazardous chemicals.
Clowns Without Borders is no joke. This goofy, San Francisco-based group of jesters trips, pratfalls and pogo-sticks all around the world, to refugee camps, conflict zones and crisis areas—from Haiti to India, from Colombia to Burma—to bring laughter, circus performances and, yes, big red plastic noses, to children who need some levity.
From its home base in Eugene, Oregon, Geeks Without Borders accepts donations of old computers and other technologies and then distributes them to orphanages, schools and other organizations around the world, where people wouldn’t otherwise have access to such life and career-changing tools.
Words Without Borders, run by a small cadre of literary activists, publishes stories written by international authors from every race and creed, in order to connect wordsmiths with one another and foster a “global literary conversation.”
Yar! Pirates Without Borders is a loose gang of likeminded mates who believe in “free knowledge, free culture” and “free software” — and are willing to “sail the seven seas” of the internet pillaging pay walls and pirate patented products as they go.
As in the case of the chemists, you wouldn’t think monks need much more than a quiet slab of cold floor and a sweet haircut to get the job done, but Monks Without Borders will have you know otherwise. This motley team of “monks, nuns, priests, rabbis, swamis, imams, and clergy members from all the world’s religious traditions” travel the world promoting non-violence and interfaith cooperation wherever they go.
Bikes Without Borders has partnered with YONECO to help strengthen global connections to local Malawian communities. Partnering with YONECO allows resources (access to information, pharmaceuticals, transportation, etc.) to be maximized with the establishment of effective working relationships by YONECO.
Goal: To increase the health of Malawians and to contribute towards the reduction of the spread of HIV infection, mitigating the impact of AIDS to promote quality care for the infected and infected.
Purpose: To promote self-seliance in material and psychological support, empowering and active participation of care givers, orphans and vulnerable children, the aged and other vulnerable groups in reducing the spread of HIV infection and mitigating the impact of AIDS.
• To promote quality care within the home setting
• To enhance communities commitment to responding to the needs of infected and affected
• To reduce stigma and discrimination for the affected and infected
• To develop effective monitoring and evaluation systems for the home-based care programme
(Kachulu Health Centre visit with Fresco, the Health Worker extraordinaire)
• Life skills development for the orphans, people living with AIDS, volunteers and care givers at community level.
• Comprehensive health education programme on HIV/AIDS issues and other related issues at community level.
• Screening for HIV/AIDS and TB
• Community care of people living with HIV/AIDS, old people, chronically ill, orphans and other vulnerable groups at local level
(HIV/AIDS workshop literature for Community Health Volunteers.)
Around the world, one woman dies every minute during childbirth, yet almost all of these deaths are preventable. Malawi has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world.
In 2001, the UN set a goal to decrease maternal mortality by 75% by 2015, but it is nowhere near meeting that target.
Our Phase 2 in Malawi, will support Community Healthcare Volunteer Workers delivering vital health services. We will have an increased focus to address issues of maternal health, providing them with new bikes and providing community health organizations with bike ambulances (which CHWs can sign out and use as needed).
“In a country where a staggering number of women die in child birth, the BBC’s Karen Allen discovers one Malawian village where a novel solution – a bicycle ambulance – has apparently helped to wipe out the problem.” – BBC news
How you can be part of the solution:
1. Spread the word - tell your friends about the issues and the project so that there is more awareness in different communities and professional fields.
2. Brainstorm ideas - discuss possible solutions and share your ideas with friends, family & coworkers. Sharing knowledge helps start meaningful discussions in the community
3. Volunteer and attend BWB events - to be a part of something meaningful and meet like-minded people from different fields. Every volunteer makes a huge difference.
4. Donate, because funds are always needed - a replacement set of tires for a Community Health Worker in Malawi costs $50, a new bike for a CHW is $150, and a bike ambulance (wheeled stretcher that attaches to a bike) for a community in Malawi is $450
To know more about the Pedal Powered Hope Project visit http://bikeswithoutborders.org/international-programs