A Letter From The Executive Director
"The owner of a cheerful heart will find his joy ever increasing."
As Afya's Founder and Executive Director, I want to take this opportunity to express gratitude for your support and commitment to bringing better health to some of the most underserved and unprotected people on our planet. Because of the support of funders, supply donors, volunteers, interns and partner organizations in Haiti and Africa, we have been able to achieve significant accomplishments in our first two years.
In 19 months we have recovered enough donated supplies and equipment to send 26 forty-foot containers of life saving and transforming supplies abroad. These containers represent a value of over $3,000,000 in supplies. Since Afya's launch we have saved 300 tons of medical supplies from unnecessary incineration and additional accumulation in local landfills.
Locally, we have become a home for volunteers of all ages who are dedicated to giving back globally while making a difference locally. We have 12 Afya Clubs around the country (all led by middle and high school students) and this movement is becoming an enthusiastic and profound reality. These incredible teenagers are learning how to define their personal path of philanthropy and are making positive public-spirited strides in their local communities. One teenager living in London started an Afya Club and single handedly figured out how to get crutches shipped to us via Virgin Atlantic (for free!) These amazing children and teenagers are the next generation of stewards for improving global health. Afya is proud to play a role in helping them learn these skills.
Populations at risk have also found a home with us. Volunteers from Riverdale Mental Health Association, Westchester ARC, Special Citizens and Children's Village come to Afya weekly to practice work-related skills for future paid employment. They know that their work is making the world better for people they will never know. The other day, as we were loading a container destined for Haiti, I overheard one of the boys from Children's Village announce to his friends "I love this job." Helping others is the comforting tie that binds humanity.
In the metropolitan New York area we have expanded the number of hospitals for collection of needed supplies. An increasing number of physicians who are closing their practices are contacting us to donate items that allowed them to care for others during the course of their entire professional lives. They know that these supplies will travel on to bring health and solace to those in need. Gloria's Gathering (our end of life individual home donation recovery program) now has a number of new donation drop-off sites for families. This effort continues to grow with organizations wanting to sponsor a "gathering" in their community.
Following our gala event in October, we have begun working closely with the Vice President and government of Malawi to improve childbirth safety for mother and infant. We are working closely with the Rotary Club in New York and Tanzania to co-sponsor containers for targeted health centers throughout their country. We continue our coordinated efforts with Partners In Health to support their humanitarian work in Haiti, Malawi and Rwanda. New models for partnership are emerging and we are excited about the range of possibilities in the future.
This week Afya's team drove up to Boston to load three 40-foot containers from the loading dock of Hebrew Senior Life, a facility affiliated with Harvard Medical School. This facility donated to Afya 120 hospital type beds and mattresses. Instead of discarding these beds, they called us and made them available for use in developing nation health centers. We packed 2 containers, back to back, each filled with 40 beautiful beds and mattresses for Partners in Health's new hospital in St. Marc, Haiti. The third container was packed with 21 beds and additional supplies we brought with us from New York for the Tobin Health Center in Mbale, Uganda designated for the support of the Abayudayah (approximately 1,000 Jews in eastern Uganda). This was a memorable day and a turning point for Afya. We actually loaded 3 containers in four hours, in a new area with hands on support from Boston based volunteers and the Partners in Health staff.
We have seen and experienced great joy during Afya's first two years. We have watched first hand the gratification felt by those who give to people in need that they will never meet. Our volunteers mirror Afya's mission. People of all ages volunteer at Afya with willing hands, kind hearts and boundless energy. We all want to make this world a better place.
At the end of this year, as we launch our efforts into 2010, we thank you for your continued support. To help support Afya's work in 2010, please go to our donation page, or send us your donation to:
The Afya Foundation of America
510 Nepperhan Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10701
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 914-338-7034.
We wish you and your family Afya (good health in Swahili) and great joy in 2010!
With great appreciation,
Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR
Founder, Executive Director