Mercy Corps Silent Disasters Program
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As a Foolanthropy 2005 pick, Mercy Corps invites Fools everywhere to help us once again -- this time by empowering families in some of the world's most challenging places to take lasting control of their financial futures, through our Silent Disasters Program. Why? Because our experience tells us that creating economic opportunities is the best way to enrich and sustainably transform lives.
Mercy Corps works in more than 35 countries around the world. As a global relief and development organization, we work in post-conflict, emergency, and social upheaval settings to harness the uncertainty of transition into opportunities for a wide range of people. Partnering with communities, together we develop innovative, entrepreneurial solutions, often resulting in dramatic, market-driven actions that build more secure, just, and productive societies.
Over the last five years, more than 90% of our resources have gone directly to programs that serve families in need -- an achievement that has consistently earned us the highest possible rating from Charity Navigator.
The future is in their hands
Many of our programs focus on youth. Mercy Corps seeks sustainable opportunities to engage young people in economic activities that benefit their entire communities.
More than one billion young people are expected to enter the global workforce over the next decade, and labor experts predict that only 300 million new jobs will be created during that period. Behind those astounding numbers lies the potential for deeper poverty and conflict. Through our Silent Disasters campaign, we're working with communities -- and engaging constituents like you -- to address this dilemma through targeted interventions around the world.
In Kyrgyzstan, we connect master craftspeople with recent high school graduates, such as Aziz, in apprenticeships that give them the skills they need to find jobs that pay livable wages.
Mercy Corps' Centers for Excellence in Lebanon, where last year's conflict between Israel and Hezbollah displaced an estimated one million people and destroyed 30,000 homes -- are examples of the benefits and job opportunities that come from providing computer literacy training and Web access to youth. (Read the Fool's interview with Mercy Corps' CEO, Mercy in Beirut.)
In China, Mercy Corps supports an unprecedented number of migrant workers -- approximately 120 million -- by providing their children with access to educational opportunities. Migrant families in many parts of China are drawn to urban areas by the promise of jobs, but routinely face a lack of decent housing, health care, schooling, and employment. By providing vocational training opportunities for students, Mercy Corps is helping provide an important pathway to employment and economic sustainability for hundreds of youth and their families.
Financial literacy for our World
In addition to the Silent Disasters program, Mercy Corps's other financial literacy initiatives include the Phoenix Fund (a way to gather private seed capital to encourage high-risk, high-reward small business projects in some of the world's poorest countries), MICRA (the Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives), MicroMentor (using the Internet to connect low-income microentrepreneurs with mentors who have successfully managed a business in the same industry), and a partnership with Western Union to deliver a range of educational and financial services to migrant families.
Mercy Corps is excited about the possibilities we see in the midst of great challenges. We invite you to join us in building a more financially literate, prosperous world for all.
Millions of people live in poverty because they do not have access to the financial services necessary to help them build income and participate fully in their economies. To address this problem in Indonesia, Mercy Corps founded MICRA, the Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives (www.micra-indo.org). MICRA builds the capacity of the region's microfinance industry and helps develop a financial services system that works for the poor. The aim is to provide innovative product development, financial literacy training and technical assistance to the nearly 40 million low income people without access to any kind of financial services.